[Photo: planting indigenous species on Seneca Nation of Indians land; via Facebook]
Today’s earth-friendly gardeners are exploring xeriscaping, permaculture, open-pollinated seeds and bee-friendly plants. But the earth-friendliest possible gardening acknowledges the smartest master gardener of all, the planet we live on. So it is encouraging to see the Seneca Nation in western New York become the first U.S. tribe to establish a native plant policy.
The proposal was approved unanimously and means that only indigenous plants will be included in any new landscaping on the nation’s public lands. In announcing it, they said:
It has long been recognized that continued planting of non-native species poses a significant threat to ecosystems and causes harm to the environment. The current Seneca Nation Council is committed to restoring, preserving, and maintaining local indigenous plants that are significant to the culture of the Seneca people and that help to maintain the balance of nature.
As colonizers, settlers, and immigrants carried familiar plants to new homes, we upset ecological systems, introduced invasive species and got whacked by the law of unintended consequences. The Seneca Nation of Indians is doing something about it.