Ecological Gardening

Ecological gardening is gardening with the intention to enhance and preserve the ecological integrity of our plant communities and their associated ecosystems.

Using native plants:

  • Supports your local food web
  • Produces wildlife food and habitat
  • Provides host plants
  • Feeds pollinators and birds
  • Establishes ecological pathways and corridors
  • Makes healthy soils
  • Cleans the water and air
  • Fights climate change
  • Creates beautiful, healthy spaces for all

Check out this interactive resource by Jersey-Friendly Yards that shows an example of an ecologically mindful yard design using plants native to New Jersey!

Build a Yard

“If you plant it, they will come” is a saying used to describe the relationship between native plant species and their associated relationships with wildlife communities in a given ecoregion.

If you want to bring birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and other animals into your garden, plant the species they have evolved to use for food and habitat.

Read the blog Gardening for Wildlife to discover ways you can aid local wildlife through ecological gardening.

Check out Doug Tallamy’s explanation of why gardening for life is so vital.

A tiger swallowtail fully spreads its wings on pale yellow blooms of Mohr's rosinweed at Mt. Cuba Center.

Gardening for Life

Mt. Cuba’s research team uses the Trial Garden to evaluate native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value, and to highlight the ecosystem services native plants provide.

Visit our Trial Garden Reports to find native plants that can help you attain your garden goals.

Trial Reports

Our Ecological Gardening Certificate program is created for backyard gardeners, landscape professionals, and those interested in native plants and their wildlife interactions. These classes offer a comprehensive approach to gardening in harmony with nature using ecologically sound practices.

Mt. Cuba offers Classes on Demand – including the class Eco-Gardening: Plain and Simple. Learn how native plant gardens support pollinators and wildlife, benefit local water resources, and provide beautiful, healthy spaces for people to enjoy.

Eco-Gardening: Plain and Simple