Finches are Moving In!

Female purple finch

Theo Staengl November 5th, 2020 This fall and winter, we’re expecting many more finches in the area because the pines in the northern states and Canada did not produce as many seeds as usual. Many finches eat pine seeds, so when there isn’t a good crop, they travel further south to look for food. Pine […]

Impacts on Animals and Systems: A Misguided way of using Native Plants

Section of a natural grassland in Albemarle County, with about 125 species in the view, and 15-20 plants per square foot.

Also perpetuating the issue of species and habitat loss in the Piedmont is the idea and practice that an individual plant can support wildlife. It cannot, and many well-intentioned people and organizations are falling into a trap. A plant may attract wildlife, and for some reason we assume it is doing something good beyond attraction. […]

Monarch and Viceroy Butterflies

Monarch butterfly

The monarch (first image) and viceroy butterflies (second image) were named in honor of a force that diminished both human diversity and native habitat integrity. These beautiful insects fight for their very existence while bearing the names of their killers! As botanist Justin Robinson (@countrygentlemancooks) so eloquently explains, a powerful remnant of colonialism exists in […]

Wild potato-vine

Wild potato-vine

By Rachel Floyd  July 28, 2020 Ipomoea pandurata, commonly called wild potato-vine, manroot, or man-of the-earth is a morning glory species that is native to the eastern half of North America. Grocery store sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are a close relative native to Central and South America. Like sweet potato, wild potato-vine has a large […]

Japanese Garden: Restful View July 2020

Photo of garden in July 2020

Bill Sykes  July 5, 2020 We love getting feedback from our clients! This blog post features one of our projects called the ‘Native Elements Rock Garden’, and it demonstrates the beauty of gardens that mimic Piedmont grassland habitats. Our client discusses managing his new, natural ecosystem: I took a different approach for some photos today. […]

Xeriscape in the City Highlights At-risk Habitats

Eastern prickly pear

By Devin Floyd April 29th, 2020 At this high-traffic urban corner we are engaging the public with an educational exhibit highlighting some rare, local ecosystems. This work has become part of our brand – the creation of outdoor interactive exhibits of local natural history (plants, animals, fungi, geology, etc). With southern exposure and ideal site […]