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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Earth Day 2021

oak tree

Happy Earth Day. Every year we celebrate this day to bring our attention to living more in harmony with our planet. Certainly gardeners are helping by planting flowers, shrubs and trees and growing more of our own food.

But it's good to turn our gardening practices “green” as well. Here are some ways we can garden in a more Earth-friendly way.

Planting a native tree might is the best, long term action you can do to help the planet. Trees clean the air, provide wildlife habitat and sequester carbon in the soil to reduce global warming. But not all trees are created equal when it comes to helping the planet. For example, oak trees are one of the best wildlife, food trees. Many animals, such as birds, ducks, rodents, deer and insects, feed on acorns and caterpillars love the leaves. Caterpillars are a prime source of food for nesting songbirds.

To help reduce pollution in our waterways, capture rain water from your roof into rain barrels to use in your gardens during dry periods.

Also, capture rain water runoff in rain gardens planted in low areas of your lawn. Rain gardens are beautiful, too. Planted with perennial flowers, such as Joe Pye weed, turtlehead, and swamp milkweed, they withstand occasional flooding. These gardens hold water in your yard instead of letting it drain into nearby streams. Also, grow pollinator plants. You don't have to grow a whole garden to help bees and native pollinators. Integrate native, pollinator-friendly plants, such as aster, bee balm and yarrow, in groups into your existing gardens. You'll be attracting and feeding many of these important insects.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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