Written and Lived by Chelsea Linafelter, daughter of Cindy Linafelter
Creating a pollinator friendly habitat under HOA guidelines might seem like a daunting task, but it can be achieved!
Here is my journey creating a beautiful pollinator friendly garden from dirt, rocks and weeds.
Our home we purchased at the end of 2019 had been sitting empty for months and what landscaping the original owners had done, had been destroyed by time, weather and dogs. Then in early 2020 the COVID19 pandemic hit, and it became my mission to transform my yard into a beautiful oasis that I loved. If I was going to be home all the time, I was going to make it as beautiful as possible.
I discovered that a group of dedicated volunteers was holding a native plant swap so I signed up to attend. I selected a number of native plants, not truly knowing what I was doing, and set to work learning about them and planting them in the rock borders of my yard.
Throughout the summer and fall I watched them slowly take shape and thrive in our draught. My yard still wasn’t beautiful, and there were no birds or bees to be found but a transformation was underway!
In 2021, I joined that group of volunteers and soaked up every bit of knowledge I could while collecting seeds, cleaning seeds, planting and helping raise awareness and spread knowledge about the beauty and extreme importance of native plants in a suburban garden.
We had the invasive weeds ripped out, and sod specially designed for our dry Colorado climate placed in our yard. During this time, I continued to volunteer and attend local native plant and seed swaps to grow and plant gorgeous native plant varieties.
The process was slow as I couldn’t invest a lot of money, but I was willing to invest my time and slowly but surely the birds, bees and butterflies started showing up! As we entered summer of 2023 my garden was buzzing with life and beautiful native plants.
August 2023, I am pleased to say I was awarded a Gold Level Habitat Hero status by the Audubon Society of the Rockies. My garden has been recognized as a native habitat that provides food and shelter for birds while conserving water and eliminating chemical fertilizers.
My gardening journey is far from over as I continue to learn and expand my pollinator garden with even more variety of native plants. I knew nothing about gardening or native plants when I began this journey just a few years ago, and nowI have created that dream yard I wanted, as well as finding a community of people to help me grow my knowledge (and my garden!).