When Kate Ford and her husband bought their home in 2008, the landscape was all rocks and grass because the previous owner "didn't like plants." They have since made it into a DIY Biodiversity Heaven! Kate was "lit up" about native plants by a friend with Black-eyed Susans that attracted pollinators and birds.
They dug up most of the sod and first planted the front yard as a mixture of plugs and seed. They then moved on to the backyard, using a wildlife mix from Michigan Wildflower Farm.
The biggest lesson was about plant choice regarding height, as she would have chosen shorter plants for the front yard if she were to start over. Another lesson was to make paths wide enough to comfortably walk through even after your plants get full size.
LIGHTING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Yes, a few neighbors walk by and shake their heads, but most of the feedback has been positive. Some neighbors walk through the mowed paths in Kate's backyard to explore the wildlife, and she's noticed a few neighbors who have started adding native plants to their own yards! The signage alerting that their yard is intentional has been a big help.
You have to go into it with patience if you're starting from seed. Also, load up on the apps to make it more fun and easier to learn: eBird, iNaturalist, Audobon, and PlantNet are some of Kate's favorites.
KATE'S DETROIT AREA RESOURCES:
- Wildtype Plants | Mason
- Plants for Ecology | Troy
- Detroit Wildflower Nursery | Farmington Hills
- Rochester Pollinators | Rochester
- Stage Nature Center | Troy
- Wild Ones North Oakland Chapter
- Deerfield Elementary | Rochester Hills (for establishing a "Green Team" to promote native plantings and an awareness of our great outdoors to our future conservationists)
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