Brooklyn Center gardener helps bring back butterflies, bees
Amy Hunter has lived in her Brooklyn Center home for more than 16 years. A few years ago she decided to give her front yard a makeover. Her small garden plots consist of all Minnesota native plants, building a nature preserve in her own yard.

A variety of perennials can be found in her yard, including goldenrod, and meadow blazing star. Protecting the bee and butterfly populations is why she chose to use native plants.

"Their population numbers being reduced due to habitat loss, loss of honey bees, loss of our native bumble bees, that's when it became important for me to do this for large reasons," said Hunter.

The former ecologist says native gardens are easy to maintain because there's little, to no weeds.

"The more space that's taken up with the plants you like, the less room the weeds have to crawl in," she explained.

And for the most part you can leave the watering to Mother Nature.

"Even if we had a drought, they might look bad, but they're going to bounce right back as soon as the rains come."

While Hunter enjoys bringing beauty to the neighborhood, she says her gardening also helps keep her sanity.

"It's very meditative and suddenly, I'm like 'you know what, whatever I thought was horrible, and stressful and awful, really isn't that bad.'"

If you want to plant a native garden, Hunter recommends starting out with three easy-to-maintain plants: meadow blazing star, swamp milkweed and butterfly weed.

Sonya Goins, reporting



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