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.
Moths are drawn to light. They exhaust themselves flying toward strong security lights and die or get picked off by predators (bats, birds, rats, mice). More than 60% of invertebrates are nocturnal. The Xerces Society’s advice on being thoughtful about night lighting to help fireflies helps a lot of insects - and saves energy too.
How do we support resilient local food webs? Entomologist Doug Tallamy notes that caterpillars transfer energy into the food web better than anything else, so we need to increase their numbers. Dr. Tallamy's research shows that some native plants are more ecologically productive too, that 5% of our native plants make 75% of the food that drives food webs.
Curiosity about how things really work in nature led me to world of environmental scientists who deal in facts, not just feelings. The more I learn from them, the more I know that what we do at home makes a difference (positive or negative) and that every yard counts. Entomologist Doug Tallamy has given substance and urgency to the importance of restoring insects to our landscapes. He speaks eloquently on “Restoring the Little Things That Run the World” (i.e. insects).
If you can’t please yourself in your own garden, where can you? Why put up with plants that just sit there without speaking to each other - or to you? If a home landscape conveys all the charm and originality of a heavily mulched McDonald’s parking lot (minus cigarette butts), it’s time to fill in with more plants, more color and more contrast to make it more personal and exciting.
Come learn how to create, maintain and restore habitat to benefit pollinators.
Dead and dying trees provide wildlife habitat and are critical to forest health. Let's look at fallen branches and trees as natural resources rather than disposal problems.
Garden coaching is about helping homeowners see their property with new eyes. Read about it in the September/October issue of Connecticut Gardener Magazine.