We're often advised to "eat a rainbow" of colored fruits and vegetables for their fiber and healthful phytochemicals (biologically active chemical compounds produced by plants). But when deciding to purchase organic produce or conventionally grown, how do you know which crops are most or least contaminated with pesticides? The Environmental Working Group issues an annual report - The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15.
Bees are smart. They recognize high quality food and habitat. The buzz has gone out that my house is a happening place for carpenter bees. I don't want to kill or drive carpenter bees away, I just don't want them messing with my house. Looking into their habits and life cycle gives clues to peaceful coexistence with carpenter bees.
I love watching songbirds gobble down bugs and berries on the staghorn sumacs planted outside my front window and listening to owls whoo-ing nearby at night. But some wildlife - voles - have worn out their welcome by eating plants and tunneling through gardens. How do I establish self-sustaining wildlife-friendly plant communities when the wildlife keeps eating my plants? Voles and mice play an important role in ecosystems - but I want them out of my garden.
Fall is aster time, and asters are one of the most important pollinator food sources. Nancy DuBrule-Clemente tells how to plant a succession of blue asters that will bloom in your garden from late summer right into November.
Sometimes our good intentions backfire. Scientific research, like insect-plant relationships, is highly specific. But researchers are beginning to fill in the dearth of data and come up with some pretty good clues to answer the big question: Are native plant cultivars - "nativars" - and hybrids good for pollinators and other beneficial insects?
Who is curb appeal for? Why not appeal to wildlife and to your own sense of beauty instead of having a high maintenance cookie cutter suburban landscape?
The Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) has invited me to speak on Designing with Elegant and Edible Elements at its Season’s End Summit on November 7 at the Community Harvest Project in North Grafton, MA .......
Sow seeds collected from nearby wild areas, or from plants thriving in your own yard, for well-adjusted offspring. Growing your own is a good way to save money, get your hands on hard-to-find plants, support local foodwebs and promote genetic diversity. Seeds of summer and fall blooming plants, and even some spring bloomers, are ripe in September and October.
Research on wildlife value of every single native plant species and cultivar in every genus in every region simply has not been done, but we have lots of clues and resources. And we can keep looking and learning.
A garden coaching client's bed of Physostegia virginiana totally changed my perspective about this aggressive native plant. Now this stalwart perennial tops my list of plants that are beautiful, support wildlife and solve problems. Read about how this plant solved a big erosion problem with style.