Great News: We are converting our lawns to NATIVE wildflower meadows!!

Following is a posting I made June 30, 2015. The link for this posting is: This all relates to the Monarch Highway thread. But it is not stopping with the Monarch. The Monarch happens to be the poster species. No….This thing is going to keep gaining momentum! And that is exciting. I believe that this is all going to catch on and link itself together…state to state, across NA…maybe the world.  I have been beating this drum for over a decade. Doug Tallamy much longer. He has much more information than I had.  Went to Doug Tallamy’s presentation last week at the local Audubon. The content of his presentation/message….is mind-blowing. This guy has research results that tell the whole story.  The data are irrefutable and Doug now makes it all so clear.  Did you know that our native Oaks (Quercus spp) host something like 350 native species that in turn feed our native birds? And did you also know that any one of the hundreds of exotic species that we have planted in generations past…..supports almost zero native species? Doug was featured in this New York Times article, the title of which says it all: To Feed the Birds, First Feed the Bugs. Bottom line folks is that if we really want our birds back, we need to embrace our native plants and also our native insects…NOT POISON THE INSECTS and NOT REPLACE OUR NATIVE PLANTS WITH EXOTICS (which we have been doing for over a hundred years). Things are changing. LAWNS HAVE GOT TO GO…AND THEY WILL :) Yes, it is true….people are going to convert much of their lawns to wildflower meadows. IT IS HAPPENING MORE AND MORE…RIGHT NOW!!!! I roto tilled my side lawn and I have planted a small group (and growing) of native plants. I already have increased my butterfly species diversity. It is going to explode in the next several years. This year (fall) I am quite confident that I will get Monarch butterfly reproduction on my former lawn here in Maine. I should have recorded Doug’s entire presentation but I got there right at the beginning and I do not know if he would have given permission for that. Anyway, I did order a DVD that is supposedly an entire Doug Tallamy presentation. If you have not seen his presentation, I am confident that you will in the future years. This movement is growing in America (at least). I predict that it is not going to stop now. I do not think that big business can stop this movement. I do think that local nurseries are going to find a new, growing market…….in our historical, native plants. THAT IS EXCITING !!! Over the last several years I have complained to the local nurseries….to no avail. I talked with a local owner this Spring and he told me that he remembers me because I “chewed him out” last year….LOL. That is a compliment to me. I denied though….telling him that I do not chew anybody out. He reaffirmed that I did chew him out. Good! These nurseries need to start selling native plants. It is happening right now. We spread the word and it is spreading. Keep spreading the word folks. It is working!!! We will be changing over to wildflowers….NATIVE WILDFLOWERS….NOT THESE SO-CALLED MIXES THAT ARE NOT NATIVE. We will see a plethora of native insect species and we will embrace this. On the tail of this we will see AN EXPLOSION OF OUR NATIVE BIRD POPULATION. Oh….I AM NOT CRAZY…THIS IS COMING!! We will see myriads of butterflies again, flitting around our yards. We will no longer have to smell the nasty odors of pesticides when we ride our suburban streets. For me, the word pesticide converts to one thought…..the murder of nature. We WILL continue to fight the poison companies. We WILL win this war with them. We will not stop until we do. My gallery site: If you click the link below you will instantly see a close bust of a male common loon and its prominent forehead. I believe this is a diagnostic characteristic for determining sex. The female does not have this prominent forehead. I pointed this out in one of my captions. I may be corrected on this, but all literature I have read uses only comparative body size to differentiate the sexes of common loons. The female does not have this prominent forehead. Thanks for reading; keep spreading the word…. and thanks for the NSN forums. Robert King – See more at: On July 4, I added the following content, in response to some comments: Paul and James. I use no chemicals whatsoever on what lawn I have. I do use poison to kill the Asiatic Bittersweet vine that is going to become the death of our woodlands here in Maine. It is well established, ubiquitous and nobody seems to be concerned or even know of it. I have to suggest to the powers that be to get the word out on this. For this plant only I have been using glyphosate (round-up) but apparently this is not lethal enough. I severed a 2-3 inch Asiatic Bittersweet stem last year and soaked the basal area with glyphosate. Was shocked to see that it has re-sprouted this year. Doug Tallamy recommends GARLON-4 (brand name). So this is the only pesticide of any kind I will use; i.e. to specifically target the Asiatic Bittersweet and never broadcast application….only specific plants and very carefully applying this poison. Let me put it this way…if you do not apply a systemic poison to the well-established ABS plant, it will continue to flourish wherever you find it. Now, simply pulling the tiny plants is best….but get the entire root. I do have Dandelions and Plantain and I pull them with various types of mechanical weeders I have. The one I like lately I think is called the Weed Weasle. Anyway, I like it because I can stay standing and weed a patch of lawn fairly quickly. NO….this has not been much work for me. However…..YES, it was a considerable nuisance for the first couple of years. But only during the Spring months, during the period when plants were competing for establishment. BTW, I still do have a considerable piece of lawn left to mow. I keep the mower deck as high as it will go. This gives the grass a better chance of remaining unstressed during those unpredictable dry spells. And an