Last week, due to a miscommunication between a landlord and lawncare contractor, our native pollinator yarden and production space was destroyed. While we are saddened by this devastating blow, we appreciate the opportunity to document our journey and take you along for the ride!
But first, a moment of silence for our previous native pollinator yarden:
Unfortunately, our situation happens to a lot native yardens like ours because many native plants look like "weeds". Here's what we did after our yarden was completely erased:
Save the soil!
Viable soil needs shade - don't let the sun bake your soil! Get some mulch, plant matter, or anything that can provide shade for the soil as well as trap moisture to protect any roots or help germinate future seeds.
When the lawncare contractor tore up our yarden, the plant matter was spread from garbage can to garbage can in the alley. We were able to collect the plant matter from the garbage cans to use as mulch and ground cover to protect the soil!
We also used the "chop n' drop" method where we pull unwanted weeds like dandelions to use the plant matter as ground coverage. Luckily we also have a large Cottonwood tree near our yard that provides shade for our yard as well as drops big leaves to help provide some relief to the direct sunlight.
After your soil is covered and protected, you may want to water the area to prevent the dirt from drying out too much, especially if it hasn't rained recently. The mulch and plant matter will trap the moisture in the soil - roots need this moisture to grow!
You can attempt to transplant some starts into your newly mulched space. Don't be discouraged by wilty leaves - the plant is in survival mode and is trying to retain water and energy!
One thing you can do to help wilty plants is to remove some of the leaves. This will make it so the plant doesn't have to spend as much energy sustaining unnecessary leaves and may increase the chances of survival.
A special thanks to ReSeed Native Plant Nursery in Clarksville, Indiana - when they heard our native pollinator yarden was destroyed, they were kind enough to donate various native plant starts to us such as Grass-leaf Goldenrod, White Vervain, White Snakeroot, and Yellow Coneflower.
Help the roots!
Since it's more than halfway through the growing season, our new plants are probably not going to flower this year - they need to spend most of their energy re-establishing their root systems. Native plants make great root systems that combine and connect when near each other and are very beneficial for the soil quality as well as the ecosystem in general.
Generally, native plant starts will not grow much the first year. There's a saying:
First year they sleep, Second year they creep, and the Third year they leap!
That means the first year, the plants are focused on root production, so there's not going to be much going on above ground. The second year, they will put out a few more shoots and a few more flowers, but are still focused on establishing those all-important root systems. The third year is when the excitement happens: by now the root systems are established and the plant can finally focus it's energy on growing it's leaves and flowers!
You will be surprised at how fast and how much native plants will grow if you just give them the time and resources the need. All you need to do it keep on it, making sure the soil is protected and damp so your plants can re-stablish your roots, and by this time next year, your yarden will be back to it's former glory!
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