Archive for ‘Native & Invasive Plants’

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Native & invasive ornamental grasses

by Caroline Brown

Landscaping and gardening with ornamental grasses is hot. Ornamental grasses provide home gardens with nesting sites, food, and cover for birds and other animals; pleasing and unusual texture and dimensionality; and garden interest in all four seasons. Some varieties can be used to plant lawns that require less mowing and water.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Skunk cabbage

by Caroline Brown

Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is staring to leafing out in wetland areas so I know that spring is really here. Pretty soon, the ground in swampy areas will go from brown to green almost overnight as the skunk cabbage leaves unfurl.

Skunk cabbage leaves are pretty cool–big & wide, deeply veinated–but it’s the blooms that get most of the attention. It’s the first plant to flower in many areas. Skunk cabbage blooms before it leafs, as early as February even in cold areas. Its dark red spathe covers its spadix like a hood, similar to a jack-in-the-pulpit.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why not plant some native fruits?

by Caroline Brown

Fruit trees and shrubs are a great way to expand your backyard food production beyond the vegetable garden. When I was growing up, we had a peach tree, a persimmon tree, blackberries, and wild plums to graze on, and my grandmother kept us supplied us with raspberries, Concord grapes, and apples. For a while, I lived on the West coast, where I had Meyer lemons, oranges, and apples in my yard. I’ll never forget the taste of the first glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice made from oranges picked that morning in my own back yard.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fall field trip: Tower Hill Botanical Garden

by Caroline Brown

Last week I drove up to Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, Mass., about an hour’s drive from Providence. Tower Hill is the home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society (that’s Wussta to all you non-New Englanders), a non-profit organization that is the third oldest horticultural society in the U.S.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rare ghost orchid found in Florida

by Caroline Brown

Check out the recent find at a Florida nature preserve:

Photo courtesy of Clyde Butcher via the Sierra Club.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Great resource on gardening and global warming

by Caroline Brown

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has a lot of interesting programs and information for “citizen scientists” and everyday nature advocates. A recent entry that’s pretty impressive is The Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming. They do a really good job of tying together many of the issues facing gardeners as global climate change becomes a reality.