Ellen has been gardening with and appreciating native plants for eleven years in north metro Atlanta. She is especially fond of native shrubs and trees but is willing to learn to love herbaceous plants as well. Helping others to see the beauty and versatility of Georgia's native plants, whether it be in the wild or in the garden, is both a passion and a compulsion -- just ask her kids! Ellen is an active member of the Georgia Native Plant Society and the Georgia Botanical Society. She uses her personal blog, usinggeorgianativeplants.blogspot.com, to share seasonal ideas and pictures about native plants in her area.

Recent Blog Posts

May 19
Plants for Soggy Places  

Mar 31
Signs of Spring   (1 comment)

Feb 28
Hooray for the Lilies of Spring  

Jan 21

Dec 12
A Southern Christmas Tree  

Nov 01
The Colors of Fall  

Sep 30
Goldenrod - Good for Gardens  

Aug 28
Clematis virginiana - the REAL one   (2 comments)




Resolve to Give Back to Nature
by Ellen Honeycutt - posted 12/27/11

During this season of giving I can’t help but think of those that need the best gift we can give them – our support.  I’m talking about the things that we co-habit the Earth with: the plants, the insects, the birds, the mammals.  We can do things - even small things - to give them a bit of support:
Food – remember the food chain and start with the building blocks: PLANTS.  Native plants feed native insects which then feed other native insects and birds.  Plants also feed mammals – deer browse on foliage while seeds and nuts feed chipmunks, squirrels and birds.  Smaller mammals and birds become food for larger predators.  Non-native plants feed very few native insects and therefore do very little to support the populations of all that rely on them.  Leaf litter feeds the insects that birds like the brown thrasher hunt.
Water – create a fresh water source in your yard.  It can be as small as a single birdbath or a shallow container on the ground.  Change it out every few days to keep it fresh and healthy.

Brown Thrasher splashing in my birdbath

Shelter – providing shelter is so much more than having birdhouses.  Birds need year-round protection and evergreen shrubs and trees can provide that.  Loose brush piles provide shelter for small mammals as well as daytime cover for birds as they hunt for food.  Tall trees provide places for squirrels to nest and dead trees (known as “snags”) provide both food and shelter for certain birds like woodpeckers.
A place to raise their young – birds like robins, mockingbirds and cardinals and many others nest in shrubs that have dense growth in the summer time.  Again with the brush piles ....  Flat rocks provide the habitat that creatures like salamanders need.  Dense leaf litter is the home to many insects and their young.

Woodpecker on a snag in my yard

Habitat – now think BIGGER than your backyard.  Every small piece of space that we can preserve for them in a natural state is a gift that keeps on giving.  Here are ideas that get bigger and bigger:
-          Convince your friends and neighbors to leave natural places; if each one of us left part of our backyard as natural (still removing any invasives!), imagine the corridor that we could link between us.  Birds and mammals need contiguous spaces not isolated pockets.  Spread the word.
-          Support efforts in your local communities to create city parks and county parks.  Volunteer at these parks to teach other people about using native plants and about the importance of removing invasive plants.  Your gifts of time and effort are worth more than you know.
-          Support your state parks by visiting them, volunteering through their “Friends of” organization, and supporting legislative efforts to fund them and create new ones.  Helping to remove invasives is so helpful - cutbacks in funding have left this job mostly undone, allowing invasive plants to disturb even more natural habitat.
-          Support groups like The Nature Conservancy, The Georgia Conservancy, and others that come together to purchase sensitive areas for conservation.

When you're thinking about your new year's resolution, think about how you can help those that live around us.


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