Watch Restorative Nature Experience's Ben Porchuk in a video with Diana Beresford-Kroger
'Tuning Up' Urban Ecology
One Yard at a Time
If you are interested in beginning a garden or adding native plants to an existing ecological space with more species and features, we are great collaborators to assist you. We add our ecological and technical expertise to assist local landscapers create more ecologically beneficial nature creations in the city. We also have worked directly with landowners. Specifically, we assist in design, plant sourcing and 'biodiversity building.' To get site specific quotes, recommendations, contact us. To register your property as a part of a national program for native plant gardening, visit In the Zone Gardens, a project of Carolinian Canada and World Wildlife Fund Canada. If you have a rural property within the Carolinian Zone in Canada (see Map), you may be interested in signing up for Carolinian Canada's Landowner Leaders Program, an initiative that will assist you in visioning, conservation planning and possibly find some funding sources to conduct conservation restoration on your property. Below are some logos of the programs mentioned above. Further below are some gardening options for you if you would like assistance with urban properties.
native wetland landscaping
Few features in a landscape attract more wildlife or create more visual beauty than wetlands. Further, the sounds can soothe while drawing in migrating songbirds in spring (they migrate at night and you wake up to them drinking, and feeding in the morning). The calls of toads or frogs that may choose to breed in urban wetlands are refreshing sounds often softening the harshness of planes flying over head, or the traffic on nearby roadways. Once established, wetland plants add much colour and texture, providing landing pad for dragonflies, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
shaded forest gardens
There's nothing like a diverse forest of northeastern North America. Sure, that's my bias as these temperate forests are my stomping grounds, my Alma mater, my sacred grounds. While it's not easy since many urban areas have been so denuded of nature and nature's soul (fertile, alive, and diverse soil), we have a pretty good idea how to build back forests in our front, back or side yards. Our lawns can go from a few species of non-native grasses and 'weeds' to dozens of species of ferns, trilliums, ephemeral spring flowers as well as gorgeous native grasses, long banished to the outskirts of town. Have a look in the photo gallery below for the transformation of our yard using a number of shade species from the eastern woodlands.
Native grasses of the prairie and meadow are beautiful in their own right in addition to being hugely important in sequestering carbon and providing the backbone for our open grassland ecosystems. That said, there's much more to the prairie than grasses. The myriad of colours represented by our native flowers of prairies and meadows is exhilarating. What's wonderful about these ecosystems is that these beautiful grasses and wildflowers attract many pollinating insects which are crucial for biodiversity. Since many new homes have much sunlight, this habitat could be spread across eastern North America on small parcels in cities and suburbs.