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Busch Gardens

Advantages of a Native Landscape Design in Williamsburg

By Jon Herlong, Owner, Custom Gardens Landscaping

We know through our years of experience designing landscapes in Williamsburg that most homeowners choose a traditional colonial landscape. Here are some reasons why a native landscape design might be preferable.

An English garden features a romantic, sweeping landscape design in which the land overflows with plants and lush flowers in what appears to be an organic, natural way. It also requires micro-management when it comes to maintenance to keep up this appearance.

Alternatively, a typical native plant design looks less formal and more natural and has the benefits of being 95% deer resistant, requiring less maintenance, and less water.

In the fall, native plants tend to lose their leaves, unlike evergreens, but this also means that native plants, such as the Virginia iris and dogwood trees, show the first signs of spring and bloom early in the season. If potted, native plants bloom even earlier than their non-native counterparts and native plants in the ground.

For homeowners with drainage issues, adding more native plants to their landscaping can help absorb water, as can a rain garden – a shallow planted depression designed to hold water until it soaks into the soil.

When it comes to availability, native plants are easier to find, making them more convenient to replace and, in some cases, less expensive to install.

Examples of Native Plants

Ebony Spleenwort – Good for shady wall plantings, a natural effect, or the fairy garden you fantasize about.

Yucca – Where the beach meets the woods, or basically anywhere in America, you will find yucca. This all-American plant is a relative of the Joshua trees out west or the Spanish Dagger plants found on Cape Hatteras.

Virginia Iris – Try this showy Virginia species if you are looking for irises to brighten up your flower beds.

Dogwood Tree – This quintessential tree adds beautiful blooms and structure to any Virginia garden. The Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) is Virginia’s state tree and is the most popular native.

Wax Myrtles – also known as Southern Bayberry are fast-growing versatile landscape additions. They can grow into a tall tree near waterfront properties with wetter soils by the James River or near bogs and swamps. Or the water’s edge, in sandy dines and open inland sandy forests into evergreen shrubs. All the while providing nesting habitats for birds such as the red-winged blackbird and the marsh wren.

Milkweed – Plant these to attract Monarch butterflies. An essential piece of this butterfly’s long migration from the Mexican pinelands to the Canadian North, the butterflies absorb chemicals from the plant to defend themselves from predators.

Common Persimmon – A native tree with great structure, edible fruit and the possibility to attract Virginia’s beautiful Luna Moth.

Swamp Azalea – A native fragrant azalea also referred to as Honeysuckle Azalea.

For more information about native landscape designs, contact Custom Gardens for a complimentary consultation.