On April 3rd, the Doylestown branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) held its annual meeting, followed by a presentation by guest speaker Marcia Tate, PhD, on growing native plants in containers.
Marcia is a garden coach and a horticulturist with certifications in ornamental horticulture and garden design. In addition she is a professional photographer, and she shared her work with the audience via an informative and eye-catching slide show.
“I help gardeners plan and prepare their soil, select plants, and maintain both vegetable and flower gardens,” Marcia said. “I teach young children and adults how to get back to nature.”
She explained that native plants are those that were growing naturally in an area before people introduced plants from different places. Many gardeners prefer native plants for their low-maintenance nature, built-in capacity to handle stress and contribution to biodiversity, among other reasons.
Native plants in Bucks County include sunflowers, certain ferns, wild ginger, jewelweed and many more.
Invasive plants, on the other hand, are species that have become weed pests; most come from other continents and can invade our native ecosystems. English ivy is a common example, Marcia said.
Next, the garden expert discussed the benefits of growing native plants in containers. The practice, she said, is especially useful for people who have “downsized” into a smaller living space and still want to craft attractive, creative gardens.
“Plants in containers can create a focal point in an area, hide an unsightly view, soften a hardscape like a patio or driveway, or direct movement through a garden,” Marcia said. “Even the smallest garden can have diversity.”
Alongside colorful photographs, Marcia revealed to the audience several different types of containers that work for housing native plants: glazed clay, concrete, terra cotta, metal, painted clay, blue stone, hypertufa and plastic. “Some design elements to consider when creating your garden are color, texture, form and structure, and orientation and placement of the containers and plants,” she added.
To cap off her presentation, Marcia demonstrated how she puts together a one-container garden, all the while engaging the audience and fielding questions about various types of plants and how to obtain and maintain them.
For more information, visit www.marciatate.com.