Why Locally-Sourced, Locally-Grown Native Plants Matter

Have you visited your local farmer’s market lately or picked up your weekly allotment at a CSA?   If you are a locavore, like so many of us, you might be asking some pretty specific questions of your suppliers when you are vetting your food choices, such as: Where was this food grown? How far is the farm from here? Where…

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Easy Native Perennials to Start from Seed: Economical and EcoBeneficial!

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

Biodiversity is critical to the health of ecosystems but species diversity is crashing and getting worse in the face of climate change.  How can you help?  Skip the clones of native plants (grown from cuttings or tissue culture) and plant native seeds to increase genetic diversity to support our challenged environment. In many cases, native plants require some type of…

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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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Selling the Sizzle, Not Just the Steak: Promoting Native Landscapes

While meeting with a client who knows nothing about native plants and their benefits, I find myself recommending some great native plants for their landscape. As I rattle off names of possible plants, I notice the puzzled look I get from the client. Did I comb my hair this morning? Do I have spinach stuck in between my teeth? Am…

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Lessons from the Smokies: Biodiversity in the Home Landscape

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…

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Fall Tip: Boosting the Health of Trees and Shrubs

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…

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Put Down that Rake! What Leaves Can Do for You and Your Landscape

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…

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Planting in the Dog Days of Summer

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…

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