Oseh Shalom

Sacred Grounds Project

Why Plant Native

Enjoy a Beautiful Landscape

The many textures, colors and habits of native plants can be combined in attractive designs. Choose a natural-looking or more formal style. Once established, native plants reduce the time and money on landscape maintenance.

Preserve Maryland’s Biodiversity

Many native bees provide their nests with pollen from flowering native plants, while butterflies and moths eat native species at the larval stage. Birds rely on an abundance of caterpillars from butterflies and moths to feed their young. Going native supports this whole food web.

Improve Water Quality and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Conventional gardens often employ fertilizers, pesticides, supplemental water and fossil-fuel-using machinery – resulting in poor soil health, erosion and polluted storm water runoff. In addition to supporting the whole food web, native plants require less maintenance and can be used to filter storm water runoff. In this way, streams and rivers will be cleaner.

You Can Make a Difference

  • Private residential property makes up approximately one-third of the urban landscape and studies show that the impact of wildlife gardening is substantial.
  • In 1972, US Forest Service researchers published results of the “Backyard Project,” a study showing that the tools wildlife managers use to support wildlife (providing food, water, cover, and places to raise young) also work on a smaller scale in backyards by homeowners,
  • Research was conducted as part of an ambitious four-year study American Residential Macrosystem: Yard Futures, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Preliminary results from this ongoing nationwide study show that yards containing wildlife-friendly native plants in large metropolitan areas collectively draw more species of birds and other wildlife than traditional lawns. Watch a presentation of this research on the National Wildlife Federation web site  Garden-for-Wildlife
  • We need more wildlife-friendly yards to create the amount of habitat necessary to support most of our threatened native wildlife. Read the “Landscaping Ideas”, below, for resources and inspiration for your garden.
  • Read about Attracting birds to your garden

Read More

About Sacred Grounds Project

The Sacred Grounds project, facilitated by the National Wildlife Federation, promotes planting native plants at home and at places of worship. Oseh Butterly pollinating purple flowersShalom is participating in the second year of the project. This program aims to educate faith communities about the importance of, and how to care for, our local waterways and environment by planting native plants. NWF secured a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Prince George’s County to conduct this project.

Studies prove that adding native plants to our Oseh Shalom campus and our homes helps local waterways and wildlife and reduces lawn maintenance.  Native plants need less care because they are more resilient. Native plants reduce storm water runoff and improve the quality and quantity of water heading to the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. Native plants also provide food for birds and butterflies.

We encourage everyone to plant native plants at Oseh Shalom and in their personal spaces, home, yard, or containers. Together, by caring for creation, Sacred Grounds will enable us to ensure our children and our community have a clean and safe environment well into the future.

Contact Sue Burger or Linda Solomon at sacred.grounds@oseh-shalom.org if you have any questions.

Fall 2023 Plant Giveaway

On September 10, 2023, the Sacred Grounds team gave away plants to OSRS students and to congregants. The OSRS students are focused on caring for animals and the environment this year.  Each OSRS student received a MNPS brochure and a native plant to plant at home. Here is the list of plants that were given away.

Black Eyed Susan
Blue Vervain
Desmodium Canadense
Helenium Sneezeweed
Lance leaf Coreopsis
Purple Coneflower
Wild Bergamot

Pledge to Plant Nativehummingbird on orange flowers

The 2024 Native Planting Hope plant-giveaway was a success. Thank you to our wonderful Oseh Shalom community, neighbors, extended family and friends that pledged again to plant more native plants in your yard. 

Thank you, also, to the many volunteers that helped with garden maintenance tasks, including the volunteers from Adat Shalom. We completed many items on our list.

 50 Pledges as of May 19, 2024

Send us pictures of your gardens! We look forward to our next plant-giveaway!

Events and Learning Opportunities

Landscaping Ideas

Interested in planting a Maryland Native tree? Plant one of these native trees:

Red Bud Tree in bloom


Interested in Planting Maryland native perennial flowers?  Plant one of these native plants:Pictures of 9 native flowering plants

  • Goldenrod
  • Asters
  • Milkweed
  • Cone Flowers
  • Sun Flowers (Helianthus)
  • Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Wild Flowers in Focus

More Resources that list Maryland Native Flowers, Shrubs and Trees

Gardening Design ideas:

Learn More/Resources

garden path with native plants

Garden path with Native plants

On the Web




Local Native Plant Nurseries

Let us know about other Nurseries promoting native plants. Thanks, in advance.

Caring for Creation: Bird Houses and Bird Feeders

  • Video: How to attract Birds to Your Yard
  • Backyard Naturalist – The Backyard Naturalist is a store located in Olney. They specialize in encouraging the public to put out proper bird feeders and houses that support birds.
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