I hate being a gardening know-it-all by Elizabeth Licata

These tulips on the right bloomed early because they are the Praestans Shogun species, not because I fertilized them a lot. And the funny thing is that I’m really not. I’m not a master gardener, a CNLP, or any kind of horticultural professional. I’m just a writer/editor who loves to garden, geek out on gardening books, and keep up with new ways of thinking about traditional garden practice. And, yes, I like to use botanical names. They make sense to me because, with exceptions, a plant may have five different (and often contradictory) common names but it generally has just one botanical name. This is not the culture for many longtime gardeners. The use of botanical names is considered snobby, even laughable (and makes me a know-it-all). The fact that there are many classes of tulips, which bloom at different times, including species tulips, which are more apt to perennialize, is unimportant (and makes me a know-it-all). Tilling to clear ground and get rid of weeds is still considered..
Read More

How To Grow Strawberries

Tree of the Week How To Grow Strawberries By Arbor Day Foundation | April 25, 2017 Grown as either a small tree or shrub, the strawberry tree is one of the most attractive specimens available for residential use. The evergreen nature and off-season flowering make this a real find for discriminating gardeners. Check out this guest post from igardenplanting on the benefits of strawberries and the best way to grow them. Planting Strawberries Once you have decided upon the best type and variety of strawberries, it’s time to get to work in the garden and plant them. You don’t need much by the way of expensive garden tools but you do need to know what you’re doing so take the time to inform yourself and read on… Before we outline what to do, a couple of quick videos that we highly recommend you check out. For those of you who prefer to learn by watching rather than reading, finding the best videos can be an overwhelming task. This video is a very short and sweet guide to p..
Read More

Shiny Updates to the Website Coming Soon!

The Bug Chicks - A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks. We are working hard behind the scenes to bring some much needed (and highly requested) updates to the website! This will include a fabulous new store for all things Bug Chicks and Bug Chicks Approved, just in time for spring and insects. It will also include a great new way to book us online if you live in/near Portland, OR and if you want to schedule a Skype ClassChat with us from anywhere in the world! We have been teaching a great deal and Kristie has been traveling, speaking and training teachers in workshops. We are currently developing a new course for people who want to become better outreach educators, especially with regard to CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT! It’s our special mojo (besides bugs). We are not rockstars at much, but we can manage a crowd and we can teach you the tips and tricks. Shiny Updates to the Website Coming Soon!
Read More

Olfactory Overload by Bob Hill

‘Michael Lindsey’ I’ve been spending more time of late wandering our eight-acre landscape both because after 42 years here I keep finding old plants I too often overlook, and, more important, the chances are very slim I’ll find an aircraft carrier either on its way to Australia or North Korea. Gardening always provides some escape from reality – and at the same time connects us to who and what matters when the television is turned off. Such was the case earlier this week as I rounded a once-hidden corner of our place and spotted a tall shrub backed up against a hemlock tree in light shade. It was coated in tight whitish buds with a few opened to expose a circle of white petals with purplish centers. The whole area had recently been rejuvenated-by-chainsaw, adding more sunlight to what had been deep wooded gloom. My reward for that effort – witness the avalanche of white buds – was a 10-foot Calycanthus ‘Venus.’ ‘Venus’ is a stunner, or in this case a golf-cart stopper. Its specifi..
Read More

A Message From Dan Lambe: Happy Arbor Day

Arbor Day Executive Message A Message From Dan Lambe: Happy Arbor Day By Arbor Day Foundation | April 24, 2017 It’s April – the month of National Arbor Day and the time to celebrate trees. Most everyone can agree that planting trees is important and brings positive benefits to our lives. Arbor Day is a break from all that is going on around us. Trees do so much for us. In our yards, they provide shade, reduce energy costs and increase property values. Along our streets, they reduce stormwater runoff that can carry pollutants to our waterways. Throughout our communities, they improve the mental and respiratory health, reduce crime, break up heat islands, create jobs and boost the economy. In our forests, they restore critical wildlife habitat, provide opportunities for recreation and maintain healthy watersheds to protect drinking water resources for millions of Americans. And no matter where they’re planted, trees are working hard to filter pollutants out of our air and w..
Read More

