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Archives for November 15, 2017

TWRA Regional Office Receives Pollinator Garden Grant

The TWRA Region 3 office has received a grant from the national Bayer Feed a Bee program to install a pollinator garden at its Crossville office. This national program has allotted $500,000 in grants to establish foraging plots for pollinators in all 50 states by the end of 2018. The Feed a Bee program has funded a total of 71 projects through the initiative to increase forage for bees and other pollinators across the country since its inception.

As one of the 13 recipients of grants awarded during the second selection cycle of this two-year initiative, TWRA has received $5,000 to fund its planting project.

The Region 3 office will install a pollinator garden and extend a warm season grass and forb area. Not only will the garden beautify the regional office, it will provide an example of how native plants can be utilized to improve habitat for individual home and landowners.  Míme Barnes, TWRA Information and Education Coordinator said, “A healthy ecosystem creates healthy wildlife. We’ve come far enough to understand that natural areas matter and that our yards collectively have an impact on wildlife. A small garden filled with native flowers in someone’s front yard means something.”

Bees have been documented as the most important group of pollinators in the United States. Loss of habitat and excessive use of pesticides has been recognized as the greatest contributor to pollinator loss. Initiatives to help pollinators across Tennessee have been in place for years through many state and federal programs. “We’re dedicated to the TWRA mission to preserve, conserve, manage and protect fish and wildlife. This garden is a terrific example of much greater things taking place across the state. We encourage everyone to consider what they can do for pollinators and wildlife on their own property,” said Ms. Barnes.

Landscape Solutions of Crossville will be installing the garden and donating some materials. Scott Clymer and Joe Sooter, co-owners, are well known in the area for their landscape design and garden center. Clymer and Sooter have focused on sustainable measures in their design since the start of their business in 2004.

Mr. Clymer said, “It’s great to bring beauty to a yard and provide for wildlife. Pollinator gardens are an easy way to attract birds and butterflies. Landscape Solutions is dedicated to the Crossville community and happy to be a part of TWRA’s project.”

 

For more information on the Feed a Bee grant or the TWRA regional office, visit tnwildlife.org.

Article source: http://www.chattanoogan.com/2017/11/14/358512/TWRA-Regional-Office-Receives.aspx

Arboretum lights up for ‘Moonlight’ event

— For two weekends every year the JC Raulston Arboretum, tucked away near N.C. State’s campus, stays open into the evening to showcase the garden at night, with light displays taking over the garden.

For Moonlight in the Garden, the arboretum partners with Southern Lights of Raleigh to bring visitors a custom designed light display, complete with walkway lined lanterns and color changing light shows.

Moonlight in the Garden

The arboretum, which opened in 1975, covers more than 10 acres. The gardens contain a diverse collection of plants, all of which have been adapted for landscape use. Most of the garden follow a formal design or theme and some sections were designed and built by students taking landscape horticulture classes. The arboretum is maintained by volunteers and relies on public support and donations.

Moonlight in the Garden

The Moonlight in the Garden event is one of the ways the arboretum raise funds to keep admission free for the rest of the year.

In addition to the displays, the event also includes food trucks, local apple cider, live music and fire pits.

Moonlight in the Garden wraps up this weekend. It runs Thursday through Saturday. Admission is $10 for Arboretum members, $20 for non-members and $5 for children ages 12 years and younger.


Lindsay A. Underwood covers the Triangle on her blog, Welcome to Raleighwood.

Article source: http://www.wral.com/arboretum-lights-up-for-moonlight-event/17114148/

IN THE GARDEN: Saving seeds from the garden

Our gardens produce thousands of seeds each season. You can save money and nurture flowers for the future by collecting and saving seeds. If we didn’t save seeds, we wouldn’t have the many wonderful heirloom varieties we enjoy today.

You can save seeds from all kinds of plants. Annual flowers are easy for beginners since they produce a lot of seeds. Vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers are good candidates for edible plants.

Start by harvesting from your best plants. Choose disease-free plants with qualities you like; for example, the best flavored vegetable or the most beautiful flower.

Always harvest mature seed. Learning when seeds are ripe enough to collect is a lot like picking tomatoes: experience will teach you.

When flowers begin to fade, keep an eye on the forming seeds. Mature seeds usually are brown or dark in color. Plants with pods such as beans are mature when the pods are brown and dry. Seeds also will require a drying process, which can take a week or more, in a protected area that has good air circulation. Keep your saved seeds in an envelope or lidded jars, marked with the variety name and the date. Store in a cool, dry place until planting time.

