Master gardener hasn't mowed her lawn since 1974

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POSTED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 6:30am

UPDATED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 6:34am

Sally Hausken grew up spending summers in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

"The romance I had as a little child, is still here," Hausken boasts.

She bought the summer house in 1974 when her aunt passed away, and since then she's been trying to keep up, keeping it the same.

Hausken says it's quite a ride keeping up with the native plants here.

"Thrilling, it's thrilling, not a challenge," she says.

She's made it her job planting and seeding, watering and going the extra mile to bring back the look of this property at it's origins. With plants she put down that are native to the area comes birds that have always relied on them, and insects too. 

Her plants give life to more life.

"The importance is we get to start helping the planet. Making an assist for the planet and one of those things is giving a wide birth to pollinators, to bee's, to moths, to butterflies, even hummingbirds," says Hausken.

Putting food on the table for the insects isn't the only environmental benefit though.

"Some of these little things at the lower part of the food chain they might be very precious. When we lose a species we don't know if that's a species that is going to do harm if it's lost," explains Hausken.

While most shoreline properties stay well manicured, with lawn mowers and pruning tools to help expose the lake from the cabin window, Hausken says keeping it natural provides all sorts of other perks, too.

One of the perks is keeping the geese off your lawn.

"People who don't like to have geese in their yard, to me it doesn't make much sense not to have tall grasses because geese are fearful of predators in tall grasses," she explains.

If it looks enticing and you want to give it a shot at your own cabin, know that it won't happen overnight, but the long term benefits will be waiting.

"Just see what happens, you don't instantly have native plants. It takes a few years for them to come," she explains.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Many lake shore owners are starting to section off a portion of their property for natural vegetation. That could be native grasses or flowers, both could help fight erosion of your beach, too.  

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