|To the Reader|
The use of native plants in landscaping and of course habitat restoration is certainly not new. In fact, their use has grown exponentially in recent years. Natural resources professionals in turn have been flooded with requests for information on native plants to use in various types of planting projects. Communities, schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, watershed groups, local governments, state and federal agencies and many others are enhancing and restoring habitat, solving ecological problems, reducing maintenance, or just beautifying surroundings, all using locally native plants. Natural resources professionals, in turn, have been flooded with requests for information on native plants to use in various types of planting projects. There are many excellent resources available on native plants - some more technical than others, some more comprehensive than others. The frustration voiced most frequently by users is the lack of color photographs of the plants. After all, it is the striking visual quality of these plants that is their best “selling point.”
This publication includes those pictures as well as user-friendly information on native species appropriate for planting in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and adjacent coastal regions. Although one guide cannot furnish the answers to every question, we have included as much useful information as possible in a limited space. Although the large number of species of plants included here may overwhelm some readers, this guide displays the great diversity of plants available. We hope you will bypass the over-used, non-native and sometimes invasive ornamental plants, and select the equally and often more attractive native plants. Pour through this guide the same way you look through nursery catalogs. Use it to plan and design your next planting, whether it’s a small corner of your front yard, a two-acre meadow seeding, or 100 acres of wetland restoration.