With a sustainable method to gardening and deal with conservation, Plainfield-based Good Steward Ecoscapes is out to remodel owners’ out of doors areas.
Andrew Hedman opened Good Steward Ecoscapes about 16 months in the past with a deal with incorporating ponds, waterfalls and fountainscapes with native plant gardening.
“I used to be first drawn to ponds as a result of they’re good for wildlife and the setting. It’s naturally filtered water for wildlife,” he stated.
With earlier expertise in pond development and upkeep, Hedman ventured into native crops after connecting with folks concerned in conservation and defending wildlife.
“A typical theme I stored listening to was how vital native crops are,” he stated.
Hedman stated his method shouldn’t be “constructing a forest protect in a house owner’s yard, however as an alternative constructing a backyard that’s each stunning and capabilities in a method that helps the bigger ecosystem as a complete.”
Not solely do native crops assist birds, bugs and different wildlife thrive, however as soon as established, they don’t require pesticides or fertilizers and will be low upkeep for owners, Hedman stated.
“Through the newest drought, I didn’t must water my native crops in any respect,” he stated.
The No. 1 reason behind extinction and inhabitants lower amongst threatened species is the lack of habitat, Hedman stated.
In Illinois, Hedman stated, just one% of tall grass prairie stays as a result of it has been transformed to farmland.
“Now that farmland is being developed into housing or business developments,” he stated.
The e book “Nature’s Finest Hope: A New Strategy to Conservation That Begins in Your Yard” by Douglas W. Tallamy was instrumental in guiding Hedman’s new enterprise enterprise.
Through the newest drought, I didn’t must water my native crops in any respect.”
— Andrew Hedman, proprietor of Good Steward Ecoscapes
“His message is that if we will convert one-half of our landscaping to native crops, we will assist 80% of native wildlife in Illinois,” Hedman stated.
For instance, he stated one native plant – milkweed – acquired its identify as a result of it was thought of a nuisance to farmers.
“Milkweed is fairly vital in conservation as a result of monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed,” he stated. “In landscaping, many owners in all probability have invasive crops species, usually from Europe and Asia, which naturalize so aggressively they will take over native crops in forest preserves and destroy native ecosystems.”
Moreover, Hedman stated, Kentucky bluegrass is definitely from France.
For a lot of owners, their No. 1 lawn-related exercise is mowing it, he stated.
Hedman recommends short-growing native grasses or short-growing flowers as an alternative choice to conventional sod, one thing he will likely be incorporating within the 3-acre property of Frankfort resident Amanda Leong.
Presently, it takes Leong about three hours to mow her property utilizing a business mower.
Hedman, who already does pond upkeep for Leong, will likely be reworking a portion of her garden right into a native prairie this fall.
As soon as the transformation is full, Leong’s solely upkeep will likely be to mow the realm every year to regenerate it.
Leong, who stated she discovered Good Steward Ecoscapes to be one of many few eco-friendly landscapers within the better Chicago space, now has a 10-year plan to remodel different elements of her property to pure prairie.
“This was our alternative to take away the usage of pesticides on the property and cease preventing the setting and use what we’ve got whereas serving to wildlife and bugs,” she stated.
One other of Hedman’s purchasers, Hay Joosten, additionally “inherited” a pond when he purchased his Palatine dwelling – one thing he stated he actually didn’t know something about.
Joosten stated he needs to honor his stewardship of the fish, the pond and the backyard.
With greater than 100 koi fish within the pond, Joosten stated, he started to make use of Good Steward Ecoscapes to look after it when he purchased the house.
“Not solely did Andrew know methods to handle the pond, he additionally actually cares for the fish, the wildlife and the ecosystem as a complete,” Joosten stated. “Andrew helped us get a number of fish into quarantine that had been handled and launched again into the pond.”
Understanding methods to look after and handle koi ponds “is a big want in our space,” Hedman stated. “There are lots of instances the place a house owner sells their dwelling and don’t know what to do with the fish.”
Consequently, Hedman stated one in every of his long-term objectives is to have the ability to rehome pond fish, which additionally serve one other, considerably lesser-known goal.
Though mosquitoes are drawn to stagnant water, Hedman stated, ponds and waterfalls can scale back mosquitoes as a result of fish eat mosquito larvae.