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Archives for April 20, 2013

WUEST COLUMN: We still need you, Gaylord

Thank you, Gaylord Nelson, for giving us Earth Day.

Although Earth Day is always April 22, it is celebrated at various times around the end of April. This year’s celebration here in Sauk County will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It is free family fun with music, food, exhibits, an exhibit of art created from recycled objects, and a kids’ creation corner.

There also will be workshops on local geology, prairies for yards, landscaping ideas and the importance of bees. Even if it is raining, it will be a day of ideas for spring and summer projects. Tours of the Baraboo Culver’s will be offered before and after the Earth Day fair, at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. This Culver’s is a LEED-certified building, one of the most energy-efficient new buildings in Wisconsin.

Clearly, we need to spend more time relating to the Earth than just one day a year, but it is a start. When I look at all the garbage in the ditch along our high school in Reedsburg, I think they should have Earth Day once a week and have the students clean up the mess they have created. One important factor in Earth Day is responsibility.

We are all responsible for the mess we and the Earth are in. We already have altered the climate irrevocably, and we continue to compromise our future further. If we approve that filthy Keystone pipeline full of oil from the tar sands in Canada, we may well be sealing the coffin on civilization. Refining and burning that dirty oil will double the damage we already have done and heat the Earth to the point where vast areas will be uninhabitable.

“It got so hot in Australia in January that the weather service had to add two new colors to its charts. A few weeks later, at the other end of the planet, new data from the CryoSat-2 satellite showed 80 percent of Arctic sea ice has disappeared. We’re not breaking records anymore; we’re breaking the planet. In 50 years, no one will care about the fiscal cliff or the Euro crisis. They’ll just ask, ‘So the Arctic melted, and then what did you do?’ ”

This quotation comes from climate expert Bill McKibben in his article “The Fossil Fuel Resistance” in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. I first read McKibben’s landmark essay, “The End of Nature” in the New Yorker magazine more than 20 years ago. Then he was the first canary in the mine, sounding the alarm about dramatic global climate change and its dangers. Now he is respected as the leader in the effort to slow climate change by modifying human behavior.

When Gaylord Nelson first brought us Earth Day 43 years ago, awareness of the toxic consequences of our industrial era blossomed around the country. Out of Earth Day came the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, both of which have since been weakened by industry lobbies. Green groups like the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, The Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy gained momentum until the backlash from the conservative right-wing began. For the last 25 years, it has been almost impossible to get any significant legislation to deal with carbon and mercury emissions.

There are encouraging signs that the tide is again turning and our resolve to change our ways of living and polluting is growing once again. More and more people around the world are recognizing the dramatic climate changes of recent years, and now we are coming once again face to face with the entrenched corporate establishment that profits from fossil fuels and suffers from regulation.

Please, Gaylord, send us some charismatic environmental leaders who can win the day for us all, and for the future health of the Earth. And give us all the energy to stand with them against the climate change deniers and the corporations that care only for their own interests. How about Earth Year?

Mimi Wuest writes a weekly column for the Times-Press.

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Annual picnic is off this year as the Altadena Community Garden revitalizes …

by Timothy Rutt


Garden project

The good news: the Altadena Community Garden is planning to revitalize the landscaping outside of the garden.


The bad news:  the work means there’ll be no picnic this year.

According to Silvera Grant, director of the garden at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Palm Street,  the  shrubs in the area outside of the garden fence were getting old, and full of litter and invasive plants.  Garden members, along with students from Cal Poly Pomona, drew up a Corner Revitalization Project for garden.

So far, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation “has already cleared, mulched and installed a new state of the art solar timer irrigation system” in the landscaped area outside of the garden’s fence.  

“They will also provide long term maintenance of the area once the project is completed. The only parts missing now are the plants and planting supplies to cover the 3,800 square feet, estimated to cost $14,000,” Grand said in a press release.  To raise that money, the garden has mounted a capital campaign, thru direct mail requests and presentations to community groups.

The landscape outside the fence will be divided into three formal planting areas: California native plants, cactus and succulents, and drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants. “They will serve as educational tools for the community, providing landscaping ideas for those wishing to create water-conserving landscapes at home. In addition, the plants will be a draw for beneficial insects and pollinators, aiding the vegetable growers inside the ACG,” Grant said in the release.

