One Dallas suburb is living proof of successful alternatives to perfectly manicured lawns. The residents’ work has resulted in the proliferation of local native plant species, therefore rebuilding natural habitats in the area.
With a population of just over 100,000 people, Lewisville, Texas, has been gradually moving away from swathes of green grass and replacing them with native wildflowers, according to Texas Monthly. From city works in public spaces to individual gardeners on their own property, more and more green spaces are returning to native ecosystems.
This reflects a nationwide trend, with 18 million Americans taking up gardening for the first time in 2020, according to the National Gardening Survey. This was likely sparked by the pandemic, when people needed to find new ways to entertain themselves while staying at home. The result of experiments like Lewisville means that, as more gardeners fill city spaces with native plants, it’s possible that cities could begin to create healthier wildlife corridors.
Such efforts can make for a more attractive and diverse view for residents and can also revitalize the entire local ecosystem. Native plants provide a wealth of benefits for local nature, such as providing nectar for pollinators, like hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, moths, and bats. What’s more, a wider variety of plants offers more options for protective shelter for many mammals, while the nuts, seeds, and fruits are often vital food sources for local wildlife.
In Lewisville, the local planting trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Since the local government started its efforts in 2019, an area nonprofit’s volunteer-run native plant sales have become immensely popular.
“Last spring our Williamson County plant sale sold out of native plants, got more, and then sold out again,” said Meg Inglis, the executive director of the Native Plant Society of Texas.
The movement also provides an opportunity for residents to get outside and stay active.
“I just wanted to create something that looked like it belonged around a farmhouse,” Lewisville resident Cindy Derrick told Texas Monthly. “I like flowers better than I like grass.”
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