Milkweed for monarchs? The answer isn’t so simple

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

The message seems to be getting out — monarchs need milkweed. The charismatic orange and black butterflies seek nectar on a wide variety of flowers, but their caterpillars feed on no other plant. And that appears to be where the clarity ends. Even after planting and managing for several of the 16 milkweed species native […]

Try the ‘bucket of doom’ to eliminate mosquitoes without harmful pesticides

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

Bucket of Doom. A slasher movie from the 1970s? The latest season of Fortnite? No, but for many homeowners, it might be something equally thrilling – an effective, inexpensive and safe way to control mosquitos. Five-gallon buckets are often a source of standing water where mosquitos can breed. This simple idea turns that around so […]

Rediscovering an overlooked native plant: Ninebarks

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

Plant obsessions can run in different directions. Some plant lovers amass a deep collection of a single species – say, iris, roses or hostas. Others go wide — they want one of everything. I’m definitely on the wide end of that spectrum, but I’m moving toward the center. I’ve come to appreciate how a mass […]

Bark-devouring beetles are killing Charlotte’s greenway ash trees

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Trees

This story originally appeared in the Charlotte Ledger business newsletter, and is reproduced here with permission. The start of summer beckons in the region’s extensive greenways, but Mecklenburg County’s publicly owned green spaces are under attack from a half-inch-long insect that’s turning whole areas of our urban forest into tree graveyards. The emerald ash borer, […]

Ghost Tales of the Uwharries

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

It was a warm, late-April evening in the Uwharries. Conditions seemed auspicious. The skies were clear, and the wind was calm. The moon wouldn’t rise until the wee hours. At dusk, my husband and I threw some camp chairs and a cooler into the bed of the truck. We drove halfway up the mountain near […]

Color and peace with spring wildflowers and migrants

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the past two years obsessing over the squiggly lines charting COVID’s peaks and troughs. I began to imagine the shape a graph might take if I plotted the occurrence of spring wildflowers and neotropical migrants. I envision the wildflower display as two gentle but significant peaks – one in mid-March […]

Outlaws and Bounties: Bradford pear edition

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Trees

Bradford pears are a problem. For years, I didn’t want to admit it. I’d drive the highways of the Piedmont and the backroads of the Uwharries in early spring, noting the occasional white-blooming tree at the edge of the woods and trying to convince myself they weren’t as invasive as privet. And then came the […]

Garden journals offer a window into our changing world

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Gardening

At the beginning of 2021, I was on the hunt for an app to help me keep better records of my vegetable garden. After exploring several options, I decided they were all too cumbersome and fussy. If I provided all the information they demanded, I worried I’d spend more time on data entry than digging, […]

Natural wonder: Reflecting on leaves, sky and more

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

Editor’s note: As we approach the climax of the hectic holiday season, let’s take a minute to step back and reflect on that natural wonder all around us in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. At the beginning of November, I challenged myself to pause for a moment every day to contemplate and appreciate something […]

A bad year for butterflies

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT

As the goldenrod and blue mist flowers in my Charlotte garden began to fade in early October, so too did my hope for overcoming what appears to be a dismal year for butterflies across the Piedmont. My native plant garden is in an urban neighborhood. There probably isn’t enough intact habitat to attract or host […]