Wild Ones has introduced a free to use, professionally designed, native garden plan specific to the Las Cruces ecoregion. The design was created with the premise that using native plants in landscaping can be beautiful, beneficial, and achievable for people of all skill levels and budgets.
Native plant communities do critical work supporting pollinators, providing food and habitat for wildlife, reducing erosion, mitigating flooding, sequestering carbon, conserving and purifying water, repairing soil, and enhancing the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of people of all ages.
From 2001 to 2017, the United States lost a football field’s worth of natural area every 30 seconds and if these trends continue, an analysis conducted by Conservation Science Partners published in 2019 determined that a South Dakota-sized expanse of natural places will disappear between now and 2050.
Respected late ecologist E.O. Wilson stated fervently in a 2016 article for the New York Times “Only by the preservation of much more natural habitat than previously envisioned can extinction be brought close to a sustainable level. The only way to save upward of 90% of the rest of life is to vastly increase the area of refuges…”
Doug Tallamy, Wild Ones’ Lifetime Honorary Director, University of Delaware entomologist and author of “Nature’s Best Hope” stresses that “we can no longer leave conservation to the conservationists.” Native plant gardens in the private and public spaces of our own communities are our best hope for saving our environment. He pronounces that “we must now act collectively to put our ecosystems back together again.”
Wild Ones Executive Director Jen Ainsworth explained, “It’s crucial that we re-examine our approach to stewarding the spaces we own (our yards), as well as the public spaces in our communities. We need to adopt landscaping methods that are sustainable and promote the health and wellbeing of all forms of life. We hope our native garden plans inspire, encourage, and motivate individuals throughout the United States to make this important shift in their approach to landscaping. Nature is depending on the participation of all of us.”
The Las Cruces Native Garden Design
The Las Cruces design was created by David Cristiani, a former landscape architect and planner, and current design consultant. Cristiani’s work has an emphasis on planting and hardscape design reflecting the natural sense of place and appropriate to the southwestern United States. The use of strong, bold forms with simple massing is how he designs, inspired by how plants are spaced and provide habitat, in the powerful but dry western wilds.
Cristiani earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from the University of Oklahoma, including coursework and ongoing research in geography and meteorology. He’s lived and practiced in the dry, southwestern United States. Cristiani’s projects have ranged in scale from small residences to community colleges, healthcare, and streetscapes; much of his career was spent with his solo practice, Quercus. David has contributed writing to publications, presentations, and interviews on appropriate design.
Las Cruces is one of the few southwest cities with a native garden plan, the other closest one being Tucson, Arizona. The locations of the designs were chosen for a variety of reasons. One of the most important factors being how heavily a region has been affected by climate change as we sought to create designs for areas that have been impacted the most.
The Las Cruces design is a part of a larger initiative (Wild Ones Native Garden Designs Program) to create free, beautiful, nature friendly, native garden plans in a variety of ecoregions across the United States. The program, which is supported by a grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, currently provides designs for the ecoregions of Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Columbia River Basin, Denver/Front Range, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Lafayette, Las Cruces, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, Princeton, St. Louis, Tallahassee, Toledo, Tucson and Washington, DC. The designs can be downloaded from Wild Ones’ website.
The designs incorporate a variety of region-specific native plants that provide intrigue throughout the growing season and allow people to take an incremental approach in implementation, adding new areas and native plant species as time and funds permit. The designs and plant lists can be conveniently downloaded and printed making it easy to find plants at a local nursery. The website also features a growing list of nationwide nurseries that are great sources for obtaining native plants.
About Wild Ones
In addition to providing free, region-specific, native garden design templates, Wild Ones achieves our mission by supporting the grassroots efforts of 100+ nationwide Wild Ones chapters representing over 8,000 members in 30 states, providing resources and online learning opportunities that are free and open to the public, awarding Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education grants that engage youth in planning, planting and caring for educational native plant landscapes and publishing a quarterly award-winning digital journal featuring valuable native plant information and resources.
Joining a Wild Ones chapter can provide valuable support and camaraderie along your native landscaping journey. To see a full list of Wild Ones chapters, visit: wildones.org/chapters/.
Wild Ones depends on membership fees, donations and gifts from individuals and businesses to help heal the Earth, one landscape at a time. To become a member, visit Wild Ones’ website at wildones.org. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter at @wildonesnative and @wildonesnativeplants.
Posted by LasCruces.com