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Group helps couple rethink traditional American lawn

It was a great green day at the home of Don and Melba Grogan in Farmington. Volunteers put in about 100 native plants in a difficult to mow area, completing an Earth Day project that rethinks the traditional American lawn.

The planting area lays on the downward slope of a koi fish pond with a large tree sitting in the midst of it. Mowing there had been a little bit difficult, but with so much shade, other plant choices seemed a bit limited. Shade’s not a big problem when you’re working with Missouri’s native plants, however. The Grogan’s now have a mow-free zone full of interesting native plants in a horse-shoe shaped bed that includes the base of the tree.

Linda Resinger, who is in charge of the MAC greenhouse, put together the free-form design with 20 different native plant species. She included ferns, palm sedges, celandine poppy, crested iris, columbine, royal catchfly and more. “There should be a succession of blooms all season long,” she added.

The plants themselves were provided at cost by Missouri Wildflowers Nursery,, a Grow Native! certified nursery.

The Grogans have had a long-standing interest in native plants and were selected as the Daily Journal’s Grow Native! Landscape Challenge winner by an independent citizen’s committee. East Ozarks Audubon Society and the 25 Gardeners Club each had representatives on the committee.

The Audubon Society became involved because native plants are an environmentally friendly option for the traditional lawn, and they can also help build habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Since native plants have had thousands of years to adapt to Missouri’s climate and geology they don’t need extra watering, fertilizer or pesticides to thrive. Replacing a portion of the lawn with them helps reduce greenhouse gases by reducing the amount of mowing required. Songbird stations and butterfly lawns also add an extra dimension of interest to a home landscape — something to watch with children or grandchildren from your windows.

This is the third year for the Daily Journal’s Grow Native! Landscape Challenge. The first year, a butterfly lawn was planted at the home of Faye Worley near Farmington and the second year a rain garden transformed a rocky, hard to manage area into something a little greener at the home of Michaelle and Carl Hall in Desloge.

Renee Jean can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 117 or at

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