Video: Best-Performing Native Plants in my Garden by Susan Harris

These days we’re all paying more attention to beneficial wildlife in our gardens, and to that end, looking for good native plants to grow. But which ones? Those official lists of state or regional natives don’t really help the aspiring eco-gardener make their choices. So many of the listed plants aren’t even in the trade! Instead, I always recommend asking experienced gardeners. Gardeners like me, for instance. In this short video I gush about the 10 best-performing native plants I’ve ever grown, and by that I mean they look great and are easy-care. No fertilizers or fungicides needed. And except for the Oakleaf Hydrangea, no regular watering after the plants are established. They are: Black-Eyed Susans, Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Spiderwort, Joe Pye Weed, Golden Groundsel, Amsonia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Crossvine, and Redbud. And in the video description on YouTube I add three “bonus plants” that aren’t in the video for lack of decent photos of them: Ninebark, Penstemon and Little B..
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What is Agroforestry and why Does It Matter?

Arbor Day Coffee What is Agroforestry and why Does It Matter? By Jon Ferguson | November 13, 2017 Arbor Day Coffee is grown by farmers who are committed to using sustainable agroforestry management practices on their farm. Agroforestry is a land use management system where trees or shrubs are grown around crops or pastureland. We call it the shade-grown difference. This shade-grown practice of harvesting coffee leads to healthier crops and has a positive environmental impact. In some cases, it can also be more cost effective than farms with sophisticated technology and chemical treatments. Agroforestry has its advantages. For example, planting a diverse selection of tree species — like fruit trees — empowers smallholder coffee farmers to grow nutritional food sources, making them less dependent on a single crop. Additionally, there are numerous environmental benefits. Trees add nutrients to the soil, provide shade to crops, and add an aesthetic value to the property. Th..
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Can these Junipers be Saved? by Susan Harris

My latest gardening obsession is making over the landscape in front of my housing co-op offices, where the top priority is to do something about the overgrown junipers. Planted too close to the sidewalk and doors, they’d been sheared back, which caused much unsightly needle-browning. The problem wasn’t just that they were encroaching onto sidewalks, either. Their looming presence over the doors made the female staffers feel less than safe as they exited, especially at night. Something had to be done, and right away. So the team of staff and volunteers working on this decided to have the junipers closest to the sidewalk removed, and it was super-gratifying to watch those bad boys being yanked out of the ground by a Bobcat excavator. Unfortunately, this exposed even more dieback and browning in the adjacent junipers (above). So ugly. But man, I live for pruning projects like this! Oh, the mountain of dead juniper branches I gleefully (obsessively) compiled, ignoring the dozen or so c..
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How to Create a Garden Around Your Home That Stands Out

Landscape Design How to Create a Garden Around Your Home That Stands Out By Arbor Day Foundation | November 10, 2017 Guest Post by Mike Andrews, My Door Pro. Whether you just moved into a new home with a large lawn or recently sparked an interest in gardening, this article is for you. Sure, you can always ask your neighbors how they did it in their lawns, but as usual, you want to stand out from the crowd. You want your garden to be as attractive and as colorful as possible without the high cost. Thinking of transforming your garden? These tips are for you ¾ everything you need to know about gardening is listed here ¾ eliminating the need to hire professional help. Ensure you have a weed-free garden This is the first rule whenever you want to beautify your garden. Before anything else, ensure that you can rid your garden of weeds. You can get a wheeled stool to do the job. If you want to replant in place of the weeds, you can go for sweet alyssum (Loburia Maritima) o..
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10 Most Popular Nursery Trees and Shrubs Shipping This Fall

Tree Planting 10 Most Popular Nursery Trees and Shrubs Shipping This Fall By Sheereen Othman | November 8, 2017 Arbor Day fall shipping started this week, which means your new trees will be arriving soon and ready to plant. Thousands of trees will be shipped from the Arbor Day nursery. Here are the 10 most popular Arbor Day nursery trees finding their new homes. Green Giant Arborvitae Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’ The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen—shooting up by as much as 3′ per year until maturity. Its natural pyramidal to conical form boasts dense, rich green foliage that darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter. This is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge or single specimen. It is also resistant to wind once established and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a natural windbreak. 2. American Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis This native evergreen is a hard-working, versatile..
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A Glimpse of a Lunatic’s Garden by Allen Bush

