IN MY CURRENT CHAOS OF ICE DAMS ON THE ROOF and ever more, more, more snow on the ground, I almost forgot to raise a teacup to the voracious woodchuck, or groundhog, whose official day this is.
I can say with certainty that no large rodent or any other creature is going to find as much as the doorway to its burrow in these here parts today, whatever that means for the timing of spring’s arrival.
My best groundhog story takes place on the Fourth of July, however, and many years ago. It’s a story of city-girl arrogance, and trying to fool Mother Nature. Enjoy it.
THE LECTURE that he’s been giving for a number of years is not-so-subtly called “Kill Your Lawn.” Ecological horticulturist Dan Jaffe Wilder knows that starting over and creating an entire native habitat instead of a lawn isn’t for everyone. But Dan just wants to grab our attention and get us to start to make some changes at least in the way we care for the turfgrass we do want in our landscapes. And maybe give up a little square footage of it to some other kind of more diverse planting, too, like the wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana, inset). Alternative, more eco-focused styles of lawn care, along with some lawn alternatives is what he and I talked about on the podcast. Dan is Director of Applied Ecology at Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Wales, Massachusetts, and its 8,000-acre sanctuary. He’s also co-author with Mark Richardson of the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens.”