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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Arilbred iris cultivars from left Jallab Pink Marble  Noble Warrior Kalifa s Robe
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Welcome to My Jungle

Bearded irises are blooming in the jungle and the arilbreds are leading the way. Arilbred iris hybrids are produced from crossing the finicky-to-grow aril irises with the more common and easy-to-grow bearded irises. They tend to have a touch of the exotic from their aril iris parentage, but the ease of cultivation from their tall bearded iris parentage. As previously implied, arilbreds bloom ea...

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Lawn art using Dwarf Iris  Iris reticulata
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Welcome to My Jungle - April, 2019

The lawn art (with early flowering bulbs) project was a success. Last fall I planted a number of very early blooming bulbs in a sunny turf area, specifically dwarf iris ( Iris reticulata ), squill ( Scilla sp. ) and crocus ( Crocus sp .). The iris were first to bloom in late February, followed closely by the other two species. And though the iris and crocus were readily vis...

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Seed Blocking Mix
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Welcome to My Jungle - March, 2019

Over the years I have collected a number of planting media recipes, and each has its own characteristics and usefulness in the garden. Eliot Coleman, author of New Organic Grower , developed a blocking mix a number of years ago that is basically 3 parts peat for structure, 1 part perlite for aeration, 3 parts compost/garden soil, lime for pH correction and a base fertilizer for nut...

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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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