Altadena Heritage, the Altadena Kiwanis Club, and a private donor have already backed the project, according to Grant.

Grant told Altadenablog that the work meant that the annual picnic would have to be cancelled this year.

The garden — which holds a well-attended annual picnic and resource fair —  was formed in 1973 and located at the site of the former Mt. Lowe Military Academy.  When the county decided to build an equestrian ring at what is now Loma Alta Park, the garden was moved to its present location.  It has 64 plots and hosts a children’s gardening program and Victory Garden extension classes.  

The garden is a 501(c)3 corporation, and donations are tax-deductible.

To donate, checks should be made payable to Altadena Community Garden, and sent to P.O.Box 6212 – Altadena, CA 91003-621

For more information,call: 626-470-7482 or go to:

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Landscaping shapes home value, seasonal enjoyment – In

    A couple weeks ago I discussed horticulture’s behavioral benefits. If that didn’t inspire you to grab a trowel and plant something, there is another benefit: Money.

    A well-landscaped yard is the 401K of the plant world. Landscaping adds between 7 percent and 20 percent to the resale value of your home. Clemson University and Michigan State University research indicate an average 11 percent increase.

    An attractive lawn and plantings are doubly important in the eyes of real estate agents. Landscaping not only adds substantially to the dollar value of the property, but makes prospective buyers feel the house itself has been well-maintained. A well-planted yard significantly increases the speed at which a home is sold.

    In an interesting study similar homes were shown to realtors and home owners. One set of homes contained generous landscaping, while the others had minimal plantings. Both realtors and homeowners valued the well-landscaped homes 30 percent higher.

    The key phrase is “well-landscaped.”

    • First, you need a plan. Visualize your yard’s desired landscape. For ideas, consult landscape books and websites containing inspirational photos.

    When I was with North Dakota State University Extension Horticulture, I gathered landscape ideas by driving the streets of North Dakota towns. Look around your neighborhoods for inspiration.

    You will rarely find a landscape to copy exactly. Rather, borrow a front yard idea from one source, rear patio from another and border plantings elsewhere. Or seek the service of a landscape professional.

    With a good landscape, the house appears naturally in a setting of greenery. Your home should be a restful part of your property’s tree and shrub plantings, almost as though the landscape existed first, and the house was located within.

    • Develop a long-range master plan.

    Include any existing landscaping. Budgets often do not allow completion of a grand plan in one season. Accomplish portions as you are able over time.

    • Have patience.

    Home makeover programs give the impression that a mature landscape can be created in 72 hours. In reality, perennial flowers require two to three years; shrubs need three to five years, and shade trees need a decade for established appearances. Enjoy watching the development.

    • Create a focal point.

    When viewing your home, the eye should be led invitingly to the front door.

    This focal point can be accomplished using curving or linear groups of plants visually leading to the front. Use colorful or unique specimen plants by the front entry. Brightly colored annual flowers in various pot heights grouped together will invite the eye.

    • Include lines.

    Broad, sweeping curves are more natural and dynamic than straight lines. This includes shrub plantings around the house foundation and curving shrub and flower borders along the property edges.

    • Use edging.

    Establish a crisp, clean-cut edge between the lawn and planting areas, regardless of edging material used.

    • Maintain lawns, but don’t make them the focal point.

    The lawn is not the main feature. Rather it is a well-maintained canvas upon which the rest of the landscape is placed.

    • Include trees wisely.

    Install trees early in your master plan. They require more time to achieve size.

    Locate trees to frame the view of your home, and for background beauty. Avoid low-headed trees squarely in front of your home which obscure the view.

    • Create a large enough width.

    Design planting areas that are large enough. Planting beds should be six to eight feet in width from the foundation for a single story home.

    This draws the landscape out from the home naturally. Narrow widths are a common mistake, which gives plantings a cramped feel.

    • This about plant size. Use the mature height and width of plant material to establish spacing and distances. Plants look so cute when they are tiny, often resulting in overcrowding as the plants mature.

    • Plant in odd numbers.

    Choose plants in multiples of three, five, or seven for a natural appearance. Few homes are symmetrical, and odd numbers suit the landscape.

    • Mind the foundation.

    The house foundation doesn’t need to be continuously concealed with shrubbery. Rather plant shrubs in groupings.

