The Cottage Garden of Judith and Michael Horsley is a great example of what residents can do toward conservation efforts. This distinct style of garden combines informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. Judith, a Master Naturalist, and Michael, a Master Naturalist and a Master Gardener, are committed to the environment and have incorporated both a rain barrel to conserve water and a composter to create natural fertilizer with which to amend their soil.
The garden is modified with native plants. Space is a challenge as the lot is long, but narrow, shaded for most of the grounds but sun for one garden. The couple grow both summer and fall crops to maximize the growth of food in a small space. They can or freeze everything they grow, to eliminate waste.
The Horsleys are active members of the First United Methodist Church of West Chicago’s Green Disciples, an environmental stewardship committee which has been responsible for many environmental programs at the Church and throughout the community. Judith has been a great champion of the Monarch’s in West Chicago. She has an active Facebook account in which she shares news and information among her friends/followers. She distributes free milkweed seeds at public events and actually provides the ideal conditions in her yard to nurture Monarch eggs to maturity. The Green Disciples oversaw the creation of a Native Garden as part of their ongoing mission as good stewards of God’s earth. Both Monarch Watch and the Conservation Foundation have certified it.
The Native Garden reduces the need to water and the roots help eliminate storm water run‐off. The gutter pipes direct rainwater from the roof to a box underground. When the box fills, the water slowly seeps up through the rocks spreads out through the Native Garden. The native plants will also support bees and other pollinators. There are approximately 70 different plants, sedges and grasses in the Native Garden.