National Pollinator Week

June is National Pollinators Month and June 21-27 is designated as “National Pollinator Week.” 


The family yard is still the safe outdoor space to relax, play and de-stress. The TurfMutt Foundation reminds families that nature starts right outside your back door – and one way to help nature is to make sure your yard supports our very-important pollinators.

June is National Pollinators Month and June 21-27 is designated as “National Pollinator Week.” Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S Department of the Interior, Pollinator Week is a great opportunity to encourage people to do more in their backyards to support pollinators. (See more statistics below!)

Plant It for the Planet


•    Choose flowering plants for pollinators – butterflies, bees, bats and hummingbirds
•    Backyards, school yards, green roofs, parks, planted medians and other green spaces provide food and shelter for pollinators
•    Select flowering plants that thrive in your yard’s conditions, considering the following: climate zone, soil type, sun/shade ratio, and average rainfall
•    Plant a healthy balance of grasses, garden flowers, shrubs, and trees
•    75 percent of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce
•    About 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators 
•    More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields

For more information, go to www.turfmutt.com

Weird Plants And Flowers

Meet 10 species that display such unusual behavior they act more like humans than plants!…

from Farmers Almanac

Plants are beautiful, peculiar things. They grow and bloom in an assortment of shapes, colors, sizes, and aromas. And while there’s no question that nature is fascinating and amazing, there are some species whose mystique is awe inspiring—like these below. Their unusual, independent behavior is more person than plant-like.

 

 We promise you’ll say “Wow, that’s so cool!” after reading about each one of these weird and wonderful beauties.

1. Morning Glories

2. Sunflowers

Sunflower facing sunlight vintage style
Sunflowers continually turn their blossoms to face the sun as it treks across the daytime sky.

All flowers need sunlight (whether full or indirect) to grow. But sunflowers adore the sun so much, they continually turn their blossoms to face the sun as it treks across the daytime sky. At dawn, sunflower blooms face east toward the rising sun. As the day wears on, and the sun moves overhead, sunflowers follow its light, until they eventually face west toward the setting sun. By the time dawn rolls around the next day, the blooms have returned to their eastward-facing position, ready to make the journey all over again.

A sunflower’s bending action is a result of one side of the stem growing faster than (and therefore, elongating more than) the other side. During the early part of the day, the east side of the stem elongates, which makes the plant “lean” increasingly in the opposite direction. The opposite is true during the evening and nighttime hours.

3. Night-Blooming Cerus

Cacti are known more for their prickly spines than their blooms. That is, unless you’re talking about the night-blooming cereus (cereus is a genus of cacti that bloom at night). It’s infamous for its short-lived, silvery-white nighttime blooms. By blooming at night, they reduce competition for pollinators for other plants. The majestic “Queen of the Night,” which is one type of night-blooming cereus, not only blooms at night, it also only blooms once a year!

4. Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons are cold hardy evergreen shrubs. But just because most species are able to withstand a hard freeze, doesn’t mean the weather can’t get too cold for their taste. On frosty winter and spring mornings, their long, leathery leaves curl up like cigars. Rhododendrons do this as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from dehydration in cold weather. Since the shrub loses water through its leaves, whenever the ground is frozen, the roots aren’t able to sip enough groundwater from the soil to replace what would be lost through the leaves—so its leaves spiral inward to keep water from escaping. Once the ground warms again, its leaves unfurl.

Rhododendron’s leaves curl up on a cold day.
 
 
 
https://youtu.be/DF-b6TsO1DM
 
 
 
 
 
 
1:15 / 1:15
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Commonly called sensitive plant, shy plant, or shameplant, mimosa pudica has a very interesting feature. When touched or otherwise disturbed, its fern-like leaflets fold inward—much like a closing book—then re-open moments later. It isn’t exactly known why this plant has such a knee-jerk reflex, but its movement is thought to be a defense mechanism against predators or water loss.

6. Daylilies

The daylily is another one-day bloomer, hence its name. However, it’s easy to miss this fact since daylilies produce bouquets of buds per scape and have several scapes per stalk. This gives the illusion that their blooms last for weeks on end. But, in fact, you’re seeing a different bloom every day.

