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.
Request a Site Visit
If you're interested in adding native plants to your yard, you can request a site visit. We will schedule an appointment for experienced native gardeners to come out and walk your property with you. They'll listen to what you'd like to do, help you identify what you have, and talk about both possibilities and next steps. 

Getting this kind of perspective  is a great way to get started, or to continue developing what you've already begun.
Click to request a site visitClick to see images of selected plants.
Elgin Farmers Market 2022
We're taking our message to the market
                                 Join us!
Click here to sign up
Again this summer, we're meeting lots of people who are willing -- and even eager -- to hear what we're doing and why.

Pick a Friday night and come out to join us in the fun by introducing new people to the need for native plants.
Click here to sign up
Free White Oak Trees
These saplings are 2-3 feet tall -- leftovers from a planting project. Pick up from 10-6:00 Mon-Sat and 10-4:00 Sun. at
                     Main Street Bikes
                     39 Main St. in Carpentersville
City of Elgin's Expanded Tree Program
...has doubled the number of trees it will be making available to homeowners free of charge. They're asking that all of us encourage Elgin residents to apply. The city will plant a tree in the tree bank or at the front of the property. Consider applying and encouraging your neighbor. Applications are due April 15 or August 15.
Click here for overview and details of the programClick here for the list of trees and detailsClick here for the application to submit to the city.
Latest Over Our Heads Video
Click here to view
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
Our Newest Videos
Ed Collins on Oaks
Transcript of Ed Collins' presentationThe poem that ends the presentation
Heather Holm on Wasps
Doug Tallamy and the Nature of Oaks
The Rainwater in Your Yard with Jessica Mino
(This video presentation coincides with Elgin's public art project, Storm Drain Art. Keep an eye out for these inspired street paintings that call attention to this issue.)
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.
Wild Ones is committed to planting SIYY gardens in public spaces to acquaint people with some of our many gems. We'll use them to pique people's interest, demonstrate how native plants can be used in landscaping, and to support our site visits. 

They'll need our care and attention. Sign up and choose how you want to participate, and how often.
Our guarantee:  You'll get dirty and have fun!
Stormwater Art Project in Elgin
Have you noticed the milkweed and monarch painted on storm drains in Elgin? Sandy Skulski has orchestrated the participation by Start In Your Yard. She and the designer of our winning entry, Erika Paige, have completed the ten painted drains, with some help from volunteers.

Here are the locations, in Elgin:
Monroe and Pennsylvania
Cassidy and Shadowhill 
Country Knoll Lane and Lyle Avenue 
Channing and Botsford
Slade and River Bluff Road
Perry and Washburn 
Division and Douglas
Standish and Elm
Congdon and Augusta
Ann and Douglas 
(See the video presentation at the left , Rainwater in Your Yard, for why building awareness is important.)
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.
Subscribe to Our Wild Ones Newsletter
Sign up to receive notice of meetings and tours.

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