Life With Ferris: Native Plant Month

  • Monday, April 22, 2024
  • Ferris Robinson

April is officially National Native Plant Month, with all 50 states represented! What does this mean? Well, during the month of April, people and organizations across the country can celebrate native plants by planting native trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and grasses, planning educational events with schools and community organizations and hosting hands-on workshops for folks of all ages, especially children.

Equally important is restoring areas with native habitats to allow birds, bees, butterflies and all wildlife to flourish and removing non-native invasive plants so native plants can thrive. Privet, bush honeysuckle, bittersweet, burning bush, English ivy, Bradford pear and kudzu are some biggies that are choking out native plants and trees so that our wildlife is left without resources.

Two thirds of Earth’s wildlife is gone, and one million species face extinction. Sobering.

We’ve lost over 3 billion birds in America over the past five decades. They eat bugs, and bugs need native plants to survive.

My granddaughter is almost four, and a while back she saw an ant in my driveway while we were sitting on the front stoop. Just as I was about to marvel aloud about the industrious little creature, she stomped it with her tiny white sandaled foot. I get it. I grew up with the general theory that bugs must be banished and that plants must be pristine with nary a pinhole in their leaves.

But from folks like Dr. Doug Tallamy and Ann Brown and Tish Gailmard, I learned that native plants are vital to our wildlife, which is vital to our planet’s survival. So, we need to teach our children how to be good stewards of our planet.

Now, my granddaughter points out the leaves on my milkweed or sweetspire or redbud that are gnawed and full of holes and says proudly, “Look! A bug got fed!”

I wrote “The Queen Who Banished Bugs” for this reason, and my mother illustrated it. The book tells the tale in a way that is funny while being educational, and it has a happy ending. This week, April 22 to April 25, the ebook version of “The Queen Who Banished Bugs” is free as part of National Native Plant Month, and the link is below.

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Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series “If Bugs Are Banished.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.

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