April 22 and everyday...
We all want a safe and healthy environment for ourselves and our children. If we have to change a few ways of doing things that will benefit everyone, Earth Day is a good day to start putting a few ideas into action. Have some fun by trying something new and watching it become a habit!
Plant a Tree...
April is the perfect month for planting trees and shrubs. Spring offers a combination of cool temperatures and enough rain that will enable the transplanted tree to grow a healthy root system.
Choose from beautiful flowering redbuds, dogwoods, crabapple trees, maples with stunning fall foliage or majestic oaks. For more information, visit our blog to read the 3 part series about trees: ‘Plant a Tree’ at https://www.pasquesi.com/trees-shrubs/earth-day-resolution-1-plant-a-tree ; ‘Ash Tree Replacement’ at https://www.pasquesi.com/trees-shrubs/earth-day-resolution-2-go-native and ‘Go Native’ at https://www.pasquesi.com/trees-shrubs/earth-day-resolution-3-ash-tree-replacements
Read a Book...
The Overstory by Richard Powers: A beautiful, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about trees and our place in the natural world.
Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy: How the choices we make as gardeners can impact the diversity of life in our gardens and our whole environment.
Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees by Charlotte Adelman & Bernard L. Schwartz: This treasure was written and illustrated by a local author & photographer. They have compiled an in-depth guide to gardening alternatives to non-native shrubs and trees in the Midwest. It’s a valuable resource that encourages us to plant more native shrubs and trees that will bring more birds and wildlife into our landscapes.
Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener by Rodale, Inc.: Rodale books are written by gardeners and for gardeners. They have been on the forefront of providing DIY organic gardening information and are filled with practical information for a changing climate.
Gardening for Birds, Butterflies & Bees by the Editors at Birds & Blooms magazine: The colorful photos will draw you in! Plus, there's plenty of practical information about creating a wildlife-friendly backyard. Bird-, butterfly- and bee-friendly plants are listed, as well as plenty of photographs of the pollinators that they will attract.
10 Easy Tips for Earth Day and Everyday
- Computers are always sucking up energy so… turn your computer and monitor off at the end of the day and save a little $…
- Switch to machine-washable/reusable cloth towels and napkins…prettier too.
- Recycle as much as you can. We all know about recycling paper, plastic and glass but some towns even have a food scrap pickup. Check into it...
- Save water without giving anything up. Repair a leaky faucet, install water-saving toilets and showerheads. Run washing machines or dishwashers only with full loads.
- Add a new houseplant or more! Green, leafy plants clean the air inside your home. Green foliage adds to a sense of calm and also brings out the nurturing instinct.
- Read labels before purchasing cleaning products. Look for chemical-free options. Vinegar is a good and inexpensive cleaning agent, too.
- Cut back on paper towels by reaching for E-cloth products for cleaning stainless steel refrigerators, glass, counters and many other surfaces. No chemicals and washable. When watching your car, look for E-cloth towels and scrubbers to clean your car without chemicals or 'throwaway' towels.
- Donate old newspapers to animal shelters.
- Ban all Styrofoam products from your house or office.
- Carry your lunch in an insulated, reusable container.
Be choosy about reusable, everyday items. What can you find at Pasquesi Home & Gardens?
- Pasquesi reusable cloth bags: We’re proud to offer these tough, green bags… perfect for grocery shopping or toting just about anything. Keep these washable bags in your car trunk and you’ll always have one on hand. (Free... when you purchase a bag of Pasquesi firewood.)
- Kraft paper shopping bags: We have been packing up your purchases in these sturdy brown bags before recycling was a ‘big deal’. We have 2 sizes: a large shopping bag and a smaller tote that can be easily used again many times. The small tote is a perfect lunch bag size!
- Corkcicle containers: These colorful & sturdy thermal cups are designed with triple insulation in lots of sizes. Choose between canteens, tumblers, water bottles, wine chillers & others. Stylish and sustainable.
