Habitat Garden Tours

Wherever you are in the Habitat Garden journey, you will find inspiration in our June Tour.
These four gardens represent very different ages and stages of native gardening, but share a common mission of creating refuge for wildlife.

Pictured above: Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) from Talis’s garden


Among those in the know, Talis’s garden is a much-admired, not-to-be missed star of garden society tours. His artfully composed beds overflow with exceptional, rare or precious plants — many more than you might think could possibly fit into a 1+ acre lot, including hundreds of meticulously pruned trees.

But this longtime former President of the Heartland Peony Society has undergone a radical reversal in his gardening philosophy. After reading Doug Tallamy’s book, Nature’s Best Hope, and attending the February 2024 Deep Roots Plan It Native Conference, he resolved to take immediate action. In the months since, he has installed a new bed of native glade plants in one of his few sunny areas (remember all those trees?), while tucking many new native woodland shrubs and perennials into existing shade beds.

This exquisite and well-established garden is therefore, ironically, the “newest” in our June 8th Tour, which offers three other properties at various stages in the habitat journey.


Karen and Clayton have tackled their suburban lot in stages, starting with the all-turf front lawn, which they transformed into a stunning geometric pattern of native plants delineated by a Corten grid designed and built by Clayton. This was followed by replacement of the southwest driveway strip with drought-tolerant keystone asters and goldenrod. Most recently, they took a chainsaw to the large stand of invasive honeysuckle along their back property line, and replanted the area with native shrubs and perennials. This one is a trove of realistic inspiration for homeowners with similar challenges.


Visitors who enjoyed the serenity of the St. Francis Sanctuary in May will find a similar atmosphere in Kathy’s lushly naturalistic garden. Although her house is located on a relatively busy stretch of road and sidewalk, the entire front yard teems with native plants — even big robust, “aggressive” species like Cup Plant and River Oats. Thanks to Kathy’s cues to care, like the friendly sunflowers at the entrance of her driveway, neighbors look forward to the seasonal displays of flowers. The backyard, however, is the real wildlife paradise, with dense, rich layers of beautiful native plants that provide abundant shelter and food in every season.

Above L-R: Kathy’s woodland melange of fern, geranium and asters; the Japanese-inspired horizontal geometry of Karen L.’s front yard grid


Karen G. has long grown her garden as “a refuge for the animals,” filling it with every kind of possible native wildlife food. The view from the street is artfully framed by decorative wattle fencing, behind which rises a spectacular display of New England Asters, Tall Goldenrod and Jerusalem Artichoke, as well as Chokeberry and Apple trees. In the back, a permaculture of Pawpaw, Pecan, Hazelnut, Persimmon, Elderberry and Chokeberry encircle a lovely wildlife pond (one of two ponds this month!).

If you get a chance, take time to be still and observe the many (many!) birds that live here and fill the yard with song. Though we have become accustomed to undergrown and lifeless landscapes, the profuse beauty of this wildlife refuge inspires us to a truly healthy and sustaining environment for all.

Come see these gardens on our June 8th Habitat Garden Tour!   

If you’re already subscribed, simply watch your inbox the Thursday before each Second Saturday, for an email with addresses and garden information. See you in the garden!

What is a Habitat Garden?

A native plant garden that provides habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

Second Saturday Tours

Visit three residential habitat gardens every month to:

• Experience diverse habitat gardens and the succession of native plant blooms over the 7-month growing season.

• Meet, chat and learn with other habitat gardeners and native plant and wildlife lovers.

• Find inspiration, ideas and information to start, grow, improve and expand your own habitat gardens.

To nominate a garden or ask a question, email grace@deeprootskc.org