Make space and they will come!

Pablo and his family set out to create a native yard two years ago. He became interested in natives through a New York Times article that references Doug Tallamy. After exploring Tallamy’s research, he began having conversations with his neighbors about native gardening and joined FONTT.

His yard was full of invasive honeysuckle, winter creeper, wisteria, and ivy so the first order of business was to clear it out cover the bare earth with wood chips. He started adding native trees: white oak, native cedar, white pine, and a river birch in a wet spot. He has added bergamot, black eyed susans and goldenrod to the mix.

His advice to us: just get started and let your garden evolve. don’t paralyze yourself with planning! Of course, consider the sun and soil needs of your plants, but don’t be afraid to let things evolve! When you uproot invasives like honeysuckle and wisteria some lovely volunteers will fill the void! They had oaks, willows, elms, and tulip poplars, all appear once they pulled out the nasty stuff.

Also don’t forget that your neighbors are your best resource! You can meet so many folks just by pushing a wheelbarrow around the neighborhood! And get many native plants from others. The Takoma Park Horticultural Listserv and the PEN listserv are indispensable resources to help fill a yard or pot with natives without spending a ton of $$$.

His favorite plants are the river birch and white oaks followed by wild bergamot, a crazy bee magnet, and mountain mint, a fast grower that pollinators and people love.

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