- Organic Planting Materials: As more organic gardening products become available, we stock as many choices as we can. Look for a full line of organic Espoma products to use as planting amendments. Get your vegetable gardens off to a good start with a variety of certified organic Black Gold bagged potting mixes and composts. We also stock chemical-free solutions to keep pests away from plants and patios such as Neem Oil, Critter Ridder, Natria and many more. A knowledgeable sales associate would be happy to help out with any questions.
- Blue Q: Blue Q offers a wild selection of colorful shoppers, totes, lunch bags and coin purses with whimsical illustrations. Besides looking cool, Blue Q bags are created from recycled materials and can be reused... Simply wipe clean and air dry.
Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Strive to send nothing to our landfills.
- Use glass or stainless steel containers to store food in or to use as water bottles.
- Do not buy food or water in single-use plastic packaging or single-use plastic water bottles.
- Bring your own canvas, mesh or cloth bags when you shop… avoid taking plastic bags.
Start a Compost Pile.
What is composting? Composting breaks down organic matter, which includes anything that was once living. This means you are recycling nutrients to return them to the earth, so you can use the end product to improve the quality of your soil.
Getting started: Keep a small sealed container in your kitchen or in an outdoor compost bin to collect food waste for compost.
Benefits of composting:
- Diverts organic matter from landfills, helping to reduce methane and carbon emissions.
- Increases carbon in the soil, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.
- Recycles nutrients and improves soil quality.
- Saves water to promote healthy soil… need less watering.
- Makes you aware of how much food you waste.
What you can compost:
- Vegetables and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, lawn clippings, tree branches, wood ashes from fires, hair and nail clippings, natural fibers.
What not to compost: Meat, fish, poultry, rice, cat litter, dog or cat feces, disposable diapers. -Credit: Sierra Club
Tend Your Garden: Choose plants that will attract and sustain pollinators such as Monarch butterflies & bees.
Monarch butterflies: The Monarch butterfly population in North American has dropped over 90% in the last 20 years. Home gardeners can play a big part in increasing their numbers by planting the Monarch's favorite plants, native Milkweed. Plant these hardy plants abundantly in your garden and you’ll be able to enjoy watching these beautiful butterflies flit and float into your yard, lays eggs and return again. Try these Milkweed plants for our area:
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): A tall perennial with large, fragrant globes of pink-purple flowers. It usually grows from 3-5 ft. tall but sometimes can shoot up to 8 ft. tall in full sun and moist soils. It spreads from underground rhizomes so plant in back of garden or somewhere it can spread. This milkweed is a host plant for Monarchs. Butterflies lay eggs on it, the caterpillars nibble on its leaves, a cocoon is formed and later, a Monarch butterfly emerges.
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa): Also called the Orange Milkweed, this beauty sports bright orange flowers that bloom from May - September. The plant grows 1-2 ft. tall in tidy clumps in sunny, dry or moist soils. A colorful and beneficial addition to your perennial garden.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata): Just like its name, this milkweed needs plenty of water... thriving in moist to wet soil. Also known as the Pink Milkweed, this perennial has large blossoms made up of small, pink-purple flowers. Plants grow from 2-5 ft. tall. Shade tolerant.
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata): A single-stemmed perennial milkweed with narrow leaves and small, greenish-white flowers that combine into flat-topped clusters. Blooms from May to September in dry soil. Moderately shade tolerant.
Support your local Bees: Beekeeping is a good way to grow the bee population, but home gardeners can do their part, too. Whether you have acres of land or just a little space on a balcony, you can provide much needed nectar/food for pollinators. Choose from this seasonal list of nectar-rich plants:
Early Spring: Pansies, Pussy Willow, Siberian Squill and Snowdrops
Spring/Summer: Milkweed, Bee Balm, Phlox, Lavender, Zinnias, Marigolds, Goldenrod, Chives
Late Summer/Fall: Mint, Sage, Nasturtium, Borage, Oregano, Thyme, Black-eyed Susans, Liatris
If you share your garden with butterflies and bees, you’ll be rewarded with honey, nutritious food and being an important part of the natural world.
“The art of gardening is not only a form of relaxation, but also of creating change.” – The Honeybee Conservancy