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…

Read More

Underutilized Native Shrubs With Big Ecological Impact

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Welcoming Birds Back to the Garden this Spring

As the weather warms, neo-tropical migrating birds start to reappear in our landscapes.  Are you ready to offer a proper welcome?  Resources can be slim at this time of year in our landscapes, both for overwintering birds and returning migrants. Now more than ever, we need to provide welcoming habitats for birds.  According to the…

Read More

Fall Planting With Woodies – Native Trees & Shrubs

Some of our most ecologically-important native plants are trees and shrubs (aka woodies).  They provide critical structure and ecological function to our landscapes.  Some are early pollen sources for hungry bees, some have fruits, nuts or seeds for birds and mammals, some are host plants for butterflies, some are nesting sites for songbirds, and some,…

Read More

Plant It and They Will Come: Cedar Waxwings & Serviceberries

The Cedar Waxwing is one of my favorite bird species – the adults with their sleek tan and gray Cardinal-like bodies, bright red spots on their wing tips and yellow “paint” on the tips of their tails, but best of all – their Zorro-like masks. Chances are, you have Cedar Waxwings around at some point…

Read More