Dickson-Murst Farm in Montgomery is in full bloom thanks to the efforts of volunteers and staff in planting eight different species of more than 30 native plants, including perennials, grasses, sedges, shrubs, and trees. The farm serves as the program office for The Conservation Foundation.
Homeowners can replace lost habitats in their yards by planting native plants rather than traditional home landscaping, to give native birds and butterflies what they need in the way of food. The birds in the region need insects and berries every day to survive.
Native plants evolved over thousands of years and provide quality wildlife habitat and food sources. Many also have deep roots which help infiltrate rain where it falls and carry the moisture into the ground, cleaning it as it goes, rather than running off the surface. Loss of open space and wildlife habitat and rainwater runoff are the leading causes of environmental degradation in developed areas.
The new native plants installed at the Dickson-Murst Farm are mainly shrub species that provide habitat and food sources, as well as aesthetic value with flowers and fall color. The plants include bottlebrush buckeye, black chokeberry, vernal witch-hazel, early wild rose, arrowwood viburnum, ninebark, dwarf honeysuckle, and smooth hydrangea. Many native and nonnative plants can have similar common names, so when choosing plants, it is always advisable to select using specific species names, rather than common names.
The Conservation Foundation is one of the region's largest and oldest private conservation organizations -- with more than 4,000 members and donors, and more than 500 volunteers who contribute 20,000 hours per year.
Work is focused in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties to preserve and restore nature in your neighborhood. Find out more at theconservationfoundation.org.