Creating habitat in North Carolina

Cardinal ©Janet Allen
The state bird, a cardinal, eating native winterberries

The rest of this website (in the menu above) has general information on creating habitat, earth-friendly gardening, plants, various creatures, and ways to take action in and beyond your garden, but this page provides some North Carolina-specific information.

I've also listed birds we've seen here in NC as well as NC bird resources on our NC bird page.

Creating habitat for North Carolina creatures

Zebra swallowtail ©Janet Allen
The zebra swallowtail's host plant is paw paw

The NC Cooperative Extension Service has published some excellent materials on urban wildlife.

You can download beautiful full-color booklets as free .pdf files on:

Towhee ©Janet Allen
We've listed the birds we've seen in NC, such as this beautiful towhee

Other NC Cooperative Extension web resources include:

New Hope Audubon Society: Using Native Plants for a Bird Friendly Habitat and Bird Friendly Habitat Certification program

Audubon of North Carolina has a list of nurseries selling native plants as well as region-specific native plant guides.

Carolina Nature - Photos and information about the wild things of North Carolina by Will Cook, including information such as a description of Oak Mistletoe, a NC native.

Protecting our water

Swamp milkweed ©Janet Allen
Swamp milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly

Rain gardens protect our water by allowing it to slowly seep into the soil rather than running off into the sewers. But they also provide yet another opportunity to plant native plants for wildlife, including host plants for butterflies.

The North Carolina Extension service has some good resources on creating backyard rain gardens.

North Carolina native plants

NC pine ©Janet Allen
One of the many kinds of NC pines

Habitat in North Carolina as everywhere else begins with native plants. They provide the best food, cover, and places to raise young.

The North Carolina Native Plant Society has many resources, as well as an opportunity to certify your native plant garden.

And why not start a local chapter of Wild Ones! It's a wonderful way to learn more about native plants and to meet like-minded people to share ideas. Here's info on how to start a seedling chapter.

Wax myrtle ©Janet Allen
Wax myrtle: the Southeastern counterpart of our own Northern bayberry

We've discovered some good resources on plants native to North Carolina.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, besides the garden itself, has a lot of information on their website, including:

Native Plants of the SE ©Janet Allen

The book Native Plants of the Southeast: A comprehensive guide to the best 460 species for the Garden by Larry Mellichamp is a useful resource, though I would have preferred a greater focus on usefulness to wildlife rather than the book's relatively greater focus on ornamental value.

Plants invading North Carolina

English ivy ©Janet Allen
English ivy attacking a tree

Like every other state, North Carolina is being invaded by non-native, invasive plants that impoverish habitat and diminish biodiversity.

In addition to the general resources on the rest of the website, some NC-specific resources include:

There's more info on invasive plants in this section of this website.