Backyard Transformation in Just 3 years: Re-creating Nature

by Bobbie J. Herbs, Master Gardener
and Randi V. Wilfert Eckel, PhD, Owner, Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Originally presented on January 19, 2022

Starting with a blank slate in 2018, Bobbie Herbs created a compact native plant garden in her backyard. Nestled in dense suburbia she hoped to bring some wild into her yard while not offending her neighbors. She will walk us through her steps of research, design, and execution – all beautifully documented through her photography. Randi Eckel and Bobbie will then discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and how mother nature sometimes has her own ideas! Bobbie is a Master Gardener with certifications in horticulture from Longwood Gardens and Randi is the founder and owner of Toadshade Wildflower Farm. Join us for a terrific conversation on gardening and transforming spaces with native plants.  

Handout: A Backyard Transformation. Bobbie Herbs Plants and Journal 2018-2021

Bobbie J. Herbs is a certified Rutgers University Master Gardener. She earned her Ornamental Horticulture Certification at Longwood Gardens and serves on the board of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. She gardens passionately, without too much fuss by using native plants as living mulch, everchanging floral displays, and putting a little wild in her small garden. Her backyard, in dense suburbia, attracts skippers, butterflies, frogs, toads, dragonflies, spiders and a recent immature box turtle. She is honored to make a healthier earth – at least her little piece of it – and offers hope to others who consider recreating natural habitat in their gardens. Her work with NPSNJ provides a community of like-minded people and lifelong learning about the significant role native plants have in sustaining a healthy planet and beautifying our yards.

Dr. Randi Eckel has been working with native plants for over 35 years, and founded the mail-order native plant nursery Toadshade Wildflower Farm in 1996 to further public awareness and availability of native plants. A life-long naturalist, lover of nature, entomologist, and confirmed plant and ecology nerd, Randi specializes in the interactions between plants and other living things. She is known for her lively and engaging lectures and workshops on growing and propagating native plants, and offers interesting, nuanced information on the complex issues facing native plants and native plant communities.