Native, or Not So Much? – National Wildlife Federation

As research increasingly shows, native plants are key to creating a wildlife-friendly garden. By definition, a native plant (or “straight species”) occurs naturally in a given location or region. A nativar is sometimes a natural variant that has been found in the wild and brought into cultivation, but often it has been developed by a plant breeder and would never be found in nature. In the words of Doug Tallamy, a University of Delaware entomologist and author of Bringing Nature Home, the proliferation of nativars demonstrates the extent to which the nursery trade “is still stuck on the idea of plants as enhanced decoration” rather than as essential to wildlife.

Lovely Name, Less Nutritious?Razzmatazz Coneflower

One clue that a plant is a nativar is a fancy, marketing-driven moniker like Razzmatazz (above) or Pink Double Delight, two double-flower variations on the native purple coneflower in which the flower’s brownish-orange central cone has been transformed into flashy pink pompoms. Botanical oddities like these may be highly regarded by the nursery industry, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, for bees and butterflies to gather pollen and nectar from double flowers. Such enhanced blooms can also be sterile and therefore unable to produce seeds—bad news for the goldfinches and other birds that relish these nutritious treats.

While radically tampering with a species’ flower structure often comes at the expense of wildlife, other popular nativar traits may be harmless or even beneficial. But how can gardeners interested in nurturing wildlife distinguish the good from the bad?

To help answer that question, Tallamy and colleagues at the University of Delaware have teamed up with researchers at the Mt. Cuba Center, a Delaware botanic garden specializing in native plants. As part of the project, Tallamy and graduate student Emily Baisden have been studying cultivated varieties of native trees and shrubs to learn how different traits affect the plants’ palatability to caterpillars

“It is a bad idea to load the landscape with plants that have no genetic variability,” says Tallamy. “I’m not a hardliner on this issue, but gardeners ought to have access to straight species. We have to convince the nursery industry that native plants are about more than just looks.”

For the complete article…

Source: Native, or Not So Much? – National Wildlife Federation

Nature Notes (#371) – The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses.

nature notes logo

Join Nature Notes from Mondays at 11:00 pm EST  to Friday at 11:00 pm EST.

More information can be found at the top of the blog on a separate page, but it really is easy. What are you or have you seen and enjoyed in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? Do you garden? Have you read a good book on nature? 

Write a blog post with a photo, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. Please submit one blog post per week and link back to Nature Notes in some way.

Below is last week’s Nature Notes’ blogger thumbnail photos in a collage. If you photos are protected and/or you don’t want me to use them, please let know. Also listed are all the links to last week’s Nature Notes blog posts if you missed any.

collage 371

 

1. Donna@ Gardens Eye View- USA 8. Nature Footstep Photo Art- Sweden 15. Freda- Day One Photography- Canada
2. Sofie’s World -Belgium 9. JBigg’s Little Pieces – Kentucky- US 16. JBigg’s Little Pieces – USA
3. Eileen -Viewing Nature – USA 10. orchid’s Daily Voice -(Japan) 17. MP UPPAL -You and I -India
4. Adam Jones -Early Birder- UK 11. Andrea Pure Oxygenerators- Philippines 18. Raquel Jimenez Artesania -Spain
5. Quirky Anonymous- Quirky World of Ann O-Nymous- SA 12. Andrea in this Lifetime- Philippines 19. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
6. Sallie (Full Time- Life) -USA 13. Martina- Sign with Light- Germany 20. Bettyl- Photographing New Zealand
7. JP -A Quiet Corner- USA 14. Jesh StG -St. Germain’s Blog- USA 21. Kelli -Mama Zen -USA

More than 11 percent of New York state is suffering from severe drought including western NY where I live. There is no end to the hot, dry weather in sight. The forecast for the coming week is for warm temperatures and no chance of rain save for possible thunderstorms Monday. Beyond that looms a significant heat wave — the arrival of a “massive heat dome” that could bring record high temperatures to the central United States. The effects will be felt in upstate New York as well.

The last time any part of the state was in a drought was 2012 and I remember that summer well. It is not a good situation. We are lucky to get our water from the Niagara River which is at normal levels, but they are asking people to conserve water. I hate to see my neighbors running their sprinklers for hours every evening to keep their turf grass lawns going. My native plants and trees still need water, but I do it in a targeted way and certainly not dumping copious amounts of water on my yard.

I can see this graphic from the EPA being true as I see the water running down the street and into the pond…..