Jamie Dockery, wizard of farm and garden. August 12, 2017. I don’t know anyone on this planet, or galaxy, with more runaway enthusiasm for gardening than Jamie Dockery. And that’s not all. Besides his rabid determination to grow anything with chlorophyll, Jamie also raises little cows, little goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, and tends an aviary with finches and canaries—all of this on his ten-acre farm in Salvisa, KY, not far from the Kentucky River. Ansel, the newborn, black and white calf. March 26, 2017. “I’m a full blown nut job,” Jamie confessed during a lecture he gave early last spring called: “A Glimpse of a Lunatic’s Garden.” This was one of nearly 50 talks Jamie presents each year as part of his day job as the Fayette County Extension Agent for Horticulture Education. Jamie’s first love, after his livestock, is perennials, but he is no one-trick pony. He’s extremely knowledgeable on trees, shrubs, and fruits and vegetables, too. The little cows in early May. Jamie trial..
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Northern Catalpa: Rarely Unnoticed

Tree of the Week Northern Catalpa: Rarely Unnoticed By James R. Fazio | November 7, 2017 Catalpa speciosa Catalpa is a hard tree to overlook. Trumpet-shaped flowers herald its awakening for the summer and are soon followed by some of the largest leaves in the northern hemisphere. Elephant ears would not be too far off the mark for their description. Finally come the seed pods — bean-like in shape draping the tree like green tinsel. There are two key species of catalpa in the United States — southern and northern catalpa. Originally, southern catalpa was more widespread, but when the pioneers discovered the northern species in a very limited area of the Midwest, it didn’t take long to realize that this one grew larger and could tolerate colder winters better. Thanks to its fast growth and rot-resistant wood — and a promotional campaign by Nebraska governor Robert W. Furnas, a contemporary of J. Sterling Morton — farmers began planting it for fence posts and to sell as rai..
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Are Images of Gardeners in the Media Finally Improving? by Susan Harris

Gardeners in the play “Native Gardens” My recent rant about stereotypes of gardeners in a new play got me thinking about the images of gardeners used in advertising and elsewhere. The garden-club-competing gardeners in the play typify the demographic so often used to portray us – white and elderly. More of the same can be found by searching “gardener” at istockphoto, where these images of older women especially bug me because they convey the surprising (to all real gardeners) impression that gardening is about fussing over flowers. You and I know that gardening requires hard work – digging, hauling, and wrestling branches with pruning tools. Thankfully, iStock’s offerings include more diversity than just older white women. On Google image there are plenty of young people and quite a bit of pruning going on. Searching “gardener” on Shutterstock yields mostly super-fake images of gardens and just a few actual people, most of them young. Pexel’s gardener images are even stranger, st..
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6 Haunted Forests Perfect for Thrills

Misc Trees 6 Haunted Forests Perfect for Thrills By Sheereen Othman | October 31, 2017 Some of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the world are found deep in forests. Pristine lakes, towering trees, and scenic views attract thousands of tourists to these protected sites. But many of these sites are filled with hauntings pasts. Here are six forests that are rumored to be haunted. For the bold and daring, these are perfect for quick thrills. Life hack: don’t hike in secluded forests by yourself. Robinson Woods, Illinois Robinson Woods is now a forest preserve, but at one time the land was given to the family of Alexander Robinson. Robinson was the chief of several Native American tribes who helped save people during the Fort Dearborn Massacre. It was promised he would be buried there when he died with the rest of his family. The City broke its promise and buried Robinson somewhere else. It is said that his spirit haunts the woods. There are numerous accounts of a “..
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Still crazy after fourteen years by Elizabeth Licata

Pre-blog, my garden practice gets lost in the fog of history. I know I started gardening seriously in 1999, when we bought property, but I am not quite sure exactly what I was doing month by month until 2005, when I started documenting it with a blog. And that’s the only reason I started; it wasn’t to rant, exactly, though that came naturally early on. It was to keep track of what I was doing. Now, I don’t much care about keeping track, but I was wondering when I started bulb forcing en masse, which has been my normal fall gardening activity for some time. I see an ebay “you won!” email for a vintage forcing glass from 2003, so it must have been at least since then. After about ten glasses froze, I stopped putting those in the root cellar, instead just pulling bulbs from soil and transferring them to the glasses when the time was right. I know that not too many gardeners bother with any of this; many find the bulb-chilling period too onerous, and, I am sure, think the whole process i..
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