Taking Care of the Little Things
In his books Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape, Tallamy argues that plant and animal species essential to life are disappearing by the moment, and many that remain are so few in number, they are “...too rare to perform their role in their ecosystem … [and are] considered functionally extinct.”
Lucky for us, Dr. Tallamy will give a talk on behalf of Bedrock Gardens on October 1 at the University of New Hampshire, called “Making Insects: a Guide to Restoring the Little Things that Run the World.” His engaging and optimistic message is that with just a little effort and the smallest of gardens, every nature lover can provide nurturing refuge and habitat, simply by growing native species of trees, shrubs, and plants. Well beyond the “butterfly gardens” of the past (which in their original design provided only nectar for mature butterflies), Tallamy and others advocate “nativescapes,” which take all pollinators (and all stages in their lifecycles) in mind.
Some of Bedrock's Natives:
Acer rubrum - Red maple
Acer saccharum - Sugar maple
Acer spicatum - Mountain maple
Pinus banksiana - Jack pine
Pinus strobus - White pine
Ilex verticillata - Winterberry
Myrica pensylvanica - Northern bayberry
Vaccinium corymbosum - Highbush blueberry
Viburnum acerifolium - Mapleleaf viburnum
Viburnum lentago - Nannyberry
Arisaema triphyllum - Jack-in-the-pulpit
Aster novae-angliae - New England aster
Caulophyllum thalictroides - Blue cohosh
Erythronium americanum - Yellow trout lily or
Eutrochium purpureum - Joe Pye Weed
Iris versicolor - Northern blue flag
Sanguinaria canadensis - Bloodroot
Tiarella cordifolia - Foam flower
Uvularia sessilifolia - Wild oats
“If you are not seeing life in a garden, something is not right.” ~Jill Nooney
Below are several more sources for you to explore during Spring’s thaw and beyond. All will help you implement even minor changes to your garden this year. In April, I will address the variety of pollinators out there, and offer some tips for attracting and supporting them. For as our very own Jill Nooney says, “If you are not seeing life in a garden, something is not right.”
(Warning, these websites are habit-forming):
- Native Seed Network Based in Oregon, the Native Seed Network promotes the use of native plants in ways that support the ecological integrity of both natural and manipulated ecosystems.
- The Massachusetts-based New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS), with thorough New England native plant information, how-tos, and even a native plant sale.*** Other NEWFS website offerings I like include:
- GoBotany Offers very helpful online keys to identifying NE native plants, as well as resources for everyone from professors of botany to beginning botanists.
- Learn A self-paced online course on designing with native plants.
- The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has been advocating for and educating about pollinators, aquatic invertebrates, and endangered wildlife for nearly 50 years. If it's website is still down for maintenance, check out its facebook page.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas offers a native plant database and image gallery.