Amy Thomsen Submitted photo

CAMDEN — Restoration ecologist Amy Thomsen plans to discuss why to use native plants in landscapes, as well as the benefits to gardening with them, in a free Camden Garden Club lecture Thursday, Oct. 27.

The one-hour talk is open to the public and also will be livestreamed on Zoom from the Camden American Legion, 91 Pearl St. Those attending remotely can register for the Zoom link.

In her talk, Thomsen will explain how cultivar plants offer little ecological value to wildlife and take the place of value-added natives. She will also discuss where to source safely grown native plants and provide criteria for selecting safe natives.

“The benefits to gardening with native plants include: saving money and water, better adaptation to local weather, lower maintenance, restoring natural habitat, and using no fertilizer or pesticides,” Thomsen said, according to a news release from the club.

The popularity of native plants and the interest in gardening with them has taken off in recent years, according to the Camden Garden Club, which supported Camden’s first ever native plant sale this past September at the Camden Public Library. The Wild Seed Project member-run event was founded and spearheaded by Thomsen in collaboration with more than half a dozen local native plant nurseries and over a dozen supporting like-minded organizations. It was the first event of its kind and drew hundreds of local residents interested in native plants.

Thomsen has been practicing ecological restoration for over 10 years and is in her second year at her residence in Camden, where she serves on the Camden Garden Club’s Conservation Committee. She received her Master Degree in native rangeland management and ecological restoration from Texas A&M, interned at Wildlife Habitat Federation, and served briefly as its staff ecologist before going out on her own with Gone Native Ecological Restoration Services, which works with private landowners creating vital wildlife habitat using native plants as the foundation.

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A native New England Aster in full bloom is visited by a common eastern bumble bee. Photo courtesy of Camden Garden Club



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