Not a Weed: Spiderwort

Not a Weed: Spiderwort

Every spring, knobby stems of spiderwort shoot up in random locations around my garden. They pop up in sun, part shade, loose soil and clay. Sometimes they collapse into messy piles. Good thing these wildflowers are so easy to rip out and transplant in clumps where desired. As we progress into late spring, deep blue…

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The great mosquito debate

The great mosquito debate

Every spring, a handful of neighbors in our community ask for recommendations on companies that spray to control mosquitoes. And every spring, a vocal group of neighbors begs them not to do it. Mosquito control services for homeowners have proliferated in my area in the past decade. And why not? Who wouldn’t want to spend…

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Planting a sedge lawn

Planting a sedge lawn

Experienced gardeners recite “right plant, right place” when choosing plants, yet so frequently ignore that advice when it comes to lawns. Most of us fight to create a lush green carpet bordered by shrubs and flowers whether conditions support the survival of grass or not. Lawns are visually pleasing and give us a defined space…

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Not a Weed: Virginia creeper

Not a Weed: Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper is a robust groundcover and vine that can blanket a flower bed and climb its way up trees. For most people, that creeping tendency and its vague resemblance to poison ivy make it undesirable. I think it’s worth reconsidering the benefits of this groundcover in place of invasive vines like English Ivy and…

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The Great Backyard Bird Count begins

The Great Backyard Bird Count begins

If you’ve never quite understood the point of bird watching, think again. Here’s your chance to take part in a massive citizen science project underway this weekend, and you only have to commit 15 minutes of your time. More than 100,000 people around the world participate in providing valuable data that helps scientists track the…

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Not a Weed: Violets

Not a Weed: Violets

Welcome to the “Not a Weed” series. Each month will feature a common weed and its benefits and uses. After reading these articles, I hope you will agree it’s “Not a Weed!” Many a homeowner brands the humble violet a weed. Violets seem to pop up wherever the lawn is suffering, invade carefully planted groundcover,…

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Winter bulbs support bees

Winter bulbs support bees

Many native bee species wander out on warmer days in the winter looking for food. Nature provides ephemeral wildflowers in the winter and early spring, but the average suburban homeowner has little to offer. Unless you live on an undisturbed lot full of wildflowers, the early months of the year provide limited opportunity for bees…

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Shopping for bees

Shopping for bees

This might be a familiar quandary: You’ve wandered into your favorite nursery, looking for the best and brightest blooms of the season. You can picture how lovely a color combination of magenta and white will look in your garden, and you’ve loaded up your wagon with plants. Then you remember your intention of building a…

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