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Developing Healthy Landscapes

An unhealthy environment should not be the price of a beautiful landscape. Inappropriate plant choices and inadequate soil preparation can lead to a reliance on excessive use of water and on toxic chemicals to resolve problems. Ecological landscaping encourages practices that promote a healthy environment through conservation of resources, respect for biodiversity, and ecologically-sound techniques.

<em>Aster novi-belgii</em>( New York aster) and <em>Rudbeckia hirta</em>(black-eyed Susan) brighten the view toward the water.  Photo by Mirna Canales.  Midsummer.  Northeast, MD.

 

As Things Always Change, the Nature of Nature Remains the Same

By Kelsey Skaroff

2020 was obviously a remarkable year for many in adjusting work, relationships, and life in general in response to a pandemic, social justice movements, the economy, climate change, and politics. After a brief moment of uncertainly my job as Head Gardner went on as normal in this most unusual year.

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Screen Shot 2020-11-14 at 6.53.50 PM 

Wellness One Yard at a Time

by Kelly Cartwright, Ph.D. 

When I started researching native landscaping and eco-friendly yard care, my primary motivation was in its ecological and wildlife benefits. As I researched the topic further, I became interested in the connection to human well-being. I never imagined the soul-supporting connection I would form with my yard and the species with whom I interact.

 

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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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How Can Composting Enhance Soil and Benefit Your Business

By Adam Jankauskas 

Compost is recognized as a valuable component of the ecological landscape and many ecological landscape practitioners utilize compost in the management of their properties. Compost has a place in a more sustainable world but providing composting services for clients can be unsustainable. How can composting be made easier without the added expense? 

 

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Leave the Leaves!

By Catherine Carney-Feldman

Though fall cleanup can be a hard habit to break, there are ample reasons to leave those leaves. Most native pollinator species overwinter right in your leaf litter and dead stems of your perennials. Leaf compost can greatly enhance the quality of your soil, help it retain moisture, and protect young plants from fluctuating winter temperatures. Utilize your leaves as a resource rather than a problem. 

 

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Forest Savers LLC from Woodstock, Vermont uses a custom-built tractor to uproot and shred invasive shrubs at the Oyster River Forest in Durham, NH as part of a 60-acre restoration project to restore a healthy native plant community to benefit pollinators, songbirds, and the state-endangered New England cottontail. 

Reducing Invasive Plants and Recovering a Healthy Plant Community

By Ellen Snyder

In southeastern New Hampshire, where I work with landowners and communities on land stewardship, managing invasive plants is a constant struggle. As the Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Town of Durham, I’m guiding three restoration projects on town conservation land. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of invasive plants on all three properties. To avoid invasive paralysis, I keep my focus on the goal: restoration of a place to a mostly self-sustaining, healthy plant community.  The reward is a restored landscape brimming with native plants and native beneficial insects. 

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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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 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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A blue heron in the wetlands as they appear today. Photo by Pam Morris Olshefski. 

Restoring the Wetlands of Morris Arboretum

by Eloise Gayer

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is well known for its abundance of mature trees and horticultural displays. In 2001 the Arboretum began the restoration of a drained wetland that would not only serve as a blueprint for other wetland restoration projects but also create more educational opportunities for the entire community. Learn about the history of this wetland, that was farmland at the turn of the century then one hundred years later was reverted back into a natural wetland.

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Summer Wildflowers Cover.cropped 

Book Review: Summer Wildflowers of New England

Written by Carol Garcie, Princeton University Press, 2020
Reviewed by Maureen Sundberg

Carol Gracie’s admiration and affection for the flowers she researches and photographs is evident on every page of her new book Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast. Those familiar with the thoughtfully detailed life histories of plants in Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast will recognize in this companion volume her wide-ranging mix of the natural history of species and spectacular photography.

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RussC 5 

Planting Edible Native Species – A Case Study from Massachusetts

by Russ Cohen

A newly daylighted stream at Willard’s Woods in Lexington, MA presented a serendipitous opportunity for introduction of edible native plants to the conservation area. At a double session focused on propagating and planting edible native plant species, Russ Cohen and co-presenter Georgia Hann included this 2017 project at ELA’s 2020 Conference & Eco-Marketplace in March. Here, Russ follows up the conference session with a deeper dive into the Willard’s Woods project.

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