Butterfly Nightclubs or Nurseries: Which type of garden will you provide?

The problem with many butterfly gardens is that they tend to be butterfly nightclubs. Basically, these gardens are for adults. Take the ubiquitous butterfly bush (Buddlia davidii) for example. You may find it covered with butterflies, but where are the caterpillars? Not only is butterfly bush now on many invasive species lists, it provides virtually no food value to caterpillars, …

In Praise of Mourning Cloaks

Some insects are simply fascinating.  An example of this is the beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly.  A brown-red butterfly with cream colored edges and blue spots on the wings, Mourning Cloaks are often the first butterflies to appear in spring. Winter Survival Strategies Insects use several different mechanisms to survive the winter including migration, communal living, and diapause, which is a …

colorful plants for front landscape

Landscaping for Curb Appeal

As someone who has been in the landscape industry for many years, I have often heard that good landscaping increases property values 15%. Upon a quick internet search, I found numbers ranging from 8% to 20%. Regardless of actual numbers, in real estate, professionals consistently recommend increasing the curb appeal of your home. So what steps should you take to …

Inviting Bluebirds to Your Property

Bluebirds are a symbol of happiness, springtime, and peace. They are also beneficial to our landscapes. Historically, both Native Americans and colonists used nest boxes and gourds to attract bluebirds to nest nearby and help control insect populations. Problems for bluebirds arose however, from the 1920s through the 1970s. Populations declined due to loss of habitat, pesticide use, and competition …

stormwater on steps

There is Only One Water

Stormwater is making the news! In the September 13, 2019 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Frank Kummer states “On average, Philadelphia gets about 42 inches of rain in a year, according to the National Weather Service. In 2018, it got 62 inches. This year is also proving to be wet, with about 36 inches so far — 8 inches more …

Fireflies: Nature’s Luminaries

When I decided to write about fireflies, I thought I would write a short, inspiring, little article about how these magical insects light up summer nights.  But like many subjects in environmental landscaping, it didn’t turn out to be that simple, so I would like to share what I have learned about these fascinating creatures. Fireflies in Pennsylvania I was …

The Best Plants for Your Winter Garden

When designing a garden in other seasons, it is easy to forget what your garden will look like in winter. Since this cold and sometimes dreary season is three months long, incorporate winter garden plants that perform while other plants are taking the season off. Select winter plants with evergreen foliage, interesting bark, colorful berries, and dried seed heads for a …

Invasive Plant Management

It’s a great time of year to be outside.  Temperatures and humidity are lower, and we don’t need to bundle up yet. If you have taken this opportunity to stroll around your property and quickly became discouraged because it looks like a jungle out there, take heart. Fall and winter are a great time to regain control of invasive plants, and …

Studying ecosystem health as a whole

The Importance of Insects

Have you ever noticed that most causes have a ‘poster child’ which appeals to the masses?  In environmentalism, this could be an animal such as a whale, Northern Spotted Owl, Monarch Butterfly or the honeybee. While all of these animals are very important, and it would be a hit to the world without them, maybe it is time to start …

Landscape Planning

Landscape Consultations

Do any of the following describe your situation in the garden: You don’t mind doing yard work, but you aren’t sure how to manage your property. With a tight budget, you don’t know how you can execute on your great ideas. You want to improve your property over time, but you are not sure where to start. If any of …