Why go on a safari when a safari could come to you? Imagine yourself sipping lemonade on your lawn chair while strange and marvelous creatures entertain you. This is what you experience when you turn your yard into a wildlife sanctuary. Fall is the time to put in the plants that will bring this parade to your door. Most perennials and shrubs and some trees … Continue reading Plan Next Year’s Staycation Now
Hi, my name is _____, and I am a native plant addict. I admit that I am powerless over planting – that my shopping had become unmanageable. Like so many before me, all it took was one plant to start me down this road. The orange-flowered Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) that I bought years ago and that shortly afterwards was covered with fritillary butterflies is … Continue reading Confessions of a Native Plant Addict
The butterflies of Northern Virginia need our help. We have been unintentionally starving them by replacing the native flora with turf grass from Europe and with other ornamental plants that were brought over from other continents. Baby butterflies (otherwise known as caterpillars) cannot eat foreign plants! So let’s give them a helping hand. All we have to do is plant some native Virginia species on … Continue reading Let’s pledge to save the butterflies in our yards!
Are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Do you want to join in the fun? The Plant NOVA Natives website has a ton of helpful information about landscaping with native plants in Northern Virginia. Recently revamped, this website is the place for you if You want to know why planting native plants is so important. (Short version: this is how we can rescue … Continue reading Questions about native plants? This website is your “go-to” place!
Are you looking for plants that will beautify your yard while requiring a minimum of maintenance? The plants that evolved here are the ones for you! The more local the origin of a plant, the more likely it is to be adapted to our particular soils and climate. There could be a big difference in the cold and heat tolerance of an Eastern Red Columbine … Continue reading Go local – Time to plant native plants!
Would you like to help the birds and butterflies but have a limited budget for landscaping? What the living world needs right now from Northern Virginians is for us to plant native plants, and lots of them. Luckily, we can obtain seedlings of several kinds of trees and shrubs at a bargain price – or even for free. The familiar Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is … Continue reading Save the Planet for $28.90
As birds head down the Atlantic Flyway from their summer breeding grounds, some stop in Virginia to spend the winter, and others continue hundreds or even thousands of miles further south. Food and shelter are needed along the way, things that may be hard to come by as the birds pass over an increasingly urbanized area that contains a third of the human U.S. population. … Continue reading When a migrating bird looks down on your yard, what does it see?
If you only have time to do one thing to support wildlife in your yard, let it be to plant a native tree. The benefits of trees in general are obvious: in addition to providing shade and year-round beauty, they cool the environment, soak up greenhouse gases, and provide fruits and shelter for birds and other wildlife. But trees that are native to our area … Continue reading One-Stop Environmentalism: Plant a Native Tree
How would you like to be paid to improve the landscaping on your own property? Grants from the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) – available for both private and community properties in most jurisdictions – do just that. Although lawns may look natural, in fact they cause trouble for the environment. The streams of Northern Virginia, and ultimately our drinking water and the Chesapeake Bay, … Continue reading Get paid to mow less!
This is the story of a gardener who wanted to impress (and encourage) her neighbors by displaying an Audubon-at-Home yard sign that designates a property as an official wildlife sanctuary. How could she earn that coveted plaque? The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s program lets the animals decide if sustainable practices have been successful. Certification would require her to spot at least ten species of … Continue reading Accidental environmentalism: How yard-sign envy led to a butterfly and bee paradise