Since 2006, Grow Native!, Shaw Nature Reserve and Wild Ones have collaborated on the Landscape Challenge, which encourages homeowners to landscape with native plants. The challenge provides an opportunity to promote native landscaping to our broader community and to have tons of fun. We also hope our story inspires other Wild Ones chapters to sponsor a landscape makeover and spread the native plant message to new audiences.
As native plant enthusiasts and gardeners, Wild Ones love to dig in the dirt and create a new habitat. Most of us, however, have limited space to do this on the property we own. What do you do when you run out of space? Why, find another yard owned by like-minded people and make it over!
2016 is our eleventh year of the program. It is great to think about how each of the previous winners’ yards have impacted friends and family, who impact more friends and family… how many new native gardens exist because of this program?
The 2016 challenge will focus on participants in the St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home program who live within the 63119, 63126, and 63123 zip codes. The application period ends on May 29, and this year’s planting date will be on Saturday, September 24.
Our landscape makeover contest was inspired by a pilot project in 2005 designed by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Grow Native! program and the Mid-Missouri chapter of Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. They laid the organizational groundwork and coached us through the 2006 St. Louis contest. In St. Louis, the partnership consisted of Grow Native!, Wild Ones – St. Louis chapter, and Shaw Nature Reserve.
Other chapters might consider partnering with a wildflower nursery, the local Sierra Club, nature study groups or similar organizations.
Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article from 2006
The project has several steps to accomplish before the planting date:
- The geographic area and objective are defined in March and the application window opens in April.
- In recent years, furthering our collaborative efforts, the candidates are participants in the St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home program in the defined geographic area.
- The selection committee reviews the applications in June and the lucky homeowner is notified toward end of June.
- The sponsors provide the services of a professional native landscape designer who works with the homeowner on the design and plant selection in July and August.
- The sponsors also provide up to $1,500 worth of native plants and other landscape materials, that are delivered to the site near the planting date.
- The homeowner prepares the site in August and September, prior to the planting date.
- In August and September, Wild Ones recruits volunteers for planting day.
- Learn, plant, eat (we always have snacks!) and enjoy the company of other native plant enthusiasts on the planting date in September.
- Lastly, provide support for the homeowners, particularly through the first year where there can be many questions.
The steps of the process are available in more detail in this document, written by Betty Struckhoff.
A HUGE thank you goes out to all of our partners, sponsors, chairs, designers, volunteers and homeowners who make this yearly project possible!
Landscape Challenge Winners
|2006||Webster Groves||Nathan and Julie Jacobs||Scott Woodbury|
|2007||North St. Louis||Habitat For Humanity||Scott Woodbury|
|2008||South St. Louis||Mary Lamb||Ed Schmidt||Scott Woodbury
Scott and Walter Peterson
|2009||Richmond Heights||Kevin and Melissa Baum||Ed Schmidt||Penney Bush-Boyce|
|2010||Creve Coeur||Nick and Donna Giunta||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2011||Chesterfield||Neil and Erica Rose||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2012||Pasadena Hills||Tim and Caroline Yau||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2013||St. Louis City||Dawn Weber||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2014||Kirkwood||Lisa Wilhelms||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2015||University City||Terry Egan and Rosalie Uchanski||Ed Schmidt||Jeanne Cablish|
|2017||Brentwood||Marlene Becker||James Faupel||Robert May|