Creating Ecology

Seven years ago, we bought a house in Midwestern zone 5a. Two large Norway maples, one overgrown lilac, an arbor vitae and two yews were rooted in the landscape as we first saw it that Winter.

In Spring, a few crocuses bloomed briefly against the garage, monochrome green hostas appeared in three places, and a skinny, naked, woody stem waved at us in the wind. A spotty lawn of grass, fescue, a bit of clover and dandelions, and a large amount of creeping Charlie culminated in an atmosphere that seemed itself to be sighing a heavy “meh.” 

We met the woman next door. After sharing my name and greeting her dog, I looked around with squinted eyes, and the next thing I said was: “I’m going to plant the shit outta this yard.” 

Each Summer since, I have created beds, planted species for sun, shade, and in-between, said, “see ya!” to a lot of Kentucky bluegrass and “welcome!” to clovers. I have witnessed the genesis of an ecology. The place buzzes and chirps with SO MUCH LIFE. 

Year one: cabbage whites and paper wasps. Year four: 8(!) species of butterflies; moth, wasp, and bee diversity beyond my ability to keep up with identification. A pitch of Baltimore orioles has greeted me on Mother’s Day morning. Indigo buntings and Ruby-throated hummingbirds shine blue, red and green at springtime feeders. More species invite more species, here, where our place is their place. And that sad, skinny stem from year one? It now climbs and blooms as the beautiful white rose it was meant to be.

I look forward to sharing more observations, yard experiments, natural beauty, science, and growing tips with you. 

YOU can create ecology, too.

Where would you rather live?


  1. Thank you for the inspiration and for the love of all creatures! Thank you for giving them home and voice

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