To promote the preservation of native vegetation in the Oak Openings Region, The Nature Conservancy initiated the development of the Oak Openings Native Plant Project. This project resulted in the creation of a line of genetically native prairie wildflowers and grasses, known as “Oak Openings Natives,” which are grown and marketed locally by the Toledo Botanic Garden Native Plants.
There are many reasons to use native plants, but one of the best is that native plants can make a real difference for the Oak Openings ecosystem. If you live in the Oak Openings Region, and plant natives, you are helping to restore habitat in one of the Midwest’s rarest ecosystems. Most typical landscaping plants are not part of this original ecosystem and therefore contribute little to it and sometimes actually cause damage. In addition, a native landscape is basically a self-sustaining ecosystem requiring minimal attention.
Do your part and plant natives in your yard. You will help increase the biodiversity of the area by supporting the native insects, birds, butterflies and animals that depend upon these native plants. For instance, if you plant wild lupine, you will be providing the only food source for the caterpillar of the region’s rare Karner blue butterfly. Click here to hear more about planting natives.
Local groups like the Oak Openings Region Wild Ones are committed to promoting environmentally sound landscaping practices with use of native plants. Click here to learn more about the Oak Openings chapter of the Wild Ones.