Gardening takes a lot of work and despite how effortless the maintenance of those home vegetable gardens looked over lockdown, it can be a struggle to find time to tend to our gardens. One solution (that has so many benefits!) is to plant a native garden. Indigenous plants have adapted to local conditions over hundreds of years, they require far less trimming, composting and watering than invasive species (a great solution if you are a lazy and infrequent gardener like I am). Indigenous gardens are also great for the planet, one of the reasons being that they require far less water than invasive species, making them a great way to maintain your garden with minimal effort, and minimal impact on the planet.
If this wasn't motivation enough, here are some more reasons why you should consider planting a native garden:
They are water-friendly:
Indigenous plants use far less water and can often survive on rainfall alone. This is because they have become accustomed to the natural weather patterns in that area. This also makes them far more practical if you live in places prone to drought such as South Africa.
They fill up your garden quickly:
Because Indigenous plants are happier in your garden than others, they will fill your beds far faster. If you plan properly you will also be able to find plants to flower in each season, meaning that your garden looks good year round.
They support native wildlife:
Native animals have evolved alongside native vegetation and are dependent on them for food and shelter. By planting a variety of fruit bearing plants and a variety of flowers you will encourage a number of insects, pollinators and other small creatures to thrive.
They promote biodiversity:
By planting Indigenous plants you ensure that your garden is a microcosm of your area's vegetation, one which is adapted to specific weather, soils and temperatures. The Earth's gradual environmental changes can only be withstood by healthy ecosystems and these ecosystems have to be diverse in order to be resilient.
Struggling to understand which plants are native?
Here are a couple of resources to help you identify Indigenous plants in your area:
- For South Africa:
- For Australia:
- For the UK:
- For US:
Check out this app too!
Written by Frances Housdon
Fran is a young South African journalism graduate passionate about the outdoors, and getting other people to enjoy them with her. She loves paddling down long rivers, exploring big mountains and consuming bulk quantities of peanut butter.