Home > Gardening with Ellen September 2013

Gardening with Ellen September 2013

Gardening with Ellen Pell


Gardening with Ellen


At a gardening meeting last week, one of the speakers claimed she never cut her grass shorter than six inches because grasshoppers need taller grass. Admittedly that seems extreme. But for me, it meant that we have to give something back to Nature in return for our beautiful planet.


Much of our native habitats have been replaced with malls, housing developments, industrial facilities and roads. We are destroying the host plants for many of our native pollinators: birds, bees, butterflies, etc., and, in a domino effect, the wildlife that feed on these plants. This year I did not see even one Monarch butterfly, even though I planted an abundance of their beloved milkweed.


I urge you to consider devoting part of your lawn to a bed of native plants. And that you replant some existing beds with native plants. So what should you be planting?


Taste, exposure and space are such a big factor that there’s no easy answer. I can only suggest what works for me and I’ll start with flowers. My most successful natives, year after year, have been various types of sunflowers. And how the bees love them I also recommend zinnias, especially the giant variety. These are a favorite of goldfinches. And if you can find it, try 'Black and Blue' salvia: a hummingbird magnet. Last, but not at all least, plant asclepias (milkweeds)for those poor, deprived Monarchs. All can be planted from seed sown directly onto the soil. For under $10 you will enjoy a profusion of pollinator-friendly blooms.


Ellen Pell


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