SUMMER GARDEN NOTEBOOK (BLOG)

SHARING INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE USEFUL OR INTERESTING
Although many of these article were published earlier, many have been updated in 2017-2018 

A Living Mulch – Allowing Plants to spread as Nature intended

We humans, including myself, were taught to maintain our gardens unnaturally by growing plants spaced apart ,separated by wood mulch around each plant.  If we want a natured based, environmentally friendly garden we must allow plants to spread and fill in all the bare areas of a garden as a living mulch.  This is the way nature has been gardening for thousands of years! 

Turf Grass Anonymous – A 12 Step Program

A perfectly manicured, green turf grass has been a status symbol since the Industrial Revolution. Everyone could finally afford to have a lawn, not just wealthy estates. But at what costs?

Rethinking Native Plant Maintenance

There are a few minor differences between maintaining native plants and non-native plants.  In a non-native (traditional) garden, we are growing plants that naturally don’t grow together, aren’t part of natural processes or adapted over thousands of years to the local environment. Here are some nature inspired maintenance tips for native plants.

The Sounds of Summer and the Impact of Noise Pollution on Wildlife

I love the sound of Cicadas and other singing insects in the summer. To me, the height of summer is when the male Cicadas, Crickets or Katydids are singing for a mate. But did you know noise pollution can harm wildlife and the lack of wildlife sounds is another indicator of habitat destruction?

Something to Lean On (dealing with tall native perennials)

In the latter part of the growing season, many of the native perennials are naturally taller in height. Extra rainfall also grows taller perennials, and wind storms can cause plants to fall over. In a newer native garden, taller plants might lean because there are no other plants close by for support due to spacing. Because Illinois is the land of the tall grass prairie, I urge everyone to embrace our taller native perennials. Here area a few tips and solutions for dealing with taller native perennials in your garden.

Top 10 Reasons to become a Wild One


Wild Ones promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Here are my top 10 reasons why you should become a Wild Ones member.

Give Bees a Chance (including our native Bumble Bees)

You’ve probably heard about the terrible news concerning the honeybee but native bees, especially our Bumble Bees are in serious decline too! Research has shown that native or “wild” bees are important pollinators of natural areas, gardens and agricultural crops, and need our protection. Here are a few ways to give our little known native bees a chance.

Got Weeds? Try a string trimmer or Dutch Hoe

Many native perennials (forbs and grasses) and weeds exploded this summer due to the wetter and/or warmer than usual weather. Often times seeds and plants germinate in moist decomposing mulch. I recommend using a string trimmer (weed wacker) to trim weeds or unwanted perennials in some areas instead of weeding by hand.

Black Chokeberry – Not just for the birds

I recently attended The Veggie Fest in Naperville and talked to a person advertising the health benefits of a native berry called the Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) that he claimed no one around here knew about but was very well known in Europe.

Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria): A Pretty, Ugly Plant

During July, I notice gardens, roadside ditches and wetlands with the invasive, non-native Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). This non-native plant destroys our wetlands by choking out native species and in turn, wildlife habitat. It also costs millions of dollars to eradicate from our natural areas once it spreads.

Dead Wood and Rocks

Many folks understand the importance of protecting and supporting nature in our yards.  Snags, brush & rock piles, are features sometimes overlooked, but can easily be incorporated into our yards to benefit wildlife.

Why Can’t Weed be Friends?

My husband and I maintain all areas of our landscape organically, especially our lawn, because we believe it is an environmentally responsible and safer choice. Now we have a few weeds in our lawn, but we learned many are beneficial to wildlife.

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