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Member for
1 year 6 months

Blog Posts

Pollinator Power

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Pollinator Power

Last week a colleague and I attended a conference and workshop about protecting native pollinators, hosted by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.  While most of us might think of the European Honeybee, Apis mellifera, as the primary pollinator of crops, native bees are important pollinators of both wildflowers and commercial crops. Native pollinators, and particularly native bees, are important. Some are highly specialized, like the squash bee. Squash bees rely...

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More Backyard Nature: Milkweeds!

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More Backyard Nature: Milkweeds!

In a previous post I described some interactions between plants and insects that can make for interesting observation.  This week I’ll add another plant group that makes for some fun—the milkweeds (genus Asclepias). Many species of Asclepias can be found in North America and can make good garden plants provided you can provide the space that they’re roving growth form requires.  Milkweeds have highly specialized floral structures, and they also bear...

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Suburban Serengeti

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Suburban Serengeti

Safaris are expensive.  So why not trade the very large for the very small?  Stay away from tourist traps and take a trip into your back yard for action worthy of television special—you won’t even need to pack a lunch. Even if at first glance the average home’s yard and garden might seem virtually free of animal life, a closer look shows how wrong first glances can be.  Arthropods—members of the...

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So Your Garden is Rusting

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So Your Garden is Rusting

As we swing into high summer and garden plants kick into overdrive, the fungi, bacteria, and viruses that rely on them start making appearances too.  These plant pathogens manifest themselves in many ways, from the elegant to the grotesque. Rust fungi are one common pathogen that show up with warmer temperatures.  These fungi—along with a related group known as "smuts"—are some of the most destructive plant pathogens. Rusts and smuts...

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