Every year, the St. Louis and St. Charles Area Chapters of Wild Ones, with the support of Grow Native!, sponsor the Landscape Challenge, which encourages homeowners to landscape with native plants. Each program chooses a lucky homeowner whose yard receives a makeover, transforming excess turf into a native Missouri landscape. The sponsoring organizations collaborate to provide the services of a native landscape designer, funds to purchase native plants, and volunteers to install the landscape. The homeowners prepare the sites and agree to maintain the new plantings. A Wild Ones yard is more alive and becomes an inspiration for the surrounding neighborhood!
The winner of this year’s St. Louis Landscape Challenge was Laura Arthur, who lives in the North Hampton neighborhood near Tower Grove Park. On May 7, Wild Ones volunteers gathered to install native plants according to a design created by Erin Goss, Native Plant Initiative Coordinator at Shaw Nature Reserve and a Wild Ones member. (Arthur supplemented the grant award with personal funds to convert her entire front yard.) Originally from South Carolina, Arthur came to St. Louis in 2013 to study genetics at Washington University and is currently a scientist at a biotechnology company where she studies cells of the immune system as a treatment for cancer. Her leisure time is spent learning more about native plants and St. Louis history, and propagating native seeds.
Adam and Angie Quigley, of St. Charles city, were the winners of this year’s St. Charles Landscape Challenge. The garden was installed on September 9 using a design by Wild Ones member Jim Stellern, who consulted with the Quigleys to provide a garden that should thrive in shade, part shade, and sun, with blooms all season long. The property is .43 acres with a large sweeping front and side yard, on a street with a good amount of pedestrian and auto traffic. The garden is integrated into the yard that includes a “Little Free Library,” with stepping stones and a bench under a crabapple tree, to welcome passersby to relax and enjoy a book. Angie is the Chair of the Neighborhood Landscape Committee for her neighborhood HOA and organized the committee to plant 60 native trees along the neighborhood streets. Adam and Angie have two young children and she hopes they can enjoy watching nature unfold around them in the garden.
Applications for these grants are received in the fall and winter, and the programs will start accepting applications soon for 2024. Learn more at https://stlwildones.org/landscape-challenge/ and https://stcharles.wildones.org/programs/
At top, photo of Laura Arthur’s yard (left) and Adam and Angie Quigley’s yard (right) after transformations. Photos courtesy of St. Louis and St. Charles Area chapters of Wild Ones.