A business born of disaster
Most people would put "getting hit by a tornado" on their list of things not to do. But when a tornado destroyed Deb Edlhuber's 20-acre woods several years ago, it got her started in a new business: selling wildflower and prairie-grass seeds.
Her farm in central Wisconsin has been in her family for more than 100 years. After the storm hit, she says, "the woods were gone."
But what happened afterward was "wonderful," she says. Wildflowers that had been dormant for years, because big trees blocked their light, suddenly blossomed everywhere, "like magic."
It's a good example of how nature renews itself, even after apparent destruction. The wildflowers helped renew Ms. Edlhuber's farm, too: Now she and her family grow wildflowers and prairie grasses in fields where they used to plant corn. Their company, Prairie Frontier, in Waukesha, Wis., sells seeds in stores and over the Internet (see www.prairiefrontier.com) to people all across North America.
Lots of gardeners today want their yards and gardens to be more "natural." As much as possible, they want plants that are native to their area, rather than ones brought in from Europe and other places by settlers. (There's a fancy word for these native species: indigenous.)
One of the fun things about wildflowers and prairie grasses in your garden is that they attract butterflies. Butterfly milkweed, with its bright-orange blossom, is especially popular with the insects - and with gardeners, Edlhuber says. "But all wildflowers attract butterflies," she adds.
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