It started innocently enough. While volunteering at a plant sale held by Lasdon Park, a local arboretum, I spotted a dozen or so lanky, young Brugmansias for sale. The plant-loving staff, had scored these tropical wonders, offering them for sale amid a treasure trove of native and ornamental trees and shrubs. But the Brugmansias stood out, calling like a siren to every plant geek there.
Brugmansia, commonly known as Angel’s Trumpet, is a group of seven plant species native to South America….
During the hot, dry days of summer you may feel the urge to pull out the garden hose and water everything in sight. Perhaps you have an in-ground sprinkler system that does the job for you, often running on a timer, watering whether irrigation is needed or not. According to the EPA, one-third of all residential water is used to irrigate our landscapes. Half of that water is wasted due to evaporation, misdirected watering and over-watering.
With more extreme weather events resulting from climate change,…
From individual observations to published research, the situation seems clear – insect populations are declining across the globe. It’s a crisis that gets little play in the media, surpassed daily by “news” of unhinged political tweets or the latest Kardashian romance.
Anecdotal evidence is abundant – recent posts on NABA Chat (North American Butterfly Association) from across the country report a decline in butterfly populations in many areas. Home gardeners and environmentalists are reporting a scarcity of bees in their summer landscapes….
Spring is just around the corner. A late season snowstorm might sneak in, or perhaps we’ll jump right into to a string of unseasonably warm days. With climate change, the timing of spring is increasingly hard to predict. Don’t let the growing season catch you by surprise this year. Start planning your goals for your landscape or your clients’ landscapes. This year, set the bar high – make your landscape beautiful, but make it ecological, too.
With natural areas rapidly diminishing,…
Losing weight and curbing bad habits don’t have to be the only resolutions you make for the New Year. How about adopting some resolutions that will have a positive impact on the environment around you? Here are 5 ecological landscape resolutions worth making:
Resolution#1: Become a Climate Change Steward – Plant More Trees
The efforts of nations are critical to stemming climate change, but so are individual actions. Why not help trap carbon emissions, clean the air, cool the environment and decrease the impact of flooding in your own landscape….
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 hybrids to evaluate which plants perform best. Their research has focused mostly on garden-worthiness, namely aesthetic factors, but Mt. Cuba has now embraced ecological research as well….
Planting trees or shrubs this fall? How will you go about making your plant selection? If you have been reading the EcoBeneficial website, hopefully you have been inspired to choose native plants. Beyond that, your choices might be more complicated – should you choose plants that are native to your immediate area or native to your region? Locally sourced or not? Organically grown or conventionally grown?
A choice that we rarely even contemplate is “native plant or native cultivar?” Often we have no choice at all – we simply buy what is available at a local nursery – and frequently that means a “nativar”- a cultivar,…
When you think of Chicago, do deep dish pizzas and high winds come to mind? How about prairies, river corridors and a do-not-miss botanical garden? The Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) is one of our great public gardens, self-described as a 385-acre living plant museum with 26 display gardens and many natural habitats, including the Dixon Prairie and the Skokie River Corridor.
I recently spoke with Joan O’Shaughnessy, ecologist and manager of the River and Prairie Ecosystems at the Chicago Botanic Garden. …
Have you visited your local farmer’s market this week or picked up your weekly allotment at a CSA? If you are a locavore, like so many of us, you might be asking some pretty specific questions of your suppliers when you are vetting your food choices, such as:
Where was this food grown? How far is the farm from here?
Where did the seed come from? Is it heirloom? Do you collect and save seed?
How do you grow your crops?…