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Contest Opens June 15th!

The Green Towson Alliance is holding this contest to encourage our neighbors to grow native plants, shrubs, and trees in their yards. Native plants are defined as plants that have been growing in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States since before European settlement. If you are not sure if a plants is native, try the PictureThis or iNaturalist Apps.

Why is this so important?

Native plants, shrubs, and trees are vital to the food web that supports our local ecosystems– which include the butterflies, moths, and bees that are pollinators – as well as the songbirds and other wildlife that share our communities.

Explore

Welcome to the 4th Annual
Towson Native Garden Contest!
2021 winners | 2022 winners | 2023 winners

Learn More about us!

Butterfly and moth eggs become the caterpillars that feed birds.

Photo courtesy Doug Tallamy

Bees drink nectar and gather pollen from the flowers in our yards.

Photo courtesy Lauren Stranahan

No insects = No baby birds!

Photo courtesy Doug Tallamy

Butterflies and moths depend on nectar, and nearly all butterfly and moths can only lay their eggs on the plants they have co-evolved with for thousands of years.

Butterflies and moths depend on nectar, and nearly all butterfly and moths can only lay their eggs on the plants they have co-evolved with for thousands of years.

The Towson Native Garden Contest will celebrate the many Towson area gardens that contribute to the health of our local ecosystems.

Contest Rules

ELIGIBILITY

Any gardener who lives in a Towson neighborhood, and incorporates native plants, trees and shrubs in their yard. An entry can be a specific garden bed, or the whole yard. If you have a rain garden designed to reduce lawn runoff, or a garden that features mature or recently planted native trees, we encourage you to also enter the contest. 

 

If you love to garden with native plants, please enter the contest.

For inspiration, check out last year's winners!

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST

Gardeners will be able to upload photographs of their garden or yard, and will be asked these questions:

  1.  When did you start planting natives, and why?
     

  2. How did you choose your plants?
     

  3. What are your favorite plants, trees or shrubs?
     

  4.  What insect and/or bird species are you trying to support in your garden or yard?
     

  5. Please describe any special features like a rain garden or native trees that you have planted or maintained. What was your process in planting or caring for these features?

Enter the contest!

JUDGING

Green Towson Alliance Homegrown National Park Workgroup members will visit gardens, determine finalists and tally the public vote to determine the winners.  

 

Questions? 

You can reach us at nativegardencontest@gmail.com.

Which native plants should I grow in my yard?

There are many wonderful and beautiful native plants, and because they are used to the growing conditions here in Maryland, it’s easy to find natives that will fit into your yard. An online search will help you figure out which plants would thrive in the conditions in your yard.

Nuts for Natives

Shari Wilson, Maryland Secretary for the Environment from 2007 to 2010, loves native plants and has set up this great website on what native plants should go in your yard, and where to buy them. This  website lists plant names, and local nurseries where you can find them.

Patterson Park Audubon Center’s Plants for Birds program

Native plants can provide berries, seeds, nectar and insects that the birds in our neighborhoods depend upon. The Patterson Park Audubon Center's program has some plant lists worth exploring. Visit their site for downloadable resources. 

An oak tree is host to more than 500 butterflies and moths.

An area of Sunflowers makes a wonderful oasis for pollinators. 

I'd like to replace the plants and trees that are already in my yard.

Many folks are surprised and unhappy when they realize some of the trees, shrubs and plants in their yard are introduced species from outside of the United States. Some of these introduced plants have become invasive. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has this great list of native trees, shrubs and plants that would be good replacements for the invasive species in your yard and garden.

Learn more about introduced trees, shrubs, grasses and plants and why they are are considered invasive. 

But, I have deer in my yard! Are there native plants that deer won’t eat?

Yes, there are native plants that aren’t on the deer menu. This article by the Ecological Landscape Alliance has some great suggestions with a list of native plants.

Where can I purchase native plants?

Herring Run Nursery is located right in Baltimore and has a wonderful selection of native plants. Please check out their website to see hours of operation and how to order plants. 

A list of other nurseries can be found at Nuts for Natives

A no-cost option is to swap native plants with others. If you are on Facebook, join the Baltimore County Native Plant Swap Group and find out when people are thinning their garden beds and offering extra plants anyone who is interested. 

Learn more about native plants!

Check out our list of Recommended Reading: books and articles about why it’s so important to grow natives plants, trees, shrubs and grasses in your yard and your community.

SPREAD THE WORD

If you would like to help spread the word about our contest, download and print out our flyer, and share with the community at appropriate locations (with permission).

Which native plants should I grow in my yard?

There are many wonderful and beautiful native plants, and because they are used to the growing conditions here in Maryland, it’s easy to find native plants that will fit into your yard. An online search will help you figure out which plants would thrive in the conditions in your yard.

Nuts for Natives

Shari T. Wilson, the Maryland Secretary for the Environment from 2007 to 2010, loves native plants and has set up this great website on what native plants should go in your yard, and where to buy them. This  website lists plant names, and nurseries where you can find them.

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

The center is located in Texas, but has a database of all the native wildflowers in the United States. In this website, you can find a selection of plants by entering the state, your growing conditions, and when you want the plant to be blooming.

Entries open June 15th

New guidance for the 2024 contest:

 

Gardeners who won a category in last year's contest must wait two years to enter their garden in the contest again

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