There are two ways to collecting seed: the dry method (used for most flowering plants) and the wet method (for fleshy type fruits such as tomatoes or melons). To learn more, visit our website at www.cceoneida.com.

Many local resources also are available to help you. Consider being a part of a seed exchange where you can share seeds with others. Many libraries, such as the Kirkland Town Library, now offer seed exchanges, offering heirloom, locally saved seed. Preserve your local garden heritage through seed saving.

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at www.cceoneida.com.

Article source: http://www.timestelegram.com/entertainmentlife/20171114/in-garden-saving-seeds-from-garden

IN THE GARDEN: Saving seeds from the garden

Our gardens produce thousands of seeds each season. You can save money and nurture flowers for the future by collecting and saving seeds. If we didn’t save seeds, we wouldn’t have the many wonderful heirloom varieties we enjoy today.

You can save seeds from all kinds of plants. Annual flowers are easy for beginners since they produce a lot of seeds. Vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers are good candidates for edible plants.

Start by harvesting from your best plants. Choose disease-free plants with qualities you like; for example, the best flavored vegetable or the most beautiful flower.

Always harvest mature seed. Learning when seeds are ripe enough to collect is a lot like picking tomatoes: experience will teach you.

When flowers begin to fade, keep an eye on the forming seeds. Mature seeds usually are brown or dark in color. Plants with pods such as beans are mature when the pods are brown and dry. Seeds also will require a drying process, which can take a week or more, in a protected area that has good air circulation. Keep your saved seeds in an envelope or lidded jars, marked with the variety name and the date. Store in a cool, dry place until planting time.

There are two ways to collecting seed: the dry method (used for most flowering plants) and the wet method (for fleshy type fruits such as tomatoes or melons). To learn more, visit our website at www.cceoneida.com.

Many local resources also are available to help you. Consider being a part of a seed exchange where you can share seeds with others. Many libraries, such as the Kirkland Town Library, now offer seed exchanges, offering heirloom, locally saved seed. Preserve your local garden heritage through seed saving.

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at www.cceoneida.com.

Article source: http://www.timestelegram.com/entertainmentlife/20171114/in-garden-saving-seeds-from-garden

Put out the winter welcome mat for birds

I recently returned home from a week away to find the birds had emptied their feeders in my absence. Once the feeders were cleaned and restocked, however, I was amazed at how quickly they discovered the new supply of food and then invited all of their friends over for a party. At least, that’s how I like to imagine it—the tiny chickadees and finches display such spunk and personality it’s easy to believe they’re in cahoots with one another.

In summer, when a wide variety of food is plentiful, birds use most of their energy foraging, nesting, and raising their young. As the weather turns cold, however, insects disappear and other foods diminish, so birds are in constant search of food just to stay warm. For the birds’ benefit, winter feeding is most helpful when it provides concentrated forms of fats and oils that are easily converted to energy.      

In my garden, I have four feeders filled with various rich foods to attract the greatest number of species, including safflower seed for cardinals, black oil sunflower seed for wrens and sparrows, and thistle seed for finches. The feeder that tempts the most interesting birds, however, is the suet feeder. I particularly like to watch the brightly colored woodpeckers and sleek nuthatches that seek out this high-calorie food.

When time allows, I prefer to my own suet. The recipe is simple: I soften one cup lard and one cup of crunchy peanut butter in the microwave (heat at half power for 30 seconds, then stir and heat again as needed), and then add one cup whole wheat flour, and two cups each of uncooked quick oats, cornmeal, and raisins.  (Recipe makes 4 suet cakes.)

Nuts can also play a big part in keeping birds healthy in winter, as they contain even more oil than seeds. When the weather is especially bitter, I supply peanuts as a treat and sometimes splurge on pecans or walnuts too. 

Foods grown in the garden will also be appreciated, as long as they last. Berries are the greatest enticement. Cedar, holly, dogwood, barberry, cotoneaster, beautyberry, and several of the viburnums, such as cranberry (V. trilobum) and nannyberry (V. prunifolium) are all excellent food choices.

Birds can be attracted by the dried seed heads of some flowers, such as sunflowers and coneflowers, and they’ll devour fruits with relish. Crabapples straight from the tree are favorites, but providing fresh fruit, such as orange halves or grapes, and dried fruits, like raisins and cherries, will help birds maintain a varied diet in winter.   

