Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Archive for north carolina

Are you Certifiable?

Monarch Butterfly

Ok, so most of us know about getting our backyards (or schoolyards, or businesses, etc) certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, right? It’s a fun thing to do and gives you great bragging rights and a wonderful opportunity to educate friends and neighbors on providing the four elements of a habitat (food, water, shelter and places to raise young) while reducing (eliminating!) chemical usage and practicing other eco-friendly gardening methods. But why stop there? Look into getting your yard certified as a Monarch Waystation. Like a lot of wildlife, Monarchs are struggling due to loss of habitat, pesticide usage, loss of wintering grounds, etc, and need all the help we can give them. Monarchs are particularly needy because in their caterpillar stage they are incredibly picky about what kind of plant they will eat and only have one host plant—Milkweed (Asclepias)— and milkweed is becoming increasingly rare. And as with all butterflies, if you want butterflies, you have to provide the host plant for the caterpillar.

Monarch Caterpillar

Fortunately, there are over 100 species of milkweed, so no matter where you are in the country, chances are there’s a milkweed native to your area. You’ll also need to provide nectar providing plants for the migrating, so make sure you research what’s native to your area and plant nectar sources that will be blooming when the Monarchs migrate through your area, especially fall blooming Asters

Monarch on Aster

And while you are learning what you need to provide to become a Certified Waystation, go ahead and see what other certifications might be available to you. Here in North Carolina, those of us trying to incorporate as many native plants into the garden can be certified as a Native Plant Habitat by the NC Native Plant Society. In Colorado you can even take classes to become a Native Plant Master, which I think would go nicely with my Master Composter certification!

You’re doing all the hard work to provide for wildlife anyway, and your friends and neighbors already think you’re certifiable, so prove them right!

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Save That Rain!

Rain Barrel

Here in the drought stricken Piedmont Area of North Carolina, its raining! And if you live in the Charlotte/Matthews, NC areas, you can order a rain barrel now for pickup at the Matthews Earth Day Festival on April 26 10a-2pm. 60 gallon rain barrels (like the one shown in the video) are $85 and the 80 gallons are $100. If you would like to order your rain barrel and start saving water, send an email to HAWKNCWF@gmail.com with your name, address, phone and indicating how many and what size rain barrels you want.   And then I’ll look forward to meeting you at the Earth Day Festival on April 26th.

Rain, Glorious Rain!!!

Over the last couple of days here in the drought ravaged Southeast, we have been experiencing a rare occurrence……RAIN! And fortunately, its the best kind of rain: a nice, gentle rain that is soaking into the ground versus a “gully washer” that runs off before the plants have a chance to take a drink. Its also a great reminder to install a rain barrel to keep some of the water for use later on when we are back in a dry spell. Mecklenburg County’s annual rain barrel sale will be January 26th, so I hope you will consider buying one for your garden. Deadline for ordering is January 14, 2008. And in case you haven’t seen our video and how to install a rain barrel, here it is again!

Composting Class at Latta Plantation

Jean Woods, North Carolina Native Plant Society, will be teaching the last composting class until the spring at Latta Plantation Nature Center this Saturday, 12/1, from 9am-1pm.  The class, made possible by Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Authority, is $10 and will cover planting with native plants, soil stewardship and how to build a compost pile. You will receive a wire bin to take home for your own compost pile and a book with lots of information on composting and a great list of plants native to this area.  You have to register, so call 704 875 1391 and sign up!