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Sources

http://www.plantnative.org/how_intro.htm

"PlantNative is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. We believe this promotes biodiversity, preserves our natural heritage, reduces pollution and enhances livability. Our goal is to work with nursery owners, landscape professionals and consumers to increase public awareness of native plants and related landscaping practices and to increase both the supply of and demand for native plants." This is the mission statement of the PlantNative team. Located in Portland, Oregon, they are part of a go green with natives movement that is very active on the west coast.

Although it might seem on the surface that they would have little information or encouragement for us high prairie gardeners, by clicking on the link (above) one will find excellent information about the value of natives, how to begin to work them into a traditional landscape, and general encouragement.

www.dnr.state.mn.us/gardens/nativeplants/index.html

Picture of a native plants in front of DNR.

The introduction to this Website states,"Native plants are increasingly used for gardening, landscaping, and restoring and reclaiming native plant communities. They can provide natural beauty, cost-effective landscaping alternatives, environmental services, and habitat for wildlife."

Although this site was developed specifically for Minnesota gardeners and gardening conditions, it can still be valuable for us. There is a good discussion of 'plant communities' which is valuable. There are suggestions for plants for specific sites - dry, shady, etc.

Even when the information given doesn't quite 'fit' our situation, these academic and governmental websites (those ending in .edu or .us or even .org) can be very helpful.

www.nativeplantnetwork.org

This website provides access to a propagation database maintained by the Native Plant Network. Information provided is very detailed and fairly technical. Check out the Native Plants Journal – the professional native plant industry journal. Subscription information is available at http://npj.uwpress.org/

http://plants.usda.gov/java/

This website is information-intense. Some of the information is for professionals and can contain technical language. Most information, however, is immediately useful to the home gardener and especially for persons wanting to know more about native plant options, distribution, growing requirements, communities. The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. It includes names, plant symbols, checklists, distributional data, species abstracts, characteristics, images, crop information, automated tools, onward Web links, and references. This information primarily promotes land conservation in the United States and its territories, but academic, educational, and general use is encouraged. PLANTS reduces government spending by minimizing duplication and making information exchange possible across agencies and disciplines.


http://www.nps.gov/plants/

The Plant Conservation Alliance is a consortium of ten federal government Member agencies and over 225 non-federal Cooperators representing various disciplines within the conservation field: biologists, botanists, habitat preservationists, horticulturists, resources management consultants, soil scientists, special interest clubs, non-profit organizations, concerned citizens, nature lovers, and gardeners. PCA Members and Cooperators work collectively to solve the problems of native plant extinction and native habitat restoration, ensuring the preservation of our ecosystems.

This site is a gold mine of links to virtually every resource relating to native plants and wildflowers. Explore the links.

www.wildflower.org

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes. The website contains plant images, articles on specific uses for native plants – butterfly gardens, native grass lawns, and so on, and extensive suggestions for more research.



http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife.aspx



Everything you need to know about gardening for wildlife and getting your backyard certified as habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Great project ideas for children and families.

www.bringingnaturehome.net

     Have you thought of your garden as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S.? But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.

    This site and others linked to it explore the vital connection between our native plants and our native insects that have co-evolved to support each other. There is the real potential of losing not only some of our native plants but also the beneficial insect populations that support the birds, the butterflies - pollinators in general - all of which are connected in a very simple way to the quality of life on earth.

     The book, Bringing Nature Home, by Doug Tallamy makes the case that we need to replant our 'alien' gardens with natives - reconciliation gardening - for the benefit of all..

 

News

Summer Food in Wintry February

 

16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.


more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News