For Linda Silverman, the key to a thriving garden is easy.

"You put the right ones in the right place," she said.

And the "right ones," Silverman said, are native plants.

The Tour: Silverman and her husband Rich Silverman are one of the homes featured on the annual Penn State Extension Gardening with Native Plants — The Tour. The event highlights homes whose gardens feature more than 60-70 percent native plants, Linda Silverman said.

"There's some misconception that native plants means native to the U.S.," she said. "A plant from Texas is a native plant, but it's not going to do much good here."

Mid-Atlantic: For Yorkers, native plants, Silverman explained, are those that were indigenous to the Mid-Atlantic region before the arrival of European settlers.

When gardening with native plants, the idea is to allow the plants to grow as naturally as possible, with no (or reduced) fertilizers or pesticides, and use of conservation techniques. The gardens on the tour promote the natural value of native plants in landscapes, Sliverman said.

"That's what makes it unique," she said. "Other tours, they're pretty, but it stops there. We try to provide information and promote the value of native plants."

The plants, she said, have the added benefit of attracting wildlife and insects, including hummingbirds and butterflies.

Silverman said gardening with native plants is sometimes mistakenly perceived as, "just letting a bunch of weeds grow."

"My neighbors see me out there every day," she said. "They know it's not unattended. And they like the gardens."

She said by using brick borders in her gardens and a grass walkway, she has given the impression of a garden using native plants.

The tour, she said, can offer other gardeners ideas for using native plants in their own landscapes. The locations vary in setting — some are flat, and others are sloped, she said, and some are shaded and wooded, while others are in full sunlight.

The variety showcases how native plants can be used in gardens by anyone, Silverman said.

"It reaches everybody," she said. "You can't beat it."

— Reach Amy Peiffer at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.

Tour the gardens

The ninth annual Gardening with Native Plants - The Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 28.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 at the Penn State Extension Office, 112 Pleasant Acres Road, Springettsbury Township.

Tickets will also be available at each garden the day of the tour for $10.

Tour locations include:

  • Rich & Linda Silverman: 2490 Wyndhurst Court, West Manchester Township
  • Pat & Bill Long: 2310 Seneca Drive, West Manchester Township
  • Lynne & Joe Danyo: 960 Upland Road, Spring Garden Township
  • Sue Hunter (Heartwood Nursery): 8957 Hickory Road, Felton

Information: (717) 840-7408 or http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/events/maescapes-garden-tour.