The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.

water waste


What’s happening here… well we are working to make our lawn and garden conform to the standards of the neighborhood as all my native plants were assumed to be weeds and my raised beds were making it look too agricultural. So the front yard will conform and the back yard will be as I want it and they tried to have me mow down my big wildflower and Monarch Waystation across the pond, but that is protected land as it the woods and the town has no control over that. That made me smile…

Below is all milkweed and wild flowers and a wood duck nesting box that can’t be touched…. This is the view from our back yard.

Monarch Waystation

Monarch Waystation

I have to provide documentation of what is in the raised garden beds to see if I can keep them as they aren’t the usual for the town’s liking… Grrrrrrrrrrr

garden beds plants

This is the bed by the porch with the blooming purple coneflower and a question mark butterfly. Beautiful…

coneflower

So I will keep fighting the native plant fight in my yard by hubby thought we should just fix it as with my health this is not a fight I can do at this time. And he is right, I would just make myself more ill with the stress….

 

What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.-Mahatma Gandhi

 

maple tree

Sigh yes…. It took hubby a couple of hours to take out the plants that looked like forbidden town code “weeds” and we were told to remove. This is a Norway maple that was planted by the town and I can’t take it down so I planted under it.

It took three years to get native plants that were happy under this tree. That was goldenrod and New England asters. It was beautiful in the late summer and loaded with bees…..

bald-faced hornet

Goldenrod

new england aster

new england aster

when I saw the bare dirt, I had tears… And it was suggested that we mulch it???

So this is one part of yard that has changed so that our yard fits in.

I will not mulch it, but I will find a low growing native plant to put there, but it will take a couple of years to get going…. Again…

Different… not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality….

flower

Different…

not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality….

I search my heart for why we are so afraid of different…..

I search my heart for why it matters what color our skin is….

I search my heart for why it matters how we worship….

I search my heart why it matters what language we speak…

I search my heart for why it matters whom we love…..

I search my heart for why we are so fearful of different….

I search my heart knowing that the unique individual that we all are should be embraced…

But we want to put up walls to keep people out….

You may only enter my space if you look like me, talk like me, and believe the same things I do…

So much bloodshed in the name of being different…so much hate…so much fear…..

I search my heart and fine only sadness for what is and what could be if we accepted different….

Different…

not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form, or quality….

A complaint about my lawn…..Seriously?

The past week has been stressful. Someone and I know who made a complaint about our lawn and my bird feeders. It has to be someone who can see into the back yard and there are only three houses who can and one of them also has a bird feeder. It is the same guy who is in law enforcement but has been at odds with me for the past several years as I have reported him for hitting the canada geese with a stick and rocks and last year his son killed a goose with a BB gun, but although I saw the son and the goose, I didn’t see the actual shooting.

So the code enforcement guy has been out three times now. They questioned every plant I had in the yard as the guy knew nothing about plants and thought I planted “weeds” as the code reads. I gave him a list of every species we have planted of the 130 we have put in. He didn’t like my raised beds in front because they don’t look tidy. I told him I will make them into “real gardens” next year. We had let the clover lawn grow to 5 inches because of the drought and we going to cut it this week.

Here is the code…
Weeds. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches [254 millimeters (mm)]. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. “Weeds” shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs; provided, however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.

The code guy questioned my bed as being “cultivated” gardens. Sigh…..Update… They want our yard to “fit into the neighborhood” as it doesn’t now. But my husband responds to 700 calls a year as a volunteer fireman in this community, but I can’t grow native plants because they look like weeds.

 

Here is the house  with 4 raised native plant garden beds and over 100 other native plants and shrubs… All of the trees and shrubs are prunes every two years by a certified arborist…

house garden

It is the suburbs and rules are rules and they don’t care unless someone complains. And this is about a report to the Department of Conservation over the past 3 seasons about hitting the canada geese and goslings with rocks and a stick and then one ending up dead by their house by a pellet gun. I couldn’t let the abuse toward the geese go on. It wasn’t right.

flower garden goldenrod mist flower crooked stem aster

fall garden bed

So this is pay-back and I am going to make the town happy so they go away………

But we need to re-think what a beautiful lawn is as it is shameful the millions of tons of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides that are dumped on turf grasses to say nothing of the water it needs. My clover lawn doesn’t need that help.

Monoculture lawn

Oh and the bird feeders… I told him they all come in at night and all of them have trays or hoops under them so nothing falls on the ground unlike everyone else who has a bird feeder here on the pond….

hoop for bird feeder

 

My daughter called last night because she knows how upset I have been.. I said that sometimes I am so tired that I wish I was more of a conformist. Her reply was, ” Mom you have always done what you feel is the right thing from your heart and while that is not always the easiest path, it is the right path. Be true to yourself you always taught me…”