Victory Gardens — Pandemic Style

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Children and Nature, Gardens, Uncategorized, Vegetable gardens

By Sandra Nelson     Being in shelter-in-place throughout April has given me lots of extra time to read online news articles. I’ve noticed two problems dominating our daily lives: 1) The vast majority of American parents seem to be overwhelmed by homeschooling and online learning; and 2) Backyard vegetable gardens are being acknowledged as …

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Designing Beds That Delight

Posted by & filed under Design, design process, Designed Plant Communities, Garden Design, Gardens, Layers, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   I don’t know how you are handling stress these days, but I find myself drawn more and more to my yard. When I feel anxiety building, I stroll through the yard, stopping every few seconds to discover the changes from the day before and to soak in the calming power of …

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Bring Nature In — Let Stress Out

Posted by & filed under American bittersweet, Arboretums, Health & Wellness, Stress management, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   This article was originally published December 2018.   I have been feeling incredibly stressed lately.  Unfortunately, when I am stressed, I just shut down which, of course, increases my stress level and renders me virtually useless. My “To Do” list gets longer and my “Done” list stays blank.The only way I …

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 Establish A Community – Part 4: Ecological Function, Aesthetic Form

Posted by & filed under Design, design process, Designed Plant Communities, ecosystems, Landscaping, Plant Communities, Planting Communities, Uncategorized

  Our modern perceptions of what a beautiful landscape looks like are not really our own ideas. They were in large part shaped by English landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their highly romanticized works interpreted for the public what landscape designers were providing for the wealthy upper class. Their paintings, like the …

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Establish A Community —    Part 3: Design Principles –  The Layered Look

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, Landscaping, Layers, Native groundcovers, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Plant Communities, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Vertical layers

  The technique of planting in layers is neither new or revolutionary. For years, designers have considered the front, middle and back as layers in residential bed design, making sure that the three layers work together harmoniously. Rainer and West, co-authors of the book Planting in a Post Wild World, add an additional dimension to …

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Green Spaces for Cities — Part 2: Living Walls and Green Roofs

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Houseplants, Benefits of Nature, Deflecting sound, Green Roofs, Health & Wellness, Indoor gardens, Interior landscaping, Living walls, Uncategorized, Water Management

One of my favorite sessions from the recent Perennial Plant Conference I attended in Chicago was on Living Walls. It had been a reluctant choice at first — a lesser of two evils type of choice. Surprisingly though, after the first few minutes, I was hooked. The presenter didn’t try to teach me how, instead …

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Green Spaces for Cities — Part 1

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Health & Wellness, Nature and Stress Reduction, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

  Perspectives change over time, don’t they?   We were on I -90 headed to Chicago’s Union Station when I glanced out the window and noticed the downtown skyline. Ten years ago I would have commented on how exciting it was to see all of the sleek buildings dominating the landscape. This time the view made …

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Intimate Spaces in Large Places

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Design, Health & Wellness, Intimate spaces, Landscaping, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

Our eldest daughter is a textbook type A personality. She finds it difficult to just sit and relax because there is always another task to be completed. Her ability to keep going and going and going is truly amazing and somewhat exhausting.       The other day, while she was at our home, she …

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The Not So Secret Lives of Bees

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Benefits of Nature, Causes of Insect Decline, Native Plants, Pollinator Gardens, Uncategorized

Originally published in September 2018, our two part series on native and non-native bees adds important information to our current discussion of native pollinators.        Two years ago, when we moved into this house, I planted the beginnings of a butterfly garden. Last summer it didn’t amount to much — the perennials were small and it …

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Declining Insects — Declining World

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Benefits of Nature, ecosystems, Insects, Uncategorized

  Insect populations around the world are rapidly declining. Within the next 20 years, 40% of the earth’s insect species may be extinct and within 100 years insects could disappear completely.  (Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers Biological Conservation, Apr. 2019).         If your initial response to these …

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