Covering Ground

Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa, photo: Chuck Landrey Wildness on Main Street: blight or benefit?

Two voices speak loudly these days about landscaping, and they are in opposition. One proclaims the need for neatness along main streets. The other defends the need for midtown bird and insect habitats, which may not have the clean lines of a conventional lawn and landscape. 

Purple love grass in August Noteworthy and native: Late summer grasses

For most people, the words “grass” and “lawn” go together like mac and cheese. Yet in the month of August, it’s easy to see that some grasses are anything but lawn-like. Low-growing purple love grass offers luminescent splashes of color along roadsides. The airy tops of switchgrass decorate wet fields and woodland edges. American beach grass reduces beach erosion.

Rose de Berne tomato, photo: Fruition Seeds Why we should care about local seed production

Very, very few seeds are produced commercially in the Northeast today. Until the early part of the 20th century, almost all seed was locally produced, harvested, and planted—and thus, regionally adapted to some degree.

Earth Day for one day, but land care information is needed all year.

Land care has never been completely straightforward--it took our ancestors thousands of years to learn by trial and error—and today, land care is more complex than ever. Perhaps it should be part of high school education, like driver’s ed or cooking class. As far as I’m aware, though, it isn’t.

rain chain over rain barrel Just in time for April showers: Rainbarrels

I have been a fan of rain barrels for many years. (I own eight of them and wouldn't be without them.) I have also written about these handy devices on several occasions, most recently this week in the community papers for ZipO6/TheDay.

Soil thermometer Do this, not that, in the March landscape

The mild winter gives way to a spring calendar--but, gardeners, not so fast! For some ideas on what to do--and not do--in the March landscape, please read on: 

Kathy Connolly finds spinach sprouts in a milk jug planter Start seeds in milk jugs--outdoors, in late winter

It was February 25 when I put five milk jugs outdoors for my first experiment with milk jug growing. On March 30 that year, there was plenty of germination. By the end of April, I was harvesting spinach.

Japanese barberry thorns Beware the first leaves of spring

Imagine: It's the first week of March and there's greenery in the woods. It looks good to those of us in colder climes. But there are wolves in green clothing, and they're among the first to leaf out in the shade of backyards, street edges, town parks, and forests.

Hometown Habitat movie You Bring the Popcorn, I'll Bring the Native Plants

Dust off your ruby slippers and click your heels. When it comes to restoring nature, there's no place like home. That’s the message of a new documentary "Hometown Habitat: Stories of Bringing Nature Home." 

It features seven nature-renewal initiatives where people landscape with nature—rather than in spite of it.

2 Good Books Take Us to the Inner Lives of Plants

Do trees live in families? Do they defend one another? Do trees “feel” a loss when one of their community disappears? What if a tree “remembers” the climatic conditions of its seedling days, but experiences a changed climate as it reaches the century mark?

Pages