Backyards For Nature


Local Organizations

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, 1635 River Road, New Hope, PA 18938-0685, (215) 862-2924  800 species of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, and ferns native to Pennsylvania on a 100 acre natural setting. Native plant sales, native plant info sheets, gift shop, lecture series.

Brandywine Conservancy, Route 1 just past intersection with Creek Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317, (610) 388-2700  Wildflower and native plant gardens. Seeds, nature books for sale at the gift shop.  Located at Brandywine River Museum property. Spring native plant sale.

Delaware Nature Society, Ashland Nature Center, 3511 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, DE 19707,  (302) 239-2334 Multiple nature centers and preserves, guided nature trails, seasonal butterfly house, a wide variety of nature programs for all ages. Native plant sale in spring.

Mt. Cuba Center, 3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, DE 19707, (302) 239-4244 Promotes the beauty and value of native plants.  Guided tours of native plant gardens, classes, research, and conservation.

Helpful Websites

Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitat Recognition Program – Whether you’re planting a container garden on a patio, adding to your garden, swapping out some lawn for pollinator plants, or managing a meadow or woodlot, your home can provide vital habitat and contribute to community conservation. Enrolling your home in the Bird-Friendly Habitat recognition program connects you with a growing community of people across the region who garden with ecology in mind. All contribute to a ripple effect of stewardship that benefits people, birds, and the places we share. 

Bringing Nature Home – a complement to the work of Douglas Tallamy, Ph.D. of the University of Delaware and his pioneering book, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Lists the most ecologically productive trees, shrubs, and perennials based on the number of insect species they support.  Includes link to database of plants by species of lepidoptera  (butterflies and moths) they host.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Research and conservation organization focused on native plants across the U.S.  Includes a U.S. regional native plants database

Monarch Joint Venture – Joint partnership of government and other organizations researching and monitoring Monarch butterfly population.  Individuals can contribute to a  variety of citizen science Monarch conservation projects.

Monarch Watch– Education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas focused on the monarch butterfly, its biology, its habitat, and fall migration.  Provides info about how to use monarchs to further science education in primary and secondary schools. Monarch Waystation certification program promotes creation of monarch habitat in home gardens, schools, parks, and other habitats.  Certification signs available.

National Wildlife Federation  -Backyard, schoolyard, and community habitat certification program; certification signs available; website provides extensive information on gardening for wildlife.

Native Plants in the Landscape Conference at Millersville – annual 3-day conference in June at Millersville University, Millersville, PA; managed by Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve.  Fine  speakers, workshops, and field trips.

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas – Downloadable document with  descriptions and photos of over 70 invasive plants; lists native  alternatives

USDA Plants Database – Includes a map that indicates whether a species is native or introduced at state and county levels

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes – A leading organization in natural landscaping  practices; promotes changing  gardening practices to use native plants and re-establish native plant communities around the country.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation – Working to protect invertibrates and their habitats; especially good info on native bees and other pollinators;  a variety of helpful books available.  Pollinator habitat certification and sign available to yards meeting requirements.


Cullina, William. Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.  Describes 1000 species of wildflowers with information about using them in gardens.

Cullina, William. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Describes 1000 woody plants for use in ecological gardening.

Darke, Rick. The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest. Timber Press, 2002. Aesthetic and practical approach to ecological gardening; author is a southeastern Pennsylvania horticulturist and photographer.

Darke, Rick and Tallamy, Douglas W.  The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. Timber Press, 2014.  Co-written by anationally known horticulturist and an ecologist.  Explains how to create a home landscape that attracts and nourishes wildlife but also provides beauty, privacy, space for play, and/or a vegetable garden.    Includes regional lists of native plants with landscape and ecological uses.

Holm, Heather.  Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants. Pollination Press, LLC, 2014.  Profiles the insect pollinators and the native plants they pollinate.

Reed, Sue and Ginny Stibolt. Climate-Wise Landscaping: Practical Solutions for a Sustainable Future. New Society Publishers, 2018. A guide to helping you reduce your carbon footprint, garden with native plants, create clean air and water, care for your soil, and undertake other sustainability practices in your yard.

Tallamy, Douglas W.  Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in your Yard. Timber Press, 2020. By planting native plants, homeowners can help reverse wildlife declines.  Provides practical, research-based solutions to diversifying life in your yard.

Tallamy, Douglas W. Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Timber Press, 2007.  Ground-breaking book providing a powerful explanation of the importance of native plants, which unlike non-natives, support greater numbers of native insects, birds, and other wildlife. Explains how gardeners can make a major difference in helping preserve birds and other wildlife in the U.S. by taking steps to restore healthy habitats and biodiversity in their yards.  List of native plants by region included.

Archive of Backyards for Nature Articles

Providing a Healthy Habitat

Beyond the Birdbath

Lawn, Who Needs It?

Places to Raise Young

Providing Food for Wildlife

Providing Protective Cover for Wildlife

Providing Water for Wildlife

Quick and Easy Healthy Habitat Ideas

Model Habitats

A Site Visit to a Backyard Habitat

A Wildlife-Friendly Backyard

Attracting Birds and Butterflies

A Tiny Oasis for Birds and Butterflies

Attracting Butterflies

Attracting Hummingbirds

Attracting Woodpeckers

Bird Feeding – The Basics

Bird Feeding – Beyond the Basics

Providing for Fall Migrants


Backyard Nature in the Winter

Create a Habitat

Learn how to create a healthy habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife at home.

Native Plants

Wildlife-friendly plants for Southeastern Pennsylvania and where to buy them.

Backyards for Nature Blog

Creating habitat and Celebrating nature in our gardens.