Here’s your chance to meet the Wild Ones, and let yourself grow native in your garden.
With reckless abandon, dismiss the notion that gardens are only tidy places to collect and cultivate exotic horticultural specimens acquired from sources all over the world, in big box store nurseries and fliers in the back of Sunday newspaper advertising inserts. Instead, attempt to revive the genius loci in your piece of ground with the wild and untamed natives that were once growing just fine on their own before you even got there. If that’s an idea just too radical to consider, and if you (like me) kinda think that your landscape approaches perfection as it is now, with the fragrant lilacs you dug from Granny’s yard, and the rose bush reblooming from some Mother’s Day past, and those fancy frou-frou pouf-pouf echinaceas in a rainbow of colors and petal patterns for which you paid a premium price at the garden center this year, then maybe your could start with just one native plant, or with considering why you might want one. Maybe they’d have a better chance at surviving without lots of chemical treatments, and with not so much watering. For sure, some butterflies need certain special native plants to survive: monarchs love milkweed and viceroys lay their eggs on willow leaves; the list goes on, and butterflies are pretty nice to look at. Something else flutters around in the back of my mind about loss of biological diversity (too scary to examine closely, along with global warming and invasive insects), but then it also seems like it should be brought to light and taken into account. Then again, how do I know which plants are native, which natives are suitable for my garden, and where to even find those suitable ones? There’s a lot of learning that needs to go on. So here’s what I did… I spent some time with three new friends-Wild Ones- at a native plant conference last weekend, asked a few (ok, many) questions, and bought myself a pipevine plant for my yard; It’s a host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. The tag says ‘Aristolochia macrophylla’ Dutchman’s Pipe. The pipe, because the flowers are pipe-shaped, the macrophylla because the leaves are large, and the Aristolochia (this took some google-work) because it translates to best-delivery, referring to its olden-times use to expel the placenta after a birth and explaining another common name for this group of plants, birthwort. I found I just wanted to know more about the plants I’m choosing, now that I’m reacing a little deeper than “pretty color” and “on sale” into the reasons I’m selecting them. It’s a start!
You can start, too, by checking out the Wild Ones’ web pages … CLICK HERE Wild Ones – Lexington Chapter. This national organization, which is dedicated to landscaping with native plants, will help you discover some ideas for planting native species you’ve never heard of before, and to think of the environment in a holistic light. You’ll find field trips, like the one the Wild Ones has planned for this Saturday, August 14, where they’ll be out taking a look at the prairie and meadow plantings at Shaker Village at Pleasant HIll, with naturalist Don Pelly. They note….The hike will last about 2½ hours, gathering first at 9:15 a.m. in the parking lot welcome area near the main gift shop. Bring water, sunscreen, a hat…whatever you need to feel comfortable. Even though the terrain is not difficult, good hiking footwear is always a wise choice. And be sure to say hello to the newborn baby donkey, too. CLICK HERE for directions and information about Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill,
The Wild Ones have monthly meetings scheduled, so that little by little, you can discover what going native is all about, and along the way have some fun walking on the wild side.
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