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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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Nature Play at Home – Arranging Spaces

by Nancy Striniste

Spaces speak, especially to children. Just as the soaring ceiling of a cathedral inspires a sense of awe or a candlelit restaurant prompts us to lower our voices, the formality, informality, size, or openness of a space can tell us how to behave. As we create spaces for nature play, it is our responsibility to be mindful and intentional about the messages the space will transmit to children.

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The Top Ten Successful Meadow Species and Why

by Penn Marchael

Establishing a meadow is difficult; you have to combat chaotic weather forecasts and wait at least three years to see results all while managing clients’ anxiety around whether or not it’s working. Knowing which species typically have the most success in establishment and longevity is a crucial factor in creating a sustainable meadow. Here are the top ten meadow species (from seed) that will make your meadows work.

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Personal Reflections on Five Years of Discovery: The New Academic Center at St. George’s School

by Lori Silvia

Developed and tended as a labor of love over five years, the landscape surrounding the Academic Center at Rhode Island’s St. George’s School provided the author with new lessons day after day. From the early years as the landscape’s parent, overseeing every aspect of the of evolving landscape, the author’s role has shifted to partner as nature has taken the lead.

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An Urban Oasis Designed with Community in Mind

by Jennifer Kimball

At the end of a block of brick row houses in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston sit four abandoned lots overgrown with shoulder high weeds. Six raised garden beds speak to the desire of area residents to reclaim this space and to build a community garden in their neighborhood. Those lots are now poised to become a new public green space that will provide residents of all ages a place to gather, attend public performances, enjoy nature, and grow their own food.

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Getting the Buzz from Pollinators in Mt. Cuba Center’s Trial Garden

by Sam Hoadley

Mt. Cuba Center’s mission is to inspire an appreciation for the beauty of native plants and a commitment to the native habitats that protect them. Over the past several years the Mt. Cuba Center Trial Garden has become an influencer to the nursery industry and to native plant enthusiasts. Learn about their trials, designed to identify the top performing species and cultivars within the genus that are best suited for the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Native Plants Shine in Streambank Restoration

by Krissy Boys

Four years after replacement of a streambank water control structure, native grasses, sedges, and forbs planted at the site have become well established. Most species are thriving and have propagated themselves by self-sowing in the streambank gardens. Only two species out of 58 genera completely failed.

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From Wasteland to Wildflower Meadow at Greenfield Community College

by Maureen Sundberg

A campus wildflower meadow tucked onto a slope at Greenfield Community College was designed as part of a larger outdoor learning lab that includes a botanical garden, wetland garden, permaculture garden, and raingarden. Two years after planting, the meadow has become an oasis of learning for students across the academic spectrum.

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Members Making a Difference: Native Plant Demonstration Garden Is a Labor of Love

by Maureen Sundberg

ELA member Marie Chieppo initiated a collaboration with the Town of Needham to install a native plant demonstration garden at a busy public park. With the help of local volunteers and her own teenage children, the installation took place over six weeks this spring, and she continues to maintain the site.

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