Katydid eggs on river birch
Spicebush swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on spicebush
Spiny oak caterpillar
Oak trees host :>500
species of Lepidoptera
About Leaves for Wildlife
Our nursery has a special focus on straight and near-native plants for restoration of the natural ecosystems in Ohio. Ecosystem balance is critical for the health of humans and wildlife.
Our plants are pesticide-free, so some lucky plant shoppers will take home little stowaways, like the caterpillars pictured on this page. Caterpillar damage almost never harms the plants, and shows the plants are already going to work attracting and supporting wildlife!
We reduce, reuse and recycle, and gratefully accept donated nursery pots/trays.
Check out our resource page for landscape professionals, info, sample gardens and other resources that can help you turn your greenspace into a welcoming
haven for wildlife!
From One Leaf to Another
Owner and founder, 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 provider. 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 and reversing human illness. Patty firmly believes that human health and environmental health are intimately and intricately connected. 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 critical -for the health and wellbeing of humans and wildlife.
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 migrate through Ohio twice yearly along the Mississippi Flyway. Because urban sprawl and land development have fragmented natural habitats, scientists are sounding the alarm about the rapidly increasing rates of wildlife species extinctions. Each of us can help, by creating habitat in our yards, and/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. Most of the world's wildlife — and more than 250,000 wild flowering plants — need native pollinators to exist. Humans also rely on these important insects since about 1/3 of the food we eat depends on pollination.
When growers tinker with plants to change the shape of flowers (think double blooms), this often lowers or completely negates pollen and nectar production. Additionally, some pollinators have adapted their mouthparts to fit particular flowers, so changing the flower's shape means they can no longer access whatever 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, and no soil amendments or special care required. 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? The community section of our Resource Page can connect you with restoration projects near you that rely on volunteers. You'll also find information and resources that can help you on your native plant journey. We're glad you're a part of our growing native plant community!