Mr. Daniel Talley, and his wife, Nancy, own Botanica Chattanooga prescribe to the philosophy that gardening with nature harmonizes the local ecology with your preferred design tradition, which is not as to say to let your yard run wild with whatever naturally does the best. Think about landscaping as being beyond ornamental. Use plants that encourage local insects and wildlife rather than ones that look pretty but poorly serve the little locals. Furthermore, good planning and planting with natural varieties will reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals. Over time, you will be able to do away with chemicals entirely, allowing your healthy, native landscaping to thrive organically.
Daniel’s list of the top short meadow species that would do well on Lookout Mountain includes poverty oatgrass (Danthonia spicata), needlegrass (Piptochaetium avenaceum), Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica), butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), and aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius).
Landscape designers Jimmy Stewart and Ann Brown have a few favorite plants they like for the pollinator garden, and they can all be seen at the Alice Stout Memorial Garden at Temple Park off of West Brow Road. Buddleia “Adonis” (2015 Butterfly Plant) is a compact plant with an abundance of deep blue flowers. “Hot Lips” and “Scarletta” both sound like trouble, but the deep red blooms of this salvia are edged in white, making them pop even more. “Sassy Red” and “Sassy Purple” salvia may not be as new and different as these newcomers, but they live up to their names with their vibrant colors. Gomphrena “Fireworks” (globe amaranth) does indeed resemble a firework bursting in air with its purple spikey blooms. Chrysanthemum “Becky” is a perennial favorite of all, but especially of Jimmy’s since that’s his wife’s name. Achillea “Oertel’s Rose” is a spreading yarrow that fills up nooks and crannies with a gorgeous pinkish purple bloom. Coreopsis “Daybreak” is hardy and long blooming, and similar to gaillardia “Goblin.” Lantana “Miss Huff Hardy” and “Chapel Hill Hardy” are both extremely hardy, as well as gorgeous in the summer, and verbena “Homestead Purple” spreads its deep purple clusters all around, trailing picturesquely over rock walls. Echinacea “Solar Sunrise” is a coneflower with a color similar to a sunrise, and just as breathtaking. Asclepius (annual butterfly weed) is from the milkweed family, and is everything the butterflies are looking for as far as room and board go. Parsley, with its frilly edges and soft mounding appearance, are perfect for laying butterfly eggs, as are the wispy, airy fronds of fennel.
Native plants naturally thrive in their indigenous regions, making caring for them less complicated and more cost efficient. They generally require less water than non-native plants and are often drought tolerant. By going native, you can probably use fewer pesticides. Native plants also help maintain the landscape by preventing erosion and enriching the soil. They also discourage non-native plants that can be invasive and of little benefit to a healthy ecosystem.
This weekend you can purchase native plants and get loads of advice at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. Check out their fall native plant sale on October 6-7. There will be lectures and tours from naturalist and historian Michael Green, as well as instructional speakers like city water quality expert Lyn Rutherford on topics discussing utilizing native plants for erosion control and “Why Fall is the Best Time to Plant” with Master Garner Chris Mahoney. Admission is free with the purchase of a plant. For more info and a complete list of plants that will be available, go to www.reflectionriding.org.