Nature Ideas, Tips & Guides

Supporting our trees, all their lives long, with basil camu - awaytogarden.com - New York - state North Carolina - state Delaware
awaytogarden.com
25.05.2024

Supporting our trees, all their lives long, with basil camu

MOST PEOPLE call in an arborist when they think it’s time for a tree to be removed, a costly process both financially and environmentally, since trees are critical drivers of diversity. Today’s guest runs a tree-care company and also a tree-focused nonprofit that emphasize other services instead of removals, advocating for the planting of young trees, for caring for our trees with smart structural pruning, and regular inspections to get to know them better and stay ahead of any problems, and for thoughtful support of dead and dying trees as important forever members of our ecosystems.

Site preparations for meadow-making, with benjamin vogt - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
13.07.2024

Site preparations for meadow-making, with benjamin vogt

ARE YOU THINKING about the possibility of transitioning an area of your lawn into something more diverse, like maybe a meadow? A question I’m asked a lot is how to go about it—the actual preparatory steps. So I invited Benjamin Vogt, a specialist in natural landscape design, to walk us through the process.

Neonic dangers, with the american bird conservancy’s hardy kern - awaytogarden.com - Usa - Jordan
awaytogarden.com
07.06.2024

Neonic dangers, with the american bird conservancy’s hardy kern

I SUSPECT every gardener has for years now over and again heard the warnings about the most widely used pesticides in the United States, neonicotinoids—or neonics for short. In 2013, the American Bird Conservancy issued a report warning of their impact on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and especially the ripple effect their use was having on birds. The Conservancy has issued an updated report with a telling headline, “Neonicotinoid Insecticides failing to come to grips with a predictable environmental disaster.” So where are we now with limiting the use of these pesticides and what can we as citizens and gardeners do to help in the effort?

Prairie and meadow plantings, succession and more, with neil diboll - awaytogarden.com - New York - state Wisconsin
awaytogarden.com
01.06.2024

Prairie and meadow plantings, succession and more, with neil diboll

INTEREST AND AWARENESS around native plants has been trending in recent years, and it makes them feel almost new. But of course natives are the original plants of an area, and even in certain specialty corners of the nursery industry, they’ve been around far longer than they’ve been making headlines.

Conserving, and growing, native lady’s slipper orchids, with longwood’s peter zale - awaytogarden.com - Usa - state Kentucky - state Pennsylvania - county Garden
awaytogarden.com
11.05.2024

Conserving, and growing, native lady’s slipper orchids, with longwood’s peter zale

TODAY’S TOPIC is orchids, but not the ones you might be growing as a flowering houseplant. Our subject is native terrestrial types that are more often than not under great pressure in the wild, their numbers dwindling.

115 beautiful flower quotes & flower captions for instagram - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
03.05.2024

115 beautiful flower quotes & flower captions for instagram

Are you searching for the best flower quotes and flower captions?  This list has over one hundred beautiful flower sayings and inspirational floral quotes to lift your mood and put a smile on your face.

‘bio-productive gardens,’ with tim johnson of native plant trust - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
15.03.2024

‘bio-productive gardens,’ with tim johnson of native plant trust

IN A RECENT phone call, Tim Johnson used the phrase “bio-productive gardens,” and it stopped me.

State of the native-plant movement, with rebecca mcmackin - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
16.02.2024

State of the native-plant movement, with rebecca mcmackin

MAYBE MORE than any other topic, the use of native plants has consistently figured among the top garden trends in recent years. Just how popular is the movement toward a more ecological focus in the way we design and care for our landscapes?

Counting birds: be a better birder, with cornell’s rebecca rodomsky-bish - awaytogarden.com - Canada
awaytogarden.com
10.02.2024

Counting birds: be a better birder, with cornell’s rebecca rodomsky-bish

WATCHING BIRDS lifts my spirits, as it has for decades, and who couldn’t use their spirits lifted right about now? But there’s another much bigger potential benefit, which is that sharing my sightings helps scientists understand what’s going on with bird populations in a changing world.

Is your landscape ‘undergrown’? with nancy lawson - awaytogarden.com - Usa - state Maryland
awaytogarden.com
27.01.2024

Is your landscape ‘undergrown’? with nancy lawson

AS SHE OFTEN DOES, naturalist and nature writer Nancy Lawson—perhaps known better to some of you as the Humane Gardener after the title of her first book—caught my attention the other day.

Wildlife-friendly gardening: simple ways to attract nature - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
17.01.2024

Wildlife-friendly gardening: simple ways to attract nature

Wildlife-friendly gardening is a simple yet impactful way to bring nature closer to home. This isn’t just about having a pretty garden; it’s about helping the environment right on your doorstep. Whether you have a big garden or just a small space, you can make a difference.

Homemade bird feeders: easy DIY + 6 simple ideas - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
16.01.2024

Homemade bird feeders: easy DIY + 6 simple ideas

These homemade bird feeders are a great way to give your local wild birds a real treat. You can make a bird feeder at any time of year, but it’s particularly important to support wild birds in winter.

