Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Please click on image to ENLARGE February 27 view of first crocus of 2011 blooming on World Peace Wetland Prairie, where every day is Earth Day.
Help protect our neighborhood as the City Council considers the very ordinance our neighbors needed years ago!
Support Streamside Protection!
See it through to the end! The Council still needs to hear from you.
Protecting streams makes economic sense!
Here is your chance to make a difference!
Read about it here: http://www.accessfayetteville.org/government/strategic_planning/projects/Streamside_Protection_Ordinance.cfm
What is a riparian zone?
The Streamside Protection Ordinance establishes a list of land uses that help to establish riparian buffer zones. A riparian buffer zone is an area of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation adjoining and upgradient of streams and other surface water bodies. It intercepts surface runoff, subsurface flow, and deeper ground water flows and thereby buffers the effects of nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides or other pollutants before they enter a stream (Welsch, 1991).
Actions you (and your friends) can take to make this succeed:
•Attend: 6:00pm on March 1st at City Hall on Mountain Street in Fayetteville, AR. This will be the third reading!
•Email the City Council members. Use email@example.com and ask that your message be forwarded to the Council members and to Mayor Jordan. The mayor supports this and is a sponsor.
•Call the Council Members. A list of email and phone numbers is at; http://www.accessfayetteville.org/government/city_council/index.cfm
Reasons to act:
•Creates a vegetative buffer along streams which holds soil in place and reduces pollutants.
•Less expensive than mechanically stabilizing banks.
•It protects our drinking water and our recreational areas.
•Our vegetated streams are beautiful and preferable to cemented ditches that can result from not protecting streambanks with vegetation.
•Other communities around the country are doing this, as well, because they see the economic (social, environmental, and financial) value of protecting riparian zones.
- Estimated increased property values as a result of riparian buffer vegetation on a property was $1,400 to $1,625 per property (Qui et al., 2006).
- It costs $250/linear foot to restore streams and their banks (City of Fayetteville cost history).
- Riparian areas can reduce the nitrogen concentration in water runoff and floodwater by up to 90 percent and reduce the phosphorous concentration by as much as 50 percent (NSF, 2006).
This citizen-driven initiative is before us for the third time. We need to see it through to the finish! We've worked very hard together. Please help it succeed. If you have already contacted the Council it is acceptable and even ENCOURAGED to write, call, or come speak up again!
•There is opposition to this. The Council needs to hear your voices louder and clearer. This protects property. It limits activities in areas along streams in order to prevent pollution and erosion that we all pay for eventually.
Thank you very much for all you have already done and for all you do for this community.
Friday, February 25, 2011
North American Native Plant Society an important source for understanding the value of WPWP as habitat
Pale Purple Coneflower
The plight of our bees, both native and the non-native honey bee, has been in the news a lot lately. Loss of habitat, food sources, pests and diseases and pesticides are all to blame. Even our love for mulch can have a negative impact on ground burrowing native bees. They need bare soil to dig their home in! How can you help? Native bees love native plants, it’s as simple as that!
I love my native plant garden and tell the world about it whenever I can. Summer 2007 brought a severe drought to my area. Practically no rain fell during a four month period. Other than a small 6’ x 6’ area where I keep my moisture loving plants I did not water at all. This is why I garden with native plants after all. The results were still spectacular. My meadow was in bloom from early spring, starting with golden alexander Zizia aurea and prairie smoke Geum triflorum, until late fall with Asters Aster spp and Jerusalem artichokesHelianthus tuberosus. No one in my neighbourhood had a display like I did, and I was proud of it! It was teaming with flying and crawling insects and other critters all through the season. For the first time ever I saw a bee hawk moth. It visited my garden several times and was seen on common milkweed Asclepias syriaca, bee balm Mondarda fistulosa and Ironweed Vernonia missurica.
|Monarch caterpillar on|
|Honeybee on butterfly weed|
|Bee on spreading dogbane|
|Bee on sundrop|
Oenothera pilosella ssp pilosella
How to tell if a plant is attractive to pollinating insects? Scent and colourful flowers. Wind pollinated plants do not have to rely on those two elements. Of course there is always the exception to the rule. One of them is the non-native angelica, Archangelica officinalis.. Yes, I do have non-natives in my garden, especially if they serve a purpose, and this one does. The flowers are green, a colour bees are not usually attracted to. The plant can look quite weedy, but their small, unassuming flowers are always abuzz with lots and different kinds of flies and bees; I cannot get myself to cut them down.
|Bee flying over balsam ragwort|
|Bee hawk moth on bee balm|
|Bumble bee on culver’s root|
|Caterpillar on pearly everlasting|
- Hold off the mulch in a few areas and leave the soil bare for burrowing bees;
- Rather than growing many species but only a few plants each, grow few species but lots of each. A garden is most attractive to pollinators with many plants in bloom at the same time.
- Provide a water source. Keep a birdbath with clean water and float a blade of grass or place a flat stone in it. Bees will land on the blade or stone and drink from there.
- Don’t leave container with water laying around; insects will be attracted to it but can’t get out of deep water and will drown.
- Plant scented flowers, bees love plants in the mint family.
- Avoid hybrids; many of them are bred to please man and are low in or lack pollen and/or nectar.
- Plan for blooms throughout the season and use annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs and trees.
- Learn to love your dandelions; they are often the first food bees will find.
Let pollinators go about their business, enjoy watching them and take close-up pictures if you can. There is nothing more cheerful in the winter than looking at a picture of a yellow flower with a bee enjoying its goodies. Nature is beautiful, and you are part of it.
Bee on coreopsis
Past Garden TipsIn the fall, instead of cleaning up my garden I like to leave all the plants in place. It provides winter interest and food and cover for birds and other critters. I’ve often found dens in my meadow built by small animals, lined with fur and grass. Although this has uprooted some of my plants, it’s a small price to pay to know that my place is a haven. In the spring the spent plants provide nesting materials for the birds. I often sit by my window, watching the birds look for just the right piece and then fly off in a hurry. For that reason I wait as long as I can before I cut everything down to get the garden ready for spring.
Leaving your plants up in late fall might not be possible in the front yard of your city garden, but how about giving it a try it in your backyard. The critters will appreciate it and there’s nothing more enchanting than seeing snow falling on your seed heads, turning them into works of art.
This picture, taken through my front window, shows a junco eating seeds from my Great St. John’s Wort, Hypericum ascyron. This plant produces copious amounts of seed that germinate easily, but this shot is worth the extra work of pulling unwanted seedlings. Donate your extra seedlings to friends or the “home grown” table at NANPS’ plant sale coming up in May, and send extra seeds you have to NANPS for its seed exchange.
Ruth Zaugg, Caledon Ontario
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Plant a Tree
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