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.
Under Our Feet
Our Annual Winter Series, January - April
with Gail Borden Library and Elgin Sustainability Commission
Click here for information and registration
11th Annual Native Plant Pre-sale!
Our pre-sale is a great way to get an early start on your projects. You can choose from a broad selection of native plants, including 38-cell flats -- all at a discount!
If you are a member, use the links below to order.
Our Latest Videos
                 Under Our Feet
        Carter O'Brien -- A Savvy Soil Story
If you missed it on January 17th, here's Carter telling the incredible story of how the Field Museum was built on fill, and how they converted the outdoor space around it to native plants. He shows the before and after measures of the soil depth, talks about the roles of the many Field Museum experts, and showcases the momentum this project is building.
To read Carter O'Brien's bio, click here.Click to watch the OSU version of the presentation we saw on October 27th.
                     Heather Holm
     The Pollination of Native Plants
This presentation is a fascinating journey showcasing the development of different flower types and the presentation of floral resources to pollinators. Exploring the types of insect pollinators, their foraging behavior, and the floral features that attract pollinators, Heather will provide many specific examples of how native plants are pollinated and what pollinator is most effective and why.
Click for more info about Heather Holm and her downloads
Tips for Planting in Fall
Click on the Tips to read the list of suggestions from the Wild Ones Fall Journal.
Fallen Leaves -- An Asset!
A leaf layer?
It's natural.
It is its own ecosystem! 
Many wildlife species live in the leaf layer.
Many pollinators overwinter in the leaf layer. 
Many bird species forage in the leaf layer.
Leaves are free mulch and fertilizer.
Click here to read the article by David Mizejewski.
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
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.
2022 Elgin Image Award
Congratulations to all the Wild Ones members and friends whom this award recognizes. To see the videos from the Community Read that this award honors, Click the Community Read button, then the 2021 Nature's Best Hope button. Thanks to all our partners that made the series happen.
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 support 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!
Elgin Farmers Market -- Gleanings
Over the course of the summer, we learned some things about talking to people about our passion. We learned to:
Draw people's attention with a fun, concise hook
        We're all about native plants here!
        It's the plants that are wild!   (in Wild Ones)

Ask a question to get clues to the listener's interests
        Are you a gardener?
        Have you heard about this?
        Are you thinking about adding some natives?
Make it a conversation rather than a presentation
         Give some information.
         Ask a question.
         Respond briefly.
         Ask another question...

Our final Friday night at the Farmers Market was fun -- a party. Lots of Wild Ones, both new and old, stopped by to chat, laugh, and enjoy each other.

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