Wild Ones Natural Landscapers, Ltd., is proud to introduce seven professionally-designed, native garden plans free for the public to use specific to the ecoregions of Chattanooga, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Tallahassee and Toledo. An eighth design for Boston is coming soon. The designs can be downloaded from Wild Ones’ newly launched nativegardendesigns.wildones.org website.
Each garden design includes a variety of beautiful, region-specific native plants which can be downloaded and easily printed for quick reference while selecting plants at a local nursery. The nativegardendesigns.wildones.org website also features a list of nationwide nurseries that are great sources for obtaining native plants.
The designs were created with the premise that using native plants in landscaping can be beautiful, promote wildlife, and be achievable for gardeners of all skillsets in terms of scope and budget.
While each designer approached their ecoregion specific design differently because all gardens are unique works of art, all of the designers followed a set of guidelines determined by Wild Ones to be important goals/considerations for any native garden.
The guidelines specified
• inclusion of at least 15 or more native plant species
• encouraging the use of multiples of plants rather than “specimen” plantings to be consistent with building attractive pollinator gardens per Xerces and other science-based pollinator advocates.
• favoring species with long and staggered bloom times to enhance the ornamental nature of the gardens and provide pollen and nectar through the season.
• inclusion of considerations concerning soil (type/texture, pH, etc.), and other conditions (moisture, sunlight) typical for the specific ecoregion)
• inclusion of an incremental approach in developing their plan, adding new areas and native plant species as time and funds permit.
In addition to the native garden designs, Wild Ones also recently published a “Native Garden Design Guide” both in print and in digital format full of useful planting information to help first time native gardeners in any region of the country get started.
Wild Ones Honorary Director Doug Tallamy, author of “Nature’s Best Hope” shares that one of the big mistakes in our approach to conservation is the idea that “nature” is something set aside in preserves and parks, something separate from our daily lives that we go to visit. He stresses that “we can no longer leave conservation to the conservationists.” Native plant gardens in our own backyards are our best hope for saving our environment.
Wild Ones Executive Director Jen Ainsworth explained, “We hope these resources inspire, encourage and motivate individuals throughout the United States in their native garden journeys. Native gardening not only provides beauty and respite in our personal spaces but is a critical part of restoring natural landscapes and wildlife habitats.”
Images are of the Toledo native garden design.