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Written by: Summer Graham

 

 

With 2021-2030 being the UN decade on ecosystem restoration,

I think it is a good time to reflect on the importance of healthy, functioning ecosystems as well as take action in restoring them. Some organizations have spearheaded restoration efforts like the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded ecosystems by 2030! While these large-scale targets are inspiring, you may be wondering if there is anything you can possibly do to help. Well there is - and it starts in your own backyard!

 

Some common garden species became popular and widespread before they were known to be invasive outside of their native range. By replacing these problem species with native ones, you can reduce the risk of contributing to the degradation of near-by native areas. You may think “This Common Buckthorn is just in my backyard, it doesn’t matter if it’s planted here” but Buckthorn berries are often eaten by birds, which then spread seeds all over! 

 

Many invasive, non-native garden species are unfortunately still sold in garden centres, so informing yourself (and your friends!) on which species to avoid buying is the first step. Then, you can determine which native species would be most ideal for your garden. By using the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) Grow me instead guide, gardeners in Ontario can easily swap invasive species with native ones! See below for some recommended replacements to common Southern Ontario species:

 

                         Instead of Planting....                                                                                  ...Plant This! 

 

Periwinkle

(Vinca minor)

 

View Plant
 

    

Wild Geranium

(Geranium maculatum

 

View Plant

 

European Lily

of the Valley

(Convallaria majalis)

 

View Plant
 

 

 

Starry Flase Solomon's Seal

(Maianthemum steallatum)

 

View Plant

 

Goutweed

(Aegopodium podagraria)

 

View Plant
 

 

 

Large-leaved Aster

(Eurybia macrophylla)

 

View Plant

 

English Ivy

(Hedera helix

 

View Plant

 

 

Wild Strawberry 

(Fragaria virginiana

 

View Plant

 

 

Yellow Arch-angel

(Lamiastrum galeobdolon)

 

View Plant

 

 

Zig-zag Goldenrod

(Solidago flexicaulis)

 

View Plant

 

 

Similar resources are available for Alberta, Yukon, BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (see below). Now that you are inspired to replace your garden with some native species, head to our native nursery locator to find some native plants near you!

 

Additional Resources:

Ontario OIPC Grow Me Instead Guides Southern 

OICP Grow Me Instead Northern

Alberta Grow Me Instead 

Yukon Grow Me Instead 

Be Plant Wise BC 

Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council

Manitoba Grow me Instead

 

 

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