When Jane Rose decided to re-landscape her yard, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She wanted to go with native plants for her new yard. So, she turned to her friend and former neighbor, Judith Nastally for help. Nastally owns and operates her own design firm, J. Lynne Associates, located in Fort Wayne since the early 1990s.
Her company specializes in native plant landscape design, and in installation of container gardens.
When Nastally first consulted with Rose in early October about landscaping her home at 5228 Indiana Avenue, she had a few requests.
Rose told Nastally that she specifically wanted flowers blooming in her garden from spring to fall; a healthy butterfly population frequenting her property; and plants around her home that were good for feeding local birds.
To begin the project, Nastally installed new stepping stones in an area in front of Rose’s home. Along with the new stones, she planted Prairie Drop Seed Grass because its seeds are high in fat, which gives local birds good energy for their diet.
Joe Pye Weed, a plant whose flowers have a high nectar content, was planted next. With nectar you can attract butterflies. The Joe Pye Weed also blooms six to eight weeks longer than most non-native flowers.
She planted Liatris, another butterfly magnet that provides nectar for pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. There was Helenium – a late bloomer – to provide nectar for migrating butterflies. And Asters were planted as well, another plant that provides nectar for fall pollinators.
Nastally explains that the importance of native plants isn’t just aesthetic. It’s all about sustaining the bottom of the food chain, she says. Native plants are better at providing nourishment to local insects, like butterflies and bees. Those are the pollinators for Indiana’s natural flowers and fruits, as well.
And, native insects are the best food for local birds, which ensures their health, as well.
Rose explained that her motivation in going native was two-fold: “I just believe it should be natural. They’re hardy, they’re natural. And I really like the way it turned out.”
Nastally, who is a local Master Gardener, received her degree in design from IPFW. She currently gives lectures locally for gardening clubs, the Botanical Conservatory, the annual Home & Garden Show at the Coliseum and the Native Plant Conference in Dayton, Ohio.