You’ve decided to be a good ecological steward of your landscape and reduce or replace your lawn. Kudos to you on making the decision to remove the “green desert,” hopefully, replacing it with those ecological workhorses – native plants. If every homeowner and landscape pro made this simple step, we would see vast improvements in biodiversity and ecological health.
But now what? How do you get rid of your Green Desert, your lawn, in a way that protects both you and the environment? …
Our 4,000 native bee species in the United States fall into one of two categories – pollen generalists and pollen specialists. Generalist bees are the majority, accounting for 80% of all bee species. It is their good fortune to be able to forage on many different native plant species, and often on a number of non-native plants. The European Honey Bee (non-native, of course) is also a forage generalist.
Requirements of Specialist Bees
For the other 20% of our native bees,…
You don’t have to be a gardener or a landscape professional to know that many pollinators are in trouble. The White House has taken notice and on May 19, 2015, released the “Pollinator Research Action Plan.” In the summary of the plan, three “overarching goals” are cited; unfortunately, our 4,000 species of native bees were not highlighted in these goals, but are mentioned in the body of the plan.
The 3 “Overarching Goals” of the National Pollinator Research Action Plan:
1) Honey Bees
Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years….
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 National Audubon Society, 20 of our most common bird species have declined by an average of 68% since 1967. Some species, like the Evening Grosbeak, have declined by as much as 91%. …
If you haven’t seen a native bog in full bloom, then make sure to put that on your bucket list. A recent trip south this fall provided me with the excuse I needed to see the splendid bog gardens at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Both ornamental and endangered, native bogs are some of our most threatened ecosystems.
Wanting to learn more about bogs and bog gardening, I got in touch with Ron Determann, VP of Conservatories at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG)….
Some of our most ecologically powerful native plants are the ones we never plant! It’s time for a change, if we really want to make a difference to our environment.
Often considered a “weedy tree”, our native Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) is an extraordinarily valuable plant in nature. Native to most of the Eastern half of the U.S., Black Cherry offers nectar and pollen to native pollinators and honey bees. The small red or black fruits are a favorite food of more than 40 species of birds,…
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Genevieve Schmidt, landscape designer and well known garden writer. Genevieve is a contributing editor and staff writer for Garden Design magazine; her work has appeared in many other publications including Fine Gardening magazine and the Christian Science Monitor. Her website, North Coast Gardening: Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, is full of helpful information.
Genevieve asked me some questions about how gardeners and landscape pros can attract and support birds in the winter. …
This past August, I took a road trip to one of my favorite states, Vermont, where lots of good things are happening with organic and pesticide-free landscapes and nursery production. One of my stops was “The Farm Between” in pastoral Jeffersonville, Vermont. This is one of the oldest farms in the area, dating back to the early 1800s; it used to be a dairy farm – that is until the visionary co-owners, John and Nancy Hayden purchased it in 1992.
The Farm Between is an organic nursery that specializes in fruit trees,…
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 using regionally appropriate native plants.
2) Increase the health of your soil.
Everything starts with the soil: healthy soil makes for healthy plants. Do a soil test to know what your baseline is….