7. Prayer Plant

Watch this time lapse of a prayer plant.

The prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura) has broad, oval-shaped, variegated leaves that lay flat during the day, then fold upright at night, like a pair of hands clasped together in evening prayer.

This behavior is called nyctinasty, and it happens in response to changes in the sunlight. Some speculate that a prayer plant’s leaves fold up at night because it stops rain from collecting on the leaves and sends it straight to the roots. Because of this amazing plant behavior, many people place prayer plants at cemeteries, as they symbolize prayers for the deceased.

8. Pitcher Plant

Pitcher plants give the expression “farm-to-table” a whole new meaning. They’re one of a Mother Nature’s carnivorous plants—plants that eat ants, flies, crickets, and any other insect that makes the mistake of passing by. After sitting on the rim of a pitcher plant’s cupped leaf, bugs are lured deep into the plant’s belly by a nectar which it secretes. The inside walls of the plant are so steep and slippery, the insect can’t climb out and eventually dies.

But of course there’s a reason they do this: Since these plants tend to grow in poor soil conditions, they’re unable to soak up enough nutrients and minerals through their roots (like other plants do), so they must depend on other means (like consuming insects) to get their nourisment.

9. Ornamental Pear Trees

The Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana), a fast growing and popular ornamental in the south (it produces inedible fruit), has unpopular trait: its snowy, star-like blossoms smell putrid rather than perfumed. According to plant biologists, the trees’ “fishy” fragrance is caused by chemicals called amines, which are related to another foul-smelling substance: ammonia. It’s thought that this stench is used to attract those other types of pollinators—flies and beetles—that are attracted to stinky rather than sweet smells.

Fascinated by stinky plants? Check these out two you won’t believe are real!

10. Hydrangeas

Unlike most flowers, whose bloom color is determined by the plant’s species and variety, some selections of hydrangea (such as hydrangea macrophylla) can actually change color from one year to the next. This is because the secret to a hydrangea’s shade lies in its soil. Acidic soil (that with a pH below 6) yields blue petals, while alkaline soil (that with a pH above 7) yields red and pink petals. Neutral soil, or that with a pH between 6 and 7, promotes lavenders. Multiple colors can even exist on the same hydrangea bush if the roots of the plant sample soils of differing pH!

Which of these is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

 
 
 
Farmers' Almanac - Hair coloring
 

Tiffany Means is a freelance writer and a degreed meteorologist. She specializes in weather forecasting and enjoys making the subject of weather (and the science behind it) more relatable. She currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her article, Animals with Accidental Green Thumbs appears in the 2021 Farmers’ Almanac.

Wood County Parks: June Programs

Seed Starter Kits, rappeling, hiking, backyard gardening, Paddle the Pond….

June 2021
 
Wood County Park District parks & preserves are open
daily from 8:00 am until 30 minutes past sunset.
 
Programs for Adults
 
 
Backyard Gardening
with Native Plants
 
Wednesday, June 2; 7 – 8 pm
Videoconference
 
Learn about how to get started with incorporating native plants in your home landscape, and why it is a useful endeavor. We’ll also discuss personal experiences with gardening and the value of gardening in general.
 
 
 
Eco Lit Book Group Meeting
 
Thursday, June 3; 7 – 8:30 pm
W.W. Knight Nature Preserve
29530 White Road, Perrysburg
 
For this meeting, please read The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, teaching professor emeritus, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN).
 
 
 
Hiking for Health
 
Friday, June 4; 10 – 11:30 am
William Henry Harrison Park
644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville
 
Join a naturalist for exercise and the wonder of watching the seasonal changes. The hikes will offer a true mind-body connection. Sign up for one week or all three.
 
 
 
Go Green: Seed Starter
Kit Pickup
 
Sunday, May 2; 11 am – 1 pm
Carter Historic Farm
18331 Carter Rd, Bowling Green
 
This kit includes everything needed for a biodegradable seed starter.
 
 
 
Stationary Hay Baling
 
Sunday, May 2; 11 am – 1 pm
Carter Historic Farm
18331 Carter Rd, Bowling Green
 
Chris and John will be making hay the first week of June, and you can come out today to see it baled!
 
