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Designing Ecological Landscapes

Landscapes that mimic natural systems deliver important ecosystem services and are also aesthetically pleasing. Guided by principles that reduce resource consumption, ecologically designed landscapes provide natural solutions when land is disturbed by the construction of buildings or roadways, and they support landscaped communities from tiny rooftops to grand urban parks.

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Lawn Murder

By Leslie Duthie

Americans love their lawns yet they provide minimal habitat or ecological value for anything other than humans. From an ecological standpoint, I started to rethink the importance of the “lawn” and to consider a smaller lawn and? or? lawn alternatives that do not require fertilizer, water, or much mowing. Ultimately, I decided the best solution would be to replace the lawn with new gardens. 

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Echinacea Trials at Mt. Cuba Center

 By Sam Hoadley

Echinacea, commonly known as coneflower, is experiencing a horticultural renaissance thanks to plant breeders’ hybridization work resulting in the flood of new Echinacea cultivars to the horticultural market. While many of these plants look fantastic on paper, Mt. Cuba aimed to assess their actual garden performance and document their ability to attract insect pollinators.  

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<em>Cercis canadensis</em>( Eastern redbud) Photo credit Hoodedwarbler 12 Wikimedia Commons. 

Notable Natives: Large Shrubs and Small Trees

by Sarah Middeleer

Proponents of ecological gardening are urging gardeners to reduce lawn areas and add native plants. Native shrub borders are lower maintenance than perennial borders, making them an excellent solution to this challenge. These plants often provide multi-season interest, including showy flowers, fruit, and fall foliage. Perhaps their best feature is the habitats and food they offer birds and pollinators.

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The completed bioretention system at Wellesley’s Hunnewell Fields naturally and effectively captures stormwater runoff. 

Merging Nature-Based Solutions and Recreational Areas

By Leah Wallner

The Town of Wellesley makes updates to improve a girls’ softball field, mitigate stormwater runoff and create a habitat for wildlife. The field was bordered by a busy street, an aqueduct, a neighborhood, and mature trees which provided many landscape challenges.

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Huertos Accessibles Para Todos

By Rachel Lindsay

Un paisaje accesible debe ser fácil de acceder físicamente y también ofrecer experiencias variadas a todos los visitantes. Los diseñadores ecológicos llevan el concepto de diseño universal aún más lejos y consideran cómo el paisaje, especialmente los jardines públicos y participativos, pueden beneficiar no solo a personas de todas las capacidades, sino también a la vida silvestre, los polinizadores, los microorganismos del suelo y las cuencas hidrográficas.

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Callirhoe involucrata, known commonly as Wine Cups, is an excellent and very durable ground cover.
 

Nature’s Sanctuary

By Gregg Tepper

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, a level-II accredited arboretum located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, features a unique space called “Nature’s Sanctuary.” This one-acre space, which previously served as the cemetery’s dumpsite, now uses a managed successional plan that will gradually transition from a sunny meadow to a meadow/woodland combination and, finally, a mature forest. This article focuses on the range of native plant species grown in this one-acre space and doing so with deer pressure.

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HMC Brookesville garden, alternate leaved dogwood, pagoda dogwoo 

What Is Rewilding?

by Heather McCargo and Anna Fialkoff

The term rewilding first appeared in the conservation world in the 1980s with a continental-scale vision to protect large tracts of wilderness and connect these areas with migration corridors. Maine’s Wild Seed Project considers rewilding to be not just for the large wilderness areas or charismatic megafauna like wolves. Instead, they focus on actions that people can take right outside their doors.

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Beauty in nature abounds, it is always present no manner how quickly we think the world is spinning. 

 

COVID’s Pendulum

By Trevor Smith

Goodbye 2020 and good riddance!!! Though we are not out of the woods yet, I couldn’t help but feel a weight lifted as the ball fell at the stroke of midnight. 2020 started like any other year, with hope and possibility. The anticipation of a new season combined with knowing how crazy things would be in spring felt like I was on a rollercoaster about to hit that big drop. All I could do was hold on as the world rushed past. Little did we know that drop would be less like a rollercoaster and more akin to Niagara Falls. 

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Five Things I Learned This Year

By Cathy Weston

Back in my professional working days, I relished the quiet time around the holidays. I went into the office and used the time to clean and organize files, make a priority list of the next year’s goals, and start my year-end review. Now, as an ecological gardener, I do something similar. I  develop next year’s planting projects and reflect on what I have learned on the journey to ecological gardening.

 

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