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  • KATE REFINE DESIGNS

Going Native...Hearing Birdsong

Updated: Jan 19



In the past three years, we at Kate Refine Designs, have become more and more aware of the importance of native plants to the overall well being of our world – and that is not laying it on too think. Rather, it is a nod to the idea that we are not independent of nature – but rather we are ‘the product of a vibrant natural world, not its master’ as Doug Tallamy states in Nature’s Best Hope - a favorite new read in our offices.


In our urban and suburban environments, we have fallen into the trap of not being in touch with the natural world, of not being aware of maintaining relationships with the natural plants and wildlife that naturally occur in our area. The plants that have evolved to grow in our soils, in our climate, are those that have developed ecologically to provide sustenance to the insects, pollinators and birds and mammals that live there.


By re-introducing native species back into our yards – be they urban or suburban, we are inviting birds, butterflies, pollinators of every stripe to come back and stay and enjoy our yards with us. And, if our neighbors add some native species in their yards too, we develop a corridor or pathway for pollinators and we develop an ecological causeway. We also develop what Doug Tallamy is inviting us to create – Home Grown National Parks.


Converting parts of our lawns or turf, which are devoid of any ecological benefit, to some beautiful native species gardens, we can bring life and birdsong back to our communities. We are witnessing a change in the landscape designs in our suburban yards. There is a movement toward a New Naturalism – using our landscape plants to create resilient and sustainable gardens. We can begin to see the effects of the plants - not just in the beauty they provide - but in the native butterfly, bird and pollinator species that are attracted to our yards. Soon, we will notice that being in our own yards, can be as thrilling as a trip to a national or state park.


And did we mention the beauty!



The goal at KRD is to help our clients see their yards as possibilities for resilient thriving ecosystems – that includes space for them to play, relax and watch the birds and bees do their thing. This transformation can be achieved – in taking small steps in small spaces in small ways. And the bounty will be huge!


In each of our designs we will strive to promote a majority of native plants. What could be more beautiful than a Redbud, a Pagoda Dogwood, or an Oak? And nothing can compete with the the loveliness of the Blazing Star or the Coneflower and the finches it attracts? Or the Monarda and the hummingbirds it serves?


We look forward to the Spring; when we can get our fingers in the soil again and start creating beautiful spaces. But for now, for Winter Solstice, we will be looking inward, and learning and planning for growth.






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