Improving the biodiversity of our landscapes— specifically stemming the significant declines in insects, birds, and millions of species worldwide— requires re-establishing native plant landscapes. It also requires a commitment to ecological landscaping. But what is that? To us, it means gardening by working with ecological processes— leaving leaf litter and decaying plant stems as essential habitat for insects, understanding inherent soil and climate conditions, choosing the most appropriate native species for our site. There is so much to consider! Learn more about our philosophy here.
American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a common component of the understory in forests throughout the eastern U. S. with a very uncommon characteristic— it blooms late in the fall (typically October or November in New England), just as most other plants are going dormant. It typically stays in bloom for a month or more, not cowed by freezing temperatures or an early winter snowfall. This brings up the very intriguing question: who pollinates American witch hazel?
The New York Times has done a great job in recent years covering the biodiversity crisis, climate change, and bringing us new perspectives in ecology. We recommend this new piece by Ferris Jabr published on December 6, 2020. It summarizes and explores some of the current research and thinking about the mystery of plant communication—and especially trees—through the soil ecosystem and its extensive networks of mycorrhizal fungi. We are very grateful to The Times for bringing this fascinating subject to the fore, to their very large and international readership.
Just Released and Already a Hit!
In her latest guide, well-known native bee expert Heather Holm again demonstrates her profound knowledge of insects and her skill as a teacher. This time, the spotlight is on wasps, a diverse group of insects whose vital ecological roles as predators and pollinators are at odds with their common reputation (among humans!) as pests. This new book is destined to become the go-to resource for identifying wasps, and for guiding associated efforts to create habitat for beneficial species.