Evolving Habitat

The appearance of the Ridgefield subdivision residence in Fishers looks like the typical suburban home at first glance. However, as one ventures from the front of the house to the backyard, a dramatic transformation takes place. The evolution from a manicured lawn to a backyard native habitat continues to progress.

The transformation from a typical suburban yard to a native landscape began seven years ago with the planting of the first purple coneflower in the yard. Little did the gardener (or his wife) know that the Echinacea obtained from his father would turn into a passion. Since that first planting, the gardener has replaced much of the prior landscape with natives. The conversion began gradually at first with the replacement of those plants that were considered invasive or potentially invasive. The privets, barberry, burning bush, and butterfly bush at the side of the house were replaced with arrowwood viburnum and chokeberry. However, the landscape conversion eventually graduated to a major landscape expansion.

Over the past few years, the backyard has undergone a significant landscape change. Much of the lawn (mowed grass) was replaced with native plantings ranging from the native shrub border hedge to rain gardens and native wildflowers. Furthermore, the plantings continue to expand and have consisted of 100% native plants. Various stages of landscaping maturity can be witnessed as portions of the native planting have been installed over each of the past several years, including a major expansion this Spring.

The focus of the landscape conversion has been to create a suburban WILDLIFE HABITAT. The native plants are an integral piece in attracting wildlife as they provide the required food, shelter, young rearing places, and insect host plants. As a result of this native plant habitat, many species of wildlife can now be found. Songbirds and butterflies, including the Indiana DNR Rare Species List White M Hairstreak butterfly, are frequent visitors and residents.

This gardener was the leader in the conversion of the Ridgefield subdivision community grassy area to the NATIVE PARK (see “Community Savings” site). His analysis and other information are available at the residence.


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