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Native Plants

Partridge_Pea_&_Bee_(5761053027) 

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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pica large 

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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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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