The reasons for using native plants in our gardens are numerous. From preserving biodiversity, to supporting our native insects (in turn supporting our bird population), to squestering carbon, to preserving our native pollinators the list is long.
We don’t often realize it, but wildflowers support entire ecosystems for pollinators, birds, and small animals on a micro scale. Butterflies and other insects, small birds, and animals depend on seeds, nectar, and pollen for their food supply and life support system. In addition, some pollinators are not very mobile or have very small home ranges or depend on just one species of plant and die once their habitat has been destroyed.Wildflower Ethics – US Forest Service
It’s important to make sure what you are putting in is native to your area and not just to the US in general. Some insects are very dependent on one certain plant. (One species of butterfly uses violets and ONLY violets.)
One good example is elderberry which is a great plant for birds. There are many varieties of elderberry but only the ‘Sambucus Nigra Canadensis’ variety is truly native to our area. This can give rise to some soul-searching as some other varieties such as European or black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemona var. racemona) Blue Elderberry(Sambucus mexicana or Sambucus nigra var. caerulea) appear more ornamental to my eye
Some resources include:
The Thetford Conservation Commission has been active in this movement and has information and resources.
Superstar native trees, shrubs and flowers from Audubon