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Northeast Regional Reports

Patriotic Plant Choices for the Northeastern Garden | Northeast Regional Report

Bearberry is native to most of North America. Photo credit: Jennifer Benner

Where I live, Independence Day is a bigger deal than Christmas. It’s practically a town ordinance that every house, on the parade route or not, be festooned in stars and stripes for July 4. But there’s another way for gardeners to display patriotism and to do it year-round. Consider this: George Washington was so proud to be American that he bucked the trend for exotic introductions and planted Mount Vernon almost exclusively with native plants. To show true civic pride and help support your garden’s ecosystem, include locally indigenous species.

Bearberry. Photo: Kristin Green

One of my favorites, known as bearberry here and kinnikinnick elsewhere (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Zones 2–6), is native to most of the United States. This carpeting evergreen ground cover in the heather family, a larval host for hoary and brown elfin butterflies in our neck of the woods, thrives in full sun to partial shade…

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