By Sue Leahy
Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
The Leahy Wildlife Habitat will be participating in the St. Louis 7th Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour on Sunday, June 11.
We did this last year also and, despite the brutal heat that day, had 72 visitors to our yard. People are very interested in native plants! Because of this, I would encourage other Wild Ones members to participate in this tour as well. It’s a great opportunity to reach out to folks that may or may not have heard about Wild Ones.
I do have some suggestions if you want to participate. Signage is very important. I made an attempt to talk to everyone who came last year, but it was hard to have lengthy conversations. Visitors are not afraid to ask questions, though, so explanatory signage goes a long way:
- We typed out a list of plants in a given garden bed with common and latin names, bloom time, and color. We laminated the list and stuck it on a stake in each garden.
- For rain gardens, we added a sign explaining where the water came from that entailed the need for that garden.
- I also had signs on my rain barrels indicating capacity, where we got them, and what we used the water for (because natives don’t need to be watered).
I put a table outside with Wild Ones and St. Louis Audubon’s program Bring Conservation Home rack cards as well as a notebook of pictures of the yard at different times of the year. I added a bouquet of lovely native plants blooming at that time. It is not necessary to serve refreshments, but we had cold water available for people to refill their water bottles.
All in all, I felt it was a worthwhile endeavor, and we are looking forward to this year’s tour. You can sign up to be a tour host through May 1 on the Sustainable Backyard Tour website. If you sign up for the tour, let me know, and I will get you some literature to display. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.