I attended the Virginia Native Plant Symposium hosted by Albemalre County and the Piedmont Environmental Council yesterday and came away with a few insights on the use of native species in the landscape.
This has always been something that I have tried to do but now there is a growing body of resources to help with the successful use of natives in the landscape.
One great organization that has gotten involved is the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards. They are offering vouchers to purchase a native tree for only $25 from a local garden center. Visit there web site for more information on how to receive your voucher.
I also learned of some great projects and incentives being offered by the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District. They are offering four financial assistance programs to landowners that will help reduce the stormwater footprint and improve water quality. Funding is available for conversion of turf grass to native plants, installation of community pet waste stations, installing rain gardens, and installing rain water harvesting using cisterns 250 gallons and greater. For more information please check out the TJSWCD website.
Another great development for our area is the new database for plants native to our area on the county web site. This database is still being developed but you can currently search for recommendations on native plants based on plant category, recommended uses, plant needs, and plant characteristics like growth habits, bloom times and colors. This is a valuable resource to anyone interested in expanding the number of native plants in there landscape.
Check out all of these resources and look form more information as new projects and incentives are developed.