HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Hello! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read our story. Our names are Katie & Karl Kloos, and we love nature! You know those people who are always stopping to look at a tree, a flower, a bug or maybe they heard a strange bird call that they have to investigate? We imagine our family and friends are probably chuckling right about now, because well.. that’s us! We feel such a strong passion for nature and its future that we decided to start Northern Natural Gardens. We believe passionately that natural gardens can help everyone learn something new and find a deeper connection to our natural world.
Our love of nature has been strong since we were kids, but our passion for restoring it on a residential level took off once we bought our home. All of a sudden we owned a house and the land it sits on.
To give you a little background, when we started house hunting, we were running a small wedding photography business out of our apartment in Saint Anthony Park. We were working a crazy amount of hours, most of which were spent locked up in our office editing photos. In that editing dungeon (as we so lovingly called it), we started dreaming of owning our own home with a magical yard that would feel like our own private escape into nature.
Karl was able to draw on his 5 years of experience working for a conventional landscaping company where he managed a crew and did design work. As soon as we put the offer in for our house, Karl started drawing up the design for our new yard.
Being a lover of everything nature, Karl couldn’t help but think about the impact he would undoubtedly have on this land. He immersed himself in books and YouTube lectures about native plants and the history of land in Minnesota. It quickly became obvious to both of us, we need a change in perspective.
We learned that for the past several decades, we’ve been altering the landscape of this planet to fit our needs and esthetics. Here in Minnesota, when the European settlers started plotting off and dividing the land, they found themselves with a bit of an issue. Minnesota’s native prairie plants had such deep roots that they had to work extra hard, even inventing a new plow shape in order to remove them to create farm fields. They also set to the woods and heavily logged all of our White Pine forests which covered a good portion of MN. What busy people the European settlers were! They also brought over many of their beloved plants that reminded them of home. Such as Buckthorn for hedges, Garlic Mustard for the kitchen, and Creeping Bellflower and for the garden. Whether you realize it or not, but if you’re from Minnesota, you’ve most likely seen these (now invasive) plants or you may even have them in your yard right now.
So, from there we expanded. The cities grew and the suburbs became a thing. Big, green expansive lawns became a sign of prosperity and success. Generation to generation passed down how to garden with ornamental plants like Tulips (European), Roses (mostly from Asia), Hostas (Asia), Daylily (Asia), etc. We began to forget about our native plants, and in fact many of them became “weeds” in our vocabulary.
Why does this all matter? Well, imagine this image here without any of those plants, and just green grass (like how we bought it). Think of how much life lives and benefits from those plants. If it was just grass or ornamental plants, we wouldn’t get caterpillars, and without caterpillars we wouldn’t have baby birds, and without birds, we wouldn’t have our larger birds + animals of prey, etc. And without our pollinators we wouldn’t have food. We wouldn’t have us. So, how did this disconnect happen? I’m guessing trends, the need to fit in, and the lack of understanding of how we effect the natural world around us.
Well with that in mind, let’s break the trend and start a new one where we bring nature back!
watching our garden grow
From that very first day we laid the seed for our native plants, we have found ourselves captivated by what nature can do all on its own. While we have been a helpful guide, our natural gardens have taken on a beautiful life of their own. We decide the borders of our gardens, where to cast the seeds and plant the trees, but ultimately the seeds will choose when and where to germinate and many factors go into where their plant successors will ultimately grow again and again, and again. Every year our seed bank grows and so does our love for our natural garden! We invite you to join in on the exciting journey!