Hooked on ReWilding : Joanne's Story

In 2019 Spring, Joanne Strongin signed up as a ReWild Pioneer and went through the entire process of carefully designing her yard with the expert assistance of Rusty Schmidt, Landscape Architect hired by ReWild Long Island to assist families. She carefully cleared the existing lawn, cardboarded, mulched and planted natives per design. Successful ReWilding definitely draws on good planning, execution and a massive dose of luck! Joanne was featured in a recent Newsday Story as a successful ReWilder. Her full story in her own words …

I got involved with Long Island Rewild because I had already been working toward replacing my grass.  For a few years I had been using one side of my front yard as a vegetable garden. I had decided to do this for two reasons: it was a very sunny spot, perfect for growing vegetables, and it was a great way to replace grass.  I had been reading about other communities that were embracing efforts to replace grass in order to reduce the use of water and chemicals and to make room for more environmentally friendly uses of outdoor space. 

 In early 2019 a friend told me about the Rewild project. My husband David and I were thrilled to hear about the Rewild efforts.  We attended the informational meetings and were hooked.  We applied and were selected to be “pioneer” rewilders and in the early spring of 2019 the rewild team helped us choose the plants and plan the garden.  In April we placed cardboard and mulch on the grass to kill it and in late may we planted over 100 plants, including milkweed, asters, butterfly weed, joe pye weed, goldenrod, creeping thyme, purple coneflower, liatris and more. After we planted we watered regularly just because they were new, very young plants.  With the help of neighbors, while we were out of town, we continued watering every other day unless it rained.  We had almost no weeds because we had put down a solid three inches of mulch. By midsummer we had beautiful, flowering plants, and a constant stream of monarch butterflies, birds and huge and very busy bumble bees. Not every plant bloomed but every plant grew.  We can’t wait to see what it looks like next year.

 We are looking forward to staying involved with Long Island Rewild in order to help other families with gardens of their own and to help in the efforts to plant in public spaces.  David and I are especially thankful to our friends and neighbors who supported us throughout the process, with maintenance help and a steady supply of patience and encouragement while we ventured into a new frontier of front yard fashion.  We are very happy to be a part of the Rewild revolution!

ReWild Long Island