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Ecologically Important Pest Dilemma

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.

By |2020-07-01T15:51:08-04:00January 2nd, 2020|Categories: Garden Coaching, Views|Comments Off on Ecologically Important Pest Dilemma

Is Your Yard a Refuge – Or a Trap – for Pollinators?

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?

By |2020-07-01T15:51:08-04:00October 25th, 2019|Categories: Clues, Garden Coaching|Comments Off on Is Your Yard a Refuge – Or a Trap – for Pollinators?

Collect Native Plant Seeds in Fall

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.

By |2020-07-01T15:51:08-04:00September 25th, 2019|Categories: Garden Coaching, How-To's|Comments Off on Collect Native Plant Seeds in Fall

In Praise of Aggressive Native Plants – Even if They’re Pink

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.

By |2020-07-01T15:51:08-04:00September 15th, 2019|Categories: Garden Coaching, Great Plants, Views|Comments Off on In Praise of Aggressive Native Plants – Even if They’re Pink

Reduce Artificial Light at Night

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.

By |2020-01-31T12:26:07-05:00July 25th, 2019|Categories: Garden Coaching, How-To's|Comments Off on Reduce Artificial Light at Night

Which Native Plants Support the Most Life?

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.

By |2020-02-11T10:41:45-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Clues, Garden Coaching, Great Plants|Comments Off on Which Native Plants Support the Most Life?

Restoring Insects to Our Landscapes – Every Yard Counts

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).

By |2020-07-01T15:51:08-04:00July 2nd, 2019|Categories: Garden Coaching, Views|Comments Off on Restoring Insects to Our Landscapes – Every Yard Counts