Summer in Michigan is always a bit hard to predict, just like most of the other seasons. While true drought is pretty rare, strong, unrelenting heat in July and August can mimic it and its effects on our lawns and gardens. While excessive damp can wreak a different kind of havoc.
Previously we’ve discussed the attractiveness and usefulness of rain gardens for dealing with runoff water. Many flowers and plants incorporated into rain gardens also have the ability to filter out road contaminants and other pollutants, making them an important bio-remediation tool. If salt, metals, oil, and other automobile fluids picked up by runoff rainwater never make it into the watershed because plants absorb and process them, our potable water supply is that much safer for all of us. The City of Grand Rapids was so impressed with the ability of ordinary plants to deal with toxic pollutants, that they implemented the construction of seven bioretention islands along the Plainfield corridor in 2012.
Some native plants that thrive in swampy environments will also do well in urban environments, once they are established. Native plants, that is, plants that occur naturally in the region, will often be hardier and require less hands-on maintenance than annuals or transplants from different regions. While gardeners are drawn to long-lasting color, its disheartening to watch flowers, shrubs, or trees wither and die because they are not acclimated to this climate. And no one wants to get out and water every night during that regular hot streak we have nearly every July to keep plantings from death.
Not all native plants will magically thrive in any soil. Its important to consider the type of soil the plants you choose flourish in and try to reproduce it, if you want them to do as well in their new setting, but native plants are more likely to be both summer and winter hardy and will be better at attracting butterflies and birds.
The best part about planting hardy perennials is watching them come back year after year, taking whats thrown at them summer and winter, and thriving in spite of it. The resilience of plants is frankly inspirational.
PROCARE, as always, offers a complete range of landscaping and lawn care services. Contact Dirk today if you would like to place the care of your trees and plants into our hands.