Native Plant Garden Plants  

These are my comments about the plants from the Binney Park Master Plan listed for the proposed Native Garden.


  • Buddleja - NOT NATIVE! It’s a vigorous self seeder that shows all the signs of becoming an invasive species. It needs rigorous pruning, and the "extended bloom period" depends on tedious deadheading. Deadheading is also necessary to prevent it from being dominated by dead flowers by the middle of July. This plant was planted in many public butterfly gardens, and these difficulties are well known.

  • Rosa rugosa - Another non-native. It has nasty thorns, which make it impossible to weed. Most people envision a very different plant when they think of roses: the single flowers are sparse and sporadic. The rose hips in winter are nice, but they will be lost in the bramble unless they are shrubs are well maintained.

  • Clethra - blooms in July. It can be a great plant, but it needs a lot of moisture. It would do a lot better in part shade. It can be messy looking.

  • Fothergilla - blooms in May. Nice. Very cool leaves and it is underused.

  • Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst', blooms in June. Nice. A great, tough plant.

  • Ilex verticillata - winter berry. It gets huge and it needs to be pruned properly to have berries. This is quite fussy work that requires knowledge and dedication. Is this a good use of town resources?

  • Vaccinium angustifolium 'night sky' - Nice. Great fall color.


  • There are some great plants here, but weeds and deadheading will be an ongoing problem.

  • The plants will finish blooming in July and some will go dormant during hot, dry summers (leaving dead leaves and bare soil until the next spring). Some of the shrubs have great fall color, but it's going to be pretty sad looking from the end of August to May (a few winterberries will not do the job).

  • There are other great native plants. Golden rod, joe pye weed, native asters... If you are going to have a sloppy pollinator garden, why not use milkweed? At least you get monarchs.