The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening by Susan Harris

I recently attended a “Green Yards and Gardens” talk in my town. The intern giving the talk was more knowledgeable than I expected, but the topics covered were no surprise: natives, invasives, pesticides, composting, and rain barrels, the usual bullet points. Afterward I asked some attendees I knew how they liked the talk and wasn’t surprised by their disappointment: “We thought we’d learn to garden.” Lecturing people about what NOT to do resonates with some – the already eco-minded – but fails to excite people about gardening or show them how to succeed at it. I’ve come to believe that turning people into gardeners should be the number one goal of all communications about eco-friendly or sustainable gardening. Sure, mention at the end of the talk or article the practices they should avoid, but focusing on the negatives is just counterproductive. I’ve noticed this misguided approach over the years and a quick survey reveals that it’s as prominent as ever. For example, a county in Ca..
Read More

CSX Employees Help Green Communities Along the Tracks

Corporate Partnerships Featured CSX Employees Help Green Communities Along the Tracks By Amy Ossian | April 20, 2017 CSX became a sponsor of the Arbor Day Foundation through the company’s work with Alliance for Community Trees — a network of community-based organizations is dedicated to improving the livability of towns and cities through planting and caring for trees. Last fall, some of the Arbor Day Foundation staff met with CSX colleagues at one of the company’s service days that included planting trees in Philadelphia. Below is a guest post from a CSX employee who attended the service day. My name is Robert Rohauer, and I’m proud to have over 27 years of service at CSX. I started on the railroad as brakeman and currently lead CSX’s Communications and Field Support as a regional manager across the eastern portion of our railroad. The Communications and Field Support team is the link between trains that run through 23 states and the community residents who live along e..
Read More

Working Together to Plant for the Future

Corporate Partnerships Working Together to Plant for the Future By Amy Ossian | April 20, 2017 CSX became a sponsor of the Arbor Day Foundation through the company’s work with Alliance for Community Trees — a network of community-based organizations is dedicated to improving the livability of towns and cities through planting and caring for trees. Last fall, some of the Arbor Day Foundation staff met with CSX colleagues at one of the company’s service days that included planting trees in Philadelphia. Below is a guest post from a CSX employee who attended the service day. My name is Robert Rohauer, and I’m proud to have over 27 years of service at CSX. I started on the railroad as brakeman and currently lead CSX’s team of Community Affairs and Safety managers across the eastern portion of our railroad. The Community Affairs and Safety team is the link between trains that run through 23 states and the community residents who live along either side of the tracks. We act as..
Read More

Why Tree City USA? Why YOUR City?

Tree City USA Why Tree City USA? Why YOUR City? By Amber Filipi | April 19, 2017 This article was originally published in the March issue of Community Tree Connections newsletter—The newsletter of the Oregon Urban & Community Forestry Assistance Program. Written by Kristin Ramstad, Acting Urban & Community Forestry manager, Oregon. “I think you just get a flag.” “It doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort.” “There are too many hoops you need to jump through.” These are statements I typically hear from city leaders as to why their cities are not designated as a Tree City USA. Yet, in my opinion, these statements reflect a lack of knowledge about the “subtle power” of the Tree City USA program. What do I mean by “subtle power?” I mean that the Tree City USA program has the potential to positively transform how communities see themselves. The Tree City USA program recognizes cities for basic tree care efforts and activities they could be, possibly should be — and maybe al..
Read More

Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep by Allen Bush

Dead nettles in bloom along VanArsdall Road in Salvisa, KY on March 26th. Molly Bush photo. I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And of course that meant pollen— lots of it. Pollen’s bumper season has not been caused by the president’s disregard for the environment, although his recent actions may make matters worse for allergy sufferers. The president has decided to ignore the effects and consequences of global warming—the explosion of pollen being a small part. Global warming has increased the levels and “potency of pollen.” Trump’s “unnecessary and harmful” rollback of environmental protections stirred my small, personal protest and sparked an epiphany. In a deliberate act of kindness for clean air and water, I planted a native spicebush (Lindera benzoin) o..
Read More