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Meg French: Design with Native Plants

FilmPlant Pop
Meg French: Design with Native Plants

Sometimes all it takes is just one plant in the yard to help entire species.

It wasn’t until she attended a garden workshop led by renowned entomologist Doug Tallamy, that Virginia Beach Landscape Designer Meg French realized the dire need for native plantings.

“I was the queen of the non-native. I wanted the beautiful things and natives can be with…the hippies…they live in all that natural stuff. I’m the English gardener and I want the beauty and the control.”

Although beautiful, most of the popular landscaping plants her clients desire are not native Virginian plants.

“They don’t really serve a purpose other than aesthetic. We’ve got to become knowledgable of what our beautiful natives are and start incorporating with these other plants.”

Sometimes people require a little more convincing when it comes to adding what they view as a “messy” landscape. For these clients, Meg will at least add one milkweed. Doing this makes an impact not only for the visiting bees, butterflies, and birds, but also for the Virginia Beach landscape as a whole.

Meg grew up in an area where there was vast open space where wildlife was rampant. She hopes to provide even little glimpses of that wildness to her clients even if they don't realize at first how beautiful it can be. 

“I grew up in Vermont, which was a gift. You don’t know what kind of gift it is until you live in this very dense suburban area…”

The native and non-native coming together can form a really gorgeous and beneficial piece of living art.

Meg owns her own landscape design business, Meg French Landscape Design, and also works closely with Gentle Rain in Virginia Beach.