Jersey-Friendly Demonstration Gardens at Jakes Branch County Park

The American Littoral Society designed five native plant gardens for different environmental conditions a homeowner or landscaper may encounter.  The SHIP partners planted and maintain the Jersey-Friendly Gardens along Plant Discovery Trail at the park, with the help of park staff, Ocean County Soil Conservation District staff, and many volunteers. 

There are several varieties of native perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs that will thrive in your yard, regardless of the conditions.  Click the garden photos below to discover details, photos and videos about each of the Jersey-Friendly demonstration gardens!

Butterfly Garden:
designed to attract pollinators; these plants thrive in areas with moderate-to-high levels of sun and fairly well-drained soil.

Shade Garden:
this selection of plants are ideal for shady areas that receive less than two hours of direct sun daily

Rain Garden:
this plant collection tolerates bouts of rain and short periods of drought; their roots help rain soak into the ground in areas where water runs off paved areas or through downspouts

Sun Garden:
these sun-loving plants thrive in areas that receive six hours or more of direct sunlight daily

Wet Garden:
plants in the Wet Garden tolerate areas that remain wet after rainfall

What is a Jersey-Friendly Garden?

A Jersey-Friendly garden, yard or landscape is composed of both native and non-native plants that thrive in the existing conditions of your property, need minimal inputs such as fertilizer and water, and support an array of wildlife. Jersey-Friendly plants do not include invasive species. Invasive species are aggressive growing plants that take-over large areas, out-compete native plants for resources, create monocultures and do not support a variety of wildlife.

What is a native plant?

Native plants have evolved over thousands of years to be adapted to environmental conditions in a particular region and to the other plants and animals around them.  Want to know which Jersey-Friendly plants will work best in your Ocean County yard?  Explore the Jersey-Friendly Plant Database on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website:

Download the following resources to learn more about the benefits of native plants, as well as the sun, water and soil conditions Ocean County (Barnegat Bay watershed) natives prefer…

Soil Techniques/Turf Experiment

Changes in soil health, including root systems and the diversity of organisms living in the soil, are the core focus of the trial turf plots at Jakes Branch. Tilling and adding organic matter are two known techniques to reduce soil compaction and increase soil health. Download the SHIP at Jakes Branch Fact Sheet to learn more about the compaction of Ocean County soils and SHIP’s evaluation of the turf plots.

Rain Barrels

Sustainable watering practices work with healthy soils to create healthy landscapes. Rain barrels are an important part of the onsite water management at Jakes Branch. Rain barrel building workshops and demonstrations were also conducted as part of the SHIP project, to help homeowners construct and install rain barrels to capture runoff and conserve water in their own landscapes.