Last Minute Gift Idea: Think Native Woody Plants!

Stuck trying to find a last minute holiday gift?  Why not give an easy gift that keeps on giving to your loved one and the environment? A coupon for a native tree or shrub will do the trick!  Make it simple by creating your own coupon on a holiday card: “Good for one native tree or shrub.” In the spring,…

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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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Helping Bees in Crisis: 7 Steps to Creating a Bee-Friendly Landscape

A version of this post was just published in the magazine, Westchester Home.  Read below, or follow this link to the published version: http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Westchester-Magazine/Westchester-Home/Summer-2013/How-to-Grow-a-Garden-that-Fosters-Bee-Activity-and-Pollination/ Please share this post with family and friends.  Knowledge is power!  If we all garden this way, we can help bees in crisis.   The European honey bee and many of our 4,000 species of native bees…

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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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Plant It and They Will Come: The EcoBeneficial Bird Garden

Approximately two-thirds of the bird species found in the U.S. are migrating birds. Some migrants travel great distances while others don’t go far at all. The farthest travelers are the neo-tropical migrants which breed in the U.S. in the warmer seasons and then travel to Mexico, Canada , South America, or the Caribbean to overwinter. When they return in the…

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Spotlight on Great Native Plants: Vernal Witch-hazel

Vernal Witch-hazel aka Spring Witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is one of our earliest blooming native shrubs, flowering as early as January, but often in February or March.  Its orange, red or yellow flowers can appear while snow is still on the ground, and hug tightly onto the leafless branches.  The spicy, sweet fragrance of the flowers will often lure you even…

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Native Bees: The Forgotten 4,000

We all know the European honey bee (Apis mellifera) because of its amazing ability to produce that golden liquid, honey.  But, did you realize that there are more than 4,000 species of bees which are native to the United States? Native bees vary tremendously in size, color, habitat, nest types, how they feed their larvae, etc.  Native bees also have…

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High-Value Pollen Sources for Honey Bees: Get Planting!

Honey Bee on Corylus

For honey bees, pollen is essential for brood-rearing, and they need a lot of it: an average colony collects 50 to 125 pounds per year.  Pollen is honey bees’ main source of protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals.  They need pollen with 20% protein;  10 of the amino acids in pollen protein are essential to honey bee development.  Not all plants…

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Critical Early Trees and Shrubs for Bees

Honey Bee on Big Leaf Maple

In very the early spring, trees and shrubs with early blooms are critical for honey bees and our native bees.  Some provide both nectar and pollen, and some only offer  pollen.  As the growing season progresses, more resources become available to bees, but you can help them out in early spring by planting some early blooming native trees and shrubs. …

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