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Plant Magic: Plant with Intentions!

by Cheryl Rafuse for BCN #135

This is it! Planting season is here!

You begin building an ecosystem from the ground, the literal dirt, up. So really, you should be thinking about every plant you put on your property. Is it native? Does it have the potential to be invasive?! If it’s a yes for that last one...don’t plant it! Better to encourage local fauna with your flora instead.

Be sure to think about these things when planting new plants, shrubs, or trees—or even containers or window boxes:

  1. Is this plant native, invasive, or a non-invasive exotic plant?

  2. Is this plant meant for this location? In this dirt? In this light? With this moisture?

  3. Does this plant provide for me, the local birds, bugs, and/or animals?

  4. How will this plant’s growth affect other plants and structures around it?

  5. Does this plant make “sense” with the plants around it? Will they live happily together?

And ruminate on any other questions that come up when interacting with a new plant in a new space. Planting intentionally takes research, time, and Effort with a capital E. It’s worth it to see how the wildlife will thank you by giving you a show year after year.

Think before you plant.

Check out all the art and columns of May's Boston Compass at


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