Hopeful Oaks Native Plant Garden

This event has ended
Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
to (Eastern Time)

Hopeful Oaks Native Plant Garden by Nancy Stoll
1314 Broadway Street, Ann Arbor
[email protected]

This garden started as a backyard plot but has spread to the woods
surrounding it.? There is both sun and shade with corresponding flowers and
shrubs.? The garden tour will focus on plant selection.? We will look at
which plants are good choices for the location and why, and which ones are
less successful or downright mistakes!?

About ten years ago the area was lawn or mostly non-natives such as
honeysuckle and garlic mustard.? There is also an area that was new fill
dirt with no topsoil.? Now most of the non-natives have been removed and
there are about one hundred species of native trees, shrubs, vines, and
flowers.? The area under care has been progressively enlarged, so it is
possible to see established gardens, recently planted areas, ?spots under
construction, and areas that are still "honeysuckle heaven." ?This is not a
large garden--maybe 1/4 acre, but it shows what can be done with an average
lot in the city.

Plant selection is the first challenge when starting with highly disrupted
ecosystems.? There are no native plants to give clues what belongs there, no
established microbes in the soil to support what is planted.? It is tricky
building a balanced ecosystem from scratch, and it takes a long time.?
Research, looking at what grows in nearby natural areas, and trial and error
have led to what is now established.? It is an ongoing process!

Another challenge is groundhogs and deer.? The former get trapped and
removed.? The latter are somewhat repelled by sprays, fences around certain
plants, and a crazy lady in her slippers banging together pot lids, but the
deer still do a lot of damage.

The third challenge is hubby who really prefers lawn and traditional
plantings.? Not everyone is a native plant enthusiast.? A gradual
encroaching of natives, guerrilla gardening with seeds and small seedlings
quietly planted, and stealthy applications of basil bark herbicide very late
at night are ways of subtly transforming a city lot to mostly natives.

Triumphs in this garden include the appearance and egg-laying of the giant
swallowtail and American lady butterflies, the accumulation of plants to a
point where they are spreading to the neighboring lots on their own, the
acquisition of the backyard habitat sign from the National Wildlife
Federation, and the popping up of a few native volunteers.

Program is free and open to the public. Questions: 734-604-4674

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