Having studied painting rather than horticulture or landscape design, I long thought of myself as a self-taught gardener as I felt my way along the convoluted path to where I am today. But that's not quite right. Gardens and other gardeners have been my teachers. The gardens that most intrigue me were made by similarly "self-taught" gardeners who spent serious time looking, developed their very personal gardens over time and who never stopped learning, looking and sharing.
Tiny spring-flowering bulbs are cheap, quick and easy to plant and addictive - there's always room for more. Check out online and catalog offerings (you won't find all that many in garden centers) during fall bulb-planting season and try something new. Thumb or scroll through and buy whatever stirs your heart and suits your conditions.
Nancy DuBrule-Clemente and Karen Bussolini have a conversation about our mutual struggle between planting as many native plants as possible to support the entire life cycle of diverse co-evolved wildlife, versus planting ornamental plants that just give us joy, even if they're not native. We discovered that the two are not mutually exclusive. In September, a time of year when many gardens are limping along, Nancy's are as exuberant as she is, She has enough flowers to feed wildlife and cut for arrangements too.
Among the many native perennials in my landscape, goldenrod has the highest ecological and wildlife value. It's a standout "good guy," a beneficent prince. It's also one of the worst thugs in the prime real estate of my gardens. I've had to draw the line between garden (where I don't want them to seed in) and landscape (where they can run rampant).
A subscriber to my newsletter, Eco-Friendly News, Views, Clues and How-To’s wrote, asking “Am I right to leave alive the tomato hornworms that have the parasitic wasps on their backs?”
My elderberry bloomed this spring, but didn't set berries. What happened? Here are some clues for growing a crop of bountiful berries.
I’ve always loved staghorn sumac’s tropical-looking leaves, young stems resembling velvety antlers (hence its common name), plumy cream-colored flowers, spectacular fall color and fuzzy red berry clusters (only on female plants - they’re dioecious). But I had no idea how much interrelated life, drama, trickery, sex, life and death went on in its embrace until the show was right under my nose.
Creating a reliable food system calls for a shift of priorities from efficient and as cheap as possible to reliable and local. It needs to be about reliability and nourishment. The big threat is lack of pollination services. To protect the pollinators we must plant native plants and protect habitat.
Tips for delicious ways to use arugula and a recipe for Arugula Mint Pesto
Favorite pollinator plants bloom for a long time and attract all manner of beneficial insects. Learn what to plant for July and August flowers for pollinators.