Sunday, August 25, 2013

Attended a good conference yesterday at the Irvine Nature Center near Baltimore. Doug Tallamy was the first speaker and he had a new talk about fragmentation of habitats that was riveting. Janet Davis spoke about using native plants as ground covers and was very well-received by the crowd. She will be speaking to members and guests of our new Blue Ridge Chapter of Wild Ones this winter. Thomas Rainer was inspiring as he spoke about adding natives to landscapes in beautiful ways and drawing pleasure from our gardens. 

As Thomas noted, most people are not going to bulldoze their existing landscape and make it a native ecosystem. But adding nice stands of beautiful natives is valuable and will build better habitat over time. People who have added lots of natives are amazed about the quick return of many birds, bees,  and butterflies to their gardens. When you can support life in the garden, nature responds with lot of activity.

I've heard each of these speakers before, but each time, I hear something new and interesting. Each works in a different way to increase biodiversity in home habitats and encourage us to share the space with other creatures in our environment. 

I am still learning about native plants. This was my first year growing wild quinine. You can see it in the picture above. It is white and has solid little flowers that look like low-dose aspirin tablets with tiny ears on them. The flowers are held up on a candelabra like stem that doesn't fall over. Frothy and beautiful! Can't wait to collect some seed and grow more of these - I think they will be beautiful massed with coneflowers or maybe little bluestem. So many possibilities!

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