by Rebecca Lindenmeyr

Habitat fragmentation is a serious problem across the country and a significant contributor to the loss of biodiversity worldwide. Here in Vermont, development in the Burlington area continues to fragment the habitat blocks that remain. Preserving as much forest and open land as possible is of course the first line of defense, but in many situations the damage has already been done and then the goal becomes finding ways to reconnect the fragments. Continue reading

by Carol Gracie

Our spring wildflowers, many of them ephemerals that grace our woodlands for only a brief period each year, are intricately tied to other organisms in the environment. Their flowering time evolved over millennia in woodlands that once cloaked most of the eastern part of the country. During colonial times the forests were cleared for building and heating materials, and the land converted to farmland. When greener pastures and richer soils were discovered in the Midwest, many early settlers moved west allowing much of the eastern farmland to slowly regenerate to forest. It is in these forests and woodlands that our spring wildflowers are found. Continue reading

by Daniel Peterson

I often see new landscapes that look great immediately after installation, and continue to thrive for five to ten years. Beyond those five to ten years, I find that a majority of landscapes, especially the plantings, look tired, thin, and lacking in vitality. When I first started working in the industry during the early 1990s, common practices included either installing a landscape and then planning on ‘re-installing’ the planting areas after a period of time, or selling intensive maintenance plans with the installation. A majority of designs often lacked forethought as to how the project would look and perform beyond five to ten years, or how the areas would look if not intensively managed. Continue reading

by Tim Boland

This article first appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Meristems, the newsletter of Polly Hill Arboretum.

There are many good reasons for growing native plants: Native plants are adapted to local growing conditions; they promote biodiversity and support local wildlife; and, in general, they need less maintenance. Besides, native plants are “Vineyard vernacular”: they just look right in our gardens and landscapes. Continue reading

MA Horticultural Society Wins 2014 Environmental Vision Award

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit “Eden on the Charles” at this year’s Boston Flower & Garden Show (March 12-16, 2014) received the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award. “Eden on the Charles” illustrated the show theme, “Romance in the Garden,” with a design that highlighted two love stories that took place at Mass Hort’s Elm Bank Estate in Dover, MA. Continue reading

by Rebecca Lindenmeyr

Thanks to the pioneering work of E.O. WilsonDoug TallamyJonathan FoleyMarla Spivak and many others, the public has begun to accept the need for native plants in the landscape in order to help increase biodiversity and protect pollinators. It turns out that people really do like nature and are willing to change their habitats if the payoff is more birds, bees, butterflies, and wildlife in general. As ecological landscape designers and installers, we are lucky to be on the front lines and in positions that would allow us to help our clients restore habitats and reduce the spread of invasive species on over half the acreage in the lower 48 States, which is the total area currently in suburban/urban use. That’s enormous positive potential. Continue reading

by Catherine Neal

Modern storm water management systems rely on vegetation to hold the soil, filter contaminants, absorb nutrients, intercept and transpire water, and support healthy and diverse soil biology. Engineers are only beginning to appreciate the contribution that landscapers can make to help green infrastructure survive and thrive. Selecting appropriate plants for biofilters, bioswales, rain gardens and other vegetated storm water management systems is a critical first step to their success. But remember that plant selection only goes so far; though not discussed here, for long-term success, a maintenance plan must be implemented. Continue reading

by John Swaringen

We’ve heard it all before, haven’t we? Drip lines clog and stop working. They take too much time and labor to install. It’s harder to complete bed maintenance around drip irrigation. Overhead watering is easier and is just as good for the plants.

Irrigation contractors and landscapers can come up with lots of reasons not to install drip irrigation. In reality, however, for trees, shrubs, and all other plants in beds, low-volume drip irrigation is hands-down the best way to provide water to them. Continue reading

by Ken Foster

It is called “greywater” for a reason, and whether you spell it greywater or graywater obviously it is not one of those black and white solutions to water conservation. It’s, well…murky. Regardless of the spelling it’s one of the best strategies for maximizing your water economy. The new word “watergy” refers to all the energy we spend making water potable and transporting it around. In the State of California 20% of our overall energy is used for this purpose. So using greywater eases your water budget, reduces watergy, and conserves the water itself when you keep it on your site. Continue reading

by Jeff Bowman

Here in the northeastern United States, there are three commonly used sources of water for irrigation. These are domestic (city) water, surface water, and groundwater. Each of these sources has its own distinct set of issues related to its use in supplying landscape irrigation systems. The purpose of this article is to outline the issues that might be experienced using each source in order to help readers better determine the most suitable water source for any particular irrigation system. Continue reading