More than ever, native plant species should be the preferred choice of homeowners, businesses and institutions for their gardens. A native plant is adapted to local climate and seasons, and offers advantages concerning drought hardiness and resistance to disease and insect pests. In contrast, so-called invasive plants cause problems in the environment because they may be toxic to native wildlife, while a lack of natural controls can allow rampant growth.
This page introduces the Montreat community to some issues and opportunities for conserving the Montreat landscape through the selection and use of native plant species. We also offer an explanation of why “invasives” should be avoided, and even removed when possible.
Using native plants in your landscape offers the benefits of having more wildlife to observe and enjoy, with lower maintenance and upkeep in terms of native plant requirements for water, fertilizer and other chemicals. These species (such as the firepink pictured here) number in the hundreds. They are adapted to local soil and weather conditions. They have evolved to co-exist with other plants and animals, including diseases and things that eat them, over a very long time. To make your yard wildlife friendly, see our Certified Wildlife Habitat page.
“Exotics,” or non-native plants are introduced by human action from another geographic area. Some are accidental. Many have been deliberate, intended to beautify gardens. However, a particular class of non-natives called invasive species is dangerous to native flora and even animals. They can choke out favored wildflowers, overgrow plants, and be harmful to wildlife. Montreat “invasives” include Japanese knotweed (pictured here), Oriental bittersweet, and even English Ivy. See image gallery of invasive plant species.
Visit the Montreat Native Plant Garden! It is located on the right-hand (eastern) side of Assembly Drive as you enter Montreat. It’s accessible from the Memorial Garden parking area via footbridge over Flat Creek.
See these Montreat Landcare Committee Fact Sheets for more information, including links to other references and organizations: