One of the great reasons to plant native species rather than their non-native counterparts is the support they provide to local wildlife populations. Simply put: If you plant native species–any native species–you will support a greater array of wildlife than if you had planted the same area with non-native species. The basic principle is that wildlife needs food, water, and shelter. However, for those gardeners truly interested in creating a creature-friendly environment, it is possible to do more. Continue reading →
The 2013 season? Well, with apologies to the late Jerry Garcia, I have to say, “What a long, strange trip it’s been….”
First, the snow never wanted to leave. In central Massachusetts, snow was still on the ground in mid-April as bulbs and perennials pushed their way out of the half-frozen ground. Then, from April into May it was unusually dry, no April showers at all but plenty of May flowers. All the moisture from the late snow cover did contribute to a spectacular blooming season for spring blooming plants and trees.
This article first appeared in Volume 96 of Wren Song.
Pawpaw Asimina triloba is a lovely little understory tree I would not be without. I first discovered it in my oak woods, happily naturalized and looking like something a bit more tropical than belonged there. Soon I fell in love with its bright green, large, drooping leaves that caught the light and glowed on moonlit nights.
I feel that this tree has been overlooked as an ornamental landscape tree which may be used to create a beautiful and wildlife friendly yard. While it is cultivated as a crop fruit it may be planted in a residential setting simply as an attractive tree while being a food source for visiting critters. The fruit can be eaten by opossum, raccoon, squirrels or foxes while the leaves are a host plant for the beautiful Zebra Swallowtail butterfly.
Plants are a key element to a balanced pond ecosystem. No matter how big or small the body of water may be, plants play an essential role in maintaining good water quality and a healthy balanced habitat. Some of the functions plants perform include bank and soil stabilization, nutrient uptake from the water column, and habitat for everything from beneficial microbes, insects, fish, and amphibians to ducks, small mammals, and song birds. Plants also provide us with visual aesthetics with showy flowers and blocks of texture and color throughout the seasons. Continue reading →
As you spend the winter planning additions for your landscape and troll through the countless catalogs you have been getting in the mail, it is easy to think about the colorful spring blooms that put an end to the dull winter months. However, as you plan, don’t forget the late blooming flowers! Order them as well to ensure a landscape that is not only interesting in all seasons but offers food for wildlife as they prepare for migration or the lean winter months. Continue reading →
I always like this time of year. The deadlines seem to be spaced out a bit more than during the spring and fall months. The last of the site visits are wrapping up as the ability to write with mittens in the freezing cold and wet weather becomes more difficult. It’s time to sit at the drawing table and computer and work on the designs that will eventually be put in the earth, come the New England “thaw.” Continue reading →
The time of critical mass is approaching. All around us we see green initiatives. The kids see it at school; we see it at work; we see it when we play. We hear about why a product or service is the one to buy because of some green ingredient or process. I saw it just the other day on the interstate. Crews had ground up the asphalt and used it right then and there to repave. No waste. The public is demanding that companies be more responsible, and they are acting. Being “Green” is good business. Continue reading →
Ellen Sousa, author of The Green Garden, is a garden coach who helps local gardeners build, maintain, and nurture safe, healthy, and beautiful landscapes. She writes and speaks about habitat gardening with an emphasis on native plants and recently answered some questions for ELA. Continue reading →
The following excerpt is reprinted from The Green Garden (Bunker Hill Publishing, 2011) with the permission of the author.
Habitat gardening is just like planning and designing the interior of your home. You consider the everyday needs of those you invite into your space, furnish or rearrange the space accordingly, and stock the cupboards well. No matter what types of wildlife you would like to attract, remember the basics. All living things require food, water, shelter (from weather and predators) and a safe place to raise young. Continue reading →
To some of our visitors, the Marabeth Storrs Finn Native Plant Butterfly Garden at Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton, CT, is more of a wild area than a garden. Perhaps this perception comes from how gardens have been traditionally defined as a plot of ground, usually near a house, where various plants are cultivated. Wikipedia’s definition of a garden as a planned space set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature seems a much more suitable definition and goal for gardens, especially ours. Few gardens are as enjoyed by creatures of two, four, or more legs. Continue reading →