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.
Category Archives: Research
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?
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.
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.
National Native Plant Month – April 2021
Recognition of the value of native plants continues to grow. Senate Resolution 109 of the 117th Congress, which designates April 2021 as National Native Plant Month, passed with bipartisan support on March 25. The resolution “recognizes the benefits of native plants to the environment and economy of the United States.”
The Butterfly Effect of a Wildlife Garden
A wildlife garden is designed intentionally to attract birds and butterflies and other pollinators, not just because they’re enjoyable to watch, but because they need help to survive.
The Wildlife Garden
No matter how simple or complex, designed or haphazard, a garden is an ecosystem, a community of plants and animals interacting with the environment of a space — the sun, wind, rain, and soil.
A Few Rules of Thumb for Planning and Planting a Garden
If you read enough gardening and garden design literature, a few rules of thumb will emerge – guidelines to follow for planning and planting. Keeping these in mind can help when you’re not sure where to start or when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the advice available.