But the allure of natives is stronger than just memory; in them, I feel a more primal pull. For me, there is something very powerful about that attraction—something even ancient. I want to articulate why native plants have this appeal and how this can be used to create bolder, more emotionally-rich gardens and landscapes.
To understand designing with native plants, you have to understand the garden itself. Designed landscapes and gardens are manipulated fantasies. They are our mental projections, our ideas, and our desires projected onto a piece of land. And gardens and landscapes don’t really live apart from us. Ultimately, without our input and continued maintenance, they would cease to be. That gardens are fantasies does not undermine their value; on the contrary, this very fact is what makes them art. If all gardens are fantasies, then native and naturalistic gardens are a particular kind of fantasy.