A Call To Action

| Advocacy, Colorado Native Plants, Native Landscape Planning & Design

by Deb Lebow Aal

What have you done, or will you do, this month, or this year, to inspire and empower people to plant native plants?

Wild Ones was established to… “promote environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration, and establishment of native plant communities.” That is our mission statement. The more active version of this is that we would like to change landscaping practices on the Front Range to be more sustainable. The question is, are we making a dent in that? 

We’d love to hear from you on any activities you have undertaken, and I am sure many of you out there have done quite a lot, but this is a call to action to do more. Last year we published an article on regenerative landscaping tips (read the article here).  Have you incorporated any into your gardening, and if so, have you seen any changes in insect, bird or other critter activity in your yard? Do you have better ideas than those we outlined?  I fear we have a long way to go in changing landscaping practices on the Front Range. In fact, as I look around, we are just getting started. I will share what I’ve done this past month, and what I am going to do this year.

  • I left my leaves. All over the place. And it is messy, but I have read too many articles about what taking your leaves out of your garden does to overwintering insects. It disturbs them. I wrote an article for my local neighborhood association on leaf blowers and the insect apocalypse. Maybe I’ll write an article here on why we should ban leaf blowers (beyond the noise and pollution reasons). 
  • I gave away plants and seeds. Sadly, I could not make our seed swap, but I did the next best thing and gave away native plants and seeds to neighbors. 
  • I planted a few more Solidago spp. (Goldenrod) plants, as they rank really high on the National Wildlife Federation’s list of plants supporting moths and caterpillars. 
  • I harvested more seeds, particularly from my Rocky Mountain penstemon and flax plants than I have ever harvested before. 
  • I went on and on at holiday parties (yep, I did), about the benefits of native plants. I know, that is probably really obnoxious, but, a good opportunity?
solidago canadensis
Solidago canadensis

And, this year I plan to:

  • Replace more of my non-natives with natives. I still have an imbalance of more non-natives to natives, and I think that is pretty common even among us diehards. 
  • I will learn more/watch more about what does well out in the wild. Instead of my usual “I like this plant and want it here, and that plant there,” I will learn more about what happens in the natural settings and try to mimic that. It’s certainly harder in the dead of winter to figure that out, but more of a challenge? So, instead of drooling over seed catalogs inside, I will get outside and observe, observe, and observe.
  • I hope to successfully over-winter some seeds and get some plants started in the spring from my seed. The key word here is successfully. I have never been good at that. 
  • And, I will be more vocal on why native plants. I will actively look for many more opportunities to sing their praises. 

Tell me what you have done, and what you will do in 2020 and beyond. Please comment at [email protected].  And thank you for all that you do!

Curious to learn more about transforming your garden into a habitat with Colorado native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees? Check out our native gardening toolkit, register for an upcoming event, subscribe to our newsletter, and/or become a member – if you’re not one already!