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.
My elderberry bloomed this spring, but didn't set berries. What happened? Here are some clues for growing a crop of bountiful berries.
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.
Trees have a big, hopefully long-lasting presence in a landscape. Choosing just the right tree means asking a lot of questions beyond - but definitely including - appearance.
In nature, you don't see plants just sitting there next to each other, politely not touching. They grow together, in community, without wood chip mulch in between, without social distancing. How do they manage to mingle, and how can we emulate natural plant communities in our home landscapes?
In my training as a NOFA-Accredited Organic Land Care Professional, I was intrigued to learn a bit about what the plants we call weeds reveal about soil. Wanting to learn more, I called the instructor Michael Nadeau, Wholistic Land Care Consultant at his home in Connecticut. Mike, a leading authority on sustainable organic and ethical [...]
To restore, protect or create habitat, first you need to determine what is already there to preserve and encourage to spread. Even in winter, deciduous trees and shrubs offer a lot of clues about the site and what wants to grow there.
Emerald ash borers (EAB) are bright metallic green wood boring beetles. They play a role in decomposition of dead and dying trees in their Asian home habitats, but quickly devastate even healthy ash trees in ours.
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.
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?