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Habitual Gardener

Promoting healthy garden habits and habitats
vib prunifolium

Walk on the Wild Side – Grow Native

The word “wild” has many connotations – sometimes negative (wild child) and sometimes positive (living a wild life). In gardening the term “wild” derives an undesirable insinuation. The label “wild garden” conjures an image of plants (usually scorned as weeds) running amok with each one battling for dominance and looking at the lawn as prime battleground. Unfortunately for some people wild plan...

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aquaticsclass2 07

No Senior Left Inside

Those of us that already enjoy getting outside know the rejuvenating qualities of nature. But in case you were wondering, research from University of Minnesota reveals the importance for seniors as well as kids as reported in ScienceDaily. "Everyday access to nature improves quality of life in older adults: Results from a recent study highlight the importance of everyday contac...

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wooly planthopper Kloth

Taking a closer look

People admire certain philosophers - Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Homer Simpson. I’ve always been drawn to the great baseball philosopher Yogi Berra. His quotes are simplistically and intricately woven fragments of truth and fairy tale. One of his quotes I live by is, “You see a lot by just looking” Debbie Kloth of Urbana Illinois saw a lot by looking when she photographed this planthopper on h...

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tree frog love

Tree Frog Love

Even though my 1.6 acre property is an island amidst a sea of corn and soybeans, grey tree frogs have bred in my rain barrels for years. Sometimes wildlife can make do with our contrived landscapes and even with my small property of trees. These grey tree frogs appear perfectly content with this 20 gallon crock as a potential nursery. Picture was taken May 29th. Tiny tadpoles are doing just fin...

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Waiting for wildlife

Waiting. Waiting to download. Waiting to upload. Waiting for the traffic light to change. Even waiting for the microwave to zap our meals in less time than finding a saucepan seems like too long to wait. Even though we do it every day, most of us possess little skill in doing it well. It’s especially hard waiting for someone else. I apprehensively waited for the purple martins to...

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dogwood sawfly2forweb

What's Devouring my Dogwood?

Redtwig dogwoods typically grow with wild abandon despite a few insect (scale) and disease (twig canker) problems. As North American natives redtwigs have their share of North American native insects that enjoy them for lunch, (and breakfast and dinner). This year my redtwig dogwoods had a bit extra bling in August and September. The vivid white...

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monarch caterpillar common milkweed2forweb

Monarchs - the gateway bug to habitat gardening

Ok, so let me get this straight. You want me to buy a plant with the explicit goal that it will be eaten down to a stub by caterpillars. This act of wanton herbivory goes against everything I was taught about horticulture. In gardening plants are the goal. Right? Well, maybe not. Monarch caterpillars are the perfect gateway bug to the world of habitat gardening. The purposeful act of planting m...

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