 
 
Paddle the Pond
 
Mondays, June – August; 4 – 7:30 pm
Monday June 7, 14, 21, 28
W.W. Knight Nature Preserve
29530 White Rd, Perrysburg
 
Enjoy a float on the pond! It’s perfect for a family outing, comfort-builder for beginners or relaxing exercise. An instructor will be available for introductory safety and skills education. All boats, life-jackets, and paddles provided. Boats and gear on a first-come-first-served basis. Call ahead for special needs accommodations. Participants as young as 7 can paddle with a guardian. Ages 4 and up and ride in the middle of the canoe.
 
No Registration Needed
 
 
Tweenagers: Water Quality
and Orienteering
 
Tuesday, June 8; 10 am – 12 pm
William Henry Harrison Park
644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville
 
Search for macroinvertebrates, frogs, and other creatures in and around the Portage River using seine nets. We’ll examine them, identify a few and discuss what they mean for water quality. Afterwards, we’ll continue the adventure with a beginning orienteering program to develop compass and navigation skills. This is a drop-off program; you are encouraged to leave your tween with us and return for pickup! Masks are required for all participants age six and older and social distancing of 6-10 feet from other participants/units will be observed.
 
 
 
Family Pond Explorers: Frogs
 
Wednesday, June 10; 10 – 11 am
W.W. Knight Nature Preserve
29530 White Rd, Perrysburg
 
Bring your little ones ages 3-6 for an hour of pond exploration and discovery. Each week we will highlight a particular pond creature, with hands-on learning and stories to discover more about the week’s animal. Adults must stay for the duration of the program. Please register participating child only. Masks are required for all participants age six and older and social distancing of 6-10 feet from other participants/units will be observed.
 
 
 
Archery Skills:
The Complete Archer
 
Wednesday & Thursday,
June 9 & 10; 6:30 – 8 pm
Arrowwood Archery Range
11126 Linwood Rd, Bowling Green
 
Transform into an arrow-slinging archer! The complete archer is two sessions for the novice. Get the tools to safely navigate the range, become familiar with basic archery equipment & start working on precision and accuracy. Registration includes both sessions. Please register only if you can attend both sessions. Only Wood County Parks equipment may be used at this program.
 
 
 
Crash Pad Reservations
 
Thursday, June 10 pm; 3 – 7 pm
Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve
26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg
 
Reserve a crash pad and try bouldering in one of the only natural climbing areas in northwest Ohio. We will instruct you on safe bouldering practices and use of crash pads to allow for self-exploration of the bouldering that is offered at Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve. The reservations are made on a first-come-first-served basis at Sawyer Quarry on the day of the program. One-hour reservations only, last reservations begin at 6:00 pm. PLEASE REGISTER ONLY ONE PERSON PER RESERVATION.
Program fee: $5
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mountain Bike Meet up
 
Monday, June 14; 6 – 7:30 pm
Rudolph Bike Park
14038 Mermill Road, Rudolph
 
Join The Right Direction pro instructors with your bike for some quality time at the track! Enjoy personalized instruction or go with the flow of the group for impromptu challenges and skill-builders for all ages. No registration. Please bring a properly-fitting helmet and bike.
 
 
 
Kids Summer Series: Campfire Cooking and Fire Safety
 
Wednesday, June 16; 10 am – 12 pm
Carter Historic Farm
18331 Carter Rd, Bowling Green
 
Be prepared for camping/bonfire season! Learn some fire safety basics and learn how to make food over a campfire. Pro Tip: bring an empty stomach! This program is designed for children ages 8-12.
 
 
 
Freedom Canoe Tour
 
Saturday, June 19;
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Orleans Park Boat Launch
655 Maumee Western Reserve Road, Perrysburg
 
Paddle around Audubon Islands Nature Preserve led by a naturalist who will share history of the Underground Railroad in Perrysburg and Maumee, pointing out landmarks and features from the water. A short canoe skills session will precede the trip. All canoes, paddles, and PFDs included. Must be 11 to paddle in the front seat; 6 to ride in the center – please contact the program leader for center riders or other special accommodations. All participants must abide by essential eligibility criteria and sign a release of liability.
Program fee: $10, or $8 for Friends of the Parks members.
 
