Plant with nature in mind

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Katydid eggs on river birch

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Spicebush swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on spicebush

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Spiny oak caterpillar

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Oak trees host :>500

species of Lepidoptera

 About Us

Our nursery has a special focus on straight native and near-native plants that support wildlife and are an integral part of restoring and connecting natural ecosystems in central Ohio. 

 

At L4WL, we don't use herbicides or pesticides, so some lucky customers may take home little stowaways, like the caterpillars pictured on this page. We celebrate these stowaways as a sign that our plants are already going to work attracting and supporting wildlife!

 

We reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible, and gratefully accept donated nursery pots and trays, plant stakes, fencing, native seedlings and native seeds of most types. What we're unable to use, we'll share out. If you have a need for any of these items, let us know.

We're here to help you turn your yard, farm, balcony, container garden, schoolyard, work landscape or roadside greenspace into a welcoming haven for wildlife. Be sure to visit our new resource page for professionals, information, sample gardens and other resources that can help you on your journey!

From One Leaf to Another

Owner Patty Shipley grew into Leaves for Wildlife through a lifelong love of nature and gardening as well as through her career as a natural healthcare practitioner. Patty's integrative wellness practice, Leaves of Life, inspired her to find a way to contribute to improving the environment as a means of preventing human illness. Patty firmly believes that human health and environmental health are intimately and intricately connected. and the nursery is her way of stepping back from the smaller picture of helping people one at a time, into a bigger picture of recognizing that many chronic illnesses are environmentally driven. She feels called to make a wider impact by interesting and educating people in helping to restore and preserve the bio-diverse ecosystems we all rely upon for good health.  Leaves for Wildlife allows Patty and her staff and volunteers to take action as growers and educators to help people understand why planting natives is important. 

Why Planting Natives is Important

Conserving and restoring habitat is especially critical for native pollinators, local birds, and the more than 325 bird species that travel through Ohio each year along the Mississippi Flyway, starting in central Canada and stretching to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi Flyway is the name given to the route followed by birds migrating from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in the south. Because urban sprawl and land development have fragmented natural habitats, resting places that provide food, water and shelter are becoming increasingly critical for wildlife. We can all help by creating habitat in our yards, or as part of a volunteer effort in parks and other spaces.

Native pollinators - bees, flies, butterflies, bats, moths, beetles, birds and other animals - provide stability for every terrestrial ecosystem in the world, because wild plants depend on them to reproduce. Other wildlife then eat the insects hosted by the plants, as well as the fruits and seeds that result from pollination, spreading the seeds that in turn give rise to future generations of plants. Most of the world's wildlife — and more than 250,000 wild flowering plants — need native pollinators to exist, and scientists estimate that one of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators. 

 

When growers tinker with plants to change the shape of flowers (think double blooms), this often lowers or completely negates pollen and nectar production. Some pollinators have adapted their mouthparts to fit particular flowers, so changing the flower's shape means they can no longer access whatev.er pollen and nectar may still be present. Similarly, plants with altered leaf color (such as the red leafed redbud cultivar and the many wine-colored cultivars of ninebark) contain plant compounds, that were not originally there, meaning that native butterfly and moth caterpillars can no longer use them for food. This is why wild native species are preferable to most “native cultivars” aka “nativars”.

 

Native plants thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of our region. That means less supplemental watering, no soil amendments or special care, and less problematic pests that require toxic chemicals. Native plants also assist in managing rainwater runoff and maintain a healthy soil food web, which prevents soil compaction and promotes broader diversity within the ecosystems they're a part of.

 

Don't have a space where you can garden for wildlife? See our growing resource page to connect and volunteer with others involved in local restoration projects. If you're currently a land steward and could use volunteers, please reach out with your contact information. 

 

The Community section of our new Resource Page also includes additional information and resources that can help you on your native plant journey!

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Question mark butterfly
caterpillars on elm

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Great golden digger
wasp in a nursery pot

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Zebra swallowtail
laying eggs on pawpaw

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It takes 6000-9000 caterpillars
to raise one nest of baby chickadees

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