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Growing Wild with Rosemary Bauman (and Squawk the bird)

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

This week we had the pleasure of meeting with our friend Rosemary Bauman - the head forest steward of the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, and her little bird, Squawk, who gave us a wonderful tour of her yard as well as discussed her experiences "growing wild" in her Louisville neighborhood dealing with pesky neighbors, property inspectors, and adhering to Louisville Metro codes and regulations.


What is Growing Wild?

As a region, there is much more that residents can to do improve wildlife, and reduce flooding runoff to our watershed and river.

Growing WIld is the term for allowing native plants, flowers, and trees to help local insects and birds find food in the suburbs. Some species of butterflies only eat specific plants, and could face regional extinction if there is no food source available to them. According to data from the Louisville Zoo, Americans burn 800 millions gallons of gas mowing the lawn, with 17 million gallons estimated to be spilled each year.

Fertilizers and insecticides that are sprayed on a lawn don't stay on the property when it rains. Birds that eat worms and bugs outside may even be poisoned and killed! Increased runoff from suburban lawns can cause large amounts of erosion as well.

We want to help give options to Kentucky residents, and show lawn care companies that they can even offer a new "native care" service for clients and customers!

Native plants like milkweed, Joe Pye, and Black-Eyed Susans create a very wild front yard for butterflies and birds!

Entering Rosemary's front yard was almost like entering a jungle! Just while walking to her front door we saw multiple butterflies and bumblebees exploring around all of the flowers and plants. After Rosemary greeted Jody and I, she kindly invited us in to meet her pets! She had a wonderful space where we met many parakeets, parrots, and even a bunny!

The stars were two Caique parrots named Squeak and Squawk who flew right up to me and landed on my shoulder, much to my delight. Squawk was extremely friendly and proceeded to give me a hickey on my neck, which was very interesting to explain to my fiance when I got home.

Rosemary introducing Richard to Squeak and Squawk

Rosemary showed us around her property which was absolutely amazing. The property was teeming with mostly native species of flowers, plants, trees, insects, and wildlife. Hundreds of bees were loving the patches of passion flower and porcelain berry growing all over the yard.

Other pollinators such as butterflies and wasps were abundant as well. Even signs of deer browsing was prevalent, which we found surprising since her house was more than a mile away from any kind of heavily wooded area. I even had some type of horse fly cling to my shirt as I was filming the tour.

Needless to say, we had a wonderful time and learned a lot about the types of native plants and flowers that can appear if you start to "grow wild" in your yard as well as what kinds of wildlife they will attract.

We would like to thank Rosemary Bauman (and Squawk) for being gracious hosts. You can check out her personal blog about the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve at We urge you to check out to learn more about "growing wild" in your own yard!


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