Growing Wild

Growing Wild South Hadley is an initiative of the Conservation Commission to promote biodiversity through planting native and pollinator species. This initiative follows guidance from others such as Homegrown National Park, DCR's Growing Wild Massachusetts, and the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association

The mission of this initiative is to help the community understand that your yard can be more than just the place where you hold your barbecues or a patch of grass where your kids play. Each yard is connected with the environment around us through a fragile link with nature. As property owners, we have the responsibility of caring for, and improving, that link. With the guidance and patience, you can take meaningful steps to restore and maintain an ecologically sustainable landscape. 

Curious to know more? Check out  10 Things to Get You Started - such as shrinking your lawn and removing invasives. 

Biodiversity is critical to maintaining ecosystem function.  Every human being on our planet needs diverse productive ecosystems to survive. Our local ecosystems produce oxygen, clean water, pollination, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and so much more. These ecosystem services sustain us and our community. Planting native pollinator species promotes biodiversity and is important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. 

We love our lawns. So much so, lawns are the biggest irrigated crop in the country. Greenhouse gas emissions from lawn mowing accompanied with fertilizing and other lawn maintenance practices are far greater than the carbon stored by grass. While a sprawling lawn can be appealing to the eye, it is not a diverse ecosystem. Adding native plants to a yard supports the ecologically stainable landscape of the community. 

Would you like to turn your lawn into a meadow? Stay tuned to learn more these educational opportunities and community outreach from Growing Wild South Hadley.

February & March - Webinar Series 

  • "Evenings With Experts" - Sponsored by Grow Native Massachusetts. 

April - Earth Day Event

  • Pollinator & Native Plant Give Away 
    • Open to South Hadley residents.
    • Location & Time TBD 

June - Garden Tour

  • Visit local gardens to see the success - and maybe some failures - of community residents efforts in turning lawns to meadows.
  • Location & Time TBD

Explore these Resources

Lawns into Meadows - Growing a regenerative landscape by Owen Wormser. This book described how to plant an organic meadow that's right for your site, whether it's a yard, community garden, or tired city lot. He shares advice on preparing your plot, coming up with the right design, and planting grasses and flowers. Available by special order from The Odyssey Bookshop

Tallamy's Hub. This is a great place to start. Tallamy's Hub is a collection of writings, podcasts, books, and videos on the effort to regenerate biodiversity one backyard at at time. “... what if each American landowner converted half of his or her yard to productive native plant communities? Even moderate success could collectively restore some semblance of ecosystem function to more than 20 million acres of what is now ecological wasteland.”- Douglas Tallamy, Homegrown National Park®

Growing Wild Massachusetts. Driving along the highway you may see signs that say "No Mow Zone - Pollinator Meadow". These pollinator habitat areas are in part due to efforts behind DCR'S Growing Wild Massachusetts. This spring, DCR hopes to again work with Dave's Natural Garden in Granby to offer pollinator garden starter kits free of charge to customers. Kits will be available first come first serve. Check the DCR website for updates on the program. 

Grow Native Massachusetts. A place to find programs, resources, and to learn about promoting biodiversity with native plants across the state. Grow Native Massachusetts has a great beginner's article "Getting Started - For Beginners" and for the more experienced gardener be sure to check out the Evenings with Experts - A Free Public Lecture Series.