You can do it.
It is easy, exciting, and good for you.
No one will judge you, but your success will show, the birds will know, and you can crow.
Landscape design and maintenance professionals can lead the way and make all their jobs (and clients) Two Thirders. Environmental organizations and clubs can make it a collaborative and engaging effort for their boards, employees, and members to join.
It is actionable, addictive, and joyous.
The adventure begins here. Plant it and they will come.
Lots of Food: native plants with year round fruit, nuts, seeds, leaves and flowers. Lots of insects.
Year Round Water: bird baths, water features, streams or ponds.
Varied Shelter: leaf litter, nest boxes, snags (dead trees), brush piles.
No Pesticides: bugs eat leaves, birds eat bugs. Birds need bugs to thrive. Let bugs eat some leaves. The trees really don't mind.
Low Stress: let it be.
1. Get to know your place:
What's your ecoregion? (Ecoregion Map) The first step in building the right ecosystem for your place is to know what it is.
What kind of soil do you have? - dig some holes in different areas. Rub the soil between your fingers. Is it sandy or sticky (clay). Pour some water in. Does it drain well? Take a sniff. Earthy means good organic content.
Are your plants Natives? Exotics? Invasives? No idea what you have? Ask your County Cooperative Extension State Extension Master Gardener Program, local garden club, or neighborhood know-it-all. Bird watchers are often good sources too, check out local clubs like Audubon.
2. Get to know some native plants:
What: Woody=trees and shrubs Herbaceous=flowers, grasses, groundcovers.
Where: sun or shade, wet or dry. Replace some lawn you aren't using?
Which- see below: Tim's Top Fives, Data bases, Books
Go shopping. Start with local garden centers and encourage them to stock a good selection and offer great advice. Follow up with on line growers. Confirm they grow without pesticides, especially neonics.
Befriend a gardener - join a garden club
Tim's Top Five Native Plants for You - Regional Native Plant Recommendations
Native Plant Databases
Grow Native (New England)
Mt Cuba (Mid-Atlantic)
Midwest Native Plant Society (Midwest)
3. Maintain without Pesticides:
It is all about the process, not products. Don't default to buying something. If it comes in a package, what has that got to do with natural process?
Basic chemical free (nature based) practices:
And, don't stop there......deepen your practice.
The Ten Commitments
4. Getting Good Professional help:
5. Track your Progress (and get to know your birds and insects at the same time):
6. Learn the language:
Familiarize yourself with the words of the initiated in our Glossary
If you do not know the names of things, the knowledge of them is lost, too.
— Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778)
Speak Botanical Latin- it isn't as hard as it may seem. a quick intro
The latin names of plants are daunting for many but a cozy club for the initiated. Botanical nomenclature is both descriptive and poetic. Don't be afraid, pronunciation is highly subjective and only needs to be delivered with confidence to be accepted. The hero of all this is Carl Linnaeus, who invented the system, which is based on sex, and had a great eye: he papered his bedroom walls with botanical prints...in the 1700's.
Read the Classics:
Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
Noah's Garden, Sara Stein
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
Bringing Nature Home and Nature's Best Hope, Doug Tallamy
Planting in a Post Wild World, Claudia West and Thomas Rainer
The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, Douglas W. Tallamy and Rick Darke
7. Follow Complicated Conversations
8. Keep a Journal
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Ecoregions are useful in identifying geographic areas that share similar growing conditions, and, therefore, similar native plants and animals.
What's happening out there that Two Thirders should know about?
OR--Get a conversation going about something interesting or challenging. Set up a zoom and post it here.
To find your ecoregion, go back to Case Studies page and click on the info dot at top.
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