As spring begins in earnest, pause for a moment before rushing off to the nursery or garden center to shop for plants. First, consider how the steps you take and the choices you make can increase the health of your landscape and the environment around you. Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Do a soil test before you buy a single plant. You cannot know what plants to choose unless you know the basic information about your soil. …
During a recent trip to the annual Great Smoky Mountain Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, I was overwhelmed by the incredible biodiversity of native plants and animals, interwoven in their natural habitat in the Smoky Mountains, making up one of the healthiest and most beautiful ecosystems I have ever encountered.
Instead of the endless Japanese Barberry thickets I notice at home in spring, one of the earliest plants to green up in our Northeastern woods, I was treated to vast expanses of Rhododendron calendulaceum (Flame Azalea). …
The new year brings more challenges than ever to our environment. Fires, floods, development of pristine natural areas, species loss, pollinator decline – on and on it goes. Sometimes it can feel a bit paralyzing as we ask ourselves – “what can we do, how can we really make a difference?”
The answer is this – we can do a lot in our managed landscapes to improve the environment around us. It’s not mysterious and it’s not even that difficult – we simply have to landscape a little bit differently,…
Ever wonder why those terrific native viburnums you planted are not producing fruit? You are not alone. It’s one of the frustrations of gardening ecologically in a world where “cross pollination” is rarely mentioned at local nurseries or garden centers (and forget about the big box stores!). Some plants, although deemed self-fruitful, may need a “pollinator partner” to bear fruit reliably.
Although potentially self-fruitful, native viburnums are actually pretty self-incompatible and typically require cross-pollination for good fruit production. Two genetically different plants of the same species should be planted in reasonably close proximity. …
Shopping for shrubs can be a dull experience when so many garden centers, nurseries and big box stores sell the same lackluster choices. Does the world need another forsythia, another boxwood, another sterile hydrangea? Go beyond the ecologically-mediocre and seek out great native shrubs that contribute big ecological impact to your landscape.
Here are a few worthy choices for your consideration:
Corylus americana (American Hazelnut)
American Hazelnut is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub typically found in open woods and woodland edges….
Some of our most important native plants are “woodies” (trees and shrubs). Woodies provide critical structure and ecological function to most landscapes – some are early pollen sources for hungry bees, some are nesting sites for songbirds, and some, primarily evergreens, provide cover to many creatures during harsh winters.
Your trees and shrubs are valuable to you and your ecosystem – so how do you keep them healthy through the winter? You start right now, in the fall.
First – skip the standard fertilizer,…
It’s that time of year when leaves seem to blanket everything in sight in much of the U.S., at least in locales where there is an abundance of deciduous trees and shrubs. For years, homeowners have taken great care to remove every dead leaf from their landscapes as if those leaves were coated with toxic waste. An army of rakes and leaf blowers burst into action in the fall, filling countless leaf bags, left at the end of driveways like yesterday’s trash,…
The hot and humid days of summer are certainly not ideal for planting, but you can plant in summer with some special care and vigilance.
Maybe you just found a fantastic plant you have been looking for, or, perhaps you didn’t get around to planting some native perennials or shrubs you bought in the spring. Keeping plants in containers over the summer requires constant watering, so it may be worth planting now, or…?
Best Times for Planting
The best practice is to plant when the days are warm and the nights are cool….
While searching for native plants for clients this spring, I have once again encountered the annoying challenge of trying to find male pollinators for female plants when plants are dioecious (male and female plants). Conventional nurseries and native nurseries alike often fail to deliver the goods. It’s a serious problem for those of us who want to plant for wildlife, especially when we want to provide fruit for birds and other creatures. Read this article and ask your native nursery to meet the Mr….