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Meet Natalie Brewer – Master Gardener

Natalie Brewer

Hello, fellow gardeners. My name is Natalie Brewer and I am a Master Gardener. I have been a customer of Behnke Nurseries for the past ten years. Like many of you, I am an avid gardener and have tried many different plants and gardening styles throughout the years. In my experiences, I have come to realize that there are some tricks that make gardening easier, less time-consuming, and also beautiful. One of these tricks is to use native plants.

Many native plants are easy to grow and perform well in the home landscape. You will still need to consider the light and moisture requirements of individual plants, but once they are established, most native plants do not need additional care in the form of fertilizers and pest control. So they can save you time and money. Behnke Nurseries carries a wide selection of native plants that are part of their BaySafe collection. In order to make it easier for you to choose plants from the BaySafe collection, I will be writing about the special attributes and cultural requirements of these native plants.

There are some contradictory definitions of what a native plant is. However, I like to use the definition that a native plant is a plant that naturally grew in an area prior to human intervention. Native plants are carefree, attractive and important to our ecology. Plants and wildlife evolved and thrived together for millions of years.

Native plants provide wildlife, such as birds and butterflies, with what they need at exactly when they need it. Unfortunately, most home landscapes contain very few native plants, so our wildlife does not have enough of what they need in order to survive. If you ever take a look at a list of all the endangered and threatened species in our area, then you will find a very long list of animals, birds, and insects that will probably disappear within most of our lifetimes. But we have the power to change that, simply by planting more native plants in our home gardens!

In addition to helping wildlife, native plants add value and beauty to your landscape. Some of the most attractive and unique plants are indigenous to our area. Trees, shrubs, perennials and vines are all available as native plants. Some native plants have been cultivated in the nursery industry and have been bred to be a different size or have a different flower color. Although cultivated native plants may not be as beneficial to wildlife as the original species of native plants, they still have a positive impact on our environment and ought to be considered when adding plants for your garden.

I hope that you will find these articles helpful when choosing which plants to buy at Behnke Nurseries. Perhaps they will inspire you to try new plants that you would not have otherwise ventured to try before.

Natalie Brewer, Master Gardener

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. natalie — thanks for your article. are there any native plants, in particular, that you really like to work with?

  2. Yes, there are actually many native plants that I really like and are very easy to grow. To narrow down the choices, are you looking for something in particular (tree, shrub or perennial)? And what conditions do you have in your garden (sun, part shade, or shade; wet, dry or average)?

  3. enjoyed your piece on white pines. i love evergreens, conifers, etc., although i don’t know much about them. I just bought two white pines recently — they were on sale at Behnke, maybe because they are optimally planted in spring or fall, and had been sitting around a while. I think they were $9.99 a piece for two trees each about 3-4′ tall. I planted one the other day. I want to plant the second ASAP, but, as you may have heard, we in prince george’s and montgomery counties are under strict water limits now because WSSC is fixing a pipe!
    anyway, any general advice on tree care for young white pines? when do you start to prune, if at all? how often to water and how much? also, since i love evergreens so much, i’d love your recommendations on other evergreens of various sizes that do well here– from the really tall, to the small and spreading that could go in my front yard.

    brentwood md

  4. “also, since i love evergreens so much, i’d love your recommendations on other evergreens of various sizes that do well here– from the really tall, to the small and spreading that could go in my front yard.”
    — bonus for natives, of course!

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