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  • Margaret
    I have a small, urban yard in central Michigan. While my space is small, I am encouraged by the increasing number of native plantings and grassless yards in my neighborhood. An urban farm nearby recently installed a native pollinator seed library, so I hope more people consider natives when caring for their lawns. I have a fairly good assortment of native flowering plants including: purple coneflower, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, columbine, blazing star, irises, sunflowers, and hostas. I have given consideration to when these flowers bloom, mostly because I like to look at flowers through spring, summer, and fall. I have some vertical diversity with a flowering street tree out front and a large lilac shrub and trees surrounding my backyard. I do have a small bit of grass in my front yard and a small backyard. Over a few years I have gotten rid of some grass, but I have young kids, so I don't think I could go completely without some open space. Embracing some messiness was a good reminder to leave flower heads and stalks. A challenge, though, is that many zoning ordinances require grass to be cut and brush piles cleared (at least what is visible from the street). This lesson provided a good reminder to clean my feeders (although currently I have taken them down due to the bird illness moving across the eastern US). I did not know about the importance of feeder placement and will evaluate my feeders when I put them back up. Outdoor and feral cats, sadly, roam my neighborhood. I am not sure there is much I can do about the cats. I aim for my yard to have a look of tidy wildness. From this lesson, I will look into adding a moving water feature to my yard (likely a small fountain) and more native plants (ferns, lupines, phlox, yarrow, small berry producer). Limited space will be my biggest challenge, but I could give up more of my front yard. I might consider lasagna mulching in the fall.
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