Garden description: I built this garden alongside the driveway of my family’s new home. I wanted to support native wildlife, particularly monarch butterflies as they move through Delaware in their North American migration. This site demonstrates the use of native plants to achieve conservation goals while creating an aesthetically pleasing garden for human visitors.
Who are the gardeners: This garden was built and maintained by me, Keelin Reilly, with input and occasional assistance from my father Michael and mother Elaine.
Why do you garden: I garden to support our native wildlife by providing a patch of habitat. I seek to reverse some of the environmental degradation and habitat destruction inherent to human habitation. I also garden to educate my neighbors on the beauty and utility of native plants, in the hope that they will incorporate more natives into their landscapes.
How has gardening impacted you during this time: Gardening provides a welcome outlet for negativity and a great excuse to get outside in between lengthy Zoom calls. Gardening also allows me to connect with nature and remember that the earth moves forward through its seasons, even as human societies stand still in lockdown.
What do you have in your garden? Besides some annual sunflowers planted this year and a European columbine for spring color, this garden consists entirely of North American perennials native to the Mid-Atlantic (and nearby) regions. I grow two varieties of milkweed to support monarchs, butterflyweed and swamp milkweed. To further support pollinators throughout the summer I have purple coneflower, three varieties of bee balm, great coneflower, cutleaf coneflower, and tickseed. To provide fall resources, I have large and lovely patches of aster “Wood’s Purple” and “Fireworks” goldenrod.
Do you have any problems with disease or pests? If so, how are you dealing with this problem? Since all of my plants are native to the region, they are adapted to withstand local insects and plant pathogens. Indeed, I want native insects to utilize and enjoy my plants as much as I do, and do not view them as “pests.” My most obvious nuisance would be the bright yellow oleander aphids on my milkweed plants. I will occasionally rub off large patches of these aphids, but in general trust other beneficial insects to keep the populations in check.

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