Hadley, Jamie, and Tyler Pellegrini stand next to their Conservation@Home sign.

A Conservation@Home Story

Tyler Pellegrini, NLI’s Restoration Ecologist, had his home certified this summer as a Conservation@Home site and was rewarded with a sign to proudly display in his front yard. Read the story by Mark Luthin, NLI Trustee, below.

As I approached Tyler Pellegrini and his wife, Jamie’s home in Creston, I was immediately drawn to the amazing colors that dominate the majority of their front lawn. There was the bright red of cardinal flower, butterfly weed showing off it’s beautiful orange flowers, the yellow of some very tall compass plant and partridge pea, and of course, various shades of blue and purple with hoary vervain, blue vervain, Spotted Joe-Pye weed and blazing star. As Tyler and his daughter Hadley showed off their beautiful native garden, a variety of other plants could be seen, including whorled and common milkweed, purple coneflower and even some prickly pear cactus hiding under some goldenrod. Tyler at first told me that he had planted over 30 different species of plants, only to realize a few days later that there are more than 70 different native plant species that he has planted. The Pelligrinis have color from the early spring blooms of blue bells and prairie smoke all the way through the fall with asters and golden rods. What a wonderful way to invite pollinators and other wildlife to their yard.

Tyler even modeled a portion of his back yard after a typical campsite in the Boundary Waters. There is a little fire ring, bordered by a few trees that help to remind him of the beautiful wilderness of northern Minnesota like aspen, tamarack and white cedar. How cool is that?

All of the rain that lands on their roof is funneled through underground tubes and emerges in small rain gardens. Since the runoff is slowed down, plants that are more tolerant of moist soils like the cardinal flower and blue vervain thrive.

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.

Front: Cardinal plant; back: blue vervain

Blazing star

Common milkweed

A variety of native plants in their front yard.

prickly pear

butterfly weed

Backyard with a fire ring and trees to remind Tyler of a campsite in the Boundary Waters.


Photos by Mark Luthin


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