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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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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Invite An Insect: Fireflies (Lampyridae)

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Fireflies, Lightning Bugs, Nocturnal Insects, Uncategorized

    Those of us who are “of an age” have fond memories of quietly witnessing, or perhaps breathlessly chasing, the glow of hundreds of fireflies as they flitted across the grass on a summer’s evening. It was pure magic. Unfortunately, because of habitat destruction, overuse of pesticides and light pollution, this magic is disappearing …

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Out the Kitchen Window

Posted by & filed under Color; Designing with Color, Designing with Color, Garden Design, Site analysis, Soil, Soil Health, Uncategorized

I regularly volunteer at our library’s used book sales. It’s fun sharing recommendations with fellow readers and I find that many readers tend to be gardeners as well. In my mind, that’s the perfect combination of characteristics!   This past weekend I was chatting with a young couple who had just bought their very first …

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Invite An Insect: Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Butterfly Gardens, Host Plants, Insects, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, Pollinator Gardens, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Whether you are planting to attract butterflies, bees or a host of other native pollinators, finding out which specific plants are the best to include can be complicated. In order to help you design your pollinator garden, I have pulled together a list of some beneficial insects and their related plants. Look for “INVITE AN …

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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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Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate — In Nature

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Children and Nature, Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

I honestly thought that when I retired from teaching the pace of my life would dramatically change. I imagined spending hours outdoors — working in my gardens, exploring new places and just generally basking in nature  — since I wouldn’t be tied to a desk grading papers anymore. What I discovered was that the ending …

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Plant A Patch – Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia caespitosa)

Posted by & filed under Barbara's Buttons, Butterfly Gardens, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Nectar Plants, PerenniaLs, Sandy Soil, Silty Soil, Uncategorized

    This diminutive native perennial features fragrant pinkish white blooms, somewhat reminiscent of pincushion flowers, on leafless, upright stems in late spring. A small plant, rarely more than 6 – 8 inches, it is perfect for rock gardens or the front of beds. Barbara’s buttons are drought tolerant, prefer full sun and dry, sandy …

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Plant A Patch: Fame Flower/ Rock Pink — ( Phemeranthus calycinus )

Posted by & filed under Fame Flower, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

    An incredibly tough native perennial succulent, Rock Pink or Fame Flower is an excellent choice for both rock gardens or container gardens. Being part of the purslanes family (related to portulaca or moss rose), it prefers full sun and dry, rocky soil in areas where it does not have to compete with larger, …

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