Covering Ground

Some native plants get aggressive (and that's a good thing)

We’ve had a bit of rain this year, and most plants are acting like giddy teenagers after a six-pack of energy drinks. That includes native plants. 

Who’d have thought a native plant would fail to mind its manners? In fact, when some natives get aggressive, they outcompete non-native invasive weeds. In the horticultural world, this quality is sometimes called “competitive exclusion.”

A Feel-Good Moment With a Poignant Personal Note

I drove past lots of parking lots filled with attendees at local graduations in June. Every year, the sight triggers a memory about June 1975. That year, I was a recent graduate of Penn State’s English program and I was riding across campus on my squeaky three-speed bicycle. I rode by an event at the agriculture school and decided to stop.

Green frog Consider these little green critters; they do big things.

They weigh less than a pound, in most cases much less, and they make few sounds. Yet frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, and snakes have a big presence in the landscape.

Saw-whet Owl overwinters along the Connecticut shoreline but nests farther north. Give a Hoot About Owls

Got bird houses? Lots of people do. But have you got owl houses or habitat? 

Queen bumblebee on purple hyssop by Kimberly Stoner, Ph.D. Flowers for the Queen (Bee)

Don’t mistake their small size for lack of importance in our quality of life. Queen bumblebees are among the earliest insects to emerge in our area, and their pollinating activity is critical to both them and us.

Bumblebee on bush honeysuckle. Photo: Kimberly Stoner, Ph.D. Slow down to see spring's ephemeral flowers

Big bursts of yellow forsythia call out to us in late April, like billboards for spring, easy to see as we fly by in cars, trains, or on bicycles.

Grow Moss in Winter

If I told you there’s something green sparkling in the February sunlight just outside your door, you might be tempted to take a look. Don’t be disappointed if all you find is moss. It sometimes pays to notice the familiar.

Suzie Flores of Stonington Kelp Company Down on the (Kelp) Farm in Fisher's Island Sound

Suzie Flores had no professional farming or maritime experience before 2016. Then her husband, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, purchased the Mechanic Street Marina on the Pawcatuck River in Pawcatuck. He’d been around boats all his life, but was not a farmer.

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