unstressed lawn is much more likely to outcompete any invasives. Yes, unwanted plants are in almost any soil source that is brought in, and this new soil is an ideal environ for invasive plants to germinate. And whenever any soil is disturbed, the opportunists are there to germinate. When soils are severely disturbed (worked)….. most often, invasives and native pioneers are the first to establish. But no, once my native wildflowers became established, my “weed” problem among the wildflowers became almost non-existent. Ok, I do have about 3 or 4 new (yet-unidentified) individual herbaceous plants this growing season. But I also have a group of Swamp Milkweed that came from where…..I do not know. They just popped up last year and last year I had one Monarch land on one of them and then left the area. This year, I guarantee you that I will have Monarchs and Monarch eggs. BTW, I have no concern whatsoever that these 3 or 4 yet-unidentified individual plants will develop into a nuisance, because they are only individuals and when I finally do identify them, that will be the day I decide their fate. I will either pull them or leave them to flourish. Save your leaves :) Leaves quickly make incredibly rich topsoil. I save all my Autumn and Spring leaves in a huge pile. That pile shrinks very quickly. Leaves break down very quickly and the resulting soil is dark and rich. But it seems to me that this pile of soil is also a perfect medium for the germination of spore or seeds that find their way to it. So, I just cover this rich, new soil with a folded plastic tarp (a green one…not blue). This rich soil is exactly as potting soil that you pay top dollar for. I get it free and you can too. Just save your leaves and don’t worry about the pile. “Weeds” I fought the undesirables for a couple of years. Now, the more I plant native wildflowers, the less problem I have with undesirables. I use this word because any plant can be a nuisance, including many of our natives. I do not use the word “weed”….simply because the chemical companies are have perverted us in this regard. Monsanto’s Round-Up ads said that the only good weed was a dead weed. Well, that makes me angry. Some people consider every species other than their damned grass…..a pest. But by definition, that thinking is perverted. Our native plants developed their interrelationships over millions of years. They are not exotics. They are native….derived from the word ….natural. Their lawns are a perversion. Not occurring naturally, lawns require tremendous input of resources, and are a result of the owner’s vanity. In the end, my native wildflower meadow with all of its butterflies and bees…..will have much more class and beauty than any of my neighbors’ lawns with straight lines…..give me a break! Paul, here are the most desirable and common natives that are solidly established on the entire area that was once my side lawn. My front lawn is now half Gray Birch, annual sunflowers and a perennial sunflower that is native to the American prairie, called False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoidese). This plant is not native to Maine but it is native to NA. That is ok for me. I will keep an eye on it. Now for the natives: Joe-Pye-Weed Boneset Swamp Milkweed and Butterfly WEED…NOT Butterfly Bush. I believe Butterfly Bush is an Asian native….not native to NA. I strive for wildflowers that will feed butterfly larvae as well as adults. I cannot always get that, but I try and I am learning. Most of what I learn is from many years past seeing and identifying native wildflowers in the Maine woods and ALSO from my field guides over the years. I admit that I am not good at using plant keys. Aster Goldenrod Oh, and I grabbed a couple of native Phlox plants that I saw blooming last month in a local “wild” area. If you transplant something, take a root ball with it and keep it soaked right up until it goes in the ground and afterwards too. Watch it closely for maybe a week after transplant. They do get shocked when transplanted and will often wilt afterwards for maybe a week or so. When that happens, I just have lots of water ready for them. They work their way out of it and become completely at home in their new ground within about a week or so. So I just have established 3 native Phloxes too. Am not sure if they are great for butterflies and bees but I do know that they are native and they are relatively early bloomers. On a back parcel I have what I believe to be Cow Parsnip and it is has become a terrible nuisance for me. I have been using the Hula Hoe to wipe it out. So far, I have largely planted just one or two established, potted natives, rather than seeds. But now, I am starting to spread native seeds in the bare soil. Paul, I recommend using field guides for your identifications. I would be very careful about what advice I am getting. And yes, check mine…think about it. Ponder and make up your own mind. BTW, I do not trust nurseries here in southern Maine. They are profit maximizing (understandably :) ) and the public is still largely demanding exotics. The public still wants the plants that make their property look pretty. Apparently, that is the one and only criterion. We are working to change that, because…if you want to feed the birds….first feed the insects. Over 90% of our native passerine birds (small perching ones…the common ones) absolutely must feed their nestlings INSECTS! If they do not, the nestlings die. And our native insects and native plants evolved together. Largely, our native insects do not eat these exotics that people have been planting on the lawns for over a hundred years. Again, we are in the process of changing that. I do not have a large parcel here, but I have what is clearly the best wildlife habitat in the area….and yes, insects are wildlife. I WANT A DIVERSITY OF NATIVE BUTTERFLIES BACK AT MY HOUSE. AND IN JUST 3 YEARS, I HAVE A GOOD JUMP ON THIS. I AM GONG TO GET THEM. I WILL HAVE EVEN MORE THIS SUMMER :) Robert Last edited by Blck-shouldered Kite on Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total. – See more at: