Homegrown Parks - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1777604

Homegrown Parks

Thank you to Susanne Jansson and Liz Schroeder from the Conservation Committee of the Westhampton Garden Club for their letter on how we can manage our yards in ways more sensitive to the needs of all species [“Native And Natural,” Letters, April 22].

Last spring, I read “Nature’s Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy, and it inspired me to plant even more native plants in our garden to create what he calls our very own “Homegrown National Park.” He names our own gardens that way because, with 86 percent of the land east of the Mississippi in private hands, he argues that conservation can be everyone’s project.

The idea is that if you plant native plants, you create a wildlife oasis whether you are in the suburbs or country, or even in a dense city. Native plants support the life cycle of the birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife in your area, wherever that is, because the creatures have evolved to coexist with those plants. Plants that have evolved in Asia are ecologically almost sterile. Lawns are stretches of utter sterility.

And if you are a home vegetable gardener, attracting beneficial insects to your yard can improve your harvests!

Adding your bit of land to Homegrown National Park doesn’t mean you have to replace all your nonnative plants. Even a small patch of, for example, goldenrod, liatris and little bluestem grasses, or a few plants scattered among your other perennials, is an offering to our local fauna.

Do you have room for an oak tree? That is really the tree that never stops giving to local creatures. Maybe there’s some of your lawn that could be replaced by plants that do their bit for conservation.

And, of course, you have to lay off the pesticides, or you’ll just be luring to their deaths insects the birds need.

Ask at your garden center, they can help you find perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees that evolved to grow in our area. You will be helping the earth. And check out upcoming events at Peconic Land Trust or the Horticultural Society of the Hamptons to learn more.

Diane Englander