Wild Ones Natural Landscapers, Ltd., introduces a professionally-designed, native garden plan free for the public to use specific to the ecoregion of Chattanooga. The design was created with the premise that using native plants in landscaping can be beautiful, promote wildlife, and be achievable for gardeners of all skillsets in terms of scope and budget, said officials. Additionally, the garden design allows gardeners to take an incremental approach in developing their plan, adding new areas and native plant species as time and funds permit.
Landscape architect Caleb Melchior created the Chattanooga design and said, “After working in Chattanooga for several years, I was excited to have the opportunity to design gardens that demonstrate how homeowners can use native plants in a residential garden. The Appalachian flora is unique—colorful and adaptable. I'm excited to see Chattanoogans continue to build biodiversity and delight in their residential gardens.”
Wild Ones Honorary Director Doug Tallamy, author of “Nature’s Best Hope”, shares that one of the big mistakes in our approach to conservation is the idea that “nature” is something set aside in preserves and parks, something separate from our daily lives that we go to visit. He stresses that “we can no longer leave conservation to the conservationists.” Native plant gardens in our own backyards are our best hope for saving our environment.
The Chattanooga design is a part of a larger Wild Ones initiative to create beautiful, native garden plans in a variety of ecoregions that are free for the public to use so that those new to native landscaping especially have the tools and knowledge they need to get started. The project includes a total of eight designs in the ecoregions of Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Tallahassee and Toledo. The designs can be downloaded from Wild Ones’ newly launched nativegardendesigns.wildones.org website.
Each garden design includes a variety of beautiful, region-specific native plants which can be downloaded and easily printed for quick reference while selecting plants at a local nursery. The nativegardendesigns.wildones.org website also features a list of nationwide nurseries that are sources for obtaining native plants.
In addition to the native garden designs, Wild Ones also published a “Native Garden Design Guide” both in print and in digital format full of useful planting information to help first time native gardeners in any region of the country get started.
The garden designs, nativegardendesigns.wildones.org website and the Native Garden Design guide were supported by a grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.
Wild Ones Executive Director Jen Ainsworth said, “We hope these resources inspire, encourage and motivate individuals throughout the United States in their native garden journeys. Native gardening not only provides beauty and respite in our personal spaces but is a critical part of restoring natural landscapes and wildlife habitats.”
In 1977, the first seeds were sown for Wild Ones, which today is a nationally-recognized, membership-based non-profit organization with a mission to promote environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.
Wild Ones achieves its mission by providing quality, online learning opportunities open to the public that feature experts in the native plant movement, producing free, region-specific, native garden design templates to help people start their first native garden, awarding “Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education” grants that engage youth in planning, planting and caring for educational natural landscapes, publishing a quarterly, award-winning journal featuring valuable native plant information and resources and supporting the grassroots efforts of 60 nationwide Wild Ones chapters representing over 4,000 members in 20 states.
Chattanooga hosts the Wild Ones Tennessee Valley Chapter that includes members from Tennessee as well as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Tennessee has two additional chapters as well: Wild Ones Middle Tennessee Chapter and Wild Ones Smoky Mountains Chapter. Joining a chapter can prove invaluable on your native garden journey.
Wild Ones does not receive funding from the government. It depends on membership fees, donations and gifts from individuals to help save the earth, one yard at a time.
For more information or to get involved, please visit the Wild Ones website at wildones.org or find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter at @wildonesnative and @wildonesnativeplants.