The Evolution of a Gardener

Does the following sound familiar? You go to the garden center to pick up some plants for your garden. The plant with big flashy flowers calls to you. You put it in your cart. Then you discover that it comes in several different colors! You put one of each color in your cart. You take them home to plant not really knowing where they will go…but you loved them and will find a place for them somewhere.

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Beyond Parks and Preserves / June 23, 2021

In a recent NY Times article, Zoë Schlanger describes a policy shift in managing our national parks, from protecting all species within our parks to picking a choosing which ones we have the resources to save. Climate change is blamed as the culprit that has pushed park managers and budgets beyond their capacity, although most of the actual problems described in the article are caused by invasive species we have brought to this country and would be problematic even without climate change. Climate change is indeed serious management issue, though not the only issue, and it has shown us the limitations of restricting conservation to parks and preserves. Parks are fixed in location, but a changing climate demands flexible responses on the part of plants and animals they are designed to protect. When confined to a fixed space, they lose that flexibility.

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3 Steps for Choosing Native Plants for Your Yard / by Wildlawn

Plant selection is more than just gardening; it’s restoration. Over the course of a few centuries, we have changed the topography and soil chemistry of every corner of this country through agriculture, industry, and urban development. We have altered the places where native species were once able to establish themselves successfully, and our local ecosystems have suffered as a result.

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Where Are All the Native Plants? / by Archewild

Coneflower, Milkweed, and Beebalm make up almost 30% of the native plant market. You can find them in almost any garden center on the east coast, and we’re sold and told to plant them every year. But if these native plants are so important, durable, and easy to grow, why don’t we see them in the wild? In truth, these types of plants used to dominate the landscape, but after decades and centuries of altered topography and over development, their habitats have all but disappeared. In the sink-or-swim world of natural selection, native plants have fallen into two camps: specialized and generalized communities.

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Leaf Litter: Love It and Leave It / March 30, 2021

I have been asked several times in the last two weeks just when it’s safe to get rid of leaf litter without hurting the insects that have spent the winter within it. An urban legend called the 50 degree rule seems to be very popular these days, but it is just that: an urban legend. I am hearing that all insects will have emerged from your leaf litter or the dead stalks of your meadow plants after varying numbers of days when the daytime temperature is above 50 degrees: 5 consecutive days over 50 degrees, 7-10 days consecutive days above 50, or just several days above 50 whether or not they are consecutive are all popular counts.

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Message from Doug / February 23, 2021

I thought I would open this, our first newsletter, with a reiteration of what Homegrown National Park™ is all about, and why it and other conservation efforts around the world are so urgently needed today. There have been 5 great extinction events in the history of life on earth; each one came close to eliminating life altogether and after each one, it took many millions of years for life to rebound in the form of new species.

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Window Strikes and Native Plants / by Jim Cubie

The Challenge Bird-friendly backyard programs must succeed. They are the best option for increasing bird populations on a yard-by-yard scale. Bird-friendly programs will fail, however, if they do not start by protecting birds against what is killing birds in yards — unprotected windows. We must recognize that windows are part of the backyard ecosystem. If we do not, the gains in bird population from bird-friendly backyards will be negated by bird deaths hitting windows.

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Muddy Musings on Non-Gardeners / March 30, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about mud which eventually made me think of other things, including non-gardeners.

As we emerge from the longest, strangest, discombobulating, navel gazing winter of lockdown, spring has arrived. Warm and sunny weather is melting the snow and ice creating a slippery stew of mud and deep grooves on our dirt road destined to splatter whatever you are wearing or driving. Mud becomes a constant consideration for all we do from the least messy way to walk to our mailbox, or the less treacherous route to drive. One day, anxious to get to my second Covid vaccine appointment, I drove faster than the 20 mph speed limit on our unmanageable road, and the mud took over. As I was about to veer off the road, I had just enough time to regain control while considering the irony of a head-on collision with a tree while en route to the life-saving jab.

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