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Annual Appeal

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Welcome to the Native Jungle, Where Local Birds and Bees Thrive

In her recent article in EcoRI, Welcome to the Native Jungle, Where Local Birds and Bees Thrive, RIWPS member Anne Raver, writes about why she chooses to plant natives.  Anne, a Warren, R.I., resident and longtime gardener, has written about landscape and the environment for more than 30 years.

May 26

When you stop thinking about plants as pretty outdoor furniture on a green rug, and see them as complex organisms that feed thousands of beneficial insects, birds and mammals, your garden becomes another universe.

My husband and I moved up from an old farm property in Maryland to a sunny corner lot in the middle of Warren, R.I., a few years ago, and decided to devote most of the space to a large kitchen garden, surrounded by plants that would feed and shelter wildlife.

We kept some of the old plants that were here: a gnarled cedar tree, purple lilacs, a magnolia, and two purple smoke trees that edged the yard, as well as the horse chestnut and craggy catalpa near the house.

But we took out almost everything else: a couple of Japanese maples and peonies, German irises, hybrid tea roses, burning bushes, and a severely clipped row of yews alongside the house.

We dug up a good part of the lawn for our vegetable garden, another swath for prairie flowers such as Joe Pye-weed, ironweed and rudbeckias, and another for what must look like a collection of weeds — goldenrods, little bluestem, river oats, milkweed — and sticks — native viburnums, birch, beach plum, staghorn fern, high bush blueberry — to our neighbors, because they are still too young to look like anything else.

They can’t see what we see in our mind’s eye: these plants as they develop and fill in over the years, providing a lush and beautiful habitat for insects, birds and animals.

It’s easy to get inured to the grim statistics: 95 percent of the wilderness that once lay across the continental United States is now covered with cities and suburbs, 30 million acres of lawn, highways and malls, industrial parks, landfills, and many forms of agriculture.

That leaves just 5 percent for wildlife. No wonder half the bird species of 40 years ago have disappeared. Or that more than one-third of North American birds, 432 species, are at risk of extinction.    Read more….

Invite: Workshop with Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke

THE LIVING LANDSCAPE

On Saturday, June 24th, Sogkonate Garden Club (Little Compton, RI)  invites you to their free workshop, The Living Landscape, by nationally acclaimed authors Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke from 9-3 at Wilbur McMahon School.

Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, nationally recognized experts, will use lecture and photographs to demonstrate how to create landscapes that are not only beautiful but also support local wildlife and biodiversity. Attendees will see how they blend art, ecology and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. They will also hear how insects and plant interactions support diverse wildlife communities.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to see your landscape in a different way.

Spaces are limited.  Advance registration is required.

Registration is at sogkonate.org.

 

Annual Appeal Letter

Our work …

Model Pollinator Gardens throughout New England

Congratulations to New England Wild Flower Society as it launches Pollinate New England program which includes building a network of model pollinator gardens throughout New England.

Read their press release which includes a short questionnaire for those interested in getting involved or receiving updates about this project as it progresses.

Put Down Those Pruners: Pollinators Need Your ‘Garden Garbage!’

For the home landscape, what fall gardening practices best enhance ecological diversity?  A message brought to you by the Xerces Society.  Justin Wheeler, Web & Communications Specialist writes,

It should be welcome news for weary gardeners. You’ve weeded, tilled, and toiled under the hot sun all summer long, and now — it’s time to stop. For many, however, the temptation to pick, pluck, and prune the landscape to make it neat and tidy for the winter is too hard to ignore. This impulse to “clean up our gardens for fall” has serious impacts on a whole host of pollinators and beneficial insects. All it takes is a weekend and some garden tools to wipe out whole populations of insects who have been hard at working hard in your yard all summer too – provisioning their nests and making well-stocked winter homes for the next generation.  Read the entire article on Xerces Society Blog

Journaling through the heat wave

Naturalist and writer Bruce Fellman describes his experience on Saturday, August 4 at a RIWPS walk.  Journaling through the heat wave begins …

“Earlier this year, I wrote about what promised to be a splendid, four-part series of walks called Plants and Their Places that was sponsored by the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, a truly wonderful organization dedicated to the “appreciation, protection, and study of our native plants and habitats.”

In the write-up, trek leader and botanist Doug McGrady proposed introducing flora aficionados to his favorite locales and the green things they supported, with investigations of intriguing areas in North Stonington, Conn.; Arcadia and Scituate in Rhode Island; and, most recently, the superb 2,000 or so acre Tillinghast Pond Management Area in West Greenwich.

“I wanted to attract both experienced botanists and newcomers alike—to help them share what they love and find something new,” said McGrady.

I instantly intended to go on all the walks…” Read the rest of the article at Southern Rhode Island Newspapers.