Based on our successes in 2021, we are planning on keeping momentum going for our Plant Native for Biodiversity initiative. We had a well-attended tour of a half dozen private properties showcasing native plantings late last summer. There is genuine interest in the topic. And, there are certainly a lot more folks out there using natives in their landscapes and with whom it would be fun to network and learn from.

I’m going to post a few more related blogs to inspire feedback and participation in what might be next for the initiative. We are shooting for another tour of additional native planting sites this summer. Maybe this could include your place or that of your neighbors?  In addition, we are planning additional workshops and programming around native plantings.

Are you familiar with the non-profit Wild Ones ( It is a great organization with some heavy-hitter conservationists (Douglas Tallamy is one of them) involved. Their site has numerous presentations and informative policy statements – one on “nativars” recently. Please check them out. Wild Ones is so far along and similar to our Plant Native for Biodiversity efforts that I recently investigated creating a local chapter. However, it looks to be too much administrative work for me to take on. They are a wonderful resource though.

Here is what they say about themselves:

“Wild Ones collective voice raises awareness through public education by sharing the compelling evidence that native plant communities support pollinators, provide food and habitat for wildlife, reduce erosion, mitigate flooding, sequester carbon, conserve and purify water, and enhance the mental, emotional and physical well-being of people of all ages.”

Now is the time of year when we should all be wondering what’s next in the landscape and begin to make plans. We need to purchase in advance any plant material wanted. Covid has caused exceptional demand for native plants, and those who waited to order till late last year found many species sold out. Plan now and order early.

I am planning to plant 25 to 50 River Birch (Betula nigra) and stick another 50 or so willow cuttings along the drainage-side perimeter of a shallow wetland on my place in the West Fork valley. Both these trees do well in highly saturated soils, and, grown in thickets, will help hold and build soil. These will be planted where I hope to prevent back-cutting of the current outflow from the wetland. River Birch have really strong roots, and, like the willows, can take the occasional flooding. Furthermore, both are listed in the top 4 woody plants for encouraging biodiversity! Each supports over 400 species of moths and butterflies.

There will be more posts coming. One will be on the city of Viroqua’s new plantings along Rusk Avenue. Please consider providing input on what might be next with regard to our Plant Native for Biodiversity initiative. It’d be really fun to have a network of folks helping amplify our native planting interests.  Feel free to email us at to indicate your interest and get additional information!