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Sunday, August 31, 2008
A Question of Perspective: Native vs. Exotic
This could be a tense question for all those opinionated gardeners out there but which should you pick, native or exotic plants? There are definitely advantages to choosing native plants with tolerance to the climate being first and foremost. Natives are better for the indigenous wildlife as it provides the food and sustenance they are used to eating.
Exotic plants are those that are not native. OK that's not an extensive definition, but if it was introduced from another region, country, or planet, it's not native! The advantage of an exotic plant lies in its uniqueness. Exotic plants can create an aesthetic diversity in the garden and may still provide for the needs of the local wildlife. Let me be very clear, I'm not talking about invasive plants which can take over a countryside in a matter of minutes (i.e. kudzu).
If you want my opinion (and if you're reading this you must!) a healthy combination of both native and exotic plants is good for the garden. By using natives you can create a more drought tolerant and climate resistant garden. But I wouldn't want to be without the exotics for their unique appearances and properties.
What do you think? Should you go all native? All exotic? Or am I right and you should use a combination of both? What's your perspective?