Homegrown National Park

Are you on the map?

There’s a movement afoot and it’s gaining momentum in a big way. Started by Doug Tallamy, developed with the professional know-how of Michelle Alfandari, the concept is simple:


– Homegrown National Parks Website

In other words…

Instead of waiting for the government, or a corporation, or an “expert” to tackle our ecological challenges, we as homeowners can make a huge impact on our own! Every time we make a small change, we start to create a network for nature that rebuilds and reconnects habitats right now.

It’s so easy

Here’s how easy it is- if you’ve ever done a project with me, you’re already in the Homegrown National Park. If you’ve ever replaced a little part of your lawn with pollinator- or wildlife-friendly native plants, you’re in the Homegrown National Park. If you’ve planted container gardens with native plants- you’re in the Park! And when your neighbor makes a little change, you start connecting to a bigger network. That’s it.

But I hate messy gardens!

Guess what? So do I! As a designer, I’m on a mission to help us rethink what a so-called native garden needs to look like. I personally think this level of wildness is beautiful in a defined area:

A small area of sod was reclaimed for a native garden on a busy street corner.
This garden brings a lot of smiles and waves as people drive by- happy insects, happy people.

But maybe you’re not a fan of billowing perennials! Guess what? This is also a native garden!

Trees and shrubs are also hugely beneficial to insects and other wildlife! You don’t need a garden full of perennials to make a difference.

A beautiful Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis ‘Hearts of Gold’), hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’), some native ferns- so simple and so beneficial. Or how about this manicured perfection?! We added native hydrangeas- a great start!

You can use native plants in a manicured garden.

The bottom line

Homegrown National Park is a simple umbrella concept that says everyone can make a difference. If you’re already designing a new garden, it’s no more effort to include native plants than non-native (strive for a mix of 70-30 native/non-native). And if you want to make a little change, more and more plants are available at the garden centers. Maybe you just plant a little tree or some shrubs, maybe you want summer flowers, or winterberries for color when everything else is dormant. Keep it simple and record your changes on the map!

Still not sure? I can help.