Go Native

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Editor,

I thank Eureka Springs for hosting such wonderful speakers in September for your first native plant fair. Also the folks that pulled this event together and the people all around were so wonderful. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy for the warming drinks and hospitality.

I want to share a photo of a landscape in St. Louis. This is the Danforth plant center across the street from Monsanto, in a busy area of town.

The prairie you see here at Danforth spreads everywhere and plants are used to “work” at what they are good at. For example switchgrass is used in areas to retain soil and keep erosion in check. Blue sage is there in full sun offering food for pollinators.

This landscape is controversial, however, to many who interestingly might not find the second image disturbing or garish! It’s not just the floaties on the lawn, the second landscape also has all chemically-treated turf grass and shrubs and vines from far away lands. What this picture represents basically is not so cute when it comes right down to it.

Ephemeral fancy for instant gratification and conforming is likely not very sustainable in the long view.  Many of these silly decorations will be tossed in landfills, or make their way into watersheds, but the first landscape is a gift that will keep giving back in so many ways because the plants are native perennials. It seems to me that perennials are a far better investment for the planet than ephemeral shopping flights of fancy.

Thanks Danforth for being bold and thanks Eureka Springs and all your wonderful citizens and civic-minded organizations.

Susan Pang

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