Monthly Archives: May 2015

DECORATION DAY

DECORATION DAY

This is my seventieth DECORATION DAY, (yes I know the name has changed) but it has always been a special day as it was the day my mother prepared flowers to decorate the graves of our ancestral history and the forgotten soldiers that had fought to make America free. From where we lived we had to trek in all four directions to visit the many cemeteries and graves this process took about a week to accomplish. I wish I could remember the stories mother told of each person that we stopped by and there location but time has eroded my mind. Continue reading

Book Review “Brining Nature Home” by Douglas W. Tallamy

Book Review “Bringing Nature Home”

by Douglas W. Tallamy

Bringing Nature Home

…How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens

By Douglas W. Tallamy

 Bringing Nature Home …How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, Douglas W. Tallamy, Timber Press, Portland, Or;  Copyright 2077;  272 pages. Reviewed by Kenneth Wilson “The Gardening Whisperer”.

This review is prepared to be on www.Gadeneningwhisperer.com

“Doug Tallamy is currently professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, and other subjects. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. He has also written a book with Rick Darke, “The Living Landscape”: It is about designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden.”  by Timber Press.

“Doug won the Silver Medal from the Garden Writer’s Association for his book, Bringing Nature Home.”

In the book “Bringing Nature Home” Mr. Tallamy builds the case that insects are the key to all other plant life in an ecosystem and that their mass diversity helps sustain the balance. As part of a food chain, these insects move biomass through the system, therefore, giving others something to eat and survive. He states that it is only native plants that these insects survive on and the removal of native plants and the replacement of alien plant forms disrupt this process. His hope is that more natives will be used in more home plantings which will restore the ecosystem, therefore, bring back more of the native species of animals that feed on these insects.

In the first part of the book, Tallamy gives several examples of plants and insects that are alien to the United States and how they have disrupted the balance in a given ecosystem. Tallamy also tells why and how insects cannot eat alien plants. If an alien plant has no checks by insects it will take over an area forcing out native plants.

Tallamy states that their chemicals in native plants that certain insects need to survive and they pass these chemicals along to other animals up the food chain. Passing these chemicals along with forms a food chain that keeps the ecosystem stable and healthy.

In the back portion of the book, Tallamy provides a list of insects and what plants they survive on. There are insects herbivores that eat plants and their insects that eat insects carnivores these keep those fast-growing insects in check. The back chapter has a list of native plants and how many species live on given known genera of plants consequently giving a good idea which plants will give the best diversity. Along with this Tallamy gives a helpful list of native plants to be grown in specific regions of the United States.

It is a must-read book if you love wildlife in your back yard. I feel that this is only the tip of the problem with diversity as when indigenous lands are stripped of their soils that are built up from ages of broken-down rubbish deposited from year’s plant debris.  When you remove the soil organisms that help native plants to survive it makes it difficult to reestablish some native plants.  Tallamy examples of restoring natives are from ten (10) acre plots in Delaware. It is much more difficult in the area of .25 acre lots where neighbors do not hold the same values for nature. The key to his whole theory is the diversity of insects living on native plants. One or two plants per small urban lots are not enough to change the ecosystem there must be large strips of native areas to keep the diversity alive and help the ecosystem.

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2015

This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged Alien PlantsDiversityEcosystemsInsectsNativenative plants. on May 18, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit

Bees and Pollinators

Bees and Pollinators

There have been many emotional talks on the decline of bees in the past few years. The graphic representations show that bee hives have declined since the mid-forties. Then when several massive bees kill in the past have happened fingers were pointed at insecticides. In order to get massive headlines, they place blame at the newest insecticide, Neonics. GET RID OF ALL INSECTICIDES. Well, that is a blown up headline-grabbing statement and not a real solution to the problem.

Let us address the biggest factor in the decline of beehives since the mid-forties one (1) there is less demand for honey and beeswax, these were both used for the war effort. The second (2) would be the demographics of America have changed; the population has moved out rural areas to the cities. Along with this families began to place alien plants around there houses ones that did not attract bees as they feared they would been sting.

With this movement has come another factor land went from land used for farming to suburban home dwellings.  Thus the removal of so much of the native bee habit has made it harder to endure. The removal of this diversity of plant material has had a great impact on bee survival.

The next headline-grabber In the past ten (10) years is a struggle of what is called Colony Collapse Disorder, this is a broad term for several ailments, one (1) deformed wing virus two (2) nosema fungi, three (3) Varroa mites, four (4) small hive beetles, and four (insecticides). This remains a concern for beekeepers but these problems are not insurmountable and they have several solutions.

To me, the greatest problem facing “THE BEES” is a disease that shall be known as “Stupid”. All applicators both commercial and privet applying any product to plants must read and follow directions correctly. There has been more damage to the bee population from “Stupid” than any other cause.

In a talk given by Joe Bischoff of AmericanHort, he shares facts that give several possible solutions that have been thought out where concerned will win.

Neonics & Pollinators

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJRqOde_zuE

Many individuals are focusing on this problem. One of the solutions is having pollination zones for both Honey bees.  This will help native insects, honey bees and butterflies. If these zones are packed with native plants it will

help the diversity of all life. There are areas in all communities that need sprucing and adding to the beauty of America. “America In Bloom” (AIB) should also take up this cause.

At least people are looking at this dilemma from a more realistic and positive resolution to this crisis. Also looking into what plants attract bees more would also help homeowners and city officials.  It is sort like that movie saying if you plant it, they will come.

© Ken Wilson, gardeningwhisperer.com 2015

This entry was posted in Horticulture TipsInsects and tagged America In BloomBeesColony Collapse DisorderHoney BeesNativenative plants.Pollinators on May 6, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit