What are native plants? and Why do we care about planting more of them?
- Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
Douglas W. Tallamy. Timber Press, 2007.
This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in gardening, the importance of biodiversity, or the future of life on this planet. It also includes detailed data about native plants that serve as hosts to many different species of butterflies and showy moths.
- Three excellent reference books on the native plants of North America:
These books are detailed and beautiful, with good color photographs help to familiarize us with each genus. Bill Cullina is one of the country’s true authorities on native plants, and he writes with clarity and character.
- Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses
William Cullina. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
- Native Trees, Shrubs & Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants
William Cullina. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.
- New England Wildflower Society Guide: Growing & Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada William Cullina. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.
- Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening & Conservation
Donald J. Leopold. Timber Press, 2005.
One of the few books that focuses on native plants for the northeastern United States, and it covers the gamut— trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grasses, and ferns— all in one volume. Leopold's introduction is one of the best at putting native plant gardening in context. If you can only afford only one book on natives as a reference, this is a great choice.
- The Native Plant Primer: Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers for Natural Gardens
Carole Ottesen. Harmony Books, 1995.
Also a very good one volume resource, this book is out of print but can be found second hand. It's section on native azaleas is quite good.
Articles and Downloads
Key Organizations & Web Sites
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
A national native plant information resource network with a database of native plants. Founded in 1982 by the former first lady and actress Helen Hayes, this Center does much to advocate for the beauty and biological importance of North America's native flora.
New England Wild Flower Society
NEWFS is well known for its beautiful headquarters at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA. If you want to be inspired about using natives, go there! They also have a wonderful bookstore with a wealth of resources, and they sell native plants—especially perennials and wildflowers—at both Garden in the Woods and their Nasami Farm Nursery in Whately, MA.
Project Native is a native plant nursery in the Berkshires. They grow a great line of native plants for this regions as well as some additional species native to the northeastern US. Their website has good photos and information about the species that they sell.
Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes
Based in Milwaukee, WI, and with chapters in eleven other states around the United States, this organization “promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.” Their website is full of good information.