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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Prague viburnum has distinctly shiny leaves
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Welcome to My Jungle - February, 2019

My jungle still has the look of winter sleep, but a few plants are starting to stir. As expected, the buds are swelling on Cornelian cherry dogwood ( Cornus mas ) and fragrant dawn viburnum ( Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'). Daffodils ( Narcissus ) and Italian arum ( Arum italicum ) are pushing, but unfortunately, so is the purple deadnettle ( Lamium purpureum )...

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Chilling hours through 1-6-2019 St Louis Metro East

Welcome to My Jungle - January, 2019

Does unseasonably warm weather in the middle of winter cause woody perennials (trees and shrubs) to "wake up" too early? As with all things in nature, it all depends. Most trees from temperate climates require the accumulation of winter chill (500 and 1,500 chill hours) and subsequent heat during their dormant phase to resume growth and initiate flowering in the following spring. Chilling hours...

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Phlox paniculata  Jeana  - NYBG by Kristine Paulus

Welcome To My Jungle -- December, 2018

Many gardeners are trying to attract more native insects, both in number and diversity into their landscapes in an effort to collectively patchwork a healthier ecosystem. There is an increased number of research projects focused on plant-insect interactions, trying to determine whether natives have a home field advantage over non-natives or cultivars of native plants. Several studies suggest th...

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Chrysanthemum  Cambodian Queen
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Welcome To My Jungle -- November, 2018

Fall-blooming plants like Chrysanthemum dendranthema 'Cambodian Queen' are a very important source of nectar and pollen late in the season, and on a pleasant sunny fall day can be like Grand Central Station in the insect world. Because there is not much in bloom this time of the year, flower-visiting insects tend to congregate on the few plants that are in bloom. Just casually glancing...

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Late March  crocus and dwarf iris
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Welcome To My Jungle -- October, 2018

The Missouri Botanical Garden has transformed an area of turf adjacent to the Lehmann Building into a space of wonder. Hundreds of thousands of flowering bulbs carpet the lawn in a succession of bloom from late winter well into fall, starting with dwarf iris and spring crocus, and ending with fall crocus ( Colchicum spp. ). Turf has never been that interesting to me but this technique wa...

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Great Blue Lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica
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Welcome to My Jungle -- September, 2018

Late summer flowering perennials may be less common but they are still an important addition to any garden, both for adding color in an otherwise drab time of year, and possibly as valuable pollen/nectar sources for visiting insects and birds. Great Blue Lobelia ( Lobelia siphilitica ) is native throughout much of Illinois and is happiest in a uniformly moist soi...

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 Pounds  Pecan
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Welcome to My Jungle - August 2018

It is amazing how just putting the emphasis on a different syllable can almost turn a normal common word to you into a foreign language…just try saying "em-PHAS-is on a different sill-LAB-ill" to see what I mean. Case in point, I just attended a fruit and nut conference that had attendees from across North America. In a setting like this, you quickly realize that some fun can be had just learni...

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