Top 20 Ways to Create An EcoBeneficial Garden

Wondering how you can give a huge “eco-boost” to your garden? Look no further. Here are 20 of the best ways: 1) Reduce or eliminate the “Green Desert” (lawn/turf).  It is an ecological wasteland. 2) Increase the health of your soil.  Everything starts with the soil:  healthy soil makes for healthy plants.  Disturb your soil as little as possible.  Leaves…

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Spotlight on Invasive Plants: Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

At this time of year, there are some very compelling plants in the landscape, strikingly beautiful as they take on their amazing fall color.  One of the loveliest to look at is Euonymus alatus, commonly known as burning bush or winged euonymus.  Its foliage and unusual fruit begin to turn bright red in October and are highly visible in the landscape.…

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Host Plants: Feeding Caterpillars = Building Butterflies

Many homeowners and landscapers don’t realize the futility of just planting exotic nectar plants to support butterflies.  Caterpillars of butterflies have evolved with specific host plants on which they depend.  Some caterpillars use a very limited number of  native host plants,  some have the ability to use a wider range of plants.  Caterpillars typically eat a small portion of the…

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Preserving Native Species: Lessons from the American Chestnut

Prior to the year 1900 the American Chestnut tree (Castanea dentata) was the predominant tree in Eastern forests.  It is estimated that there were almost 4 billion American Chestnut trees in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century, accounting for 1 in every 4 trees in Eastern hardwood forests. American Chestnut was a “keystone species” playing a critical…

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The Native Flora-Fauna Connection: The Complexity of Native Plants

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Doug Tallamy speak again. For those of you who have not yet read his book, “Bringing Nature Home,” I encourage you to rev up your Amazon account or drive to a bookstore (remember those?) and buy his book today. Tallamy is an entomologist, specializing in lepidoptera (butterflies, skippers + moths), and has…

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Your Favorite Native Plants: Cutleaf Coneflower

Autumn Thomas had the final winning entry to the EcoBeneficial t-shirt contest: “I’m going to go with Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) even though it’s a tad aggressive, I see hundreds of bees, beetles and lepidoptera (butterflies, skippers and moths) on it every year. Then, after it goes to seed flocks of goldfinches arrive!” Wondering if Cutleaf Coneflower would be a…

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An Environmental Aspect to This Memorial Day

As we remember our fallen troops this Memorial Day, let’s also pay tribute to Rachel Carson, born on May 27, 1907, a famous conservationist credited with starting the modern day environmental movement. After studying at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and receiving a Masters in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, Carson started her career as a marine biologist.  She…

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Earth Day Resolutions: Top 10 Tips for an EcoBeneficial Garden

Here are some easy ways to increase the health of the ecosystem in your landscape.   If you have more tips, please let us know. 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 many soils, not fertilizer. 3) Eliminate synthetic…

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Spring Planting With Environmental Impact!

Still wondering what to plant this spring? How about boosting the ecosystem in your yard with some native woody plants.  Replace invasive, exotic plants in your yard with some regionally native plants.  Check out the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower plant database to see if the plants suggested below are native to your area. Give me a shout if you need some…

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