www.LakeHomeandCabinShow.com 25 10 Reasons to Choose Native Plants for your Cabin and Shoreline by Jennifer Baker, Sparrow Landscaping I received a call from a client who recently purchased a beautiful wooded lot on the shores of Crescent Lake in Northern Wis- consin. He was panicked. He feared he had demolished the wild feel of his future weekend getaway during the excavation of his basement. The natural habitat was the primary reason for purchasing the lot and he desperately wanted it back. Unaware of native alternatives, he was ready to throw down a bag of bluegrass lawn seed onto the bare ground. We often turn to familiar landscaping choices, such as bluegrass lawns, to heal our cabins into their wild surroundings. The final result is a yard that matches the suburban landscape ideal, but does not reflect the essence of a more primitive cabin refuge. Native landscaping, often synonymous with natural landscaping, continues to gain popularity with cabin owners who seek an environment that is indigenous and sustainable. Here are ten more reasons to go native with your cabin scenery: 1. Blend. Native plantings create yards that blend into natural surroundings, rather than stand out with Eurasian-born transplants. 2. Plant for the future. Be proud of America’s history. Plant the flora that was here before us, the plant life that will sustain itself for our future generations. 3. Relax. When matched with your site con- ditions, native plants need little to no watering, weeding and fertilizers. Unlike groomed lawns, native landscaping doesn’t need weekly mow- ing and maintenance. Get off the lawnmower and enjoy your weekend! 4. Attract butterflies. Native plants attract native butterflies! Many caterpillars feed exclu- sively on one type of plant before transforming into their beautiful adult form. Plant milkweeds if you want to see monarchs. 5. Attract birds. Go beyond your birdfeeder and create a native plant feeding station that doubles as habitat through the year. Plant a few Cupplants and watch goldfinches and indigo buntings eat the ripened seeds during a late summer day. 6. Stabilize delicate shorelines and slopes. Deep-rooted native plants collect and filter more storm-water runoff than shallow rooted lawngrasses, stabilizing shorelines and slopes. Plant Joe pye weed, fox sedge and alder along your shoreline. Bluegill and bass will benefit from the shelter, shade and insect meals. 7. Natural mosquito repellent. If you hate mosquitoes, plant native plants! Dragonflies and other invertebrate preda- tors will flock to your yard like a brigade in search of their evening meal. 8. Beauty. There are thousands of choices of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees to add bright colors, textures, and native beauty to your landscape. Picture a pagoda dogwood grove among a sea of wild ginger. 9. Plant for success. Native plants are superior groundcovers where blue- grass turf fails. If your lawn isn’t thriving, seek a native alternative. For dry, acid, sandy soils, plant wild blueberry plants. 10. Create loon habitat. Loons are a symbol of the serenity that cabin life on our Midwestern lakes brings. Creating and protecting their native habitat is critical if we want to keep this symbol alive. So go native and discover the alternative to groomed lawns, sculpted junipers, leaf-blowing and chemical weed-killers. You can make your cabin look like it was low- ered from the sky onto beautiful land with little disturbance to the natural surroundings. Jennifer Baker is the owner of Sparrow Landscaping in Westfield, Wisconsin. sparrowlandplanning.com