by Barbara Walvoord
August 11, 2016
Lathrop has more than 30 new arrivals–full-grown native meadow wildflowers, some of them 5 feet tall. They came from a unique restored native meadow in Housatonic that had to be dismantled. So native plant lovers came from all over last Saturday to dig up and take home these valuable plants for a small amount of money.
About 100 people showed up–mostly strong young folks with pickup trucks and big tubs and carts. Adele and Jim Dowell, Sharon Grace, and I were clearly the oldest people there. The plants bound for Lathrop were dug up with the size root ball that we Lathrop residents could dig, heaved into whatever pots we had scrounged up, bent into cars not made for nursery transportation, and dropped into holes that were only as deep as we could dig.
But native plants are tough. Our new Culver’s root, New York ironweed, obedient plants, oxeye sunflowers, big bluestem, and others are now settled into the Cranberry meadow or behind the Huckleberry houses. Within minutes of the planting, butterflies arrived.
Why is this so important? Here’s the key statistic: 96% of birds needs insects, not just seeds and nectar, to raise their young. 90% of insects eat only native plants (Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home).
Lathrop’s meadows contain many native plants, but species diversity is narrow. These new plants will add diversity, support our birds and butterflies, astonish us with their beauty, and make us proud to have taken our shovels and pots and our little cars, and saved those plants and their seeds to enrich our Lathrop land.