It is no secret that native plants have become increasingly popular, especially in the past five to seven years. Due to the popularity of native and pollinator habitats, the Lafayette Parish Master Gardeners increased their efforts in including native plants in their demonstration gardens on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus.
The purpose of the demonstration gardens is to highlight plants that can be grown successfully in the region. The site has a bed dedicated to native plants in the shade of a pond cypress and water oak. It also has a pollinator bed with a profusion of natives, a wildlife bed, a bog bed and a prairie bed with tubs of sunflowers.
As more native plants were planted and identified with semi-permanent signage, several of the Master Gardeners — who also happen to be Acadiana Native Plant Project (ANPP) members — decided to pursue certification to have their demonstration gardens designated as a Louisiana Certified Habitat through the Louisiana Native Plants Society.
On June 1, an ANPP administrator visited the site to take a final count of native plants and award an official designation. The minimum requirement for gold status is 75 native plant species or 75% of the plants on the site being native. The administrator determined the site currently includes 90 native plant species.
“We enjoy seeing pollinator activity on our workdays,” the gardeners wrote in their certification application. “People visit the garden regularly — neighborhood dog walkers, photographers, gardeners. We are proud of our native beds and are excited about exhibiting the Certified Habitat sign. We think this will provoke curiosity about the Certified Habitat Program and the plants as well.”
For more information on this site, the address is included on a map of all certified sites in Louisiana, which can be found at Louisiana Native Plant Society. For more information on the Lafayette Parish Master Gardeners, look for the group’s page on Facebook or visit Lafayette Parish Master Gardeners.
From left to right, Phyllis Griffard (ANPP), Gail Evans, Heather Finley, and Dr. Sara R. Shields (Louisiana Master Gardener State Coordinator).