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Native Plants

 The sheet mulching project at Wellesley College taken 10 years after it was first installed to suppress turf grass June 2020 shows a thriving plant community.
 

Alexandra Botanic Gardens of Wellesley College: Sheet Mulching Update

By Tricia Diggins

Ten years ago I wrote an article about sheet mulching that highlighted a project in the Alexandra Botanic Gardens of Wellesley College. It was so interesting to revisit the project ten years later and to see if the sheet mulching solution stood the test of time and kept the turfgrass at bay. One of the unexpected benefits of smothering the turfgrass was that it allowed native plants to naturally form a thriving plant community.  

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Patio with salvaged sandstone 

Revitalizing A Tired Palette

by Don Pell

Four years ago, a project inquiry brought me to a site that dreams are made of—an 18th-century colonial farmhouse beautifully restored over the past 30 years by its owners. The details of the home were meticulously curated; however, the gardens were entirely unconsidered. The home’s surroundings looked degraded and sadly suburban. Join me as I transform this landscape into an ecological oasis for the homeowners to enjoy for years to come.  

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 In this second year of growth, the Education Building begins to feel grounded in a verdant landscape. Photo by Jamie Purinton 
 

Let it Rain

by Jamie Purinton &  Marc Wolf

Mountain Top Arboretum was designed to mimic and compliment the wondrous native plant communities of New York’s Catskill Mountains. Habitats such as wet meadows and seeps, woodland edges, and bedrock alpine communities completely guided the style and content of the plantings and the stonework. Teamwork combining design, planting, stormwater management, and a focus on educating the public culminated in a landscape that can be resilient through all types of weather. 

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 From left: A garden of anise hyssop, little bluestem, sneezeweed, boneset in front of smooth hydrangea. 

Lessons Learned on A Native Plant Journey

By Cathy Weston

A visit to  Cape Cod brings us to a  2-acre fallow farmland property where the homeowner/gardener has spent years cutting back invasive plants to return the land from an Old Field habitat to a Coastal Woodland.  The amount of effort to remove and keep invasives at bay could seem a daunting task, but this homeowner persevered and with trial and error created a beautiful ecological habit for both herself and the wildlife her property now calls home. 

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Yael_Weiss_Liatris_aspera 

Spotlight on Natives: Photo Contest Winners 2020

by Georgia Harris

This year our Spotlight on Natives Photo Contest garnered over 200 photos from across the country. While it is exciting every year to see so many lovely photographs of native plants, in this year’s climate of uncertainty, it is wonderful to have such a substantial response from our community. We hope this groundswell of interest in native plants and habitat continues to grow and blossom throughout the coming year. 

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13.Pet.memorial.garden.overlooking.marsh 

Celebrating Native Gardens Tour – Amesbury, MA

Hosted by Nanette Masi

When Nanette and her husband Mike purchased their two-acre property in 1994, the landscape was overrun with invasives, including Japanese knotweed, honeysuckle, barberry, burning bush, and more. Take a walk through Nanette’s gardens to savor what 26 years of loving care and native plant choices can bring to an environment. You’ll find inspiration in the sanctuary she’s created for people, animals, and plants.

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CSummers Carolina silverbell 

Why Aren’t These Plants in Every Garden? Three Great Plants to Know and Grow

by Carolyn Summers

Throughout her career working with people, plants, and landscapes, author/designer and gardener extraordinaire Carolyn Summers has often been puzzled by the lack of interest in certain plants that she finds exceptionally useful.  These plants bridge the gap that sometimes exists between what humans want and what wildlife needs. Carolyn introduces us to three underused plants that are a must-have for native gardeners. 

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June brings smooth-leaved penstemon into flower, making the garden alive with bumblebees.
 

Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Dennis, MA

Hosted by Kristin Andres

Take a walk on the wild side of Cape Cod. Located in Dennis, MA  the Association to Preserve Cape Cod has built a wonderful garden to show residents of Cape Cod how beautiful and easy it is to plant and maintain a native garden. With veggie demonstration gardens and rain gardens, there really is a garden solution for every obstacle a gardener might face.

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Robin 4 May 31 

Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Lincoln, MA

Hosted by Robin Wilkerson

Over thirty years in the making, this series of home gardens pays tribute to native plants. Lovingly created by a homeowner who is a native plant enthusiast, an accomplished gardener, and volunteer at the Garden in the Woods, this beautiful, mature landscape includes mixed perennial borders, a large vegetable garden, and a delightful woodland garden that encompasses an acre of native plants. A visit to this garden will inspire even the seasoned gardener with surprises.

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Sally 10 

Celebrating Natives Garden Tour – Newton, MA

Hosted by Sally Muspratt

This native plant installation provides a welcome respite for residents and guests at the Coleman House. The quiet woodland walk through the lovely, tall pines links the bright annual plantings of the parking lot and Memorial Garden with the contrasting experience of an enhanced natural woodland and provides an opportunity for safe, gentle exercise in the open air for the elderly residents.

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