I just moved to Hyattsville and am planning a native
garden. What native plants have worked well in this area?
Also, I've noticed
that a couple of neighbors have signs designating their yards as
wildlife sacturaries. How does this work?
A Neighbor Who Wants To Go Native
Let's answer your question about the signs first. These yard
signsare from the National Wildlife Federation and indicate that your
garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. It costs $15 to apply for
certification, plus $25 for the attractive recycled aluminum
signs. For complete information you can telephone NWF at
800-822-9919; check their web site: http://nwf.org/backyard/; or come
to the next HHS meeting at 10 AM on April 19, at the Municipal Center.
One of our members is authorized by the NWF to certify yards. The
basic requirements are to provide food, water and a habitat--this can
be as simple as growing sunflowers, filling a birdbath, providing
birdhouses, shrubs, and trees for nesting.
This brings us to your inquiry concerning appropriate
native plants. Well, I called my Aunt Sioux and she was delighted
to help. First she went on and on about the advantages they have
because of their modest water needs, their resistance to pests,
their ease of care, their benefits to the environment and of course
their beauty. She recommends that to start you try black-eyed susans,
our state flower, common wood violets , blue wood asters, wild
bergamot, Virginia bluebells and
moss phlox. The redbud is a wonderful small tree to begin
with, graceful yet tough as shoe leather--and you can get trees
bloom in white, rose, or knock-your-eye-out magenta. Among more
challenging plants are jacks in the pulpit, but Sioux just loves them
and rescued several from the site of the local Starbucks. They thrive
her touch and she thinks they are worth your while. For an exhaustive
list I would suggest you check the web site of the Maryland Native
Plant Society: http://
There are several big sales coming up where you can find native plants
as well as many others. On April 26 the National Arboretum, which
is located not far from Hyattsville north on Kenilworth
Avenue, will have its fabulous annual sale. That same Saturday, and
Sunday as well, the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild will have
sale at the Franciscan Monastery at 14th & Quincy NE. The FMGG sale
presents an enormous selection of herbs, as well as
many shrubs, small trees, perennials and rose bushes.
The Monastery is
located nearby, just off Queens Manor Road turned Michigan Avenue
Also, if you'd like an organic compost watch the Hyattsville
listserve for an uncoming Hyattsville Horticultural Society sale of
Chesapeake Green at Community Forklift. Chesapeake Green comes from the
Bay and does not harm the Bay when it returns to it in groundwater.
This brings me to one last announcement. The Mayor and
Council of the City of Hyattsville, recognizing the many advantages to
native plants, have been in the process of rewriting our ordinance that
covers lawns and weeds. There should be a final vote April 7 that
would make wildflower gardens, vegetable gardens, native plant
gardens, rain gardens and wildlife habitats acceptable as lawn
substitutes. The meeting will take place at 8 PM at the Municipal
Center and the public is welcome.