Environmental Concerns

 Environmental Concerns Focus Goal:    To support continuous environmental improvements that foster a sustainable future and ensure a healthy environment for all members of our community by employing best practices and promoting environmental awareness.

Deer Resistant plants  -Suzanne has sent the following list of Deer Resistant Plants as requested by many of you at the Centennial meeting.

100,000 Native Plant Project The WNF&GA 100th Anniversary Native Plant Project continues through Spring 2014. When you click on the following you will see what has been accomplished and reported to us so far:Native Plantings List Please remember to count your “natives”…seeds, plugs or plants! Everything counts. Guidelines for counting 100,000 native plants:

  • All personal and branch planting activities count, including native plantings in your home garden AND those planted by your PARTNERSHIP organization.
  • When scattering wildflower seeds, estimate the number of seeds disbursed.

Submit plant lists to Suzanne at suzgarden1@verizon.net. For members not using the internet, records can be mailed to Suzanne for inclusion in the project totals. Suzanne Smith-Oscilowski,416 Gwynedd Valley Dr.,Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002  Or call and leave a message at: 215-616-2403 home 215-740-7264 cell. Please contact Suzanne if you have any questions. Partnership Efforts

In an effort to expand the emphasis on native plants, the WNF&GA has partnered with several Pennsylvania local organizations. Are there local organizations to partner with in your area? Check with local high schools, colleges, churches, civic and environmental organizations.

Updates

  • Members around the country continue to support the project by selecting native plant alternatives for their local garden projects.
  • In an effort to spread the word on “Natives”, partnerships have been established with the following organizations:
    • Temple University Arboretum
    • Temple University School of Environmental Design
    • Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association
    • Norristown Garden Club
    • The Highlands Mansion and Gardens
    • Pennypack Farm and Garden Center

 

Chrysogonum virginianum

Common Names- Golden Knee, Green and Gold Source- Mt. Cuba Center Chrysogonum_virginianum_1-385x256               Native Plant Project   Recognizing the importance of native plants, the WNF&GA has taken on the ambitious challenge of planting 100,000 native plants to celebrate our 100th Anniversary. Guidelines for counting 100,000 native plants:

  • Estimate all of your previous native plantings and continue to record all new native plantings. The tally began last year in June 2012 and continues through June 2014.
  • All individual and branch planting activities will count, including native plantings in your home garden or a friend’s or neighbor’s garden due to your influence.
  • When scattering wildflower seeds, estimate the number of seeds spread.
  • The six reporting elements are:
    1.      Name and branch
    2.      Location of planting – city or community
    3.      Native plant name
    4.      Quantity
    5.      Form – plant or seed
    6.      Date of planting- month/year or season/year (spring 2013)

How to Record Your Native Plantings 1.  Snail mail the six reporting elements (listed above) to:

Suzanne Smith-Oscilowski

416 Gwynedd Valley Dr.

Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002

2.  Email the six reporting elements (listed above) directly to Suzanne at

suzgarden1@verizon.net

3.  Use the website form

    1. Click on WNFGA-native-report
    2. Complete the form
    3. Save
    4. Email to Suzanne with the form as an attachment suzgarden1@verizon.net

To help research native plants, sources and names: National Native Plant Databases

Massachusetts and New England

Michigan and Great Lakes Area

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

When you click on the following link you will see the Power Point presentation Suzanne presented at the National Meeting in June 2013: 100,000 NATIVE PLANT PROJECT

The Importance of Native Plants

Suzanne Smith-Oscilowski Environmental Chair, Ambler Keystone Branch 

What Are Native Plants? They are plants that have been growing naturally in a particular area before humans introduced other plants from distant locations. Native plants typically grow in communities with species adapted to specific soil, moisture and climate conditions. What Makes Native Plants Special?

  • Native plants have deeper root systems that help the soil absorb and retain water.
  • Native plants have co-evolved with native insects over thousands of years.

What is the Benefit of Native Plants?

  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Increase water infiltration
  • Important to wildlife
  • Beautiful

 Native Plant Maintenance Requirements Low. Low. Low. Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They don’t require fertilizers or pesticides and, once they are established, they don’t require irrigation. No need to deadhead native plants… mother nature never did! Leaving the seed heads or seed pods on the plant can be attractive and provide important food for wildlife. Native plants save the homeowner time and money!  Native Plants and Water Infiltration Deep roots penetrate the soil and allow water to run along the pore space created by the thin fibrous roots. This helps recharge rivers, streams, and creeks and keeps our water cleaner. Does the Root Zone Matter? Yes. Native plants can reach deep into the ground to find water during dry periods. When it rains, their long roots help storm water infiltrate the soil and recharge ground water. Water penetrates the soil by running along the edge of the plant’s fine, fibrous roots. A deeper root zone is better! Turf grass has a root zone extending 3 – 4 inches into the ground resulting in significant storm water run-off. Native gardens and other “naturalistic” landscape designs significantly decrease storm water run-off. Some native plants, such as the Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), have root zones that extend 16 feet into the ground! What Thin Fibrous Roots? I don’t see any. Ahhh, but those roots are there. When you dig up a Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), you may observe only 8 – 12 inches of roots but you have severed an additional 12- 24 inches of fine, fibrous threadlike roots. These fibrous roots provide an important pathway for water to infiltrate the soil. They also help the plant acquire water during dry periods.   Native Plants and Wildlife Native plants have co-evolved with native insects over thousands of years. Local insects need native plants to survive. Most insects don’t recognize or cannot eat non-native plant species. Without native plants, insect populations will continue to decline. Many animals depend partially or wholly on insect protein for food. Fewer native plants result in fewer insects available to feed wildlife and therefore less wildlife.  Making Sure Your Plant Selection is Truly Native Native plants are available at native plant nurseries. Some natives are also available at local nurseries and garden centers. To ensure you are getting the plant you expect, check the plant’s tag using the complete Latin name, not the common name. Many plants have several common names but the Latin name will always be the same! Make sure that both Latin names are on the tag. If the first Latin name is the same but the second Latin name is different, the plant may be of the same specie of the same genus, but not native. Take a list to the nursery and match both Latin names. For example: Black Tupelo, Tupelo or Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica) River Birch or Water Birch (Betula nigra) Eastern Redbud or Redbud (Cercis canadensis) White Turtlehead or Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) Suzanne leads our Environmental interest group and is responsible for the Centennial 100,000 Native Plants project.  She is happy to take your questions or comments. Suzanne Smith-Oscilowski, suzgarden1@verizon.net,215-616-2403 home 215-740-7264 cell 416 Gwynedd Valley Dr. Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002

Divisions & Branches