    • Combine a variety of textures, colors and heights.

    Plant evergreens with deciduous shrubs. Remember to landscape for winter contrast.

    • Use vines on fences soften hard lines.

    Allow areas for annual and perennial flowers among shrub groupings.

    • Surprises located within the landscape will create fun.

    Use water features, hidden statuary, and secret garden hideaways.

    • Add to existing landscapes.

    To massage existing plantings into your master plan, remember to build a focal point. Re-establish a crisp edge. Widen shrub beds if they are too narrow. Prune to rejuvenate overgrown deciduous shrubs. Remove and replace straggly evergreens that are beyond pruning.

    We can each do our part in landscape beautification. Your home value will increase, and our cities will look great. We will truly be “Growing Together.”

    This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

    Don Kinzler writes a weekly yard and gardening column in SheSays. Readers can reach him at

    don kinzler, columns, shesays

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    Gardens highlight 1.3-acre property in River Oaks

    Meticulous landscaping and beautiful gardens surround this English-style home on 1.3 acres in River Oaks.

    Listing agent Pene Moore with Martha Turner Properties described the property as a park-like setting and beautifully landscaped, with magnificent trees.

    A circular drive with an enclosed courtyard highlight the entrance of the home that features an entry with a staircase, hardwood flooring and a cove ceiling.

    Spacious formals include a living room with views of the grounds, a fireplace, hardwood flooring and an exposed-beam ceiling; and a dining room that Moore defined as stately, with a Tiffany chandelier, wainscot, hardwood flooring and a bay window.

    A music room overlooks the front and back gardens, and the den has a 13-foot exposed-beam ceiling, stone fireplace, a wet bar and flagstone flooring.

    Built-ins, hardwood floors and a 10-foot beamed ceiling highlight the library.

    Database: Search for your neighborhood

    The kitchen features an island, beamed ceiling, breakfast bar, buffet, storage and access to the butler’s pantry, and the breakfast room has an exposed-beamed ceiling, hardwood floors and French doors leading to a courtyard.

    Dual baths enhance the elegant master suite, and an upstairs game room is surrounded by windows and offers panoramic views of the backyard and garden.

    Other highlights include an elevator, a fifth bedroom with views of the back garden, and three fireplaces.

    Outside, the grounds include a patio with a sitting area, a brick fountain with a decorative surround and a two-car garage carport.

    With more than 5,800 square feet, this home at 6 West Lane is priced at $5,995,000. For more information, contact Moore at

    Prime Property

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    Plans to build ocean-friendly garden move forward in HB

    In an effort to entice residents to improve the local environment by creating greener gardens, Hermosa Beach has teamed up with the Surfrider Foundation and West Basin Municipal Water District to build the city’s first ocean-friendly demonstration garden.

    The concept for the garden originated four years ago, but a lack of funding for a separate project that would be surrounded by the special landscaping had kept the project from moving forward. Then at last month’s Hermosa Beach City Council meeting, Paul Herzog, the Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens Coordinator, approached the council to explain the need to move quickly with the project. He said if the garden wasn’t completed by the end of this year, then the group would lose $24,000 in grant money.

    Surfrider and West Basin joined the push to build these gardens throughout the region when grant money was made available through the state in 2009 from Proposition 50, Herzog said. Hermosa Beach immediately showed interest in placing one near its civic center and the original plans called for it to be built around a surf statue at Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. But since construction has been halted until enough money is raised to finish the statue, the council voted on an alternate site for the garden near the entrance of the Community Center.

    The council was elated to finally get the project moving forward to show locals how to conserve water, create drought-tolerant landscaping and prevent urban water from polluting the ocean.

    “It’s a great addition to our community,” said City Councilman Jeff Duclos. “It will be that inspiration, that spark, that leads people to take action that will save them money through water conservation while enhancing environmental protection. The location is ideal for a demonstration project given the daily volume of foot traffic. It will be impossible to miss and it will beautify the area.”

    Duclos said he would love to see a demonstration project like this garden throughout the city covering a variety of environmental practices that residents can implement.

    “It’s a readily available way for city government to lead by example and put into action its claim as the ‘green idea city,’” Duclos said.

    This will be the sixth out of 11 gardens that are being placed in local cities. Duclos said Surfrider and West Basin have a proven program and know how to educate and engage communities. He also said the city is fortunate it was able to finally act on this project and not lose that grant money.

