We were at one of our local garden seminars the other weekend and one of the presentations we went to was about planting small native gardens. Mary Jo Fleming from the Chippewa Valley Master Gardeners has drank the Rewilding and Homegrown National Parks Kool-Aid along with me and has the garden to back it up. It was a delightful talk, mostly reaffirming decisions we’ve already made, but also heartening to see so many fellow gardeners making similar decisions to give some of their yard back to nature.
The really wonderful thing Mary Jo said, however, wasn’t about what plants to use or how to place them in your yard. It was to make sure the people around you know that this is intentional. I’ve already told you all of our own family members that aren’t always so fond of our rewilded spaces… I can only imagine what strangers think as they walk or drive by our acres of tall grass and clumps of shrubs and trees. Our yard is not like the others!
Mary Jo suggested getting your space certified as a Wildlife Habitat or Monarch Waystation or something else of that ilk. These organizations allow you to purchase signs meant to be posted at your property edge to educate and inform passers by of what you are accomplishing by letting things get a little loose and having the one non-manicured lawn in the neighborhood.
I had tinkered with the idea of getting our space certified before, but decided that it really wasn’t necessary. Mary Jo’s take that these certifications and signs aren’t for us, but rather the people around us flipped the switch for me. We went ahead an certified our space with both the National Wildlife Federation and Monarch Watch. I was really pleased to see how well we had done when we were able to mark “yes” to all the questions regarding our habitat! I was even more pleased that our space is considered a “colossal” Monarch habitat since it is over 5,000 square feet.
In any event, if you are at all interested in doing a project like this in your yard, I would suggest checking out both these sites and seeing the kinds of questions and requirements they make for habitat. That information should help you put together a plan that will result in a habitat that meets the needs of the animals in need.
One last thing, just the other day while scrolling through Twitter, I saw this:
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
2 thoughts on “I Promise This is Intentional.”
I still haven’t read the newer Tallamy book. We have our garden certified as an NWF Wildlife Habitat. You are certainly right that it’s important to signal that your garden is intentional, not just overgrown weeds. Strips of mown lawn, brick edging, and keeping plants along sidewalks shorter can help. And having lots of flowers.
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Couldn’t agree more! I’m hoping the more manicured gardens up near the house are a good indicator that we aren’t just lazy slobs, but you never know! I am super excited to get the signs up this Spring! I love that you have certified habitat too!
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