John Thatcher Native Garden
FIConservancy’s John Thatcher Native Garden highlights Fishers Island native trees and shrubs and illustrates their use in a garden setting.
Many of the natives selected for the garden grow wild on the Island but, fortunately, they are perfectly adaptable to a more formal garden setting. They are every bit as “ornamental” as most of the exotic—and, in many cases, invasive—trees and shrubs that are often used in our Island gardens.
The native plantings have the added bonus of supporting the Island population of Lepidoptera, which is an order of insects that includes moths and butterflies. These Lepidoptera are critical to maintaining a healthy, diverse bird and wildlife population.
It is easy to find the Demonstration Garden. Look for the wooden Fishers Island Conservancy sign just west of the movie theater, and you have arrived! Come and explore the site. All plantings are labeled and displayed in a beautifully landscaped garden.
The Demonstration Garden showcases only a handful of the trees and shrubs native to this region, but there is plenty to inspire both gardening enthusiasts and non-gardeners. The key is understanding that what we plant in our own backyards makes a difference when it comes to safeguarding our ecosystem.
The Demonstration Garden was designed by landscape architect Gerrit Goss, with plant consultation by Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware professor of entomology. The +/- .5-acre garden, created in 2014, is managed and maintained by the Fishers Island Conservancy.
We encourage you to look at the garden with your own property in mind.
Do you have a spot for a new native plant? Or, can you replace non-native plants with native vegetation? Native shrubs or trees can be excellent sources of food for insects, which, in turn, are critical food sources for birds.