 
 
Mountain Bike Skills Camp: Cornering
 
Sunday, June 20; 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Rudolph Bike Park
14038 Mermill Road, Rudolph
 
Take your bike-ability to the next level with The Right Direction pro instructors. Maintain your speed and confidence when the track changes course. Each technique will be broken down into manageable steps with challenges designed to build confidence and biking skill. A properly-fitting helmet and mountain bike are required. 
 
 
 
Summer Solstice
Mindfulness Walk
 
Sunday, June 20; 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
William Henry Harrison Park
644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville
 
Celebrate the summer solstice with a gentle hike in nature and mindfulness activities. Take some time to enjoy the beneficial effects of spending time outdoors and mindfulness practice with naturalist Emma as we walk to start the summer. You may bring a seat for the portion of the walk where we will rest by the river if you would like to avoid sitting on the ground.
 
 
Sharing Nature with Children
 
Tuesday, June 22; 7 – 8 pm
Rudolph Bike Park
Videoconference
 
Learn what experts have written about sharing nature with children, and be empowered to share with children in your life. We’ll also share our own experiences as children and learning with children from our own perspectives.
 
 
 
Evening Rappelling
 
Wednesday, June 23; 7 – 8 pm
Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve
26940 Lime City Rd, Perrysburg
 
Enjoy the evening rappelling as the sun sets! All climbing equipment will be provided. All participants must be at least 12 years of age and at least 100 pounds.
Program fee: $15, or $10 for Friends of the Parks members
 
 
 
Full Moon Walk
 
Wednesday, June 23; 9 – 10 pm
W.W. Knight Nature Preserve
29530 White Rd, Perrysburg
 
Enjoy a gentle stroll under the Full Strawberry moon as we learn moon lore and look and listen for nocturnal wildlife. Bug spray, repellent technology or clothing recommended, any flashlights must have red lenses, no dogs permitted.
 
 
Nature Play | Fairy Crafts
 
Thursday, June 24; 10 – 11 am
W.W. Knight Nature Preserve
29530 White Rd, Perrysburg
 
Activate your imagination and creativity! Join us in the Nature Play Area for an hour of nature-based crafting and play. Ideal for ages 4 and up. Every week we will have a focused craft and a song or story to encourage nature play. Adults must stay for the duration of the program.
 
 
 
Arrrowwood Archery League
 

Chowline: Not sure what to do with fresh, harvested radishes?

Pickle them…..

I’ve got a fresh harvest of spring radishes in my garden, but other than adding them to my salad, I’m not sure what to do with them. Got any ideas?

First, congratulations on your harvest! Radishes are an easy-to-grow vegetable because they can be planted directly from seed in the early spring and are typically among the first plants ready to harvest.

Additionally, radishes are low in calories and are a source of potassium; calcium; sodium; and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Radishes are a cruciferous vegetable in the same plant family as kale, turnips, and broccoli. They can also help lower blood pressure and can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, research shows. 

Radishes have a peppery flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture. Several varieties exist, including the most common variety, which is small and round with a red skin and white flesh. You can also grow black, white, yellow, pink, or purple radishes, which can grow long and narrow, shaped similarly to a carrot or parsnip.

When planting spring radishes, place the seedlings in a row of three-inch spacing, which will allow them to fully develop, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“If you want to be able to harvest the radishes for several months, you can plant a few every two weeks,” he said. “They are ready to harvest when they are about the size of a ping pong ball.”

McDermott, who runs the Growing Franklin food production blog, recently posted a video that he and fellow OSU Extension educator Jenny Lobb produced on how to grow radishes and how to make them into a crunchy, spicy, pickled treat that both kids and adults can enjoy.

The video demonstrates harvesting freshly grown radishes; slicing them into thin pieces; and adding them in a glass jar with fresh parsley, chives, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes. To that mixture, add a brine consisting of simmered apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. 

“After adding brine to prepared vegetables for refrigerator pickles, refrigerate them for at least 4 hours to allow flavor to develop, although 24 to 48 hours is even better,” Lobb said. “It’s best to eat the refrigerated pickles within two weeks.

“Quick-pickled vegetables like radishes are great topping additions to salads, bowls, soups, and tacos, and are even a great simple snack. They even taste great raw with cream cheese or hummus.”

