top of page

Garden and Land Stewardship

A simple first step to take care of the planet is to take care of your own property. This is the place to learn more and take sustainable actions in your gardens, lawns and landscapes.

You can do something now to repair the fragile ecosystem that sustains life on earth.

Sustainable Garden Design with Native Plants panel talk at the Claverack Free Library on 5/27/23

Anchor 1
The Why

Why we need to plant native plants:

It's not just about pollinators:

  • We have experienced an insect “apocalypse” due to pesticides and the loss of native habitat in favor of monoculture lawns and non native, insect resistant ornamental plants.

  • Insects are key species in the food web. A diversity of insects keeps the food web strong and balanced. Soft bodied caterpillars are a particularly important food source for many other species.

  • Over the last 50 years, North America lost 3 billion birds - no insects no birds.

  • Caterpillars transform more energy from plants to animals than any other group of insects, and so up the food chain.

  • Caterpillars and birds are adapted to feed on plants native to where they live. No native plants equates to no caterpillars then no birds and so on all the way to no habitat fit for human life.

Logic behind how you, personally, can help fix this now. 

This is the area where your personal choices can, in fact, make a big impact:

  • Seventy-eight percent of U.S. land is privately owned.

  • Whether you have many acres or a small yard, you can make a difference with your choice of plants.

  • Incorporating native plant species into your garden supports caterpillars and other insects, which in turn supports animals throughout our local food web.

Do these things

Consider these actions that will improve the health of your local habitat:

  • Shrink your lawn by replacing it with native plants. Try for 70% native plants but even a few native plants is considered progress.

  • Learn about and plant Keystone Plants [link to PDF of keystone plants for our location] in your landscape. These are plants that host the most diversity of insects.

  • Reduce outdoor lighting or install yellow bulbs.

  • Stop using pesticides and make a hospitable environment for caterpillar survival.

  • Join the Homegrown National Park movement: You don’t need to wait for the government or agencies or future generations to do something powerful right now. If you and your neighbors act it would have a bigger result than any of the existing conservation lands and parks put together.


Join Homegrown National Park 

The idea is that you don’t need to wait for government or agencies or future generations to do something powerful right now.  If you do and your neighbors do… and they are it would have a bigger result than any of the existing conservation lands and parks put together.


Garden and Landscape Stewardship Resources

Sourcing Plants - Native Plants & Seeds

Nurseries - Exclusively focused on natives


Some native plants

  • Agway, Claverack - not many but some native plants, please ask them to stock more.

  • Pondside Nursery, Hudson  - please ask them to stock more.

  • Ward’s, Great Barrington  - getting more every year, please ask them to stock more.




These two are great sources for seeds, some plugs too but they are from the Midwest so some plants are not native to this region, (if you are picky about that 😊)


Landscape Architects & Designers with knowledge of Native Plants​



Columbia County

Native Plant Gardens & Organizations - also good sources for classes and tours




Native Plants

Wildlife Habitat



Plants Native to our Region

  • Native Trees, Shrubs and Vines, William Cullina

  • Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses, William Cullina

  • Native Plants of the Northeast, by Donald J. Leopold

  • Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States, by Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge

  • Armitage’s Native Plants for North American Gardens, by Alan M. Armitage

  • Deer Resistant Native Plants, by Ruth Rogers Clausen

  • Attracting Native Pollinators, by The Xerces Society

  • Nature of Oaks, Doug Tallamy

  • Native Plant Primer, Uli Lorimer


Gardening for Birds and Insects

  • Gardening for the Birds, by George Adams

  • The Bird Garden, by Stephen W. Kress

  • The Audubon Guide to Attracting Birds, by Stephen W. Kress

  • Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants, by Christopher Kline

  • The Art of Butterfly Gardening, by Mathew Tekulsky

  • Butterflies of the East Coast, by Rick Cech and Guy Tudor

  • Caterpillars of Eastern North America, by David L. Wagner


Management, Design & Methods

  • Eradicate Invasive Plants by Teri Dunn Chase

  • Lawns Into Meadows-growing a regenerative landscape, by Owen Wormser

  • Designing Gardens and Flora of the American East, by Carolyn Summers

  • Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy


Ecology, History, Science and Attitudes toward Landscape

  • Bringing Nature Home -- How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Doug Tallamy 

  • Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, Doug Tallamy 

  • Garden Revolution; How our landscapes can be a Source of Environmental Change, Larry Weaner

  • Half Earth: Our Plant’s Fight for Life, by Edward O. Wilson

  • Braiding Sweet Grass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  • Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer

  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllben

  • Wilding-Returning Nature to our Farm by Isabella Tree


For plant identification, including invasive plants $/yr 85% accuracy:

  •  PictureThis: Plant identification with about 80 percent accuracy. It can be helpful for invasive plant identification. In some cases, it is capable of identifying seedlings of invasive plants:

  •  iNaturalist: Crowd-sourced plant identification, invasive plants, and animal and insect identification:

  •  The SEEK app for iNaturalist is available at no charge on Google Play and other app stores.

  •  Go Botany “Simple Key”: A key that uses a process of elimination for plant identification. It identifies a wide variety of nonnative, invasive plants as well as many northeast native plants.

  • The small "i" symbol on iPhones now accompany a photo on your phone that has an identifiable plant.Simply click on it and you will be prompted to Look Up - Plant >.

Facebook Groups


This Woman Wants to Destroy Your Lawn, by Peter Andrey Smith. January, 2023. Down East Magazine. Sourced Feb 1, 2023

bottom of page