We're already in love with native plants, but every season seems to teach us something new. This year, we became enamored with Wood Aster and Little Bluestem, watching them slowly change and wither together. This was no circumstance, but was a carefully planned planting decision made by the Duke Gardens Staff in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden. It was a poetic and striking scene to those who visited. The paths, once bright green and vibrant in the summer, slowly changed to a burnt orange and became punctuated by the purple tufts of Wood Aster. It's gardens like these, using and interpreting native plants, that have the potential to teach us about their important place in our ecology, how they serve our native insects and support the foundation of our web of life. The key to sending this message: beauty. If we can create beautiful gardens in our own constructed environments, made from native plants, then we improve everything. We improve our health through being outside to enjoy the natural world and we improve the health of our local ecosystem by providing food and habitat. So, next time you're in a beautiful garden, ask yourself if it's doing more than just existing. Is it cleaning water, providing food, or creating habitat? It should be.