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GO GREEN

If You Plant It, They Will Come

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“If You Plant It, They Will Come” was the name of a program recently presented in the ballroom of the Four Seasons Clubhouse in Smithville. The program focused on using native plants to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators to our gardens. Choosing native plants also fortifies bird populations and protects them from extinction.

In his first book, “Bringing Nature Home,” Douglas W. Tallamy provided the rationale behind the use of native plants, a concept rapidly gaining momentum to increase the biodiversity in our gardens. In his new book, “Nature’s Best Hope,” he outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Tallamy shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into “conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats.”

This can be somewhat problematic for folks who live under the jurisdiction of a Homeowner Association (HOA). Most HOAs were established decades ago to dictate a culture that would protect property values — keeping neighborhoods neat with landscapes that are tended and weeded with impeccable lawns.

Plants were thought to be decorations; they are decorations but not part of a living ecosystem. We need to educate each other about the many ecological roles our landscape must now play and how every landscape must be designed to support diverse food webs.

While many plantings throughout Four Seasons are not native and generally do not support a diverse wildlife population, recently a plot of land on Southampton Pond was converted to native plants. Shrubs such as sweet pepper bush, spicebush, elderberry, high bush blueberry, inkberry holly, and trees like eastern persimmon, black cherry, sweet bay magnolia and flowering dogwood will welcome birds, butterflies and pollinators.

Individual residents have begun to incorporate native plants into their landscapes with the creation of corner gardens, container gardens, downspout rain gardens, small water feature gardens, and plantings within their established gardens/mulch beds. While homeowners are still under the guidelines of the HOA, there is still an opportunity for residents to do something positive in the space they have. There are many at Four Seasons who are joining the grassroots effort to share their space with nature.

Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.

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