Native garden tour at the home of Bob and Cathy Pickard closed the CAN! team’s inaugural season. Bob and Cathy have been planting native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees since 2015, cutting new beds and adding plant diversity every year since. The benefits of gardening with native plants, that is plants that are naturally occurring in the region in which they evolved, include:
- Provide food, shelter, and a space to raise the young of animals (birds, insects, amphibians, mammals, …) with which they co-evolved.
- Require less water, fertilizer and pesticides to grow and maintain.
- Provide aesthetic value.
- Can store CO2 and help in storm water management.
- Gardening (native or otherwise) is good exercise.
Interested in learning more? Ready to dig in? Don’t know where to begin? Looking for a bit of guidance for your current efforts? Check out these resources.
- Wild Ones St. Louis Chapter, a community of native gardeners who meet monthly to educate and support homeowners who wish to learn and develop their own native landscapes.
- Grow Native! program from the Missouri Prairie Foundation includes a native plant database, sample garden designs, online learning opportunities, and more.
- Shaw Nature Reserve, part of the Missouri Botanical Garden, located in Gray Summit, MO, where you can visit the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, hike on trails through prairie, woodlands, and wetlands, or engage in a multitude of learning opportunities.
- Bring Conservation Home, a consultation service and certification program of the St. Louis Audubon Society.
- Homegrown National Park, a grassroots call to action.
Where can I to purchase native plants, trees, and shrubs? These are sources Bob and Cathy used:
- Missouri Wildflower Nursery (Order online for delivery at Kirkwood Farmers’ Market)
- Shaw Nature Reserve (holds plant sales every spring and fall)
- Ozark Soul (Participates in local native plant sales in spring and fall)
- Forest ReLeaf (located in Creve Coeur Park, volunteer opportunities abound)
- Forrest-Keeling (located in Elsberry, sells native trees and shrubs at local plant sales)
- Greenscape Gardens (located in Des Peres, has an entire section devoted to natives)
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Start small, then grow your habit as you create more habitat.
These materials have been prepared by the Society’s CAN! (Climate Action Now!) team. This post and its links do not express or imply an endorsement by the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.