Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nature Happens Here

Yesterday I spent the day at a  conference organized by Wild Ones ( ) entitled Design with Nature, Creating Communities Above and Below Ground.  The keynote speaker was Douglas Tallamy.  I have read his book Bringing Nature Home. and it is one of my favorites.  An entomologist, Douglas Tallamy makes the connection between native plants, the insects that have evolved with them, and the birds and higher mammals that live off these insects.  Alien plants cannot often support our insects, which have evolved to live off our native plants.  Therefore, in gardens with fewer native species, there are fewer insects, thus less food for birds and other life.

Here are some of the points that Tallamy made in his talk yesterday:

  • our sterile landscapes are starving birds
  • there are currently 1/2 the number of birds than in the 1960's
  • 1/3 of bird species in the US are endangered
  • we use TOO FEW plants
  • leave your leaves! Ground foraging birds need them!
  • alien ornamental plants have evolved outside of our local food webs
  • plants moderate our weather systems
  • we lose 50,000 acres per day to deforestation
  • in the next 50 years, 75 million acres of forestland will be cut down releasing 5.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide
  • We are paving over our healthy ecosystems
  • We have a love affair with the lawn
  • We need to put plants back into the landscape
  • landscape with plants that support our local food web
  • 23% of Black Bear diet is insects
  • 96% of terrestrial birds rear young on insects
  • minimize specimen planting, plant thickets and communities
  • woody plants support more animals that herbaceous plants
  • Horticulturists and Ecologists need to come together!!!
When he signed my book, Douglas Tallamy wrote, "Garden as if life depended on it!"

Make this your New Rule for 2010!

1 comment:

Moonstone Gardens said...

I agree with the sentiment "Garden as if your life depends on it." If not ours, then our grandchildren's.
I always had a very manicured garden, but lately have been big on thickets, hedgerows, trees etc. Seeing wildlife in the garden is just as thrilling as seeing a pristine garden.