by Georgia LaMar, volunteer sanctuary certifier
When did you decide to make your home an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary? I started gardening for wildlife with native plants after hearing a speech by Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Once I fully understood how essential native plants are for birds and pollinators, I was so excited to get started with planting. Finding out that Audubon completely understood the importance of natives was just a gift! I hope to get the neighbors on board with the Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary sign.
How would you describe your style? My goal is to learn enough about native plants and to arrange them in a way that attracts and doesn't repel my neighbors. I want to win them over. My main goal is to spread the idea of planting natives by having a beautiful yard filled with natives. We need to educate others about the importance of what we're doing in our gardens.
What is the one plant you can’t do without? I love my frogfruit (phyla nodiflora) It was so easy to grow and there are little bees and pollinators on it all summer long. It's a host plant, too! https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=phno2
What plant gives you the most bang for the buck? I love the insects that come to my Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) the bees, damselflies, and beautiful wasps are amazing.
Do you have a favorite trick? I'm trying to learn which plants you can cut back and when. I LOVE the tall elegance of our natives, but when they completely flop over that can be difficult. This year I cut my Canada goldenrod way back and by September it looked great. It wasn’t flopping at all. It was still tallish, which I like. The general rule I've heard is to cut back before July 4th to make sure you don't interfere with blooming. Now I need to find out which of my other natives can handle being cut back early in the spring to prevent flopping later in the season.
Note: You can follow Leslie’s journey on Facebook @pollinatorfriendlylandscapes.
To learn more about certifying your yard as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, please visit our website.