Gardening with native plants
Name: Lynn K
Location:  Arlington Library / Arlington Heights
Describe yourself:  Library employee, bicycle and gardening enthusiast

When did you start, and why?
We moved into a house in 2004 with a small and fairly horrible garden.  I removed and planted randomly for a while and then read William Cullina on native trees and shrubs and subsequently native perennials i.e. wildflowers. He talked about – rhapsodized in some cases – plants as food and shelter for wildlife, as part of the ecological whole, in addition to being decorative, fragrant, etc.

Best thing about doing it?
Butterflies, bees and birds.

Most unexpected thing you’ve learned? 1) Native plants don’t need much coddling and can survive drought, insects, hurricanes and trees falling on them.  2) Even if the soil is like concrete, a little muscle and some mulch can produce a garden in a year or two.

Advice to someone who wants to start a native plant garden?
Read. Visit native plant society websites.  Find a nursery specializing in native plants or willing to order them for you.