Learn about upcoming programs and find out what’s happening within the organization:
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- Eco-Answers with an Eco-Pro
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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?
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.
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.
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.
There is considerable decline, dieback, and death of many tree species in New England and throughout the country. Many professionals focus their attention on the final stages of a tree’s life, but tree health can’t be determined by outward appearance and general foliar analysis. Environmental and ecological studies must consider tree life history.
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.
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, Virginia, the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler offer a unique opportunity for nature lovers to learn about native plants and their ecosystems. Opened to the public in 2017, the Quarry Gardens occupy 40 acres within a 440-acre natural preserve, and support a vibrant diversity of species.
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.
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.
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.