Blooming Countryside Acres

  • LOCATION: Kent City
  • Country setting on 25 acres including native landscape plantings, vegetable garden, woods, and native meadows.
  • A blend of primarily native and some non-native plants in a more traditional landscape style around the house and barn.
  • Fescue low maintenance lawn (No Mow lawn).
  • Newly planted Michigan meadows.
  • Additional plantings to a five acre woodlot to increase diversity of trees and shrubs.
  • Improvements contributing to a naturally occurring Southern Wet Meadow.

Note: Registration slots support 2 hour visits; there is a lot to share. Should you prefer a shorter visit, simply let your host know upon arrival.

My interest in native plants began while teaching middle school science and later outdoor education during which time I teamed with some wonderful organizations. In the fall of 2016 I began converting my landscape plantings to native plants and continue to make changes. The landscape designs around my house and barn are primarily native plants with a more traditional landscape design born from 10 years in the landscape industry. Some non-native plants are included to add more structure during the winter months. My lawn consists of a combination of fescue grasses (No Mow Lawn) that requires little maintenance. I have been able to eliminate all fertilizers and only periodically hand spray some weeds. I mow roughly once each month so that it looks more like a traditional lawn.

In 2021 I started the process of converting 3 acres of a front field into a shortgrass prairie. I’m realizing this is a slow process that requires patience on my part to achieve the desired results. I continued this conversion in the fall of 2023 with an additional 9 acres of a previous hay field into a tallgrass prairie. I am excited to see both of these fields progress into beneficial native prairies.

Another project I am working on is improving diversity in a 5 acre woodlot that was logged. This was initially a red pine woods that is now made up of a variety of oaks, sugar and red maple, American beech, and wild cherry trees. I will be planting 2400 native trees and shrubs of different varieties to this woodlot over a four year period. Along with the planting, I will be focused on removal of invasive plants.

As time permits, I have a low area that was identified as having the characteristics of a Southern Wet Meadow. There is some excellent diversity and abundance of native plants in this natural community. My main role will be removal and control of invasive plants to allow the native plants to spread and thrive.