Have you turned a new leaf when it comes to land care? Many people have. For instance, we plant for pollinators, choose native plants, reduce lawn sizes, and use electric equipment instead of gas-powered. Most of those changes take place within the confines of our properties without attracting negative attention.
The same is not always true for autumn leaves.
The stray leaf, blowing in the wind on a dry fall day, has pushed more than a few neighbors into standoffs behind their rakes and leaf-blowers. That's true even now, when it’s no secret that we live in a time where lawns, gardens, parks, and street-scapes are meaningful to the survival of regional species.
Some experts call it our single most valuable perennial plant for pollinators, but many people still try to eradicate goldenrod because they think it causes allergies.
The real source of sneezes is likely to be ragweed or other wind-pollinated plants. But old stories die hard.
In fact, pollen sticks to goldenrod. "Goldenrods are a tremendous resource for a wide diversity of insects, including both specialist and generalist bees,” says Kimberly Stoner, Ph.D., an associate scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station who specializes in bees.
An elderly farmer once told me, "In 90 years of living, I've learned one thing. Change is the only constant." The fall of 2017 would make him smile. Everywhere I look, people are exploring new ideas in land care--and some of them are as old as the hills. If even some of these trends take hold, our individual and commercial landscapes will be notably different in the near future. Please use the link above to learn more.
Native plants went mainstream over the past five years as many people embraced the value of these plants to beneficial insects that pollinate our landscape and farms, especially to feeding specialists such as the monarch butterfly. We’ve begun to understand that when native plants thrive, they occupy places that might otherwise be taken over by invasive species. Furthermore, many native plants are easier to grow when they are well selected for a location.
More than a few plants that we humans call weeds, other creatures call home. Even among our cherished ornamental flowers, some need to stand long after the beauty pageant is over in order to support the insects they host.
Such is the case with the milkweed family. Long after the flowers have gone, the leaves are critical for monarch butterfly larvae. If you want to support bees, birds and butterflies, here's a short article from The Day in New London, CT, on the "homely" plants that do a lot of good for the creatures that pollinate our food crops and flowers.