Nature of the Ozarks

69

Editor,

Goodbyes are difficult, but inevitable, as time changes everything. While preparing to move, memories swirl your mind as you go through photos, trophies or great-grandma’s dishes.

The pursuit of acquiring and storing tangible remnants of years past is ordinary. We can’t let things go until the moment arrives when you realize you can.

The hardest thing to let go, as we depart, will be our outdoor space. It is the space that many homeowners are happy to see changing of the guard. It’s not a manicured lawn, pretty flowers or finely trimmed hedges that we’ll miss.

In 2010, we began the process of converting our lawn into gardens filled with native plants. All kinds of native trees, shrubs and forbs were planted or sowed over many seasons.

It is now 2017. The spaces outside changed many times and we hope Google scanned us on a good year.

It wasn’t the plants, themselves, that inspired so much as fondness for the outdoors. It was the other kinds of life that came from or were attracted to the natives.

It was astounding to see spicebush swallowtails after we planted spicebushes. Like how did they ever find us? Counting the Monarch caterpillars or see their metamorphosis was an enchantment beyond words. And bees will come if you plant what they co-evolved with over the vastness of time.

I always appreciated mom and dad robins feeding their juveniles for the first week or so after they fledged. Hopping around the yard, carefree of pesticides and other toxins that might harm them in a neighboring yard. These creatures are pure themselves just wanting the tiniest sliver of our yard to carry on with another generation in tow. We decided we could foster for them an organic yard and oblige the window nest in exchange for their beautiful songs.

There were nights when we saw or heard the great horned owl or a bat coming out of the bat box we put out. Hawks and migrating birds reminded us that spring was here or winter was nigh.

So to all the fascinating life forms in our erstwhile outdoors, we say goodbye and thank you. Thanks for those memories, so in the present, that they couldn’t manifest themselves in a box. Thanks to the native vegetation that made this life possible.

To learn more about native plants please see www.grownative.org. Buy plants or seeds from Grow Native vendors or become a grow native vendor yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy New Year and cheers to more gardens!

Susan Pang

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