Other key features for a bird-friendly garden during the cold season are clean water and plenty of cover. Some birds will use roost boxes to stay warm in winter, especially those that typically nest in tree cavities or make themselves at home in a birdhouse, such as bluebirds. If you want to increase the number of birds roosting in your garden, remember these tips…

Leave Birdhouses Au Naturel

Brightly painted birdhouses are cute, but birds prefer a home that blends into the landscape rather than attracts notice.  If you choose to paint, however, take location into careful consideration, as dark-painted houses may become too warm when heated by the sun.

 

No Perches Please

Natural nesting sites don’t offer perches; instead, nearby branches serve as landing pads.  The same should be true of man-made houses, because perches offer a balancing spot for predators that can reach inside the box.

 

Purchase the Right House for Native Birds

Buy or build houses that are specific for the birds that you see in the garden.  A bluebird requires a box that is 6 to 8-inches tall with a 4-inch square floor and an entrance hole that is 1-1/2 inch diameter.  A larger bird would need a bigger box.

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/life/style/2017/11/14/put-out-winter-welcome-mat-birds/864260001/

Put out the winter welcome mat for birds

I recently returned home from a week away to find the birds had emptied their feeders in my absence. Once the feeders were cleaned and restocked, however, I was amazed at how quickly they discovered the new supply of food and then invited all of their friends over for a party. At least, that’s how I like to imagine it—the tiny chickadees and finches display such spunk and personality it’s easy to believe they’re in cahoots with one another.

In summer, when a wide variety of food is plentiful, birds use most of their energy foraging, nesting, and raising their young. As the weather turns cold, however, insects disappear and other foods diminish, so birds are in constant search of food just to stay warm. For the birds’ benefit, winter feeding is most helpful when it provides concentrated forms of fats and oils that are easily converted to energy.      

In my garden, I have four feeders filled with various rich foods to attract the greatest number of species, including safflower seed for cardinals, black oil sunflower seed for wrens and sparrows, and thistle seed for finches. The feeder that tempts the most interesting birds, however, is the suet feeder. I particularly like to watch the brightly colored woodpeckers and sleek nuthatches that seek out this high-calorie food.

When time allows, I prefer to my own suet. The recipe is simple: I soften one cup lard and one cup of crunchy peanut butter in the microwave (heat at half power for 30 seconds, then stir and heat again as needed), and then add one cup whole wheat flour, and two cups each of uncooked quick oats, cornmeal, and raisins.  (Recipe makes 4 suet cakes.)

Nuts can also play a big part in keeping birds healthy in winter, as they contain even more oil than seeds. When the weather is especially bitter, I supply peanuts as a treat and sometimes splurge on pecans or walnuts too. 

Foods grown in the garden will also be appreciated, as long as they last. Berries are the greatest enticement. Cedar, holly, dogwood, barberry, cotoneaster, beautyberry, and several of the viburnums, such as cranberry (V. trilobum) and nannyberry (V. prunifolium) are all excellent food choices.

Birds can be attracted by the dried seed heads of some flowers, such as sunflowers and coneflowers, and they’ll devour fruits with relish. Crabapples straight from the tree are favorites, but providing fresh fruit, such as orange halves or grapes, and dried fruits, like raisins and cherries, will help birds maintain a varied diet in winter.   

Other key features for a bird-friendly garden during the cold season are clean water and plenty of cover. Some birds will use roost boxes to stay warm in winter, especially those that typically nest in tree cavities or make themselves at home in a birdhouse, such as bluebirds. If you want to increase the number of birds roosting in your garden, remember these tips…

Leave Birdhouses Au Naturel

Brightly painted birdhouses are cute, but birds prefer a home that blends into the landscape rather than attracts notice.  If you choose to paint, however, take location into careful consideration, as dark-painted houses may become too warm when heated by the sun.

 

No Perches Please

Natural nesting sites don’t offer perches; instead, nearby branches serve as landing pads.  The same should be true of man-made houses, because perches offer a balancing spot for predators that can reach inside the box.

 

Purchase the Right House for Native Birds

Buy or build houses that are specific for the birds that you see in the garden.  A bluebird requires a box that is 6 to 8-inches tall with a 4-inch square floor and an entrance hole that is 1-1/2 inch diameter.  A larger bird would need a bigger box.

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/life/style/2017/11/14/put-out-winter-welcome-mat-birds/864260001/