Establish A Community —    Part 2: Design Principles –  The Site

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, landscape management, Landscape mistakes, Landscaping, Native Plants, Planting Communities, Uncategorized, Wild Plant Communities

For the past week my study of plant communities for shade gardens has led me into rereading Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s book Planting In A Post-Wild World. It’s an interesting read, a satisfying mix of philosophy and how-to advice for the novice as well as the professional who is looking for a way to …

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The Mid-Summer Garden

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Deadheading, Gardens, Grounds Maintenance, Mid-summer gardens, Pruning, Uncategorized

My flower gardens are at their peak. They’ve had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and now the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms are as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas are the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies are flocking to …

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“Bee-Friending” Insect Populations

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Insects, landscape management, Native Grasses, Native Groundcover, Native Plants, Native Shrubs, Native Trees, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

  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.   Insects are the foundation of the planet’s ecosystems. When just one type of insect disappears, dozens of other species, including humans, are directly …

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Rethinking Lawns – Part 1:  History of Lawns in the United States

Posted by & filed under History of Lawns, Turf, Turf Management, Water Management

My water bill came yesterday. I know that compared to some peoples’, mine isn’t enormous, but it still is taking a bite out of my summer budget. I’d much rather spend that money on some new patio furniture or specimen plants I’ve had my eyes on all season, but paying the bill has priority. I’m …

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“Frenemies “ — Bugs, Your Garden and You : Part 2: Designing for Bugs

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Garden Design, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping

If anyone had told me, even ten years ago, that I would be designing my yard to accommodate bugs, I would have called them crazy. Back then any and all bugs were the ENEMY and needed to be immediately eradicated — with powerful insecticides so that death would be almost instantaneous. Today the shelf that …

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“Frenemies “ — Bugs, Your Garden and You

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, ecosystems, landscape management, Parasitic Insects, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Uncategorized

When I started my gardening career, and I hate to admit how many decades ago that was, dealing with bugs in the garden was easy. See a bug?  Kill it — preferably with a strong, extremely toxic chemical.            Today my relationship with bugs in the garden is much more complicated. …

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Why Just Landscape When You Can Rainscape?

Posted by & filed under Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, Landscaping, Native Plants, Rain Garden Plants, Rain Gardens, Rainscaping, Uncategorized, Water Management

It has been pouring here, off and on, for the last week. We seem to have a river running down the middle of the street and matching tributaries by each curb. I’m sure that the sewer system is struggling to keep up with the onslaught. Having seen the applicator trucks throughout the neighborhood the last …

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Digging into Dirt: Part 4, Nurturing the Soil

Posted by & filed under Fertilizer, Grounds Maintenance, Improving Soil, landscape management, Microbes, Microorganisms, Soil, Soil Health, Uncategorized

In 1937, after witnessing the havoc and economic desperation that the Dust Bowl had wreaked on our nation, Franklin D Roosevelt sent a letter to all of the governors of the United States, asking them to oversee the adoption of legislation that would create soil conservation districts. In his letter, Roosevelt wrote, “The nation that …

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