This year Valley Stewardship Network held its first Native Plantings Garden Open House that included six homes and businesses around Viroqua, WI.  Each garden featured a different take on native plantings.  This tour was part of our Plant Native for Biodiversity initiative inspired by Doug Tallamy’s book  “Nature’s Best Hope.”

Dave and Mary Krier’s yard is leaning into native plants.  Over the last four years the yard has been slowly moving from grass and non-natives to more native flowers and shrubs.  The goal is to increase birds and pollinators, reduce mowing, and beautify the yard.  Most, but not all, of the plants are native to the area, and dead tree limbs are allowed to remain to provide food for woodpeckers.

Dave and Mary began a small garden with donated plants.  Over time, they have expanded their garden to two large and lush gardens.  They have plans to continue increasing the size of their gardens.  See photos of their beautiful gardens below.


  • Goals
    • Support birds through increased bugs and habitat
    • Look pretty
    • Absorb rain water more efficiently
    • Reduce mowing
  • They leave dandelions in the yard (not in the flower garden) as an early flower source for pollinators
  • Mow higher, less frequently
  • Black plastic used to smother weeds prior to planting
  • Started with small area and gradually grew it
  • Removed concrete sidewalk to promote drainage
  • Keep dead limbs for bugs and birds
  • Keep flower stalks up during winter for pollinator over-wintering habitat and birds to eat flower seeds
  • Self-started pussy willow plant from cuttings to save money
  • Some insect damage from invasive Japanese Potato Beetles on grapes, primrose, and plums. Other insect damage isn’t so bad and means food for birds
  • Leaning into native plants – don’t have to rip out everything non-native at one time, just replace with a native as you can.
    • When they removed invasive honeysuckle, they took it down by 1/3 over the course of a year and a half and put native elderberry in at same time, so they slowly replaced each other.
  • Most of our plants were gifted to us
  • Bird bath is so important for attracting birds to yard

Plant List:

Native Plants:

  • Phlox
  • Cup plant
  • Yarrow
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Bee Balm (two species) (Monarda)
  • Evening Primrose
  • Sunflower
  • Strawberry
  • Queen of the Prairie
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Catmint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Bristly Buttercup
  • Ragweed
  • Helenium
  • Milkweed
  • Fleabane
  • Fox Sedge
  • Tufted Loosestrife
  • Virginia Waterleaf
  • Common Star of Bethlehem
  • Cutleaf Coneflower
  • Blue Aster
  • False Indigo
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Ostrich Fern
  • Blackcaps
  • Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Native Shrubs:

  • Aronia
  • Grapes
  • Elderberry
  • Plum Trees
  • Pussy Willow
  • Mock Orange (Monrovia)

Native Trees:

  • Black Walnut
  • Silver Maple
  • Yew
  • Arborvitae
  • Blue Spruce (but not to Wisconsin)
  • Slippery Elm

Non-Native Plants:

  • Poppy
  • Zinnia
  • Lupine (Lupine is native, but this variety is introduced)
  • American Tiger Lily (Turk’s Cap Lily)
  • Day Lilies
  • Sedum (3 varieties)
  • Goutweed (Bishop’s Weed)
  • Creeping Bellflower
  • Miscanthus Grass (Autumn Flame)
  • Russian Sage
  • Hostas
  • Lilacs
  • Norway Maple

Non-native Plants we’ve Removed:

  • Large honeysuckle bush
  • Oriental Bittersweet

Krier two native planting garden plots