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Serendipity Gardens 2014 “Scorecard”

October 20, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

Businesses have scorecards to measure their goals against their accomplishments. These scorecards typically deal with several aspects of the business, such as financial performance and customer satisfaction.

Why not do the same in the garden? Of course, the parameters would be quite different. The scorecard could be a simple measure of goals versus accomplishments. With that in mind, here is the 2014 scorecard for Serendipity Gardens.

My Primary 2014 Goal

This year, we had one primary goal, to make Serendipity Gardens even more friendly to wildlife than it already was. To achieve this goal, we planned several activities. Each one is listed below, with a comment and a “grade.”

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Ten New Natives in Serendipity Gardens

October 10, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

I recentlyvisited a native plant sale  at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. My interest in planting natives has grown exponentially this year as I read books such as Jessica Wallister’s Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden, and Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallemy.

These authors make the case that planting natives is a good idea for several reasons:

  • They attract pollinators in greater numbers than non-native plants do.
  • They have evolved with the environment and are therefore built to thrive in it.
  • They require less care and are resistant to disease.
  • Once established, they require very little watering.
  • Having the beneficial insects in your garden that natives attract makes pest control much less of an issue.

The right question might be, “Why NOT plant what brings birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects to your garden?” It’s a lot more interesting when they are there!

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Sweet Autumn Journey in Serendipity Gardens

October 3, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Red oak

Officially, fall  is upon us … and it is beginning to look like fall in Serendipity Gardens. The color palette is starting to change. One small oak tree has turned an early bright red, while other trees and shrubs have a little color at the top or in splotches. A few leaves have fallen early and speckled the lawn.

The sounds have definitely changed as well, from the songs and calls of nesting birds to the rhythmic music of fall insects.  Most of the birds that live here in summer have already begun their journey south. The ones we still see most often are the black-capped chickadees and cardinals that live here year round.

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Top Five Serendipity Gardens Stories

September 23, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Bottle Tree

The Serendipity Gardens blog is one year old. To mark its anniversary, we are republishing the top five posts. Here they are:

My Bottle Tree “Blooms” Year Round

The bottle tree, based on an old tradition, adds a reliable touch of blue to the garden.

Bottle trees, often seen in the South, have a complicated history.

According to Felder Rushing, in his book Bottle Trees, “Clear glass was invented in Alexandria, Egypt around 100 A.D. Soon around then, tales began to circulate that spirits could live in bottles – probably from when people heard sounds caused by wind blowing over bottle openings. This led to the belief in ‘bottle imps’ and genies that could be captured in bottles … Somewhere in there, people started using glass to capture or repel bad spirits. The idea was, roaming night spirits would be lured into and trapped in bottles placed around entryways, and morning light would destroy them.”

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Five Ways for Kids to Have Fun in the Garden

September 15, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

The crew at Serendipity Gardens is lucky. We have six grandchildren, five of whom live nearby. We would venture a guess that these kids do not have nature deficit disorder.

What is nature deficit disorder?

According to Wikipedia, Nature deficit disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems … Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen.

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