“What are the natural features which make a township handsome? A river, with its waterfalls and meadows, a lake, a hill, a cliff or individual rocks, a forest, and ancient trees standing singly…If the inhabitants of a town were wise, they would seek to preserve these things, though at a considerable expense; for such things educate far more than any hired teachers or preachers, or any at present recognized system of school education.” – Henry David Thoreau, Journal 3, January 1861
Native Plant Experts to Grow PLT Education Programs
The Pennsbury Land Trust has boosted its educational efforts with the help of a volunteer group of long-time Mt. Cuba docents, coordinated by PLT board member, Karen Travers. With members averaging 11 years of horticultural education experience, this group is well-versed in all things related to native plants and ecological gardening.
Currently identified as a PLT committee, the members are already meeting regularly and developing ideas on how to publicize and promote the beauty and value of native plants. Their efforts will be helpful to Pennsbury residents who seek to cultivate a partial or full garden of plants native to the Mid-Atlantic that will attract the endangered monarchs, for example, and other pollinators.
A demonstration garden area has been established just inside the township park entrance on the right along the fence. Updates on the garden plants and activities will be posted on the park notice board. This is just the beginning.
The group has already started to host regular walks in the park to help local residents identify “good” native plants they may see in their own backyards and also the “bad” invasive plants that can disrupt the ecological balance.
Future plans include establishing a pollinator garden and adding plants to increase the diversity of the current native plants in the park. The group will also offer tours of local backyard native plant gardens and carpool field trips to public gardens and natural areas.
Experienced in private consultations, many of the group’s members will be available to consult with homeowners on native plant and ecological gardening options. As educators, the members can easily adapt to any level of plant knowledge to assure a beneficial outcome for the landowner. (Note: There is a consultation fee that is paid directly to the consultant.)
A recent article in The Washington Post Magazine pointed out that at a time of anxiety over the effects of climate change and the mass extinction of wildlife, ecologists say that planting native plants can provide an opportunity to make a difference.
If you’re interested in learning more about selecting native plants or identifying and combating invasive plants; or you’d like to have an expert come check out your backyard with you (consultant fee for this); or if you’d just like to know more about native plants and ecological gardening and would like to join a walk through the township park with the experts, you can reach out to Karen directly by calling 610-388-7995.
Click here to download a list of local native plants. (DOCX)