The Value of Signs in an Ecological Landscape
How do you communicate to your neighbors why you have little or no lawn, why you have a diversity of native plants, why your trees are not topped, why your shrubs are not pruned into meatballs, why you leave your perennials and grasses standing through winter?
Many of our neighbors are baffled by our ecological landscapes – filled with diverse native plants that we allow to grow in their natural forms. It can be particularly challenging when your yard looks completely different from all the others in your ‘hood.
Educate and inspire your neighbors with some signage which explains what the heck you are doing and why. Go bold and post multiple signs that explain your “unusual” gardening practices.
Some of these signs are only available after you have applied and met certain criteria for your landscape, others signs are available for a small charge or a donation. Fortunately most of the sign choices are relatively discrete while still being visible – so it won’t look like you have posted billboards on your property.
Get even bolder, take a step further and identify your native plants with zinc plant labels. Intrigue the postman, the UPS delivery person, the meter reader, and curious neighbors with the botanical and common names of the great native plants you have planted in your yard. You may see these folks taking notes!
Here are some great choices of signs and where you can get them. Note that some are available nationally, and some only locally:
Pollinator Habitat sign from Xerces Society
Pesticide Free Zone sign from Beyond Pesticides
Certified Wildlife Habitat sign from National Wildlife Federation
Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives sign from Healthy Bees, Healthy Live
Monarch Way Station sign from Monarch Watch
Certified Butterfly Garden sign from North American Butterfly Association
Native Plant Butterfly Garden sign from Wild Ones (membership required)
Bird Habitat sign from Pennsylvania Audubon (local)
Backyard Habitat Certification sign from Audubon Society of Portland, OR (local)
Bird Habitat sign from Desert Rivers Audubon, Arizona (local)
If we want to encourage others to garden more ecologically, signage can be a huge help. It won’t win everyone over (like those neighbors who have an abnormal fear of birds), but we can inspire many others to “find the beauty in ecological function” and plant that way.
If you have seen any great signs that I have missed, please write in and let me know.
From Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!
Photo: Xerces Pollinator Habitat Sign
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