Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Butterflies Flutter By

The small meadow in our backyard is a butterfly's dream.

I can hardly believe it’s nearly August. I took a walk yesterday, looking for inspiration and I found yellow swallowtails, lots of them I’m happy to report. We have a small meadow and they seemed to be everywhere at once, hanging on Silphium blossoms at perilous angles and flying around each other in little circles. I may not always like the heat but high summer is a great time for butterfly watching and the perfect time to start working on your butterfly garden. Take advantage of late season sales and make sure you have nectar plants to help the Monarchs that will begin their migration soon. Here are a few thinks to keep in mind.

Swallowtails love Rattlesnake
Master and Coneflowers

Plant in Full Sun – Many flowering plants thrive in full sun and butterflies need warm temps to warm up their bodies.
Plant Native Plants – If you aren’t sure which plants attract butterflies you can search here
Plant in Groups –It makes it easier for butterflies and other pollinators to locate nectar plants if you plant in groups of three or more.
Plant Host Plants – Butterflies need specific plants to lay their eggs on. Here is a list of host plants from the United States Botanic Garden
 Don’t Use Chemicals – Pesticides kill butterflies, caterpillars and other beneficial insects.

When you add native plants to your garden to attract butterflies you’ll be attracting hummingbirds too. Hummers love the same bright flowers and will be looking for their nectar just like butterflies. If you leave the spent flower, you’ll be attracting birds. Many small birds like finches love to dine on the flower seeds. If you have children, there is no better way to get the Xbox out of their hands and introduce them to nature.  Take them on a trip to the garden center today and see what’s flying around. You just can’t lose!

Bringing Life to the Garden
Have Fun Out There!
Peggy Anne
I never claimed to be a photographer

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Got Milkweed!

Carrie from North Creek at our American Beauties / North Creek Booth in Ohio

I’ve just returned from a trip to Ohio to attend and exhibit at the OFA Short Course a trade show for Horticulture Professionals. I always enjoy going to see what’s new and catch up with old friends. As expected the Echinacea are even wilder than last year and pot colors are vibrant and strong, a trend blowing over from Europe I believe. My favorite part is getting to talk with scores of garden center owners and employees. They are my eyes and ears at the retail level and keep me in touch with what consumers want. Business was brisk at the American Beauties Native Plants booth as more and more garden centers are seeing an increased demand for native plants.

Ben from Gateway was there too attending classes and checking out the latest trends
We shared our booth space with our good friends from North Creek Nurseries. They were honored at the Greenhouse Growers award ceremony as one of three finalists (in the whole country!) for Operation of the Year. Steve Castorani is the President of North Creek Nurseries, owns Gateway Garden Center with his wife Peggy and is co-owner of American Beauties. Congratulations to Steve and all the staff at North Creek!

Steve, Carrie and Kevin - finalists for the Operation of the Year Award!
 Maybe the best part of going away is coming home. It felt good to sleep in my own bed and to walk around the garden this morning with my cup of coffee. I feel recharged and fortunate to work in the horticulture industry. I also reaffirmed my faith in human beings. There are so many people out there doing the right thing for our environment and sharing those ideas with others. One lady walked by and called out “Got Milkweed!” I think we should make that into a t-shirt.

Bringing Life to your Garden
Have fun out there!
Peggy Anne

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I have a Touch of Biophilia

My fix this week - short grass meadow studded with Asclepias on Martha's Vineyard

I don’t think of myself as a hypochondriac but I do suffer from Felco Separation Anxiety and I think I have a touch of Biophilia too.

bi·o·phil·i·a – n
(Psychology) an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind

Harvard University myrmecologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson put forth the hypothesis that humans are hard-wired to need connection with nature and other forms of life. More and more studies are showing us the benefits of nature such as its ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery from illness, to enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, to aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other child illnesses. And, I would venture a guess that that it cures Nature Deficit Disorder in record time.

Our family lives have become so “busy” that we often forget to take time to smell the roses and I’m no different than anyone else. Let’s make a pledge that we make an effort to get out into nature this summer whether it’s a park or your own back yard and reconnect. I hope it’s contagious!

We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.
  ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt~

Bringing Life to Your Garden
Have fun out there,
Peggy Anne