Enticing Spring Ephemerals for Your Early Spring Garden – Part 1

With spring coming soon, we eagerly await the early blooms of the growing season.  One group of early-blooming plants that we often forget to use in our gardens are native spring ephemerals.  These plants grow naturally in woodland settings and awake from their winter’s nap, coaxed by the sun that penetrates the forest before leaves emerge on the trees, encouraged…

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It’s National Pollinator Week: Thank a Bee, and a Fly, and Even A Beetle

In 2006 the United States Senate designated the first National Pollinator Week as a way to recognize the importance of pollinators to agriculture and ecosystem health.  Sure, beekeepers and avid gardeners celebrate this week, but the average American is hard pressed to name even a single pollinator beyond a honey bee.  As we have become increasingly disconnected from our food…

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Bee Hotels or Natural Habitat?

There is a huge wave of enthusiasm for bee hotels and that’s totally understandable – we all want to help native bees that are facing incredible challenges. A landscape with lots of pollinator-friendly flowers is an important forage buffet, but a landscape that also provide areas for pollinators to nest, shelter and overwinter – now that is a pollinator garden.…

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Where Are the Bees, Butterflies and Other Insects? Facts & Tips

From individual observations to published research, the situation seems clear – insect populations are declining across the globe. It’s a crisis that gets little play in the media, surpassed daily by “news” of unhinged political tweets or the latest Kardashian romance. Anecdotal evidence is abundant – recent posts on NABA Chat (North American Butterfly Association) from across the country report a…

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5 Ecological Landscape Resolutions Worth Making

Anise Hysop and pollinators

Losing weight and curbing bad habits don’t have to be the only resolutions you make for the New Year. How about adopting some resolutions that will have a positive impact on the environment around you?  Here are 5 ecological landscape resolutions worth making: Resolution#1: Become a Climate Change Steward – Plant More Trees The efforts of nations are critical to…

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Planting for Specialist Native Bees

Our estimated 4,000 native bee species in the United States and Canada fall into one of two categories – pollen generalists and pollen specialists. Generalist bees are the majority, accounting for approximately 75% of all bee species. It is their good fortune to be able to forage on many different native plant species, and often on a number of non-native…

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The Pollinator Victory Garden: Winning the War on Pollinator Decline

You don’t have to be a gardener or a landscape professional to know that many pollinators are in trouble.  The White House has taken notice and on May 19, 2015, released the “Pollinator Research Action Plan.”  In the summary of the plan, three “overarching goals” are cited; unfortunately, our 4,000 species of native bees were not highlighted in these goals,…

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Native Bogs with Ron Determann of Atlanta Botanical Garden

If you haven’t seen a native bog in full bloom, then make sure to put that on your bucket list. A recent trip south this fall provided me with the excuse I needed to see the splendid bog gardens at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Both ornamental and endangered, native bogs are some of our most threatened ecosystems. Wanting to learn…

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Powerful Prunus: A Visit With Dr. Doug Tallamy

Some of our most ecologically powerful native plants are the ones we never plant!   It’s time for a change, if we really want to make a difference to our environment. Often considered a “weedy tree”, our native Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) is an extraordinarily valuable plant in nature.   Native to most of the Eastern half of the U.S., Black Cherry…

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