Enough with the ugly sweaters, run-of-the-mill Amazon gift cards, overpriced fruit-of-the-month club, and belly-bomber fruitcake!  Why not give the gardeners you love a gift that they will love?  The gift of native gardening! Here are some ideas for your holiday shopping: 1) Membership to a Native Plant Society No matter where your gift recipient lives,…

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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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Great garden plant or garden slacker?  This is a question that the Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware has sought to answer, giving gardeners and green industry professionals a helping hand in selecting native plants.  Since 2002, Mt. Cuba, has conducted native plant research in their trial gardens, examining native species, native cultivars/selections (“nativars”) and…

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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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Milkweeds (Asclepias species) are getting a lot of attention these days since they are the only larval host plants for the threatened Monarch Butterfly.   As you may know, butterfly caterpillars have a different diet than their adult counterparts.   Most caterpillars eat plant parts, usually leaves.  Monarch caterpillars only eat the leaves of milkweeds. The Xerces…

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According to the latest survey results from the Bee Informed Partnership, honey bees fared better this past winter than the previous winter.  Commercial beekeepers reported losing 23.2% of their colonies over the winter of 2013/2014 versus a loss of 30.5% for the previous winter. This volume of loss is still not acceptable, however, with beekeepers in…

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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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As you start shopping for plants this spring, please emphasize regional native plants that support your local ecosystem.  That sounds easy, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s actually a bit more complicated.   Sometimes the only native plants you can find are native cultivars, not open-pollinated, “straight species” natives.  These native cultivars are often referred to as “nativars.”…

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