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Native plants help sustain wildlife

Fueling station — A monarch butterfly relies on the fall-blooming aster and other native plants for nectar as it migrates south for winter. © Fotolia

Fueling station — A monarch butterfly relies on the fall-blooming aster and other native plants for nectar as it migrates south for winter. © Fotolia

The Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society’s annual conference features Douglas W. Tallamy, a University of Delaware professor who specializes on the sustainable relationships among insects, wildlife and plants.

In his book, Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (Timber Press, $27.95, hard cover), he writes of the unbreakable link between native plants and native wildlife.

The bugs, birds and other fauna are hard wired to seek food and shelter from native plants or to use them for laying eggs. The relationship is a matter of their survival and as we sprawl into the suburbs, we destroy or disrupt the natural habitat of birds, butterflies and other creatures.

Event: Growing Native Plants for Wildlife, 15th annual Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society
Date: 8 a.m., Nov. 22
Where: Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park, The Garrison, 6002 N. Post Rd.
Fees: Non-members, $ 65 before Nov. 1, $ 75 after; $ 35 for students
For more information:
www.inpaws.org, or Wendy Ford, (317) 334-1932.

We can remedy that, though. Tallamy advocates planting clusters of native plants in our landscape. A single native plant stuck here and there will not do as much for the environment as concentrations of these plants.  “Create large and more densely planted gardens than you may have maintained in the past. This more heavily planted landscape is indeed likely to contrast with the stark and barren lawns of your neighbors, but it will not be less attractive.”

With very little effort, “we can each make a measurable difference almost immediately by planting a native nearby,” Tallamy wrote. “As gardeners and stewards of our land, we have never been so empowered and the ecological stakes have never been so high.”

The public is invited to the daylong event.

Master Gardener classes begin

Marion County Master Gardener classes have been set for this fall. The program is made up of 18-three-hour sessions, Oct. 1 through Dec. 10. The day class will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays; evening class, Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 to 9 p.m.

The classes will be at Purdue Extension-Marion County Office,

6640 Intech Blvd. Registration is $95 and the deadline is Monday (Sept. 27). For more information, please call (317) 275-9305, e-mail Info@IndyMG.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit the Web site.

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