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
Have you ever brought home a shrub from the garden center only to discover that you had accidentally purchased a shady swamp plant to put in your sunny dry area? You can avoid these sad mistakes in the future by quickly consulting the Plant NOVA Natives app. This app can be used on a computer but is also mobile-friendly for use on smart phones. (You … Continue reading Shopping for plants? Try our free, searchable app for Northern Virginia!
However cute we may all find Bambi, he and his relatives are responsible for large-scale degradation of the environment in Northern Virginia. You might suppose that human habitations are crowding out the poor things, but actually the opposite is true. The deep woods that made up so much of our area used to support only a limited number of deer, which do best in edge … Continue reading Beat the Deer While Living on the Edge
We are all learning that native plants support the environment while providing low-maintenance beauty to our yards, but how can you figure out which plants are native and which will grow well on your property? Native plants in garden centers often are not labelled as such, and sometimes plants that are labelled as “native” are actually residents of the prairies or even the west coast, … Continue reading Beautifying your garden with natives, made easy
The season is underway, and now is a great time to start planning for your spring and summer garden! This spring support additional habitat by planting more native species in your home or balcony garden. Once established, native plants typically need less care because they evolved with local soil and climate conditions. Natives also support butterflies, birds and pollinators such as the Monarch – which … Continue reading Plant your bird food today!