Garden description: A Backyard Habitat since 2006, this former 1/4 acre of lawn, features over 100 species of native trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, vines, and perennials arranged in large curvy beds that surround a grassy meadow area. The Button Bush, Bee Balm and Elderberry are pollinator hotspots in the spring and summer! The Milkweed, Violets and Oak tree are essential host plants to larva of butterflies and moths. Dogwood, Viburnum and Coneflower provide nutritious seeds and berries. Asters, Goldenrod, and native grasses light up the fall scene with color and pollinator buzz.
Who are the gardeners: Just me. I’ve been gardening with natives for wildlife for 20 years (Or more?) I’m a former Teacher Naturalist for Delaware Nature society, a retired Science teacher, currently a Backyard Habitat Steward for DNS and the National Wildlife Federation, and a volunteer at the Mt Cuba Center.
Why do you garden: I started gardening as a kid with my dad. I had dahlias one year. Even had a “Cottage” style garden at my rented home during my college years. Once I was introduced to the wider concept of ecology and providing for birds and insects it’s been my goal to get the word out.
How has gardening impacted you during this time: With the early mild weather and not much else to do I’d say I have been extremely grateful for my hobby and my garden has never been more well tended!
What do you have in your garden? With only a few exceptions the plants are native trees; White oak, birch, Black Tupelo, Dogwoods, Serviceberry, Basswood, Ironwood, Hop Hornbeam, PawPaw and more. Native shrubs include viburnum ( 5 species) American Beautyberry, Chokeberry, Pussy Willow, Button Bush, Spice Bush, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Winterbery Holly, Fothergilla, Sweetspire, Clethra, Ninebark, Oakleaf Hydrangea and more. Native Perennials include, Blue vervain, Larkspur, Phlox, Coneflower, Cardinal Flower, Great Blue Lobelia, Goldenrod (5 species), Milkweed (3 species), jewelweed, Joe-Pye weed, asters, Anise Hyssop, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Black Eyed Susan, Coreopsis (3 species) and wild natiives that came in on their own, White Avens, Bidens Frodosa, Spotted Spurge, Indian Tobacco, White vervain. Ferns Ferns Ferns, Grasses, Andropogen, Switch Grasses, and Carexes (5 species) and Slender Path Rush.
Do you have any problems with disease or pests? If so, how are you dealing with this problem? Native plants in general have fewer pests. Increased biodiversity gives the gardener a built in integrated pest management. There are a wide variety of bird and insects that help with balanced predation.

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