    “It would have been a shame if we had let this opportunity pass us by,” Duclos said.

    The city is currently setting up times to conduct site measurements and soil samples before the garden can be designed in a way that will capture the attention of passers-by, inspire people and visually educate residents on how to build their own.

    Public Works Director Frank Senteno said that Hermosa Beach is the perfect city to have an ocean-friendly garden because of its award-winning environmental projects such as The Strand Infiltration Trench and Pier Avenue Storm Drain along with other eco-friendly moves such as the ban of polystyrene. He said having more gardens like this throughout the city will certainly help the city reach its goals of keeping pollutants from reaching the ocean, reusing water and creating landscaping that restores local species’ natural habitat.

    “It’s consistent with the city’s environmental goals and policies,” Senteno said.

    He said the garden will show locals how to use rainwater runoff and let it infiltrate the soil. It will also teach residents which drought-tolerant plants should be part of their garden and which are native to California. Herzog said there will also be hands-on workshops for residents and training days for city staff, such as maintenance crews, so they can understand how to care for similar plants that are growing throughout the city.

    “This will be a learning garden,” Herzog said. “This is yet another resource to teach people.”

    Alexis Tate, the chief public information officer for West Basin, said, “we’ve got a good system in place,” and she expects to see a tremendous amount of interest from locals once the garden is constructed in Hermosa Beach.

    “The beach cities are the core of our service area (and) Hermosa Beach is one of the most responsible and green cities. Its population really cares a lot about the environment and ocean,” Tate said.

    Leighanne Kirk, the water resources planner at West Basin, said they expect the garden to be completed by late summer. In fact, when the garden is being built, they’ll be inviting the public to help construct the garden so people can learn how to install the irrigation and properly plant. Herzog said that is very beneficial to homeowners because some folks can be intimidated by creating an ocean-friendly garden and simply need to be shown those simple steps to get started. Duclos believes that overall it will inspire Hermosans to become even greener and improve the city’s eco-friendly image.

    “The world we live in today dictates that we have to address landscaping with a goal of reducing water use and demand,” Duclos said. “This project shows that we can easily do this by retaining and reusing runoff before it becomes a pollutant and a problem and by planting wisely … this project will show that you can create a beautiful garden that also acts to decrease the volume and velocity of storm water that goes down the drain and results in a litany of unwanted consequences.”

    Article source:

    Western Pennsylvania Garden & Landscape Symposium lets gardeners grow … – Tribune

    Western PA Garden Landscape Symposium

    When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 20

    Admission: $115, includes lectures, continental breakfast and lunch. Early-morning workshop, “Growing Alpines and Miniature Plants,� 8-9 a.m., offered for additional $12 (advance registration required)

    Where: Hillman Center for Performing Arts, Shady Side Senior School, Fox Chapel

    Details: 412-441-4442, ext. 3925, or

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    By Candy Williams

    Published: Friday, April 19, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

    Updated 16 hours ago

    Mother Nature teased Western Pennsylvania with some warm and sunny weather earlier this week that sent some garden enthusiasts digging for their trowels and pruning shears.

    Even though it’s still a little early to declare war on weeds, garden consultant Kerry Mendez says it’s a good time to jump-start the growing season with a low-range (5-5-5 or 4-5-4 mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) granular fertilizer.

    “You can give a real boost to your perennials and shrubs before the spring rains,� says Mendez, who will be one of the speakers April 20 at the Western Pennsylvania Garden Landscape Symposium at Shady Side Senior School in Fox Chapel.

    The daylong symposium, sponsored by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Penn State Extension and Shadyside Academy, is designed for gardeners of all skill levels. It features lectures by national horticultural experts and a Garden Marketplace to shop for a variety of plants and garden accessories.

    Mendez, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., operates a gardening business offering low-maintenance gardening and landscaping classes, consultations, designs and garden lectures. She is the director of marketing for a local garden center and has written two books, “The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top Ten Listsâ€� (2010), and “Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardensâ€� (2011).

    At the landscaping symposium, she will give two presentations, “Branch Out With Flowering Shrubs,â€� about how to add drama and color to gardens with low-maintenance flowering shrubs, and “The Perennial Plant Collector’s Corner,â€� in which she will preview new and unusual varieties of perennials.