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Plant It for the Planet

Choose Flowering Plants for Pollinators….

The family yard is still the safe outdoor space to relax, play and de-stress. The TurfMutt Foundation reminds families that nature starts right outside your back door – and one way to help nature is to make sure your yard supports our very-important pollinators.

June is National Pollinators Month and June 21-27 is designated as “National Pollinator Week.” Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S Department of the Interior,

Plant It for the Planet

•    Choose flowering plants for pollinators – butterflies, bees, bats and hummingbirds
•    Backyards, school yards, green roofs, parks, planted medians and other green spaces provide food and shelter for pollinators
•    Select flowering plants that thrive in your yard’s conditions, considering the following: climate zone, soil type, sun/shade ratio, and average rainfall
•    Plant a healthy balance of grasses, garden flowers, shrubs, and trees
•    75 percent of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce
•    About 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators 
•    More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields

The TurfMutt Foundation has developed this infographic on planting for pollinators:


For more information, go to www.turfmutt.com

Brush Pick-Up is Monday, May 17 – See Guidelines Here

Services of the Village of NB…

 

The NEXT Village Brush Pick-Up is MONDAY, May 15, 2021.

The NEXT Village Brush DROP OFF is Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Village of North Baltimore Brush Drop Off and Pick Up Policy

“Brush” is defined according to this policy as:

Cut off, trimmed or fallen branches of trees not to exceed 4 inches in diameter and 6 feet in length.

The Village of North Baltimore is committed to providing affordable and effective service to accommodate the residents of the Village of North Baltimore with the following brush drop off and pick up policy.

The following schedule shall apply –

Visit the village website www.northbaltimore.org to view the village newsletter for more information.

The 3rd Saturday in June (June 19, 2020) – Drop off brush behind the public works building between 8 am and 11 am.

The 3rd Saturday in July (the  – Drop off brush behind the public works building
between 8 am and 11 am.

 

Spruce Up for Spring: Fresh ideas for home upgrades

Fresh ideas for home upgrades….

(Family Features) Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out.

If you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips:

Make function a priority. While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space.

Keep budget in mind. Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete now.

Do your research. If you’ll be making a significant purchase such as a new vacuum or grill, be sure to explore your options, read reviews and shop around for the best prices for greater confidence in what you choose.

Set yourself up for a more enjoyable spring with more home and garden tips at eLivingtoday.com.

Hands Free Spring Cleaning

For busy households, an all in one vacuum and mop robot like the Deebot N8+ is a perfect daily companion to help automate spring cleaning. It features high suction power (but low noise), TrueMapping technology to create an efficient cleaning path and the OZMO Mopping System to remove 99.26% of bacteria with dual vacuuming and mopping. Controllable with a smartphone app, it includes an Auto Empty Station for months of hands- and maintenance-free cleaning. Learn more at ecovacs.com/us .

Enhance the Space Under Your Deck

Optimize the space beneath an elevated deck by adding a drainage system such as Trex RainEscape. Designed to capture and divert water, this system protects a deck’s substructure from moisture damage while creating dry space usable for storage or an additional living area. Homeowners can safely add gas lines and wiring to accommodate grills, appliances, ceiling fans, lights and entertainment components to create an outdoor oasis. For more information, visit TrexRainEscape.com .

Perfect Your Pantry

Cleaning out your pantry is an important step during spring cleaning as it allows you to discard expired items and rethink the space. Start by reorganizing and simplifying the area with ClosetMaid ventilated shelving like this Pantry Organizer. Built with the ShelfTrack system for a fully adjustable space along with close mesh to help prevent items from tipping over, it includes four 4-foot-by-16-inch shelves, a hang track and all necessary hardware. Find more information at closetmaid.com .

Get Ready to Grill

A grill’s lifespan depends on many factors, including where and how it is stored and your climate. When it’s time to upgrade, you’ll have some decisions to make. The biggest is which heating style you prefer: gas, electric or charcoal. Other considerations include the overall size, number of burners and grate quality. Also be sure to compare available features, such as side burners and igniters, which are fairly common, and upgrades like lighting and fuel gauges.

When to Update Home and Garden Goods

Investing in quality products, properly maintaining and storing them all have an impact on how long they’ll stay in good working condition. As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

Lawn Mower: If your mower needs a repair that exceeds its value, it’s time for a replacement. However, there may be other signs that an upgrade is warranted. Rough operation, frequent breakdowns or other indications of faulty performance deserve a second look. Before you buy new, remember to check your warranty to determine whether repairs might be covered.

Vacuum: Many homeowners discard their used vacuum when it stops picking up dirt and debris as efficiently as it did originally. Before you move on, be sure to check that performance issues aren’t the result of clogged hoses or a filter than needs cleaning or replacing. A belt may also be worn or need adjusting. Other signs it may be time to replace the vacuum include damaged or frayed cords, motor issues like overheating or making strange noises.

Grill: A grill may last anywhere from 5-15 years, depending on the quality of the materials and how it is maintained. However, it’s common to have to replace parts along the way. Signs you may need a new grill include a firebox (the main enclosure) with cracks, rust or holes and burners that distribute heat unevenly. Damaged grates can affect even grilling if they’re warped or if they’re flaky or rusted, they can contaminate food. If you’re not able to replace the grates, or any other essential part, including hoses and connectors for a gas grill, you’ll be better off replacing the unit.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (house and grill)

SOURCE:
Ecovacs
Trex
ClosetMaid

BG Farmer’s Market Opens TODAY May 12

Open Wednesdays 4 – 7 pm!

 
 
Opening Day for the Farmers’ Market! Welcome to all of our vendors and customers!
 
The hours are 4-7 pm located at the Main St. & Clough St. parking lot.
 
Bowling Green’s 2021 Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from May 12-October 21st.
 
Quick facts:
 
-Masks are not required because it is an outside event. Per CDC guidelines, guests must keep a 6 feet distance between them.
 
-The market runs from 4:00 pm-7:00 pm each week.
 
-26 total vendors are currently scheduled, vendors may vary on weeks.
 
-There will be food trucks and live music. Refer to the events section of the page
for specific information on what to expect each Wednesday.
 
-The children’s area is set to return! There will be interactive events for them to participate in.
 
We are so excited to see you stop out!

4 Tips to Ensure You’re Putting the Right Plant in the Right Place

Choose the right plants for your climate and lifestyle….

Our backyards have taken on a greater importance in our lives since the COVID-19 pandemic. Yards, parks and other green spaces are the safe places for socializing, playtime and recreation. Just about anything you can do indoors – working, cooking, reading, exercising – can be done outside. And that’s why so many people are “backyarding” today and enhancing and expanding their personal bit of green. 

Why add more plants, shrubs and trees to your backyard?  Improvements to outdoor spaces can help people live more fully outside by adding plants for visual interest, creating borders and privacy, and designating “fields” for play.  Research shows that living landscapes also have a calming effect on people seeking a break from stress.
 
Spring planting season is in full swing, and as you spruce up your outdoor spaces, the TurfMutt Foundation shares a few important tips for putting the right plant in the right place. 
 
Be purposeful. Determine how you want to use your yard, and then plant accordingly. Do you need a shade tree to sit under? Do kids and pets need a grassy area to play on? Will you add a patio or grill or picnic table for outdoor eating and socializing? Break your yard up into zones, and then use plants and other features to indicate where activities will happen. Once preliminary planning is done, conduct a plant inventory to determine what’s currently thriving in your backyard.
 
Know your climate zone. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to learn which plants, grasses, shrubs and trees are most likely to succeed where you live. Do you have long, hot summers? Are you in an arid region or a wet one? Understanding your environment will help you select climate-appropriate plants that will thrive.
 
Plant for pets. You’ll want to keep pet needs in mind when mapping out planting plans. Consider planting a hardy turfgrass which is more likely to withstand pet traffic. Keep resilient plants and flowers in heavily-trafficked areas of your yard and save the delicate varieties for raised planters on porches or patios. Finally, know which plants are dangerous to pets by downloading the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
 
Plant for pollinators and wildlife. Your living landscape in your backyard isn’t just for your enjoyment. Yards are also a vital home habitat for pollinators (bees, butterflies and birds) and backyard wildlife who rely on your backyard ecosystem for food and shelter. Planting nectar and pollen-rich flowers that are appropriate for your climate will nourish pollinators.


Allowing a pile of grass clippings to decompose on your lawn (rather than bagging it for the trash) will shelter insects, worms and other backyard critters. Dead tree branches can create nooks for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife.
 
Choose the right plants for your climate and lifestyle, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful and purposeful green space your entire family will enjoy.

To get inspired to “backyard more” in the seasons ahead, go to TurfMutt.com. To sign up for Mutt Mail, TurfMutt’s monthly e-newsletter with TurfMutt Foundation news and backyarding tips, go to:  http://eepurl.com/he0XzD

5 Easy Ways to Extend your Living Space Outdoors This Spring

Nothing brings more beauty to your outdoor space than a fresh garden…..

(BPT) – Many of us can’t wait to return outdoors after being cooped up inside, and with warmer weather upon us, it is the perfect time to make our backyards an extension of our indoor living spaces.

This backyarding trend is really taking off with families using their yards for everything from outdoor kitchens and dining rooms, to places to safely engage in sports and entertainment. According to the TurfMutt Foundation, home improvements — many of them in the backyard — skyrocketed in 2020. So did the demand for outdoor power equipment as homeowners invested in making their outdoor spaces fabulous, functional and fun.

If you’re looking for inspiration for that outdoor project, Sara Bendrick, licensed landscape contractor, author, TV personality and STIHL spokesperson offers 5 ways to extend your outdoor living space this spring.

1. Clean Up Your Outdoor Space

Spring is the perfect time to clean up your outdoor space by removing debris left behind from fall and winter weather. Clear out gutters, prune dead branches, pull weeds, blow off patios, and pressure wash outdoor walkways, drives, furniture and sheds. Taking care of this spring to do list can freshen up your space and help create a more inviting area for your family to relax and boost your home’s curb appeal.

2. Grow A Lush Lawn

The key to a healthy lawn starts with healthy soil and making sure it has the nutrients it needs. Depending on where you live in the U.S. and the species of grass, typically the best time to fertilize is between late spring to early summer when grass is growing the fastest. Remember when using fertilizer that less fertilizer is better than too much, and don’t forget to water. Make sure to water two to three inches after fertilizing. In general watering in the morning will allow water to reach the roots instead of evaporating in the hot sun. According to loveyourlandscape.org using a mulching mower can also help return nutrients back into your lawn, reducing the need for additional fertilizer.

3. Plant a Tree for added Beauty and Shade

Planting trees in your yard will not only provide more shade for your family to enjoy, but also reduce temperatures and noise pollution, while offering a habitat for wildlife. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, trees decrease soil erosion and help soil retain moisture too. Trees create a sustainable landscape solution that can generate a fun way to mark milestones or special occasions that your family can enjoy for years to come while adding a beautiful element to your landscape design. Check your local nursery for the right tree for your yard.

4. Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space with a New Garden

Nothing brings more beauty to your outdoor space than a fresh garden. Before planting, assess your location for sunlight and check with your local nursery or botanical garden to determine which plants will thrive. Choose native and climate appropriate plants and prep the bed with organic materials. Think about using a cultivator to break up weeds and soil in hardened flower beds and gardens which will allow water and nutrients to reach the roots. Don’t forget to spread your new plants out so that they have enough room to grow and surround them with 1–3 inches of mulch.

5. Create an Entertaining Area

Whether it’s outdoor grilling, games, sports or just relaxing, bring your family together in your own great American outdoors. Give your family the magic of the movies in your backyard by creating your own DIY theater experience.

Consider using a simple budget-friendly projector, and anchor a white sheet to use for the screen. Then just pick a movie from your favorite streaming platform, connect your laptop or mobile device and and grab some blankets or chairs. And don’t forget the popcorn!

Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or just looking to spend more time outdoors don’t be afraid to tackle these quick and easy projects to maximize your outdoor living space. For more tips like these visit stihlusa.com/great-american-outdoors.

Wildlife Gardening: Create A Refuge For Birds, Bees, And Other Creatures

Attract an assortment of wildlife with a low-maintenance haven they can call home……

 These tips will help you get your wildlife garden started!

 

The best wildlife gardens offer animals such as butterflies, bees, bats, birds, and amphibians a sense of security, a safe place to take shelter, birth and raise their young, and feed. It sounds like a lot to provide, but it’s easy to do! Our tips will help you create a low-maintenance haven for your wildlife visitors you can enjoy for years to come.

American Goldfinch - Songbirds

Before you get started planning (and planting) your wildlife garden, you’ll need to decide which types of wildlife you’d like to bring to your landscape. Do you want to welcome them all, or just a certain type of songbird, for example? As every animal has different needs, the plant selections and the design you choose will reflect your decision.

What To Plant To Attract Hummingbirds
Invite These Songbirds To Your Yard

2. Plant in Layers

Think of how a forest looks. Near the ground, you’ll find the groundcovers: small perennial fruits and flowers, and sometimes creeping vines. Shrubs are the next layer, then small trees. Large trees tower over everything. For wildlife to feel comfortable and make your garden a source of food and a place to live and reproduce, you’ll need to mimic these layers.

3. Design An All-Season Garden

Three hummingbirds hovering over a flower

This may not seem as important in cool climates, where insects and some other types of animals are not active in the winter, but there are many bird species that will benefit from the persistent seeds and berries left on shrubs, grasses, and herbaceous perennial flowers. Be sure to plant a wide range of plants that bloom, produce fruit, and provide cover through all seasons.

4. Keep Your Lawn to a Minimum

Backyard wildflower garden with bench
Keep an area of your lawn overgrown for diverse pollinators.

For many gardeners, it is appealing to maintain a carefully-mowed lawn near their homes and driveways. While turfgrass isn’t diverse enough to be wildlife-friendly, it can still have its place, so if you need a manicured lawn, all is not lost. Bear in mind, however, that wildlife gardens are pesticide-free—this may impact your decision to maintain a lawn, unless it is grown using organic methods. You can keep a small area “overgrown.” Wildlife garden spaces can fill a portion or all the rest of the existing land.

5. Use Native Plants Whenever Possible

bumble bee on raspberry bush
Bumblebees enjoy raspberry bushes and would make a great addition to your wildlife garden.

Grow what is best for your particular region. To do this, it is best to source seed and plants from your own geographical area. What is native in one part of the United States isn’t necessarily in another. Climate will also play a huge role in your choices.

A diverse selection of plant species is the key to success with wildlife gardens. Some wildlife-friendly plants to consider for your garden are:

  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Elderberry
  • Dogwood
  • Viburnum
  • Snowberry
  • Buckeye
  • Hazel
  • Hickory
  • Oregon grape
  • Little bluestem grass
  • Columbine
  • Anise hyssop
  • Four o’clock
  • Phlox
  • Borage
  • Oregano

Don’t forget that even if you live in the city, you can grow plants in containers to attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

6. Have a Source of Water Ready

Even shallow dishes containing a few smooth stones in the middle for butterflies and bees to land on are helpful if there aren’t any ponds nearby. Birdbaths are special treats for your feathered friends – and it is fun to watch them use them!

7. Add a Few Special Touches

Two Eastern bluebirds sit on a nesting box
Nesting boxes are always welcome.

Nesting boxes for birds that are cavity nesters (birds that use holes in trees) such as woodpeckers, owls, chickadees, and nuthatches, are very welcome. Bat houses for bats to take shelter in during the day are easy to construct and valuable to the winged mammals.

8. Check Local Ordinances

Before siting your wildlife garden, ensure there are no ordinances in your community regarding this style of garden. Wildlife garden landscapes are largely unmaintained, left to the natural processes of weather and time (although a bit of tidying and pruning should be performed when required). That may be frowned upon by both your neighbors and the lawmakers in your community. Inquire before you start work to save grief later.

Over time, your wildlife garden will mature and become even more of a haven to the animals who call it home. With suitable plant selections and proper siting, a wildlife garden is a low-maintenance landscape that will be sustainable long in to the future. Enjoy the animal encounters you will share!

Source: Farmers Almanac
 
SN

Sheryl Normandeau, BA, is a Master Gardener and writer from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her articles and short stories have appeared in several international publications. She is the co-author (with Janet Melrose) of the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series.