HABITAT FOR HUMANITY LANDSCAPING
The NGC Habitat for Humanity Project is a wonderful way for garden clubs to become involved on a personal level with new homeowners by working with them to landscape their new homes.
There are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind when beginning a Habitat Project. First, remember that many of these new home owners have not been gardeners for very long, or at all, so keeping the design simple is the order of the day. Plan the new landscape to be as ‘low maintenance’ as possible. There are many plants that do not require constant pruning, deadheading or watering. Guiding the new owner to plants that fit this description will be very helpful and less work for them. That being said, if a homeowner has a special plant in mind that reminds them of a wonderful memory or a fondness for a particularly beautiful blooming specimen—go for it!
Keeping in mind the low maintenance guideline, choosing native plants to your area is best. Native plants need less water while supporting the local biodiversity in your area of our country. To get plant ideas, you may contact your state’s Department of Conservation, or thumb through Doug Tallamy’s books: Bringing Nature Home or Nature’s Best Hope on landscaping with native plants. Most states have a DOC that will list native plants that grow best in that area on its website.
Another benefit state DOC provides is a list of invasive species. You may be surprised at some of the plants on the invasive plant list. However refraining from planting will keep these plants from spreading to other gardens while not contributing as a food source for our bird population.
Nancy Bahn, Chairman NGC Habitat for Humanity Landscape