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by Charlotte Adelmann and Bernard Schwartz, Co Authors of The Midwestern Native Garden
November 3, 2012

Landscaping and gardening with native Midwestern flowers and plants, instead of introduced species, provides a future for Midwestern birds and butterflies that rely on native species as host plants.

The Midwestern Native Garden co-authored by Charlotte Adelmann and Bernard Schwartz features a comprehensive selection of native alternatives to non-native species. This must-have gardener's guide contains more than 200 pages of beautiful photos, illustrations and descriptions of native alternatives to non-natives by season, color, a glossary and selected bibliography and resources.

Charlotte's power point program included a wide array of photos, drawings and descriptions of Midwestern flowers and plants gardeners and landscapers can choose as alternatives to Asian and European flowers and plants. She identified insects, butterflies and birds supported by native plant gardens, while by comparison, gardens and landscapes containing non-native plants are devoid of the nectars, seeds and nutrients Midwestern wildlife requires for survival.

Charlotte also spoke about hardiness zones, plant heights, bloom periods, each plant's associated wildlife, cultivation requirements, growing habits, dangers to local pollinators as a result of herbicide use, impacts to plants by differences in light, soil and other environmental factors and how to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds by selecting specific host plants.

Charlotte's love of nature and native plants inspired her to plant a two acre prairie garden in Centennial Park in Wilmette with the help of Joe Brummer of Wilmette Boy Scout Troop 2.

Charlotte was honored this year as a recipient of a Wilmette Historic Preservation Award along with the Wilmette Park District in the restoration category.

We can all enjoy the opportunity to observe local birds, bees and butterflies in our gardens by introducing a selection of native plants to attract them. What a thrill to see a Monarch or Tiger swallowtail butterfly pausing for a nectar break on a Milkweed or Monarda blossom or to watch as warblers and other songbirds stop to feed on sunflower or coneflower seeds.

For more information about how to create a wildlife garden, contact Charlotte at She can also tell you how to obtain a copy of The Midwestern Native Garden - a reference for amateurs as well as professionals. You will find what you need to know about how to showcase native plants and promote a healthy ecosystem in your garden plot.

Photo by Valerie Spale

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