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…

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20 Resolutions for the EcoBeneficial Landscape

It’s that time of year to make your resolutions for 2015.  Don’t forget to include your landscape!  Here are 20 resolutions to get you started toward a healthier ecosystem: 1) Reduce or eliminate the “Green Desert” (turf/lawn). Exotic turf grass is an ecological wasteland.  When replacing lawn, don’t replace one monoculture with another.  Plant diversely…

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Spring Wildflowers With Carol Gracie part 1

After a long, cold, seemingly never-ending winter, what a treat it was to go on a spring wildflower hike with author, photographer and naturalist Carol Gracie.  Gracie is the author of two excellent books on wildflowers.  Her first book, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States, was co-authored…

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Praying Mantis Confidential

Most of us hold the Praying Mantis and other Mantises in high regard – highly beneficial insects in our landscapes, valued as voracious predators of insect pests.  They are fascinating creatures that charm even those people who are squeamish about “bugs.” We have put Mantises on an “insect pedestal” wishfully thinking that they are protected…

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A Bakers Dozen of EcoBeneficial Ideas for Earth Day

Give your ecosystem a gift this Earth Day with these 13 ideas that are sure to please the environment: 1) Select at least 25% of your lawn that you don’t really use.  Make a commitment to turn that area into a habitat garden by the end of spring (pollinators, butterflies, birds, etc.). 2) Comb your…

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Gardening Tips for April 1

Here are some helpful gardening tips for April 1: –       Increase your lawn. –       Plant more invasive exotic plants. –       Plant in monocultures. –       Use more pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. –       Put the wrong plant in the wrong place. –       Ignore the above and download: “Top 20 Ways to Create an EcoBeneficial Landscape” https://www.ecobeneficial.com/top-20-tips Happy…

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Backyard Foraging: Edible Native and Invasive Plants With Ellen Zachos

The phrases: “grow local” and “eat local” take on a whole new meaning when you add native plants and invasive plants into the picture. Many of our native plants, such as Serviceberries (Amelanchier species) and Pawpaw (Asimina species) provide beauty in the garden while offering delectable fruit picked right off the plant. Some of our…

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The Dirt on Worms: Friend or Foe?

That seemingly harmless creature, the earthworm, revered so long as our ally in the garden, has become a foe in our forests.  Surprisingly, earthworms are not native to the Northeastern United States.  Glaciers in the Pleistocene period wiped out native earthworms in most of the Northern Continental U.S.  Explorers and settlers introduced exotic earthworms possibly…

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Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for the EcoBeneficial Gardener

1. Reduce or eliminate your lawn – it’s an ecological desert. 2. Focus on increasing the health of your soil – it’s filled with life!  Compost is king for most soils, not fertilizer. 3. Eliminate synthetic pesticides, herbicides + fungicides.  Use organic counterparts sparingly, if at all. 4. Support beneficial insects with appropriate native plantings. …

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