I visited the Shaw Nature Reserve, located southwest of St. Louis, today for the first time. I was thoroughly impressed with the numerous trails, the varying terrain, and the abundant spring blooms. Woodland ephemerals have popped up everywhere. These are Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and they’re prolific in the bottomlands at SNR.
Sure, tulips and daffodils are pretty, but they add minimal ecological value to the natural landscape. Native landscaping offers food and shelter for other native flora and fauna while tolerating nature’s whims with characteristic endurance. If I had a lawn, I would supplant the invasive grass–effectively a desert of biodiversity–with large areas of natives. It would provide rewards for local wildlife and for me–less mowing!