Anxious to get our hands dirty, and eager to do it in the most helpful way possible, we reached out asking folks in the know for their recommendations for Earth-and-Local-Ecology Friendly Landscaping resources. We received great responses!
Said Melissa Boo of Lomakatsi Living, "Wouldn't it be nice if your landscaping took care of itself? When we use local, native plants in our landscaping, we're working with nature instead of against it. These plants have adapted to the seasons, conditions, and soils of Long Island, so they require much less care and attention than imported or exotic species. Plus, native plants boost our homes' bioproductivity.
Plants that have evolved in our region provide valuable ecosystem services to the plants and animals in the surrounding environment - from pollination, to habitat, to rainwater management, and of course, food. Landscaping with Long Island's native plants saves you time and energy as a homeowner, and creates a beneficial ecosystem around your property."
Melissa noted that The Town of Hempstead and Town of North Hempstead have been doing a great job helping residents learn more about home sustainability. They offer discounted rain barrels, compost tumblers, and classes so homeowners can easily turn these waste products into resources (instead of a nuisance!).
Some of our favorite resources include:
The Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI), an all-volunteer cooperative effort of over 30 non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, nursery professionals, and citizens. The mission of this organization is to protect the genetic integrity and heritage of Long Island native plant populations and thus biodiversity from a landscape to genetic level, by establishing commercial sources of genetically appropriate local (ecotypic) plant materials for use in nursery, landscaping, and habitat restoration activities.
Long Island Natives is the largest source for native plants on Long Island. LI Natives is a division of Country Gardens Nursery, a wholesale nursery operation established in 1947, located on the southeastern shore of Long Island, NY.
Green Inside & Out is the website of environmental consultant, Beth Fiteni. They offer diverse consulting to help detoxify your life, including organic landscaping.
82 Sustainable Gardening Tips from Mother Earth News, "the most popular and longest-running sustainable-lifestyle magazine."
Beginner's Guide to Organic Gardening from Rodale's Organic Life, "an online handbook for living naturally in the modern world, a vivid chronicle of friendly, authoritative information about global cooking, gardening, design, wellness, and travel."
Anne Salmon from the Nature Conservancy -- Long Island Chapter offered this great resource:
PRFCT Earth PRJCT was founded in 2013 by Edwina von Gal. Perfect Earth Project is a rapidly expanding non-profit organization operating from offices in East Hampton, NY. They raise consciousness about the dangers of synthetic lawn and garden chemicals to humans, animals, and the environment, and educate homeowners and professionals about natural, PRFCT (toxin-free) techniques that provide beautiful, safe results at no extra cost.
One of our Favorite Local Farmers, Larry Foglia recommended the following:
The New England Wildflower Society sells native plants and provides quite a bit of guidance and information.
Also Look into:
Gary's Perennials - Mostly bare root material
North Creek Nurseries Mostly plugs/liners
KLT perennials 603-772-3698 Bare root fern and wildflowers from Vermont and New Hampshire.
Joyce's Perennials from McMinville Tennesse are a great resource for ferns and wildflowers
Our wandering Landscape Architect, Danielle Alexander, sent us this:
Hi, Love. I don’t have signal every day and haven’t had wireless in over a week. But since I magically have five bars...
I have always loved the classes at the Ecological Landscape Alliance. They are taught by the top professionals and have a focus on exactly what you are interested in. Their newsletter is GREAT...sign up! I went to a class two years ago at Prospect Park in Brooklyn - the material is so respected that my firm sent me there to collect new info and bring it back to the office.
I also always research my plants on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website and I’ve worked with the group on one of my projects.
Claudia West is an amazing writer on how to best structure plantings in order to produce a lush and healthy landscape. She’s absolutely the best. She has collected all the old German texts on plant spacing and layering and translated much for her work. Her new book is AMAZING but expensive and I think the first run is gone.
Love from the southernmost town on the Carretera Austral, Villa O’Higgins in Chile!
Huntington Gardener, Barbara Wildfier, offered these treasures to visit and learn from:
Go Native Long Island: Run by a group of Master Gardeners, park stewards and highly motivated Long Islanders who are concerned about the overwhelming growth of non-native invasive plants that are out-competing our native heritage and diminishing the value of our rich and complex ecosystems. All of them have a love of native plants and a passion for working to conserve and foster biodiversity both on Long Island and throughout New York State. They started this blog to share their ideas and experiences, and to create local connections.
Friends of Hempstead Plains: The Hempstead Plains is the last remnant of native prairie grassland that once covered 40,000 acres of central Nassau County. Today, as a result of commercial development only a few acres remain. The site is considered highly ecologically and historically significant. The Hempstead Plains supports populations of federally endangered and globally rare plants among its 250 different kinds of vegetation as well as several plant species that are now considered rare in New York State. It represents one of the most rapidly vanishing habitats in the world, along with scores of birds, butterflies, and other animals that are vanishing with it. Among resources, they have a page dedicated to native plants.
North Shore Land Alliance -- Shore Road Preserve: The Shore Road property is located at 95 Shore Rd. in Cold Spring Harbor on the North Shore of Long Island. This 8 acre preserve is a former ExxonMobil fueling site turned thriving grassland with shoreline. This beach is an important nesting site for horseshoe crabs.
North Shore Land Alliance -- Cordelia Hepburn Cushman Preserve: This 15.5 acre mature oak-tulip tree forest preserve on Route 25A in Oyster Bay Cove is filled with mountain laurel and pink lady’s slippers. Relatively free of invasive vegetation, it is home to a number of New York State-protected species.
Ongoing Projects at Caumsett State Park: Explore a variety of efforts to restore native plants and remove invasive species at Caumsett State Park in Lloyd Harbor.
Thank you so much to all who contributed! We love collecting and sharing great resources. Know of one we missed that you'd like to share? Email and let us know! Thanks!