Comprehensive List and Directory of Gardens, Nature Centers and Nature Trails in Westchester County and the Hudson River Valley.
Benefits of Gardening
Gardening is a great way to connect with the earth, reduce stress, increase creativity and promote relaxation.
Gardening is Therapeutic
There is even an emerging medical art known as horticultural therapy. People with all types of health conditions, schoolchildren, even prison inmates, are encouraged to learn about new plants and envision creative ways to arrange them in the ground as a way to provide a sense of accomplishment and improve self-image.
Gardening Feels Good
Aside from delighting your senses with color, texture and scents, gardening enables you to connect with nature. Digging your hands through the soil and handling delicate plants can feed the soul.
Gardening is Exercise
Gardening is a low-impact activity that improves flexibility through bending and stretching, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, don't let it replace your walking regime or other regular aerobic exercise. Do both, for maximum benefits.
The Humane Society of the United States has initiated a
Backyard Wildlife Awareness Campaign
that will encourage people to make a few simple commitments that can greatly benefit the earth and the earth’s wildlife. The Humane Society gave us several resolutions to consider incorporating into our daily lives - like not cutting down dead trees in spring, because small animals and birds have begun nesting in them. All are easy, common sense ways to be a little gentler with nature.
Whether you are a gardener yourself, or hire professional landscapers and gardeners - you can help ensure the well being of our environment for ourselves and future generations. We all need to make an effort to keep pesticides and harmful toxins out of our gardens and away from our property. Not using harmful pesticides will protect our family and pets, as well as protect the natural wildlife and flaura. If you hire gardeners and landscapers - be sure the Gardener or Landscaper uses "environment" friendly and safe methods while working on your property.
Let your Lawn grow into a Meadow
Letting your lawn grow into a meadow not only cuts down on pollution and the use of fossil fuels, but it also greatly increases habitat for birds and butterflies and other interesting critters. Even if you only designate a portion of your property to a meadow - this could be one of the most important commitments you will ever make to planet earth.
Do not compete for the most manicured lawn. Enjoy a beautiful and natural meadow.
"Perfect" lawns are typically sprayed with dangerous pesticides and harm the environment. Pesticides will seep into nearby streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc. Your well water will be contaminated which affects the water we drink and our family's health. You and your family and your pets are harmed by any dangerous pesticides used on your lawns.
Press for important information on
Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms and First Aid
Streams and Ponds
Every stream is connected to something else - another stream, a pond, a lake. Trash finds its way from one to the other, and an array of wildlife along the way can be injured or sickened by it. Visit your local stream or pond and pick up trash that you find. The results will be felt far downstream.
Leave them wild
Make a commitment never to buy a “novelty” wild animal as a pet. It is very difficult to satisfy their needs in captivity, and that often means an unhappy outcome for all concerned. As cute as a baby turtle may be, it is far better off in the wild. Take your kids for a walk to the local pond where they can see these and other wildlife where they should be – in the wild.
Use plants that are native to your area. Not only will they thrive better, resist disease and often injury or attack from plant eating insects and mammals, but they will also require less maintenance, freeing you up to do nothing but enjoy them.
In the Spring, try not to cut down hollow trees because squirrels, raccoons, woodpeckers, flying squirrels, and others are nesting in them. “Dead” trees are anything but; they are thriving habitats for insects and animals who can benefit people and other wildlife. Keep them standing if possible.
Scrap the trap
If you capture and relocate a “nuisance” wild animal in the Spring, it is likely to be a mom, which means helpless young will be left behind to starve. Instead use eviction strategies to solve wildlife conflicts.
Cut them up
Disarm (cut) plastic 6 pack holders before disposal so that wild animals cannot get tangled up, injured or die in them.
Rinse out food jars
Thoroughly rinse and safely discard food jars. Hungry raccoons and skunks can get their heads stuck in peanut butter, jelly, yogurt or other containers. If you clean the containers before disposing of them, you will literally be saving lives.
Check for nests
Walk your yard and look carefully for rabbit nests before mowing in the spring. The nests can be hard to see, the mother rabbit digs a shallow hole in the grass and puts her babies in it where they stay for 3 weeks until weaned and self-sufficient.
Press for information about Pets, Wildlife, Horses, Farm Animals, and more at:
The Humane Society of the United States
Gardening and Flowering Garden Ideas
Some ideas for gardens - using different plants, flowers, and combinations of plants and flowers.
Gardens with long lasting color
Try red and yellow blooms of flowers that thrive in this area.Mix these flowers with blue salvia, with a low border of sweet white alyssum. Your color scheme has the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow.
What makes this plant combination work, is that both the celosia and the salvia have long tall flowers. They compliment each other and then are offset by the low border of alyssum. Try grouping similar flower types and get a little bold mixing the colors up.
Another good summer mix is a combination of summer madness petunias, with dusty miller, and a heavy border of white sweet alyssum. What makes this color combination great, is that it is using a different base color of gray. The summer madness petunia has a touch of gray in it that works really well with the gray in the dusty miller. It is eye catching because it is not your usual mix of summer annuals like marigolds. It has a sophisticated feel, but can be used anywhere, and the white border gives it a finished look. I tend to put the taller dusty miller towards the back, fill in with the petunias, and finish with the white alyssum. You can try this, or do something with a different base color. What makes this plant combination work is the drastically different textures. There is enough difference between the petunias and dusty miller to complement each other, without becoming too much.
Fall and Autumn Gardens
A good fall mixture is to use a combination of Iceland poppies with purple and pink stock, and either a border of lobelia, or alyssum, or one color of pansies. What makes this color combination work is that it is very soft, and pastel-like. When it is fall, and the days are getting shorter, all this bright color can look beautiful in your garden.They are mostly warm colors, so they contrast with the cool temperatures at that time of year. All these plants are very tall, and have long thin stems. Again, try things with similar growing habits, and then contrast it with something low. What also looks good with the poppies and stock can even be a border of low mounding grasses that come in gray and green.
Teddy Bear Sunflowers
One last idea for you to try, is an entire planting of Teddy Bear Sunflowers. The Teddy Bear variety are a dwarf, so they only get a foot or two tall. This is very eye-catching, and since these, and similar dwarf varieties, can be started from seed, they are very cost effective.
You can also plant your garden in containers. Try using a few large containers instead of lots and lots of little pots. Numerous pots tend to look cluttered and haphazard, while a few large containers placed here and there look well planned, and do more to show a variety of color.
Problems with Deer in your Garden