I look at my garden and see a novel ecosystem, as many places on Earth are – places altered in large or small measure by our actions. There will never again be prairie where I live. It would be easy to say well, hey, at least I have a garden, and to go ahead and plant whatever I think looks pretty.
But I know I can have my cake and eat it too by using natives. A garden will never be wild, and the best it can do is echo or invoke the memory of what wildness is in our world of shrinking pollinators, songbirds, grasslands, and clean water.
But every time I grow a native seedling – a Liatris, goldenrod, aster, or milkweed – I know something more: that my slow work in transforming my garden into an all native garden is a protest. It is a protest to all the ways in which we use this world and know are ethically wrong. For me, my garden has become a moral imperative, just as so much human art has been. Read Benjamin's entire article.