At the Maryland Native Plant Society meeting last night there was an open forum discussion of native gardening versus regular home gardening. I kept quiet as ridiculous statements were made such as "home gardeners only do it for themselves, while native gardeners do so for the betterment of the world" and "native gardening is morally better to do than other forms." Yes, that's right folks. By planting roses, apple trees, and garlic, you are going to burn in the fires of Hades. Shame, shame on you for wanting to feed your family, commune with nature, beautify the world, experiment, get some exercise, socialize with others, stop your hills from eroding, or one of the hundreds of other reasons we all garden outside of the natives-only palette.
Judging by the packed house last night, many came to learn about introducing natives to their home gardens as the night's talk was promoted, but many left early as the evening turned into a preachy and strident confab on why natives-only is the righteous way to go.
I have many natives plants in my own garden, but I'm far from native-only and can't say I'll ever go that route. The natives-only advocates and purists actually kind of frighten me in their dictation that their way is the only "right way." Talk like this starts down a road of intolerance that I find dangerous.
IMHO, native-only home gardens are just as artificial a contrivance and imitation of nature as any other form of gardening. If that is your thing, go for it, but don’t dare dictate how others should garden or pass judgment on those who have other gardening passions. Being native-only is a hobby pure and simple. And really, there is nothing wrong with that.