Gems from our eNews

Enjoy these articles from our past e-Newsletters. And let us know if you have ideas for future subjects that interest you and deserve attention.

Native Plant Highlights

Purple-flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) has large, fragrant flowers.

Adapted from our eNews, July 2023

Purple-flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) is an eye-catching shrub that will attract (and feed) a steady flow of buzzing and fluttering life.

Gray birch grove showing bark.

April 2022

Gray birch (Betula populifolia) is a common species that has a lot of potential for managed landscapes. It is a fast-growing tree that can thrive in poor soil and a valuable host plant for Lepidoptera.

Witch hazel blossoming in October.

December 2020

American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms late in the fall just as most other plants are going dormant. These delicate blossoms remain in flower for a month or more, but just who are its pollinators?

Epigaea Flower

November 2019

Mayflower or trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens) is much beloved for its fragrant flowers, which bloom early in spring. But did you know that our state flower was once in danger of disappearing from the Commonwealth?

Wrinkleleaf goldenrod (Solidago rugosa). Photo by Meredith Gallogly.

September 2019

Goldenrods are among our most ecologically beneficial perennial wildflowers— and no, they aren’t causing your allergies! Fall in love with the beautiful and diverse genus Solidago.

Ground pine (Dendrolycopodium obscurum). Photo by Homer Edward Price / CC-BY.

December 2018

Clubmosses (also called lycophytes or lycopods) are part of an ancient lineage of plants that has been extraordinarily resilient through time but is now vulnerable to the excesses of the Anthropocene.

Oenothera biennis flower. Photo by Meredith Gallogly.

September 2018

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a native biennial wildflower that frequently pops up in newly disturbed soil. Easily disregarded as a weed, it deserves a second look for its ecological value.

Buttonbush in flower. Photo © Meredith Gallogly

April 2018

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) are quite different in habit and typical growing conditions, but both have tremendous potential in designed landscapes.

Willow (Salix spp.) buds. Photo by Meredith Gallogly.

March 2018

While largely known for its eye-catching velvety catkins in late winter, the pussy willow (Salix discolor) and its fellow members of the genus Salix, are also ecological dynamos.

Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) flowers in March. Photo by Meredith Gallogly.

February 2018

The very first wildflower to bloom in New England is the aptly named skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), whose highly distinctive flowers begin to emerge in March.

Aronia melanocarpa berries. Photo by Pawvic / CC BY-SA

Adapted from our eNews, October 2015

Looking to replace the non-native lilac or forsythia hedge in your yard? Consider chokeberry (Aronia spp.), one of the many beautiful native shrubs that we greatly underutilize in landscaping.

Considering Our Landscapes

Dooryard violet (Viola sororia).

Originally published in the Belmont Citizens Forum, April 2023

Transitioning your garden to be more native, wild, and welcoming to pollinators and birds does not need to be an overwhelming or expensive undertaking. In fact, you can get started by being a little lazy! 

A winter landscape. Photo © Meredith Gallogly

Adapted from our eNews, November 2017

Winter landscapes in New England have a quiet elegance all their own. Learning how to distinguish tree species from the mass of leafless limbs can open up an entirely new layer of beauty.

Hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe). Photo by George McLean.

Adapted from our eNews, November 2015

Put those leaf blowers down, and ease up on your rakes! When we remove fallen leaves from our gardens we are taking away an important ecological resource.