Landscaping, Naturally

Native Garden Restoration at the Homestead

Quarantine stopped a lot of things this year, including our annual fundraiser, but it didn’t hold us back from completing the installation of new native gardens at our Homestead.

The former landscaping, which contained mostly non-native ornamental species, was removed in late 2019. The new native landscaping features more than 250 native shrubs and plugs, including:

  • A wetland swale featuring swamp milkweed and buttonbush
  • A sandy “oak openings” habitat including prickly pear cactus and dotted horsemint
  • Prairie species such as little bluestem, purple coneflower and dense blazing star
  • Woodland species including spicebush and cardinal flower

We also planted 11 fruit-bearing cherry trees along the driveway, that will provide spring forage for the property’s resident honeybees.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Country Garden Club Perrysburg, which also funded a summer internship. Hannah LaPoint filled this role and helped our team care for the gardens and develop future programming.

Hannah, an environmental sciences major at the University of Toledo, said she’s “learned a lot about the ecological role of Ohio’s native plant species and how to identify them” and hopes to apply this knowledge to “a career in hydrogeology to create a sustainable solution to the Lake Erie algae crisis.”

Native plants – those that are indigenous to a geographic region – are essential to preserving and expanding ecological biodiversity.

In addition to attracting and supporting local wildlife like bees, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, native plants are naturally evolved in the local growing conditions and require less intervention to establish and maintain, such as fertilizer and pesticides, which helps improve local water quality.

Part of a larger initiative to demonstrate sustainable practices at our “Homestead” office, these native gardens will help show families how they can incorporate native species in their own yards. Other sustainable practices we’ve undertaken at the office space include:

  • Geothermal HVAC system installation in 2015
  • 25 KV solar system installation in 2018

To date, the solar array has saved more than 13 tons of carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere.

We look forward to sharing these native gardens and other sustainable practices with you through public tours and educational programming when we can safely gather again.