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Naturalization of my Property

Backyard - 1999 - First steps

Lawn / Field area

Summer/99: This photo was taken only a few weeks after I stopped cutting the grass in the backyard.

I have planted a small grove of Eastern Cottonwoods (center of the picture).

Along the left side is a row of (what I hope are) basswood trees.

In the foreground is a cucumber magnolia.  I had wondered if it would survive being so far north, but it is still doing very well as of 2005.

One of the problems with trying to obtain native plants is the sometimes large number of hybrids and non-native look-alikes, and the difficulty of telling them apart.  You are at the mercy of whoever is supplying you with them, so if they misidentify what you're buying, you may have no idea until much later, if ever.
Summer/99: Another view of the back yard, looking towards the pond, a few weeks later.  I cut some of the lawn, in the form of trails (as well as an area close to the house).

No specific native plants are yet visible in the tall grass, but they're coming.

Summer/99: One of the first things I decided I was going to do was to dig a small pond. I thought it would be nice to have a small pond up close to the house, where I could sit and watch pond life up close.  It could be fed by runoff from the eavestroughs on the house.

However, I eventually decided that it was going to be more work than it was worth, so I abandoned the project and filled in the hole.  It was beginning to consume too much of my attention, taking me away from my main project of naturalizing the whole lawn area.  Too much for one person to take on.


It was good exercise, though, and what I was left with at the end formed the basis of some very nice features that helped to break up the flat surface of that part of the yard, that you will see later on.

Here we see the digging just started.  I eventually dug a hole almost 4 feet deep, and about 17 feet long, and 10 feet wide at one point.  Like I said, it was good exercise!



It doesn't look like much yet, does it?  Whenever you do work like this, there is always an intermediate stage when it looks like a ratty unkempt yard, or like a construction zone.  Invasive non-native species seem to be the first to come up, so one has to be vigilant.

I scattered a lot of native plant seeds, and planted probably a couple of hundred plants in what was the lawn - now becoming the field - this first summer.

Have patience - things take a bit of time to grow.  The results are worth it, as you'll see in the following pictures!


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Naturalization:  Before    1999    2000  •  2001  •  2002  •  2004  •  2005
Before & After Comparisons    Plant List    Animal List

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