SUMMER GARDEN NOTEBOOK
Wildlife are in crisis, as more and more natural areas and open spaces are destroyed by development and industrial farming. Add on pollution, invasive species, global...
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!
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?
Join the US and 37 other countries celebrating National Moth Week in July! Here are some interesting facts about moths and some links about Moths in Illinois:
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.
Purple flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) is one of my favorite summer flowering shrubs (click photo below for an enlargement). It is native to Du Page County, but rare in surrounding counties. It is also thornless.
A native garden is like traditional gardens in some ways, but different in other ways. Now we’re welcoming local ecology, natural processes and plants which naturally grow together. Below are a few basic garden maintenance tips everyone should follow.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.