We stumbled across a delightful article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently. It was an article about a naturally landscaped backyard in Edina, Minnesota — a backyard with which I am familiar. It used to belong to our dear Wild Ones friends, Marty and Jeff Rice. The article spoke about the present owner’s growing passion for native plants and included many lovely photos of their marvelous backyard.
Marty and Jeff lucked out when they sold their home to the Mayberg’s. So often naturally landscaped properties are sold to people who only pretend to be enthusiastic about native plants while purchasing the property, and then immediately begin to transform the yard to sterile lawn and unfulfilling non-native plant species as soon as they move in. I heard many such horrific stories as Executive Director of Wild Ones.
What You Can Do
Use the example set by Jeff and Marty. “On the December day after the Maybergs moved into their new home, the previous owners, Marty and Jeff Rice, knocked on the door bearing muffins, coffee and the fervent hope that they could spread the gospel of native gardens. Marty had co-founded the Twin Cities chapter of Wild Ones, a national organization devoted to the natural landscaping movement. Over the previous eight years, the couple had converted the backyard, gradually replacing sod and creating an ecosystem based on sustainable prairie plants.” (StarTribune)
One doesn’t have to be the owner of a naturally landscaped property to help inspire new owners into keeping it landscaped with native plants. We all can follow the example of Jeff and Marty and, as neighbors and friends, encourage new owners to give the native plantings a chance before deliberately destroying a valuable ecosystem. You, too may find that your “evangelism will fall on fertile ears.”
See also Be BRASH About Planning for Nature.