Last November, in my efforts to support pollinators and other insects, I left the leaves on the garden beds. In late fall and throughout winter, maple, oak, and magnolia leaves masked the bare soil of unplanted areas with a colorful, textured blanket that provided insulation and habitat. Now the garden feels like a patch of woodland, which is great for critters, but frustrating, because I can’t see what’s going on beneath the leaves.
Author Archives: Edgings
First Kinglet of the Season
The first kinglet of spring 2023 appeared today, in the river birch as usual. Among the branches, movements, so quick they’re easily mistaken for a trick of the wind or illusion of the eye.
What’s Wrong with Your Plant? First Observe, Then Check Extension Services for Help
Gardening is a belief in the future. You plant, do your best to provide a good environment, cross your fingers, and hope nature will support your view of how the space should look. With living plants as the medium, the process can be tricky. Many plants will flourish in the locations you’ve chosen for them, but others will become diseased and a few may die sooner than expected.
Learning from Nature, Gathering Data – Citizen Science in the Garden
On the day the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced that migratory monarch butterflies had been added to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, I found a monarch caterpillar chewing on milkweed in my garden. An internationally recognized endangered species was reproducing in my suburban garden. Could restoring the environment really be this easy?
3,500 Square Feet, 25 Species, No Feeders – The Birds in My Backyard
When I first began gardening, setting up a few feeders seemed the best strategy for attracting birds to my backyard. Several years later, my perspective has changed. I decided to take down the feeders to see what would happen.
Leave the Leaves, But Why? Look to the Research
Leave the leaves! It’s an exhortation to gardeners to stop raking and blowing tree, shrub, and perennial leaves that drop in autumn, keeping the leaves in the garden as a natural mulch. If you think about how a forest functions, leaving the leaves makes sense. But does leaving the leaves in a residential garden really help?
Designing a Perennial Garden Bed
Where do I start? It’s a question heard repeatedly in gardening webinars. Or maybe the question really is, how? When you’re contemplating a piece of ground you’d like to convert to a gardened space, how do you figure out which plants to select from the many thousands available? And how do you arrange those plants to create a design? For practice, start with a manageable space.
Reconsidering Peat in the Garden
Whether classified as fen, mire, tropical swamp forest, or permafrost bog, peatlands store more carbon than the vegetation of all other landforms on Earth combined. With their unique ecology and thousand-year histories, peatlands also are places of mystery and beauty. Reconsidering peat in the garden is one way to contribute to their survival.
Designing with Natural Light in the Garden
Intentional or not, natural light affects how we see. It has the power to capture attention, turning an ordinary garden into a memorable experience. Natural light becomes a design element, along with color, texture, landform, and plant type. How can we include this element in a garden design plan and control its impact on what we perceive?
Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Plant a Butterfly Bush
The butterfly bush — Buddleja, or Buddleia, davidii and other species — is a butterfly magnet. An easy to grow, rapidly developing shrub, it seems a good choice for the pollinator garden. But it’s not.