Powder Valley hosts workshop to introduce homeowners to benefits of native plants

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Kirkwood, Mo. — If there were a way to beautify a landscape, lower the cost of maintaining it, and help wildlife in the process, it would seem to be a natural choice. Selecting native plants can achieve all these goals . . . and it’s something just about any homeowner in the St. Louis area can do.

The Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Powder Valley Nature Center will host Partners for Native Landscaping—A Workshop for Homeowners on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The goal of the workshop is to demonstrate to homeowners the advantages of using native plants in their gardens and landscaping. It will also provide practical tips, techniques and case studies to make it pragmatic and cost-effective.

“It’s to the benefit of each homeowner to create a landscape that’s as sustainable as possible,” said MDC Community Conservation Planner Angie Weber. “One way to do that is to incorporate native plants into your yard. By doing so, a homeowner reduces their carbon footprint on the environment and improves their quality of life in the process.”

Since native plants have evolved in Missouri’s landscape, they are much more used to our climate conditions and resistant to local pests and diseases than exotics. This translates into less time, effort and costs consumed by watering, fertilizing and pesticide use.

Likewise, native Missouri wildlife has evolved to coexist and use native plants for cover, food and habitat. So increasing native plant diversity will also tend to increase desirable wildlife, like birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

“You don’t have to do a total conversion or even rip out your existing landscape,” said Weber. “If you have areas of your yard that are now turf that you don’t use, consider converting into a native plant landscape."

Use of native plants focuses on working in harmony with existing conditions. “Maybe there’s a sunny spot where you can put in a prairie plants, or perhaps you can add a rain garden to an area that usually holds water after it rains,” Weber suggested.

Some topics covered during the workshop will be landscaping for birds and butterflies, selecting native plants for the garden, designing native gardens, alternatives to traditional turf grass, and how to plan and install a rain garden. In addition, workshop attendees will enjoy the chance to network with other gardeners, meet organizations that promote natives, and have the opportunity to purchase native plants at the workshop.

Landscaping with natives reaps rewards for both homeowners and wildlife alike. “By incorporating native plants into your home landscape you’re doing your part to create much needed habitat for urban wildlife,” said Weber.

The cost of the workshop is $20, which includes a buffet lunch and a copy of the Native Landscaping Guide to take home, a $5 value. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 314-301-1500.

Partners for Native Landscaping—A Workshop for Homeowners is sponsored by MDC, the St. Louis Audubon Society, St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, Shaw Nature Reserve, The St. Louis Chapter of Wild Ones, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! Program.

MDC’s Powder Valley Nature Center is located in Kirkwood at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44.