Tips & Tricks
Twine Works Wonders
Summer storms can make tall or bushy perennials flop over or splay open. Twine is a simple fix, it blends right in. Just wrap it around your plants, tie with a bow for easy untying in the fall, and use a stake if necessary to hold the whole thing upright.
Vegetables Love Pollinators
Planting a pollinator garden next to your vegetable garden is a great way to increase vegetable yields while supporting healthy habitat!
Leave the Stems and Leaves
The stems and leaves of last year’s plants play an important habitat role as a place where many beneficial insects nestle their eggs or larvae for the winter. These animals need time in the spring to develop and hatch, and simply leaving the stems and leaves in place is the best way to help. Your new, green plants will poke through the brown, it just takes a little patience.
If you just can’t wait to get rid of the brown and make way for the green, you can cut last year’s stems and stack them somewhere out of the way, so that the insects still have a place to stay.
As for the brown leaves, just let them lie — they will disappear on their own, and it will save you a lot of raking work!
Planting the Next Generation of Oaks
With so many old oaks coming to the end of their lifespans, we can ensure future generations have big old oaks around by nurturing the seedlings popping up in our yards. I dug these out of my lawn and planted them in an area where an old tree recently came down. Time will tell which seedling is happiest here, and that's the one I'll continue to protect, water, and enjoy!
Certify Your Backyard Habitat
The National Wildlife Federation will certify your backyard (or frontyard) wildlife habitat and provide a sign to let your neighbors learn the value your yard is providing. All you need is a yard with native plantings, a source of water, and places for shelter like shrubs. https://www.nwf.org/Home/Garden-For-Wildlife
Birds Need Water
Backyard habitat is best when it includes a reliable source of water—bubbly water attracts birds and deters mosquitoes. Be sure to clean and refresh it weekly to prevent mosquito breeding!