by Jean Jankowski, Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, First Vice President
For years OAGC has been touting the importance of including native plants in our landscapes, as well as creating public spaces designated for natives.
Many of the regional meetings I have attended since becoming an officer have had speakers and educational displays addressing how the establishment and growth of native food sources creates a foundation for a healthy ecosystem. Many of our members signed the petition that led to establishing April as Ohio Native Plant Month, the first of which will be celebrated in 2020.
We now have the opportunity to share our knowledge and bring public awareness to this vital topic. There are hundreds of native species in Ohio and many of them are not being promoted in the industry. We all love our non-native cultivars, but if we just plant three natives for each season and encourage others to follow our lead, it would make a tremendous difference. We also need to address the invasive plant crisis.
According to the Ohio Invasive Plant Council, “Invasive plants cost natural resources and recreation agencies,farmers, industry and homeowners millions of dollars each year.” The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs needs to take this opportunity to hold lectures or open meetings. On behalf of all birds, insects, and all wild creatures, I challenge our regions and garden clubs to jump on the bandwagon.
Think of unique ways to get the message across. Collaborate with your local Master Gardeners, schools,scouts, garden centers, metro parks, state parks, or preserves. Make sure your local schools and city council are aware of Ohio Native Plant Month and encourage them to participate. As an organization of gardeners, we are aware of the vital importance of pollinators, and although we complain about some insects and wildlife, we know that each one has a unique purpose, and we are all sharing the planet.
Email your event announcement to the webmaster (email@example.com) so that it can be listed on the OAGC website (www.oagc.org) and help publicize the event on social media. Please send a copy to me, as well, so I know about all the OAGC native plant events that will be taking place next April. I hope to attend as many as I can.