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Harms Woods is a restored woodland in Glenview, IL.

Can the Soil Seed Bank Save Us?

By Nathan Lamb

Imagine two woodlands. Both have deciduous, fire-adapted trees overhead. One has widely spaced trees, and sunlight reaches a diverse community of grasses, sedges, and forbs. The other has a dense thicket of invasive shrubs that shades out all but the earliest spring ephemerals. Will removing the invasive shrubs and exposing the bare soil trigger a profusion of native plants, restoring the diverse community that lived there hundreds of years ago? 

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UConn Native and Sustainable Plant Guide_Page_08 

Connecticut Native Plant and Sustainable Landscaping Guide

By Victoria Wallace and Alyssa Siegel-Miles

Interest in native plants and sustainable landscaping has exploded over the last decade. Through our UConn Extension Sustainable Turf & Landscape program, we provide practical science-based information to support the sustainability goals of Connecticut green industry professionals and home gardeners. With that in mind, we developed a free online guide of 44 pages of plant lists for every location matched with vibrant photographs.

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100 Plants to Feed the Monarch

Reviewed by Sara Bothwell Allen

As the populations of the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) have dropped precipitously in size in recent years, public engagement towards saving the Monarch is increasing thanks to education programming. This book provides gardeners, both novice and experienced, the information they need to make their home gardens or community spaces valuable parts of the Monarch’s global support system.

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Colorful flower power July salad.

Eat the Lawn

By Arianna Alexsandra Collins

July is a perfect time to gather flowers and greens for salad and pesto. There is an abundance of wild and garden edibles, so why make the trip to the grocery store for produce when you have a variety of food to choose from right in your yard? Create a daylily salad, with a little yard-grown purslane topped with pedals of bee balm for color and bergamot flavor finished with a tasty vinaigrette.

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tree picture for Norm's article 

Tree Decline, Dieback, and Death

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Gleanings bird photo DSC_5451 (3) 

Gleanings from Headline News – July 2021

  • Scientist Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East’s Songbird Epidemic
  • Six Species that Need Federal Protection
  • Desert River Gila Struggles to Keep Flowing
  • The Tick Project
  • USDA Identify Racial Barriers to Under-Served Communities
  • Bipartisan Bill Addresses Pollution on Working Lands
  • Solar Array Planted with Biodiversity in Mind
  • Can Satellite Imagery Detect Habitat Loss?
  • Do-It-Yourself Rain Garden
  • Massachusetts Regional Ecological Partnership
  • Tool Kit for Massachusetts Pollinators
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Jerry Harris: Nymphaea odorata 

ELA Names Winners of 2021 Spotlight on Natives Contest

Photographers from across the country submitted nearly 200 images to ELA’s 2021 Spotlight on Natives Photography Contest. Each sought to capture the special allure of native plants – the unique structure of trunks, stems, leaves, blossoms, seeds; the juxtaposition of native plants in groupings; and the interaction of pollinators with native plants. This year’s entries again encompassed an outstanding array of plants and habitats.

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This combination of threadleaf bluestar, showy stonecrop and aromatic aster packs a colorful punch in a small space for the fall garden. 

Planting Landscape Niches

By Susan Barton

In today’s rapidly urbanizing environment, we have a unique opportunity, if not a duty, to create livable landscapes that are attractive, easily managed, and provide a rich complement of plants to support diverse ecosystems. Let’s adapt a naturalistic design aesthetic that allows us to use native plants in home gardens, reflecting our regional spirit of place.  

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The Ecological Gardener

Reviewed by Molly Kerker

Keeping an orderly garden while planting native plantings can be challenging. Seeking intentionality in my gardening practice and hungry for new ideas, I picked up The Ecological Gardener: How to Create Beauty and Biodiversity from the Soil Up. This well-organized book provides a very clear philosophy of ecological gardening, along with many helpful tutorials and ideas.

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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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