Sarah shares the beautiful transformation in her central Minnesota garden:
We’ve lived at our home for almost 10 years now. It was a barren, lifeless lot with not a critter to be found except ants and a few grasshoppers when we moved in. Each year I find new species of birds, bugs, amphibians, and mammals. With the stresses we’ve placed upon the earth, I’ve been very motivated to grow natives the past few years, which I enjoy starting from seed. I love wild, overgrown, unruly gardening that follows the guidelines of nature. I think people make gardening far more difficult than it should be. I skip all chemicals in my garden, water nothing once it’s established, and leave everything up for the native insects that overwinter in our harsh climate by burrowing into the dry stems. Then I chop everything into big chunks and let it fall to the ground below, where it remains as mulch and adds organic matter to the soil.
Before: a whole lot of nothing. A boring lot for people to look at, and nothing to support native insects and other animals.
After: what a transformation!
Simple arches support a vining bottle-gourd plant (Lagenaria siceraria, annual) twining around a cheerful yellow sunflower.
Using a wide range of plants makes a rich, complex landscape that can support a diverse cast of native insects, birds, and other animals.
This garden isn’t just a great place for native wildlife. Humans young and old have spots to sit and play. Ecologically sensitive gardening can work for everyone.
Which would you rather have? Sarah’s lush garden, or the boring empty lawns of the houses across the street?
Neatly mown grass paths wind through the wild garden, beckoning you on to explore and enjoy!
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