Cultivating native plants is an important part of preserving your region’s wildlife and ecological system. Imported plants were popular for many years, but ecologically conscious gardeners are increasingly opting to grow native plants instead.
To be considered native, a plant must be indigenous to the area. In North America, any plant that was here before Europeans arrived is considered to be native. They have evolved alongside local wildlife, and are uniquely able to support the birds, mammals and insects that live here.
Because they’re suited to the local climate, indigenous plants often require much less care than flowers, shrubs and trees that come from other parts of the world. This means that you’ll spend less time watering and fertilizing and more time enjoying your plants. They also don’t require the use of pesticides, which makes them better for the environment.
Having a native garden is far from boring. Plants indigenous to your area come in all sizes, shapes and colors. From tiny groundcover to the tallest trees, you have many options to beautify your yard. As a bonus, your new plants will also encourage visits from local birds and butterflies.
Planting a native garden requires some research. To find out which plants are indigenous to your area turn to gardening clubs, the public library or the professionals at your local gardening center.
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is indigenous to North America. It’s fragrant flowers attract pollinators.
Ditch the dye: 3 ways to embrace your silver strands
Are you tired of dyeing your hair only to have your white roots come back in a matter of weeks? Here are three ways to transition to your natural hue.
1. Cut it
This is the quickest and easiest option. Let your hair grow for a month or two and then cut off all the dyed hair. Some brave souls even opt to shave it all off.
2. Grow it
3. Get highlights
Ask your hairstylist to break up your darker hair with highlights that match your natural tone. This option won’t work for every¬one, because the lightener used can be very damaging to some hair types.
Embracing your silver strands requires significantly less upkeep than dyeing it every few weeks. However, you’ll need to wash your hair with a violet or blue shampoo once a week to prevent it from yellowing.
To learn more about going silver, or to take the plunge, book an appointment with your stylist today.
Leave no trace on the beach
If you are a regular hiker or camper, you’ve likely heard the admonishment “Leave no trace.” The idea is to make as little impact as possible and to take out what you carried in.
This mantra can also extend beyond forests and trails to another popular recreation area: the beach.
In fact, more potential litter makes its way to beaches than to other areas. Coolers are packed with snacks and all kinds of packaging as well as drinks, sunblock, extra towels and clothing, and toys.
Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to dispose of your trash when you visit the beach. Most recreational areas have abundant trash cans nearby, so you don’t have to lug your garbage long distances. As for recyclables, if they fit into your cooler on the way in, they’ll fit on the way out!
One unique concern for beachgoers is a stiff breeze. Although paper napkins and plates can seem convenient, consider using cloth napkins and sturdier, portable plates, which are both reusable and less likely to blow away (and which is less annoying for you!).
It’s also a good idea to bring your own trash bag, which makes cleanup a lot easier. And speaking of bags, why not use reusable bags and containers? Again, they’re sturdier; and it’s easier to grab snacks from that container with a lid than it is to reach into a flimsy bag anyway.
Consider bringing a reusable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. The benefit to you: you can invest in one that keeps your cold beverages super cold throughout the hottest of beach days. You carry less ice (read: weight) and save on plastic.
3 tips for preventing white grub infestations
White grubs, the larvae of scarab beetles, have the nasty habit of nibbling away at grass roots. If enough of them set up shop in your lawn, they’ll cause large sections of your grass to die. Here are three things you can do to get rid of white grubs, or at least reduce their numbers.
1. Don’t cut your grass too short
Scarab beetles prefer to lay their eggs in short grass. If you have a white grub problem, adjust your lawn mower so that it cuts no shorter than three inches. This will help guard against white grub infestations as well as prevent weeds from spreading and your lawn from yellowing.
2. Keep your grass healthy
3. Don’t use pesticides
In addition to being harmful to the environment, pesticides will rid the area of useful insects like ants, which eat scarab beetle eggs. Instead of pesticides, use natural pest removal and weed control techniques.
Follow these tips and with any luck, you’ll send your white grubs packing.
Sports the whole family will enjoy
Looking for ways to get your family moving this summer? Then here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Hiking, cycling, swimming, horseback riding and kayaking are just a few ways to get moving with your loved ones. To make sure everyone has a good time, tailor the level of activity to the least experienced person in your group. For some friendly competition, try a racket sport like tennis or badminton.
If your group includes different age groups, playing games like bocce ball, lawn bowling and golf can be fun ways to unite the generations.
Shiplap: a new rustic design trend
You may have heard the term mentioned, but do you know what shiplap really is? In point of fact, shiplap is a type of horizontal wood paneling that was originally used as airtight and watertight siding for buildings and ships. Currently, shiplap is making a big impact on home design.
Shiplap lends a rustic or nautical charm to any room where it’s placed, regardless of whether it’s painted white or stained to showcase the color of the wood. To get the look in your home, you can select either shiplap made of real wood or shiplap made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF). In both cases, the boards should be cut with grooves cut into each side so that they fit perfectly together.
If you’re interested in decorating with shiplap, you can find what you need at most hardware stores.
Weekend getaways the whole family will enjoy
Not able to take time off from work this summer? Make the most of your weekends with these family getaways.
• Go camping. A campground close to home is a great place for a weekend getaway. Camping offers families time to connect without the distractions of home. Don’t forget the marshmallows for roasting over the fire.
• Stay in town. How often do you visit the museums and other attractions in your hometown? Consider dedicating a whole weekend to exploring what your region has to offer. As an extra treat, you can even book a hotel room for a night.
• Head to the cottage. Get out of town for a weekend and rent a cottage in the country. After a day of swimming, canoeing and exploring the woods, have a barbecue or grab a bite to eat in a nearby town.
It’s hard to be a working parent in the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with your kids. Weekend getaways like these are sure to create memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime.