Native Plants / United Kingdom
United Kingdom Native Plants
A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits in growing native plants. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need less fertilizers, pesticides or use less water. Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitat. Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.
More tolerant of part shade conditions than most Aliums, Allium ursinum (Wild Garlic) is a vigorous, bulbous perennial with loose umbels, 2 in. across (5 cm), counting up to 20 star-shaped white flowers. The blossoms are borne on erect, leafless stems and rise above pairs of elliptic, linear, deep green basal leaves. If bruised or crushed, the foliage exudes a strong onion or garlic aroma.
Noted for its remarkable flowers, fruit, leaves, and bark, Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) is a charming, broadleaf evergreen shrub or small tree with four-season ornamental interest. From fall to midwinter, a profusion of drooping clusters of fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers hang at the tip of the branches. Pollinated by bees, the round, 1 in. fruits (2.5 cm) appear in winter and gradually ripen to yellow to red in twelve months. They are often in color when the new attractive flowers begin to bloom in fall.
Armeria maritima (Sea Thrift) is a compact, evergreen perennial boasting round clusters of pink to lavender (or sometimes white) flowers borne atop slender stalks that rise well above the foliage. Blooming profusely in mid to late spring, sporadic additional flowering may occur throughout the summer.
Noted for its clouds of delicate flowers, Calamintha nepeta (Lesser Calaminth) is a compact, bushy, rhizomatous perennial with loose clusters of tiny, tubular, two-lipped white or pale lilac flowers. Flowering from late summer until frost, the luminous blossoms are borne on upright stems clad with aromatic, semi-evergreen, ovate gray-green leaves.
Delicate and graceful, Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell) is an upright perennial with attractive, bell-shaped, nodding, blue-violet flowers that hang singly or in clusters at the tip of erect stems throughout summer. Slender, the flowering stems often become so weak that the entire plant bends over.
Crambe maritima (Sea Kale) is a robust herbaceous perennial forming a fantastic clump of large, lobed, wavy-edged powdery-blue leaves. Resembling cabbage leaves, they form a bold foliage mound that is handsome in its own right. In summer, dense sprays of small, fragrant creamy-white flowers are carried above the foliage.
Noted for its profuse spring blossoms, Crataegus laevigata (English Hawthorn) is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree with a dense rounded crown of ascending, stiff, zig-zag branches. They are well armed with thorns, 1 in. long (2.5 cm), and clad with glossy, dark green, 3 to 5-lobed leaves.
Adding a bold, vertical dimension to perennial flower beds, shade gardens, and cottage gardens, Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove) is a stately biennial or short-lived perennial boasting tall, one-sided spires of pendant, tubular, bright rosy-purple flowers with white speckled throats.