Start In Your Yard

Join others who are planting native plants and learning to share their yards with the butterflies and birds, bees and bugs.
Click here for getting-started videos.Click here to research native plants and more.Click here to see images of plants we often recommend.
Start In Your Yard Winter Series
Down to the Creek 
Our fourth annual series with Gail Borden Library
starts in January. 
Click here to get details and register
Learn about our shared waterways by finding and following the watershed your land is part of.
January 16   •   7:00 The Watershed: Getting Acquainted
February 20  • 7:00  My Watershed: Where Does It Flow?
March 19    •    7:00 Watershed Health: What Can I Do at Home?
Click here to get details and register
Leave the Leaves
There are lots of important reasons to minimize 'fall cleanup.' Click on the links below to read about these ideas.
Extend the benefits of your summer's work into the fall.Seven Species That Need You to Leave the LeavesDon't you dare rake your leaves!Drop that rake!
Site Visits
Customized help you get started adding native plants!
If we've visited your site, you know that this is an opportunity to ask questions, brainstorm possibilities, or just invite us to propose ideas for how to get started. 
Whether it's adding some native plants to existing beds, converting a decorative bed to native habitat, or beginning to downsize your lawn, your interest inspires us. We love sharing what we've learned since we started, just as you're doing.
To request a site visit, click the purple button to Register Your Interest and click the Site Visit box on the form you fill out. 
Click here to see the notebook pictures we bring with us.
Our Latest Videos
 Under Our Feet
Rachel's Graphic Notes
A new member of Wild Ones, Rachel Balk, has drawn highlights of Mark Bramstedt's talk on soil basics and 
Emma Leavens' talk on soil drama. She's shared her delightful graphic notes from these sessions of Under Our Feet for our edification and enjoyment.   Thank you, Rachel!
Click here for Rachel's Graphics
Wild Ones Meetings
Composting Plant Canes in the Spring
Now that you're planting (or planning) native plants, what will you do with the old plant material in the spring?  You'll want to leave it standing for overwintering insects, for snow sculpture, and for bird food. When you remove the leaves and canes in the spring, you'll want to return these resources to your gardens. 

If you decide to compost them rather than burning them to return ash to the gardens, there are multiple ways to proceed. This very informative video from The Conservation Foundation can help you get started.
Elgin Residents -- ALERT 
The City is offering residents financial assistance to plant rain gardens and to deal with standing water.
Click here to read about the program and download the application.
If you've been thinking about putting in a rain garden or just recently heard about them, this is an opportunity to be reimbursed for part of the cost. You can do it yourself or hire it done.

To begin researching rain gardens, go to our Resources page (scroll up to see the tab) and click the button for Rain and Pollinator Gardens to go to the lists and links to get you started.

If you're looking for a landscaper who can create a native rain garden, it's in the Support section on the same page under Commercial / Landscapers.

If you have a problem with standing water, you can use this same program for reimbursement, and often many of the same plant species.
To request a call or site visit with an experienced Start In Your Yard gardener, email
The Rainwater in Your Yard with Jessica Mino
Subscribe to Our Wild Ones Newsletter
    If you don't already receive the newsletter from Wild Ones,
    Greater Kane County Chapter, click below to register.
Sign up to receive notice of meetings and tours.
Our Demo Gardens
Wild Ones is committed to planting gardens in public spaces to acquaint people with some of our many native plants. We use them to pique people's interest, demonstrate how native plants can be used in landscaping, and to augment our site visits. 
Visit our demo gardens to see native plants
The Cobblestone House
corner of Chicago and Crystal Streets in Elgin
Click here to see the list of plants in these gardens.Click to see pictures of the plants in the tree bank.Click to see pictures of the plants around the house.
Gardens at Tyler Creek at Lyle Avenue 
in Elgin's Valley Creek
Click here to see the list of plants in these gardens.Click for pictures of the plants in the large gardenClick for pictures of the plants in the little gardenClick for pictures of the plants in the garden at the bridge
Parkway Garden
at the corner of S.DuBois and Erie in Elgin
Click here to see the list of plants in this garden.Click for pictures of plants in this garden.
Gail Borden Library
both side of center walkway from parking lot to entrance
If you have an idea for a place to locate a demo garden, let us know. It should be visible from the road or street, with a place to stop, get out of the car and look up close.
Click here to submit your idea.
Join Our CREW
Captivated, Ready and Eager to Weed
If you don't have a place to garden at home, or
If you like to garden with other people, or
If you want to learn about gardening with natives, or
If you haven't yet started with natives at home, or
If you want to help educate the public about natives, or
If you're willing to support SIYY in this way...
Click here to sign up.
The demo gardens listed above, as well as the swales in the SWAN neighborhood, need care and attention. Sign up and choose how you want to participate, and how often.
Our guarantee:  You'll get dirty and have fun!

Building habitat in our neighborhoods and public spaces.

Start in Your Yard is a movement of people who are realizing that we have become disconnected from our natural world and our place in it. Recognizing that we are part of nature, we are learning what we need to know to be cooperative partners and share the land we live on. 


Starting in our own yards with regional wildflowers, we build sustainable corridors for the flora and fauna that were intended to thrive here.


Together, we encourage our neighbors and our communities to join in the movement to preserve this area for generations to come.


Attend one of our many local events to visit local projects or learn from conservation experts.

Watch Presentations from 
Our 2020-2021 Community Read

Learn from and engage with experts in conservation, resource management, ecology, and sustainability. 
Start In Your Yard is an initiative launched by the Greater Kane County chapter of Wild Ones