    A few examples of outstanding varieties include two hardy geraniums, “Rozanne,� with violet-blue flowers that bloom from June until fall, and “Azure Rush,� a long-blooming hybrid resulting from the “Rozanne� variety with large, soft blue flowers.

    Mendez says some of the new perennials she will discuss are among the easiest plants to grow for those new to gardening. “They’re a deer-resistant, no-fuss choice that is perfect for beginners,â€� she says.

    Another speaker at the symposium will be Thomas Rainer, a registered landscape architect, teacher and writer from Arlington, Va. Among the most high-profile landscapes he has designed were for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and New York Botanical Garden.

    Rainer advocates creating gardens that incorporate “artful interpretations of native plant communities.� His presentation will offer advice on designing landscapes that feature bold and modern patterns enhanced by native plants.

    “Much of the talk revolves around the aesthetics of sustainability. Native and sustainable gardening too often ignores design and beauty. I propose new techniques for making green gardens more beautiful,� Rainer says.

    “Designing with native plants can be a powerful way of connecting us with our memory of nature. This emotional connection is especially important in an age where wild nature continues to diminish. I show how to abstract and stylize native plant communities to fit human landscapes.�

    Rainer is working on a master plan for a project with his planting and design firm, Rhodeside Harwell, that will involve planting 620,000 native trees from Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia to the Gettysburg Battlefield, one in honor of each soldier who died in the Civil War. The “Journey Through Hallowed Ground Living Legacy Projectâ€� is being done in conjunction with the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War with a 2015 target completion date.

    Other program speakers will include:

    • Whitney Cranshaw, a Colorado State University professor, who specializes in pests and problems affecting Rocky Mountain plants. His books include “Garden Insects of North America,� “Pests of the West� and an upcoming work, “Bugs Rule!�

    • R. William Thomas, executive director of Chanticleer near Philadelphia, who leads the development of the young garden using an environmentally sensitive and multicentury approach. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ornamental horticulture from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    • Joseph Tychonievich, nursery manager for Arrowhead Alpines in Fowlerville, Mich., and author of “Creating New Heirlooms: A Gardener’s Guide to Breeding Plants.â€� He has a degree in horticulture from Ohio State University.

    In addition to the presentations, the symposium will feature 10-Minute Tips sessions with local gardening experts. The Garden Marketplace at the Shady Side Ice Skating Rink is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring annuals, perennials, shrubs, seeds and more.

    Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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    Top advice and good tips from Chelsea Gardeners

    Shelves will be bursting with colour and extrastaff will be on hand to cope with the increase in garden business.The UK horticulture industry is worth over GBP3 billion pounds each year and retailers have learned to cope with demand.

    But with so much choice, how dog gardeners decide what plants to buy and where to put the min their gardens? And how do they keep plants flourishing throughout the season, avoiding return trips to replace lost plants? The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s leading gardening charity,suggests early planning and careful selection to ensure plants thrive throughout the summer.

    Plan in advance for best results

    For gardeners with internet access,the online RHS Plant Selector (, provides an invaluable tool for planning before you buy and ensuring the plants you buy will be happy in your garden. The service is asearchable guide to choosing plants, designed to help all gardeners to pick plants for their particular requirements.

    The free service features a carefully selected assortment of 2,000 plants; each entry includes an image and description of the plant, information about cultivation, pests and diseases and whether the plant has the RHS AGM.

    Each entry links to the RHS Plant Finder to locate suppliers across the UK.

    Choose plants you know will perform well

    The next consideration is the plants themselves.You may have a choice of 10 suitable shrubs for aparticular spot in the garden, all with the same foliage and flowercolour. How do you decide which to purchase? The RHS Award of GardenMerit(AGM) scheme helps all gardeners make informed choices about plants.The award is a measure of excellence, usually given after a supervised trial period at an RHS garden.

    RHS AGM plants demonstrate excellent performance in the garden, they are commercially available, and they do not require any specialist growing conditions.These characteristics make them a perfect choice for gardeners who want instant success in the garden. Look out for the trophy symbol, which represents the RHS AGM, used extensively on plant labels to help you identify RHS AGM plants at a glance.

