Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes

From a post on Mastodon by Catherine, I was introduced to “Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes”. Catherine’s comments intrigued me such that I found the book to read.

I’m only part way into the first chapter but there is a lot to unpack! As I currently understand the message in the book, we can create resilient landscapes using both native and non-native species. That is, the landscapes do not have to be composed of exclusively native species of plants. I admit to leaning toward the former line of thinking but I have also allowed myself to believe that the only correct environment is one that contains only native plants.

The authors have stated that what matters is the density of plants in an environment and how self-sustaining the plant community is. By self-sustaining, they mean a community of plants that does not need continuous weeding, fertilizing, or watering. Density is a question of “is every niche occupied?”

Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) is an introduced plant to North America. Many people consider it a nuisance weed. I’ve had a mixed relationship with it. I recognize that it is viewed as a weed by many people but I also recognize its value to bees because it is one of the first flowering plants in our yard. I’ve spent countless hours pulling creeping charlie from gardens in an endless effort to keep it under control.

After partially reading the first chapter in “Planting in a Post-Wild World:”, I now know I am approaching the situation from the wrong angle.

I don’t need to be concerned about creeping charlie because it is not a displacer in our yard. It doesn’t survive in the dense parts of the yard. There is no creeping charlie anywhere in our yard except in the turf grass areas and planted gardens residing in full sun. The native wildflowers, which grow thick and dense in the rest of the yard, crowd out the creeping charlie.

My new approach to creeping charlie will to let it grow in the turf grass while focusing on crowding it out in the sparsely planted gardens on the periphery of the turf grass lawn.

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