Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spirea alba is another underutilized wonderful native plant

Wow! Look at this plant; it's great and not only for its own qualities. It is calmly beautiful, tough, tolerates wet feet but will do well under average or even dry garden conditions; I like it also because so many different kinds of insects find it attractive. I am not kidding, if you can spend 10 minutes watching this plant when its flowering, you will see some unusual fauna. If you have a digital camera with a macro setting you will be able to astound your friends!

Reviewing the offerings of Spireas at local Garden Centers, I find, almost exclusively Asian species and their selections. While many of these are excellent plants, that doesn't mean we have to sell our own native species short! I don't want to beat this "Native Thing" to death; I still plant non-natives (there are lists of this year's purchases somewhere in that right-hand column).

I sometimes worry that the Native versus non-Native dispute is becoming so polarized that it is difficult to come down in the middle. Perhaps it an inevitable sign of the times. That is too bad if it means that we are sacrificing the chance of using great plants. Don;t let this one go by the wayside! Track it down at a Native Nursery, on-line, or in the Natives section of a larger Nursery. Behnke Nurseries has gone to great lengths to make available good native plants. They have also gone a ways towards removing the most dangerously invasive thugs from their general inventory. Props and kudos where deserved.

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