    Use RHS experience to select plants to wow the neighbours There are many plants that do not currently hold the RHS AGM but are still great garden plants. As part of its Bicentenary celebrations, the RHS has nominated 200 garden plants for 200 years of great gardening. Hundreds of top plants people, professional and amateur, who make up the renowned RHS Plant Committees have contributed their favourite plants to the list, which covers a large range of garden plants currently available to gardeners.

    Among the 200 favourites is Astrantia major,the floral emblem of the Chelsea Flower Show 2004 and a top seller in nurseries and garden centres throughout 2003. Other favourites include lady’s mantle (Alchemillamollis AGM*), iron cross begonia (Begoniamasoniana AGM), common snowdrop(Galanthus nivalis AGM) and the many-flowered jasmine (JasminumpolyanthumAGM).

    The RHSmanages four gardens and has over 100 partner gardens in the UK, which are open free of charge to RHS members and are recommended by the RHS as gardens of particularmerit.Why not visit a garden to gather ideas for your own patch?

    Many gardens also hold seasonal events and activities to interest gardeners of all levels of expertise,e.g. RHS GardenWisley in Surrey has organised Easter trails for children. Formoreinformation visit

    There is plenty to do in the garden this month and a quick look at the calendar of April garden jobs on the RHS website ( tells you priorities for each section of the garden. Tony Dickerson, Horticultural Advisor at the RHS, said, “Gardeners should take particular carewith containerised plants this month to ensure a good display throughout the summer. Evergreen pot-bound plants from last season should be re-potted in early April with fresh compost and new plants purchased for pots should be well-watered until established. It may be worth investing in adrip-feed irrigation system for your pots for the summer months. This can keep them regularly watered without waste.”

    Article source:

    Gardening Tips: Gardening in the Southwest

    Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 11:38 am

    Gardening Tips: Gardening in the Southwest

    By Matthew Stevens

    RR Daily Herald


    Every time I travel, I like to take note of the native plant life and landscaping and compare it to what I am used to at home.

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    Jennifer Davit celebrates Earth Day by sharing her gardening tips – Chicago Sun


    April 19, 2013 4:08PM

    Jennifer Davit

    Updated: April 19, 2013 4:08PM

    Chicago’s front yard: How could someone’s “office” get any better than this? As director of the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, sometimes I forget I’m just steps off Michigan Avenue, in this serene respite of plants, flowers and wildlife.

    As the weather warms and the days are longer, the garden is filling fast with flowers and people — tourists from all over the world, Chicagoans who come here on their lunch break, young campers from the Chicago Park District and our own committed group of volunteers, who help with hands-on gardening and lead public garden tours.

    Visitors often ask us how they can replicate elements of the Lurie Garden in their own home gardens. As we transition to planting season and think about how to incorporate the philosophies of Earth Day throughout the year, we love sharing that advice — it means the continual growth of beautiful, sustainable gardens.

    • Replace annuals with perennials. We grow many perennials that are native to prairies and require little water and no fertilizer.

    • Don’t overfertilize. Perennials in our garden are chosen for their durability and successful growth over time. They typically don’t need supplemental nutrients through conventional fertilizers — some will actually perform poorer if they are fertilized, especially with liquid formulations. Only fertilize if the plant is showing signs of nutrient deficiencies.

    • Think beyond color: When choosing perennial plants and grasses, consider textures, movement, sound and scents. For example, the combinations of prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) and Eastern bee balm (Monarda bradburiana) provide excellent textural diversity throughout the year.

    • Attract wildlife. Choose plants, such as calamint, that provide nectar and pollen to attract and feed wildlife. We don’t use any chemicals in our garden, making it the perfect place for animals to enjoy a meal or seek some shelter.

    • Say no to insecticides. If you learn to tolerate a little plant damage, you will help welcome a healthy insect population to your garden. You’ll be amazed at the number of dragonflies that come to eat your mosquitoes, the number of bees that will collect pollen and nectar from your plants, and the variety of butterflies that will make your garden their home.

    • Don’t forget winter: Instead of cutting back perennials in fall, leave them up through winter and cut them back in late winter, before early spring bulbs start to grow. This will enable you to enjoy your garden despite the cold and provide a home for wildlife year-round.

    If you have other gardening questions, feel free to stop by and see us or sign up at for one of our many free lectures and workshops, offered year-round. Happy Earth Day, and happy gardening season to all!

    Article source:

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