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Gardening for the Future

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Gardening has many benefits to you as the gardener, but is so important to our local environment. Whether you are a seasoned pro, new to the hobby, or new to the borderlands, gardening in southeastern Arizona is unique and rewarding in so many ways providing a special opportunity to support this very important ecoregion in your home landscape.

Development, historical overgrazing and drought have stressed the land including the plants and wildlife that rely on a healthy landscape to exist. As more people move to Arizona and as we experience climate change and drought, what you do with your corner of the world makes a big difference to restore what has been lost or compromised to ensure we protect this very important hotspot that boasts the highest biodiversity in inland North America.

Gardening with native plants not only restores and enriches what was removed when your home was built and in many cases the rock "yard" was installed, but also provides habitat and food for birds, bees and other insects and wildlife. Native plants are also by nature water wise as they are the plants that are from here and meant to live in this drier climate and soil type. They are also the specific plants that local fauna look for. They aren't looking for snapdragons from the big box store as that is not a food source they are familiar with and in many cases, doesn't support their life cycle needs. These plants are also often treated with pesticides or grown with chemicals that are harmful to the environment and pollinators.

Butterfly on flower
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) on a penstemon.

If we put ourselves on the path of a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly for example, caterpillars need mostly trees as host plants feeding upon cottonwood, willow, aspen, sycamore, and ash trees to name a few. If these trees are absent from the landscape the swallowtail can't reproduce. Once they become a beautiful butterfly, they can feed on the nectar of native plants such as penstemon. In their short adult lifespan of 6 -14 days, having host plants to lay eggs and food plants in proximity to each other is key to survival. If food sources dry up and the host plants to reproduce are few and far between, we start to lose species.

This is where you come in! No matter your skill level, you can add easy to maintain, water wise native plants to your landscape that will transform your space to a useful, beautiful yard that replaces important food sources and habitat and supports our local ecosystems. Your yard will become a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators in search of what they need to survive in this climate that is facing compounding pressures.

Bee sleeping in a globe mallow flower.

Native plants and seeds are available to fill all those sunny and shady spots, fill nectar gaps (make sure you have blooms all season long!) and to create shade in your landscape. Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and useful info to either expand or begin your native plant gardening adventure. Just imagine if each of us restored our own landscapes. Together we can strengthen and build a resilient borderlands for all that reside here.

To make it even easier, BN & S will be taking online pre-orders for delivery in several borderlands communities, at special events and at our plant sales and open Saturdays.

Check out the 2022 schedule here to stock up on pollinator safe, chemical-free native plants grown from ethically hand collected seed from the borderlands of SE Arizona.



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