PLAN it WILD Fall Newsletter - Code Leave Leaves
Westchester County Passes Native Plant Executive Order
The Hudson Valley in the fall is like no place else on earth.
Red maples! Orangy-red sweet gums. Purple-red mapleleaf viburnums. Crimson-copper little bluestem grass. Fire-alarm red sumacs! All set against a backdrop of blue mountains and a green Hudson River.
While native plants have their autumn glow on right now, they will soon provide an essential function in the garden: overwintering habitat for wildlife. This includes berries for birds to eat through the winter, hollow stems and leaf litter for beneficial insects to hibernate in, and evergreen shrubs for small mammals to take shelter from the snow.
Fall is the time to enjoy the show and let your garden be...it's ok to leave the leaves!
Having It All
GREAT NEWS! Thank you George Latimer, County Executive for the Westchester County Government for passing Executive Order No. 10 of 2018 stating that "Plant materials native to Westchester County shall be used exclusively in designing, planting, maintaining and managing the landscape features of all County roadsides, parks, public areas and other County properties and facilities..."
Where I used to work, there was a saying on a white board that read:
“Free. Cheap. Great . Pick two.”
It served as a reminder to internal clients that they can’t have it all. And I feel like that’s the case with a lot of things. Take dieting: “Yummy. Low Carb. Convenient. Pick two.” See how that works? Until recently, I thought of being “environmentally friendly” in the same sort of way -- as if I’d have to sacrifice beauty in my yard to plant habitat supportive plants – or that it’d be more work to create ecosystems than not. I couldn’t have beautiful AND habitat supporting AND low maintenance. I was wrong.
The Revolution in my Backyard
When I first started to learn about native vs. invasive plants, I saw things as pretty black and white. Native = good; non-natives = bad. I started hatching a plan to get rid of everything non-native and replant everything “native.” My first hint that I might be over-simplifying (and in for a TON of work!) was when an informed friend asked, “Native? How far you going back?”
Like most people, I used to judge my yard on how nice (or not!) it looked:
Flowers blooming: check
Lawn’s mowed: check
Leaves blown: check
But, now, I see it as the way I can change the world.
Yes, really. The whole world. Let me explain.