Pollinator's Perspective

Author Archives: Mark LaBarge

Forest Park Forever Landscaping

Founded in 1986, Forest Park Forever is a private nonprofit conservancy that works in partnership with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of America’s greatest urban public parks.  If you have been to Forest Park in the last few years you have seen the fruits of their work with restored infrastructure and many beautifully landscaped areas with an emphasis on native, ecological landscapes.  They are doing fantastic work.

Native Landscape Solutions, Inc. is proud to provide services to Forest Park Forever from time to time.  We recently installed new landscape plantings at the World’s Fair Pavilion, specifically at the garden room arm level of government hill.  The project was designed by Forest Park Forever and installed by us – hundreds of new plants to upgrade the area.  Working closely together, we were able to get the entire job completed (old plants removed, beds raked out, new plants installed, mulching, and complete cleanup) in around 5 days.  No muss – no fuss.  Thanks to the fine managers at Forest Park Forever as we are proud to provide our professional services to help with your projects.

The Great Caterpillar Rescue


August is monarch season in Missouri. Monarch butterflies feed on nectar, particularly on purple flowers such as blazing star, New England aster and mistflower. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed leaves to feed on. As the monarchs start making their way South to Mexico for the winter, the adult butterflies lay eggs on milkweed plants. We found one of these caterpillars on a honeyvine that we were pulling off of a client’s redbud tree in her front yard. Honeyvine, Cynanchum laeve, a native milkweed vine, makes good habitat for monarch caterpillars, but often grows aggressively and overtops other desirable plants. We chose to remove it all in this tidy landscape. Since there were no milkweeds left nearby, we moved it to a common milkweed in her backyard. Hopefully it will find plenty to eat there! To benefit monarchs in your yard, make sure to have plenty of milkweeds and nectar plants available!

Jumping In


At Native Landscape Solutions, we often describe ourselves as being “mission driven” or we take “ownership of the project” or we “jump in with both feet.”
Most often we think of these phrases as figurative speaking, but this past Saturday- we took a literal approach to jumping in with both feet!  The City of Florissant, Missouri recently renovated there signature water feature located in St. Ferdinand Park.  Part of that renovation included installing native aquatics for the newly stocked fish to shelter in.  So last Saturday morning, we hit the project in force installing hundreds of aquatics.  Now we sit back and watch them go to work providing meaningful habitat for aquatic insects and fish alike.
Here’s to “Jumping In”

Butterfly Byway in Downtown St. Louis?

Can you imagine the journey the Monarch Butterfly makes each season. After overwintering in Mexico, Monarchs in early spring.  Taking as many as five generations to reach their Northern destinations, the Monarchs need meaningful waystations along their migration routes. Big or small, 100’s of acres or 100 square feet, the Pollinator waystations prove to be vital stops, serving as stepping stones during the journey.

As part of the St Louis Butterfly Byway project, we are caring for ten of these very waystations along the St. Louis riverfront.  Who would have thought meaningful pollinator habitats could be developed in downtown St. Louis?


Three years ago, Native Landscape Solutions, Inc. installed many native plants in stormwater basins and seeded various native seed mixes at the new Mercy Virtual Care facility in Chesterfield.  It is a beautiful modern building within a beautiful natural setting.  As we all know, native plants take a good three years or more to really get established.  And now, just starting the third year, Mercy’s native plants are really showing off.  Much of their campus is alive with blooming Penstemon, Monarda, pale purple coneflowers, milkweed, black-eyed susans, rattlesnale master, Coreopsis and many others.  It is very gratifying to see the fruits of our labor (we also provide knowledgeable stewardship of the site) as there are very few qualified native plant contractors who can handle this work.  Enjoy the pictures!, especially  the milkweed with the tiny Monarch caterpillar.