The joy of native plants
Native plants are those that occur naturally in a region. Native birds and insects rely on them for food and shelter. For example, research by the entomologist Doug Tallamy has shown that native oak trees support over 500 species of caterpillars, whereas gingkoes - a commonly planted landscape tree from Asia - host only 5 species of caterpillars. When it takes over 6,000 caterpillars to raise one brood of chickadees, that is a significant difference (http://www.audubon.org/content/why-native-plants-matter). It makes sense to use native plants in our gardens and landscapes. Exotic plants can sometimes become invasive or introduce new pests or diseases that harm native species.
Here at Our Funny Farm, we love native plants! We have been involved for years finding and identifying plants over much of the state of Maine. For many years we volunteered for rare plant monitoring, searching out and reporting on rare plant populations. There are about 75 native species that have disappeared from Maine and another 275 that are vulnerable. All the native plants we sell have been grown from seed, propagated from nursery stock, or rescued from areas about to be disturbed.
Our stock is fairly small now since we are just beginning, but we hope to offer new species each year. We also look forward to making display gardens that feature wildflowers that no longer grow wild in Maine, and other gardens to introduce the less well known varieties of wildflowers that do grow in our state. For example, almost all of us would recognize a common purple trillium (Trillium erectum) pictured above, but there are other species of trillium that grow in the Maine! Wouldn't it be fun to see them all growing together? We hope to have gardens that are both beautiful and educational.
Ferns add wonderful form and texture to shade gardens. We have a great selection of native ferns, from tall graceful Cinnamon Ferns with their stunning bronze fertile fronds, to delicate little Oak Ferns with their three tiny pinnae.