Photo by Marc Stopeck

Throughout the past decade, native gardens have been popping up in yards across Oak Park and River Forest, replacing the traditional green grass lawn in front yards and parkways. According to Adrian Fisher, West Cook Wild Ones co-chair of programs and advocacy, this trend can help increase biodiversity and decrease carbon levels. 

“It’s a new way of gardening that takes nature into account, and not just what we think looks pretty,” Fisher said. “And that’s really very important.”

Native gardens, which consist of plants that grow naturally in a particular area, provide habitats for pollinators and can even help prevent flooding. Due to the root system of many native plants, they can filter water and sequester carbon from the air. 

Fisher said that the West Cook Wild Ones sales have increased over the past few years, so much so that it now has two pickup locations for customers to get their plants. 

“People are really getting the message that pesticides are no good in your yard,” Fisher said. “They’re really getting the message that the old fashioned American lawn is basically a biological desert that can only be maintained to perfection with many inputs of chemicals. People are looking for a more natural way to garden.”

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