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Landscaping for Wildlife

Seeing and learning about wildlife is an enriching experience that anyone can enjoy. When landscapes provide food, shelter, water, and nesting areas for reproduction, a rich variety of life follows. The result is a healthier, more resilient ecosystem for all inhabitants.

Rain Garden that has come into full bloom in 2021! Visiting this garden regularly through 2021 for maintenance has been such a joy.
 

Adjusting to a New Normal

By Cody Hayo

Throughout 2021 we have struggled to get back to a “New Normal.” The “normal” we had grown accustomed to since 2016 involved very active participation with a local stormwater grant program. This program aims to capture stormwater runoff before it reaches rivers and streams, emphasizing garden-based solutions. During the pandemic in 2020, our local stormwater grant program, which is open to residential property owners, hit a major roadblock, and the program did not accept any applications at all.

 

 

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Visual Storytelling of Florida Gardening

By Joelle O’Daniel-Lopez 

When we purchased our home ten years ago, it had the typical suburban NW Florida yard with a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We were fortunate to have several well-established “good” trees, including live and laurel oaks, southern magnolia, and black cherry trees. In support of the “good” plants and trees, we quickly got rid of the “bad” and “ugly” nonnative invasive species.  

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Starving for Darkness

By Jane Slade

Darkness is disappearing from the face of the Earth, blinding wildlife in the light. Since life began, the Earth’s rotation has created cyclical darkness by which living things evolved, tuning instincts and behaviors over millennia. The loss of darkness has inhibited the sensory experience of wildlife, changing the behavior of species and how species interact with one another. 

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Chicken of the Woods on an oak log. © Anna Fialkoff.
 

Think Like a Forest

By Anna Failkoff

Forest trees are not singular specimens but are interdependent players in a dynamic natural community. The tree canopy casts critical shade, moderates moisture and temperature, drops leaf litter to help build living soil, and provides sustenance for a diversity of life on roots, trunks, branches and leaves. Using forest ecosystems for inspiration, we can bring maximal biodiversity, resilience and biomass back into human landscapes. 

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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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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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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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The variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) may be found throughout the United States (except for the Pacific Northwest) and in a variety of open sunny habitats, including meadows, prairies, and roadsides. It can have as many as four generations in a year. (Photograph © Bryan E. Reynolds.)
 

Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change On Grassland Butterflies

By Angela Laws

Declining biodiversity has been making its way into the news more and more as researchers continue to record losses in plant and animal populations. Insects are no exception, and several recent studies that use long-term data sets show a marked reduction in insect abundance. A variety of factors contribute to these insect declines, including the loss of habitat, pesticides, invasive species, and, increasingly, climate change.

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