Who Invented the Lawn?

The lawn has invaded the suburban native habitat of the U.S. and is not an American made product. The concept of the lawn started in medieval France and Britain; low grass around your castle made it easy to watch for anyone approaching.

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Amanda Bayley
PLAN it WILD Fall Newsletter - Code Leave Leaves

The Hudson Valley in the fall is like no place else on earth.

Red maples! Orangy-red sweet gums. Purple-red mapleleaf viburnums. Crimson-copper little bluestem grass. Fire-alarm red sumacs! All set against a backdrop of blue mountains and a green Hudson River.

While native plants have their autumn glow on right now, they will soon provide an essential function in the garden: overwintering habitat for wildlife. This includes berries for birds to eat through the winter, hollow stems and leaf litter for beneficial insects to hibernate in, and evergreen shrubs for small mammals to take shelter from the snow.

Fall is the time to enjoy the show and let your garden be...it's ok to leave the leaves!

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Amanda Bayley
Westchester County Passes Native Plant Executive Order

GREAT NEWS! Thank you George Latimer, County Executive for the Westchester County Government for passing Executive Order No. 10 of 2018 stating that "Plant materials native to Westchester County shall be used exclusively in designing, planting, maintaining and managing the landscape features of all County roadsides, parks, public areas and other County properties and facilities..."

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Amanda Bayley
Sarah's Garden: Concept Plan

After reviewing the habitat assessment and performing a site analysis, drawing up an existing conditions plan, and meeting with Sarah to understand her family’s programming needs, Amanda drafted the phased concept plan below for Sarah’s property. The concept plan includes a native flowering bird tree garden, outdoor living room, native foundation plantings, invasive species removal, goatscaping, replacing sections of the lawn with meadow, habitat restoration throughout, and siting of bee hives!

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Amanda Bayley
Sarah's Garden: Existing Conditions

In order for Amanda to plan out an overall concept for Sarah’s garden, she needed to draw up the existing conditions on site. Where is the existing habitat and what are the dominant plant communities? What are some connections that need to be improved upon? Which areas are most used? What are the prominent sight lines? Where is water flowing to, draining from, and/or pooling? Do patio or pathways need to added or modified? Where is it shady and sunny? Where does the family spend most of their time? What is the current maintenance of the landscape? Any wish list items?

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Amanda Bayley
Having It All

Where I used to work, there was a saying on a white board that read:

“Free. Cheap. Great . Pick two.” 

It served as a reminder to internal clients that they can’t have it all.  And I feel like that’s the case with a lot of things. Take dieting: “Yummy. Low Carb. Convenient. Pick two.” See how that works? Until recently, I thought of being “environmentally friendly” in the same sort of way -- as if I’d have to sacrifice beauty in my yard to plant habitat supportive plants  – or that it’d be more work to create ecosystems than not.  I couldn’t have beautiful AND habitat supporting AND low maintenance.  I was wrong.

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Sarah OlveraComment
Going Native?

When I first started to learn about native vs. invasive plants, I saw things as pretty black and white. Native = good; non-natives = bad. I started hatching a plan to get rid of everything non-native and replant everything “native.” My first hint that I might be over-simplifying (and in for a TON of work!) was when an informed friend asked, “Native? How far you going back?”

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Sarah Olvera