Caterpillars are Key!

Black capped chickadee parents must catch between 6,240 and 9,120 caterpillars to rear one clutch of their young. And, those caterpillars must be near the nest or mom and dad will spend too much energy hunting caterpillars. The chickadee is not alone. Many song birds need the soft skinned, nutritious, carotenoid-heavy caterpillars to grow their young to be healthy adults.

How can you grow more caterpillars for our baby song birds? Add native plants that support caterpillars to your landscapes.

"On average yards dominated by non-native plants:
* produced 75% fewer caterpillars
* were 60% less likely to have breeding chickadees
* Nests contained 1.5 fewer eggs
* Clutches were 29% less likely to survive
* Nests produced 1.2 fewer fledglings
* Maturation was delayed by 1.5 days." (D Tallamy) read more...

Why we should create living landscapes

In May we had the good fortune to attend Professor Doug Tallamy's (zoom) presentation during the [Finger Lakes Lake Friendly Living Awareness Week]( Professor Tallamy is Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He has been outspoken and well published on insect and plant interactions and the critical nature of those interactions to the survival of not only insects and their dependent predator species, but also of our own.

This summer we will share with you parts of his lecture and books. As advocates for the re-naturalization of the Skaneateles Lake watershed, to protect the lake and strengthen populations of songbirds and all that feed them, we share Dr. Tallamy's concern over global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America. We will share with you his research that shows how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. **_We can change that in our own neighborhoods_**; Go Native! perennials is here to grow the plants for that change. Read on to learn more from Dr. Tallamy. read more...

Gardening for Life

Gardening for Life

(Source: Wild Ones / Habitat Gardening in Central New York handout:

By Douglas Tallamy

Chances are, you have never thought of your garden – indeed, of all of the space on your land – as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the United States. That is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing, and will play even more critically in the near future. If this is news to you, it’s not your fault.

We were taught from childhood that gardens are for beauty; they are a chance to express our artistic talents, to have fun with, and relax in. And, whether we like it or not, the way we landscape our properties is taken by our neighbors as a statement of our wealth and social status.

No one has taught us that we have forced the plants and animals that evolved in North America (our nation’s biodiversity) to depend more and more on human-dominated landscapes for their continued existence. We have always thought that biodiversity was happy somewhere out there – “in nature” – in our local woodlot, or perhaps our national parks, or best of all “in the rain forest.”

We have heard nothing about the rate at which species are disappearing from our neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states. We have never been taught how vital biodiversity is for our own well-being. Read entire handout here: read more...

What is a "native plant"? Definition and helpful resources.

Go Native! perennials uses the definition put forth by Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke in their book The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home: “A plant or animal that has evolved in a given place over a period of time sufficient to develop complex and essential relationships with the physical environment and other organisms in a given ecological community.”

The Finger Lakes Native Plant Society provides a list of resources to help us determine if a plant is native to this area, and to learn about the plants. Check it out:

Habitat Gardening in Central New York offers programs and educational material that is helpful to all of us when selecting and growing native plants. read more...

Finding Plants that Feed Friendly Insects

Read Amara Dunn's blogpost here:

"... if one of your goals for your 2021 garden is to provide good habitat for beneficial insects that eat pest insects (natural enemies of pests), here’s some advice…

Look for pollen and nectar producers
Flowers that provide plenty of pollen and nectar make great habitat for natural enemies. This is because some natural enemies also eat pollen or nectar (or both). For example, this adult hover fly feeds on the pollen and nectar produced by this bachelor’s button..." read more...