Archive for February 2008

Bringing Nature Home (Douglas W. Tallamy)

Dr. Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware, wrote Bringing Nature Home as a manifesto to suburban gardeners to help them make decisions based not just on their garden’s appearance, but also how their gardens affect biodiversity and populations of insects, birds, and other mammals. We have all seen the over-development of suburbia and the extent to which this development has ravaged our land, but Dr. Tallamy and his students have discovered legitimate scientific data to show us the link between native plants, beneficial insects, and native wildlife populations. While it may seem irreversible to some of us, Tallamy …

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Composting

I live in a small one bedroom apartment in the middle of the city, just like thousands of other people. My “yard” consists of a small cement patio, which is really just a place for me and my neighbors to store our garbage cans and put our charcoal grill in the summer months. So why would I care about compost? Because compost is really just decomposed organic matter which exists in nature all around us, and which is used by gardeners to provide nutrients and food to their soil and plants. So even for a city dweller like myself, I’ve …

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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

‘Jelena’ is among the most impressive of the witchhazels we grow here at the Scott Arboretum.  She’s a hybrid cultivar of the Chinese witchhazel (Hamamelis mollis) and the Japanese witchhazel (Hamamelis japonica), and like both of her parents, she flowers in the dead of winter when we’re desperate for a bit of garden interest.  She is striking when in bloom —curled, strappy petals emerge from a burgundy calyx cup and are red at the base, orange in the middle, and yellowish at the very tip, giving the flowers the appearance of dancing flames.  Incredibly, these blossoms …

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