Rethinking how we landscape

At the University of Delaware, we are fortunate to call Doug Tallamy one of our own. I first heard him talk at a horticulture event I was covering. Doug is an entomologist and professor at the University of Delaware’s Department of Wildlife Ecology. His influence and expertise is respected worldwide. Thanks to his books, his articles and his generous appearances on Zoom, Doug Tallamy’s message is starting to get out. This is a recording of a recent appearance he gave to Ohio State University. I attended this for advanced training as a Master Gardener. His lecture beings at 3:50.

I have joined the Home Grown National Park effort that Tallamy has started. I planted my first oak tree, and hope to get many more. Increasingly I am adding native plants to encourage more caterpillar and insect activity.

Does this mean I will remove the many crepe myrtles on my property? No. But, as beautiful as they are in late summer, I won’t plant anymore. Will I still decorate my front porch steps with my favorite magenta geraniums? Yes I will. It is okay to grow and enjoy non-natives. But I am finding spots in my yard for milkweed, echinacea, mountain mint, redbud and serviceberry trees. I challenge anyone who reads Doug Tallamay’s books or watches him lecture in person or on YouTube will be compelled (and urgently so) the way they landscape their homes.

Introducing Master Gardener Minute

Being a social media enthusiast (I graduated from the University of Delaware  Social Media Strategic Social Media Marketing course in 2014) I kicked around some ideas to share Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener program on various platforms.

Working with county agents, we developed the idea of a Master Gardener Minute, using the hashtag #MGMinute. One minute or under, the short informative video series will cover popular garden topics at a length suitable for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube.

Yesterday, I shot a few segments with Delaware Master Gardener Wendy Ferranti and here is the first roll out. What do you think? What future topics would you like to see?

Extension welcomes little hands and big eyes to discover the wonders of gardens & nature

I love my job!

It allows me to intermingle with experts and follow along as the lessons of nature, flora and fauna in Delaware exist, thrive (and sometimes threatened) are shared with the public. I can’t say enough about the men and women who work and volunteer with Cooperative Extension outreach and teach curious minds, young and old alike! I always learn something new following them around!

Each May, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension agents and their wonderful volunteer Master Gardener experts, invite local second graders to visit their Demonstration Garden in Georgetown, Delaware. After exploring and discovering herbs, seeds, plants, flowers, trees and compost in the morning, the students enjoy a lunch break in our picnic grove area, and then trek off under the canopy of many leaves to explore the University of Delaware’s woodland classroom.

We never know what experience might spark a young mind and continue with a fascination of our natural world into formal education and a career. A day like this could be the start of something spectacular!

I listen to the “oohs” and “ahs” and when I am not doing that myself, I try and snap a few pictures of wide-eyed children in the throes of imagination and discovery! There were many more pictures that I did not have photo releases for. But here are a few — okay few hundred — photos of three marvelous days in May, 2015. Thanks to my assistant Jackie Arpie for joining me in taking pictures!

The embedded Flickr slide show won’t play on some iOS devices. Here’s the link to the photos!