115 best tree puns and tree jokes for leafy laughs - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
09.01.2024

115 best tree puns and tree jokes for leafy laughs

If you’re looking for tree jokes, tree puns, and tree proverbs, you’re in the right place.

Wintertime visitor: a rare warbler - awaytogarden.com - county Hudson - county Valley
awaytogarden.com
30.12.2023

Wintertime visitor: a rare warbler

I’M CELEBRATING New Year’s in the company of a rare bird and the flowers of the first of the witch hazels, neither of which is supposed to be here right now.

Ecological resolutions, with uli lorimer of native plant trust - awaytogarden.com - New York - state Massachusets
awaytogarden.com
23.12.2023

Ecological resolutions, with uli lorimer of native plant trust

LIKE EVERYONE around this time of year, I get into a “looking back while looking ahead” combined mindset. Today I want to do just that, but with a sort of ecological filter, taking stock of how things in the garden fared in the bigger environmental picture and what opportunities lie ahead for me to read nature’s signals even more closely and be an ever better steward of the place.

Diverse, powerful milkweeds, with eric lee-mäder - awaytogarden.com - Usa - New York
awaytogarden.com
11.11.2023

Diverse, powerful milkweeds, with eric lee-mäder

MOST OF US may automatically think “monarch” after hearing the word “milkweed,” or vice versa. And that’s in fact a critical and intimate relationship, the one between monarch butterflies and native milkweed plants.

Cornell’s take on the native lawn, with todd bittner - awaytogarden.com - New York - state New York - county Garden
awaytogarden.com
21.10.2023

Cornell’s take on the native lawn, with todd bittner

REDUCING THE footprint of our lawns has been a key environmental message for gardeners in recent years, since lawns lack biodiversity and involve huge amounts of pollution between fertilizers, herbicides, and the gas used in mowing. But what to cultivate instead? That is the subject of a nearly 15-year native lawn research project at Cornell Botanic Gardens in Ithaca, New York, with some interesting insights.

The best natural hidden gems to visit in the UK - growingfamily.co.uk - Britain
growingfamily.co.uk
10.10.2023

The best natural hidden gems to visit in the UK

Mainland UK is home to many natural treasures. While many are world-famous and are visited by millions of people each year, there are several that many haven’t even heard of, including some locals.

The wild-ish garden of margaret renkl, and her new book - awaytogarden.com - Usa - New York
awaytogarden.com
07.10.2023

The wild-ish garden of margaret renkl, and her new book

MY, HOW TIMES have changed. That’s what I keep thinking, looking around my own garden in recent years. I’ve been struck by the same thought over and over as I read “The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year,” the latest book by Margaret Renkl (illustrated with gorgeous collages by her brother, Billy Renkl, like the one above), which takes us through a year in her garden 1,000 miles to the south of mine in Nashville.

133 best fall puns and fall jokes to leaf you smiling - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
22.09.2023

133 best fall puns and fall jokes to leaf you smiling

Are you excited for autumn season? This list of kid-friendly, hilarious fall puns and fall jokes is perfect for helping the whole family celebrate this gorgeous time of the year.

Coping with invasive jumping worms, with brad herrick of uw-madison - awaytogarden.com - state Wisconsin
awaytogarden.com
08.09.2023

Coping with invasive jumping worms, with brad herrick of uw-madison

THE QUESTION “What do I do about the Asian jumping worms that are destroying my soil?” has outpaced what was the most common thing I was asked, year in and year out, for decades as a garden writer—the relatively simple challenge of “How do I prune my hydrangea?”

35 fun kids nature games and outdoor activities - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
06.09.2023

35 fun kids nature games and outdoor activities

Are you looking for great outdoor games to play with the kids?  This list of fabulous nature games has 35 great ideas to inspire your outdoor fun.

30 fun nature walking games for kids (and adults!) - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
31.08.2023

30 fun nature walking games for kids (and adults!)

Do you need some fun ideas for keeping kids busy and entertained on a walk? We’ve got 30 great nature walking games to help you do just that.

Pressing plants, with herbarium curator linda lipsen - awaytogarden.com - Britain - New York
awaytogarden.com
26.08.2023

Pressing plants, with herbarium curator linda lipsen

I SAW NEWS of a new book called “Pressed Plants” recently, and it got me thinking about my grandmother and one of the many crafts she enjoyed way back when. Grandma made what she called “pressed-flower pictures,” bits of her garden that she carefully dried, arranged on fabric and framed under glass. And some of those still hang on my walls. It also got me thinking of the 500-year-old tradition of pressing plants for science and the herbarium world.

Growing sunflowers in pots: easy step-by-step guide - growingfamily.co.uk
growingfamily.co.uk
25.08.2023

Growing sunflowers in pots: easy step-by-step guide

If you’re looking for easy seeds to grow with children, it’s hard to beat growing sunflowers in pots. If you’re not gardening with children, sunflowers are still fantastic plants to grow, and they make wonderful cut sunflowers too.

‘more plants is always better:’ immersive landscapes, with claudia west - awaytogarden.com - New York
awaytogarden.com
18.08.2023

‘more plants is always better:’ immersive landscapes, with claudia west

“Plants are the mulch,” Claudia said then about making immersive landscapes that engage humans as much as they do pollinators and other beneficial wildlife. So it’s tempting to choose the plants we buy for our gardens based on their looks alone. Claudia and her colleague, Thomas Rainer, of Phyto Studio, who are co-authors of the groundbreaking 2015 book “Planting in a Post-Wild World” (affiliate link), have tougher criteria for which plants

Fresh-start artist may sarton - awaytogarden.com - New York
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Fresh-start artist may sarton

Sarton, who today is sometimes mentioned in the same breath as phrases like “women’s literature,” or covered in women’s studies curriculums, wrote more than 50 books. She actually came to my attention thanks to two men, at different times in my life. I might have missed her altogether if not for a one-two punch by Sydney Schanberg, an ex-New York Times colleague who thirty-odd years ago offhandedly said, “You would like May Sarton,” and then years later my therapist (who gave me “Journal of a Solitude”).It wasn’t her emerging influence on feminism that provoked their decades-ago recommendations. They knew that the natural world, and specifically the garden, called to me, as it did Sarton.“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself,” she wrote.SARTON, A PROLIFIC POET and author of fiction, also wrote memoir

Salamander days - awaytogarden.com - state South Carolina
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Salamander days

THE STATE AMPHIBIAN of South Carolina was waiting in the backyard water garden for me today, or maybe for a lover more to his taste. While cleaning the pools of rotted leaves and whatever else blew in, it’s typical to encounter the many frogs who have overwintered with me, but today was a bonanza: Up with a net full of muck came a startled red Eastern Newt, and then also this much larger cousin, the Eastern Spotted Salamander.

Our first 100-comment post (thank you!) - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Our first 100-comment post (thank you!)

A WAY TO GARDEN turns 5 months old this week, and as if to celebrate it reached a milestone: our first 100-comment post (about equal to the number of frogs who share the place with me). No-no surprise for me that it was the post about Garden No-No’s (aka The Complaint Dept.) that took the prize.

Birding by ear, with cornell lab of o’s all about bird song - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Birding by ear, with cornell lab of o’s all about bird song

EVER HEARD the expression “birding by ear”? Despite my years-old collection of CDs (and even older tapes!), I have never gotten good at telling who’s who, sight unseen, perhaps knowing merely 15 of the 60ish avian voices who visit each year. A new online resource called All About Bird Song from Cornell Lab of Ornithology aims to improve our ability to retain the vocalizations by visualizing them—and also reveals what song is all about: its purpose, its mechanics, and just how amazing a feat it actually is.  

Under cover: secret-agent frog reports for duty - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Under cover: secret-agent frog reports for duty

YOU’D THINK HE WOULD HAVE NOTICED when he lumbered up and out of the little garden pond to his favorite perch, that he had an oak leaf stuck to his back, but no. This bullfrog spent the entire day Friday in undercover guise–as if his dull winter skin color wasn’t camouflage enough.

Bird food! an avian ruckus in the cornus - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Bird food! an avian ruckus in the cornus

I have said before that I know what birds like, and have created a slideshow of the variousCornus, or dogwood, species that I grow–all of them good wildlife plants. But since the berries produced by Cornus alba and Cornus sericea, both twig dogwoods, really don’t catch my eye, I was interested to see that gray catbirds and tufted titmice, in particular, are positively wild about the unassuming white fruit.I grow a few varieties of Cornus alba andC. sericea, including the variegated-leaf, gold-twig ‘Silver and Gold,’ the gold-leaf, red-twig sericea called ‘Sunshine’ (above, in fruit; Cornus

How plants work, with linda chalker-scott - awaytogarden.com - state Washington
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

How plants work, with linda chalker-scott

And though most leaves are green—why are some not green at all, or at certain times of year?The new book, “How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do” answers those questions and more. (Enter to win a copy at the bottom of the page.)Its author, Linda Chalker Scott, joined me on the public radio show and podcast to explain. Linda is an Extension Urban Horticulturist with Washington State University, a

Another hit: my accident-prone lacebark pine - awaytogarden.com
awaytogarden.com
21.07.2023

Another hit: my accident-prone lacebark pine

This long-needled pine, grown for its beautiful, peeling bark that resembles camouflage fabric, just gets better with age—or is supposed to, as long as it lives that long. But now in addition to substantial disfigurement left by an insistent male yellow-bellied sapsucker a year or so ago, my beautiful bark has giant divots in it, too (you can see both in the top photo). Weren’t the woodpecker’s rows of small holes and the oozing, now-blackened sap that poured out from them, enough for the one poor tree (and gardener)?Apparently not.A storm with high winds took two large branches and one smaller one from the pine a week or so ago, snapping them right o

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