Despite the recent damp and chilly weather, Spring is here in central Indiana!  I love going out into my yard in early Spring and seeing the Bloodroot finally bloom, signaling the flush of Spring ephemeral flowers soon to follow.  Though I live in a very urban area minutes from downtown, the  shady northwest corner of our yard is full of native species common to Indiana woodlands including Jacob’s Ladder, Wild Geranium, Crested Iris, Columbine and Solomon’s Seal.

I also compost coffee grounds/brown paper filters, veggie scraps and egg shells all winter which I turn monthly during the winter than weekly starting in April.  The finished compost will serve as a mulch around my native plants and I also brew a batch of compost tea in an old rain barrel which I’ll apply to my native shrubs and trees.  The Grow Indiana Natives program through the Indiana Native Plan Society (INPS) is a great source of information for sourcing many of the species found in my yard.  Common native herbaceous forbs (wildflowers) and graminoids (grasses and sedges) can also be seen growing at the District’s demonstration garden at the Mayor’s Garden Plots near Eagle Creek at 56th and Reed Road.

Native plants in demo garden

Utilizing native plants in home landscaping is a key strategy in combating the spread of invasive species such as Asian Bush Honeysuckle, which puts its leaves out in early Spring and is one of the last shrubs to drop leaves in the Fall.   Combating invasives species at a regional level is a focus of the Marion County CISMA (Cooperative Invasives Species Management Area) currently forming with assistance from our District.  We just participated in Indy’s first Weed Wrangle on Saturday 5/18. Be on the lookout for more events by following us on Facebook, along with Indy Land Stewardship and by checking out Keep Indianapolis Beautiful‘s project page.