The concept of fashion involves changes and the rise and fall of popular trends over time. Gardens and landscapes are not immune to such swings of fashion, but because implementing changes takes longer with long-lived plants, the differences come about gradually. The use of exotic plants in landscapes and gardens became a fashion because wealthy members of society wanted and could afford something different to distinguish their landscapes from others; ostentation and one-upmanship were achieved with plants from faraway places. The use of local species was not a window on the world, and the romance of the plant collector sending back exotic species contributed to their desirability. The recent issue of the convention on biodiversity has set some limits on the commercialization of natural resources outside their homelands. Additionally, the awareness of contributions of native plants to the whole ecology, even in an urban setting, has prompted research on their relations with insects and other organisms. Whether it be pollinator or migrating butterfly survival, drought stresses or a perceived reduction in maintenance, native plants have seen a resurgence in North American landscapes as counters to loss of biodiversity and coping with environmental stresses. Tropical and subtropical ornamental plants will eventually find their places in similar scenarios. Being natives, however, does not free them from problems inflicted by invasive species. The use of native plants is also finding a blend with organic and ecological landscape management programs.
Criley, R.A. 2017. Native fashion. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1167:1-10
native plants, low maintenance, drought tolerant, garden history, sustainability, nativar, landscape design