‘To me the garden was priceless’

The energy and devotion one puts into a garden can be difficult to quantify. That’s what a particular Redditor struggled with as they took to the online forum to ask for a price estimate on replacing a garden full of native plants. The garden was tragically destroyed by a neighbor who was working on their building. 

Posting in the thread r/NativePlantGardening, the Redditor explained that the garden had been built up over the course of eight years. Over time, they’d collected seeds, wood, rocks, and plants but only knew the cost of the nursery plants they’d purchased.  

“I have no idea where to start with pricing the cost of all the driftwood and rocks. The labor of collecting the seeds and [sowing] or transplanting,” they said. “To me the garden was priceless and the labor to replace it is going to take years. But that doesn’t help me to tell the neighbor what they owe me to replace it.”

In addition to creating a beautiful space, native plants, such as the ones in this individual’s garden, are critical to the maintenance of ecosystems. According to the U.S. Forest Service, they provide nectar, pollen, and seeds to native butterflies, insects, birds, and other animals. They also sequester — or capture and store — carbon from the air. 

When native plants are destroyed, local plant diversity is decreased, which reduces food and shelter for local wildlife and can facilitate space for invasive plants to take hold, according to Friends of the Mississippi River. It can also increase soil erosion, as native plants significantly reduce water runoff. 

Many Redditors jumped to the comments to express their dismay and offer suggestions to the person who made the post. 

“If you have photos of the area before it was destroyed [I’d] reach out to landscaping companies and see if they can give you an estimate for insurance purposes,” one user said. “They’ll factor in labor, material and the cost of mature plants.”

“I’m sorry that happened, that stinks. Especially with natives collected from the local strains, you can’t just drop some dough to have a yard like that constructed, it takes a lot of time and effort,” another wrote. “Hopefully doing it a second time will be easier than the first because you’ve already learned from it.”

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‘To me the garden was priceless’