I'm new to this forum,maybe there's something of interest in this to some of your community.
A couple of weeks back I went for a walk with the kids around an ornamental garden near here about 5 acres or so,full of the usual Jap flowering cherries,regular ornamental stuff etc.etc.All very pleasant. When we got home to this 6 acre (somewhat rundown due to my ill health) smallholding,it was glaringly obvious that the variety and number of native fauna here at home,is exponentially greater than than the equivalent sized ornamental garden.If this is true,and I'm sure it is,then surely there are conclusions to be drawn viz what people should be encouraged to plant(and perhaps more importantly,discouraged from planting) in their back gardens\yards with a view to alleviating the destructive effects of modern farming techniques on native flora and fauna. Maybe some of you have some thoughts on this.
I think it is important that native fauna of any variety be given priority in garden planting schemes. Having said that, I have Verbena Bonariensis in my plot and this is non-native and the bees love it! Similarly, Buddleja makes butterflies go crazy for its abundant nectar. I think that gardeners can provide oases in often agrifactory deserts. The other benefit is that native species are adapted to our unpredictable climate and make less demands on resources such as water for example. Hope you cope with your smallholding and junior nature lovers.
I suppose there are pros and cons to planting both native and non-native species, and, living in NZ, a country that has been ravaged by introduced plant (and animal) species, I'd say to mainly encourage native planting. Modern farming practices are increasingly destroying native habitat (hedgerows!) so it is important. However, a diverse habitat is key to diverse fauna so I don't think mixing native and non-natives is any harm- as long as those non-natives aren't too invasive, so perhaps there should be more info available on weed species etc. And even no planting etc, just leaving an area to be 'reclaimed' by wildlife can be beneficial. Surely the main thing is that people are getting out there and interacting with the outside world (literally)?