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Native Plants

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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Gledistia tricanthus (honey locust) commonly thought to be native but would not be considered native with our traditional definitions of the word native. Photo by Dan Jaffe Wilder
 

What is Native?

By Dan Jaffe Wilder

The recent interest in ecologically-minded landscapes has created a growing interest in native plants with more interest comes the question, what exactly does native mean? To simply state a plant is native is to make certain assumptions, and qualifiers are needed in order to make the statement namely time and place.

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<em>Aronia melanocarpa </em> (chokeberry)  

Small Native Shrubs to Replace Commonly Used Exotics

By Sarah W. Middeleer, ASLA

What do Japanese spirea, burning bush, boxwood, and forthysia all have in common? They are all non-native common garden plants that can be invasive and do not support native pollinators. Growing native plants helps foster biodiversity, feed bees, and other pollinators.  Many of our northeastern native shrubs are fantastic substitutes for commonly used exotics. 

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Monarch Butterfly on rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) Photo by Nick Novick 

North American Prairie Species of New England

By Neil Diboll

Many flowers and grasses commonly associated with Midwestern prairies also occur in the meadows of New England. Some species are widely distributed throughout the region, while others are only occasional or rare. Most are more common in the prairie region, but some are abundant in the Northeast.

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 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 habitat for both herself and the wildlife her property now calls home. 

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