I have been working with plants native to the Southeast and the Peidmont region for over 15 years. My love of native plants started in my own back yard with a Yellow Passion Vine I could not eradicate. Despite my own efforts, 100 Gulf Fritillary caterpillars devoured it late that summer. And I was fascinated. Hooked, you could say. I read all about them, and in doing so stumbled upon Doug Tallamy’s newly published book. It was life changing and has changed my career twice.
As a landscape designer in the Atlanta area, it made me begin to question my practices. I slowly transitioned my business to native-only landscapes. I enjoyed 6 years designing wildlife gardens that included certifications from Atlanta Audubon Society.
When we moved to Cropwell, Alabama for my husband’s job, I was starting my landscaping reputation from scratch again. Step one was locating nurseries that stocked native plants. There were none. All I found were popular cultivars and no variety. I started trying to propagate my own plants just to landscape my own backyard. But my unemployment hobby was getting expensive, so I tried selling my extra plants on Facebook Marketplace. It was a bigger hit than I expected. I began to consider that maybe the area needed a native plant nursery before it needed a native plant landscaper. In April 2021, Recreative Natives was launched with the goal of making plants native to Alabama and the Southeast available to the backyard gardener.
I chose the name Recreative Natives because it was twofold. I wanted to recreate the perception people have of native plants. And it was a re-creation of my direction in life.
Photo Credit: Graham Hadley