Native Flowers & Fields Tour demonstrates the beauty and benefits of gardening with native plants

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Michael McGuire, a member of The Watershed Foundation board of directors, was present at the Bell Rohr bioswale at Lake Tippecanoe to help visitors learn more about the varieties of plants present and where to source them. The Bell Rohr bioswale was constructed in 2011 and features more than 3000 native plants.

The Clean Waters Partnership’s Native Flowers & Fields Tour was a great success. The event was held on June 18, with visitors touring six distinct garden sites that have utilized native plants.

According to Caitlin Yoder, watershed coordinator for The Watershed Foundation, and a member of the Clean Waters Partnership education committee, the event drew dozens of people for a great learning opportunity.

“It was exciting to show the public what gardening with native plants can look like. These plants are just as beautiful as some of the non-native varieties, but with exponentially more benefits to water quality and local wildlife,” Yoder said.

Following the tours, attendees traveled to a reception at Tippy Creek Winery. Several prizes were awarded, including a piece of original artwork by Terry Armstrong.

“This event offered a way for visitors to not only see some exquisite local gardens — but also see how truly beautiful native plant species can be when incorporated into our landscaping,” said Lyn Crighton, executive director of The Watershed Foundation. “There’s an important link between native plant species and the quality of the water in our lakes and streams. These plants are meant to thrive here. They provide a source of nutrients for pollinators and they help soak up and clean water before it enters our watershed.”

The Clean Waters Partnership’s Education Committee is a collaboration between The Watershed Foundation, Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams, Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Kosciusko County Recycling Depot, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and Kosciusko Water and Woodlands Invasive Partnership. Their mission is to create awareness for

Two tour attendees stand near the Bell Rohr bioswale at Lake Tippecanoe, one of six sites featured in the Native Flowers & Fields Tour. The bioswale serves as an alternative to a storm sewer, acting as a space to absorb water in a low flow situation or to effectively re-route the water in a storm. Bioswales improve water quality by infiltrating the first flush of storm water runoff and filtering the large storm flows they convey. Native plant species planted on the site help to absorb water quickly and effectively reducing runoff.

watershed issues, provide education and outreach, facilitate behavior change, and encourage Involvement to multiply the work being done for lake, river, and stream conservation.

Sponsors of this event included Main Channel, Lake Tippecanoe Property Owners, Inc., Barbee Lakes Property Owners Association, Smoker Craft, Lilly Center, Lake City Animal Health & Wellness Center, David & Peggy Wihebrink and the Kosciusko County Soil & Water Conservation District.

 

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