A Conservation@Home Story

LInda Ricker’s yard became a certified Conservation@Home site in August when Mark Luthin, NLI Trustee, visited and went through the checklist criteria with her. Read what he wrote about the visit below.

Linda Ricker loves to garden. Having a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, being a Master Naturalist, and her involvement in our local Wild Ones Rock River Valley Chapter, one could conclude that Linda loves to spend time in her yard. But, reality doesn’t set in until you actually see the multiple gardens that take up the vast majority of her property. Linda Ricker loves to garden. The large numbers of bees and butterflies that were seen on the flowers appreciate that Linda loves to garden.

As Linda showed off her various flower beds, she was quick to point out not only the obvious native species that she has planted, but the more subtle ones that might be a little more hidden in late August. Linda has pollinator friendly plants starting with the early spring blooms such as Prairie Smoke and lupine, through late autumn with the goldenrods, Liatris and asters. Linda pointed out at least 3 species of goldenrod that are in bloom, including stiff and zig zag. The number of bees found on the wild quinine, stiff goldenrod and wild onion was astonishing. Likely, they were equally as plentiful on the mountain mint and spotted Joe-Pye weed, among others, that have finished blooming. Lobelia and one cardinal flower were still hanging on to their blooms, but the butterfly weed and well-chewed common milkweed were ready for their seed dispersal.

A variety of trees, shrubs and fruit-bearing plants are incorporated throughout Linda’s yard which include a beautiful Chinquapin oak, blue beech, Viburnum and two types of dogwood, a red twig dogwood, and a fine looking Pogoda dogwood. Add to this her currants, raspberries and a huge variety of annual and perennial flowers such as zinnias and Russian sage, and her yard becomes an oasis for bees, birds and butterflies in the quaint village of Pecatonica.

Editor’s Note: Beautifying your yard while conserving water and creating habitat for wildlife can be easy and rewarding.  You can save money, mow less, see more birds and butterflies and enjoy a functioning yard with less effort. The focus of our Conservation@Home program is to encourage the use of native plants and to promote good water resource practices in residential yards and gardens. At the core of environmentally friendly landscapes is the use of native plants. To learn more about NLI’s Conservation@Home and Work programs visit here.



Photos by Mark Luthin


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