My Film at the Lowell Film Festival April 29, at 6:30pm!

BST Banner FINALI hope you can come join me for an evening of screenings and Q and A at the 2014 Lowell Film Series. My film Life Story of the Black Swallowtail is playing, along with Whales of Gold, a film by Lucia Duncan, about the gray whale migration and how to conserve habitat and species in a way that also sustains the livelihoods of local people.

About the film: Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly is a 45-minute narrated documentary that takes place in a garden and at the sea’s edge. Every stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is experienced in vibrant close-up, from conception to pupation to metamorphosis. The film is for adults and for children so that all can gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between wildflowers and pollinators and the vital role they play in our ecosystem. Filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The location of the screening is at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, 246 Market Street, Lowell. Click this link to read more about the series.

The 2014 Film Series: Land, Air, and Water is offered in partnership by the Lowell Film Collaborative and the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust.

Click here to visit the film’s website: Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly

black-swallowtail-habitat-good-harbor-beach-gloucester-ma-© kim-smith-2011-copyBlack Swallowtail Habitat ~ The Wildflower Meadow at Good Harbor Beach

BomBom Butterflies, Voted People’s Choice Award Rockport Short Film Festival 2013

Antennae for Design: Native Flowering Dogwood

white dogwood cornus florida © Kim Smith 2013Currently I am working like mad on design projects, both creating new gardens and organizing existing gardens. Along with butterfly and pollinator gardens, I design many different types of gardens, including fragrant gardens, night gardens, children’s gardens, and seaside gardens. One of my favorite aspects of the design process is creating the horticultural master plan, which is typically done after discussing the clients needs, hopes, and aspirations for their garden, and created when working on the plan drawings.

While working on planting plans, I thought our GMG readers would benefit from suggested plantings and illustrated design tips. I started this series awhile back and called it Antennae for Design, and still like that name.

Cornus florida rubra @ Kim Smith 2012 copyIn designing gardens the first step is always creating the framework and trees comprise a major componenet in establishing the framework, or bones, of a garden. Trees provide a welcome sense of shelter with the shifting light and shadows filtering through the ever-changing ceiling. Fragrance, flowers, the shelter they provide, form, and texture of the leaves are not the only attributes of a tree garden. During the winter months there is the elegant beauty of pure line, the beauty of the branch.

Cornus florida rubra pink dowood © Kim Smith 2012 copyFor a multitude of reasons, one of my top choices when planting a tree-garden is our stunning native American dogwood (Cornus florida), both white and pink flowering forms. The fresh beauty of its spring blossoms, horizontal level branches, myriad pollinators attracted to the tiny florets, and the elegance of its bare limbs in winter are just some of the reasons why I love this tree! For a night garden especially, the white flower bracts are especially luminous in the moonlight. And, the American dogwood is also a larval food plant for the diminutive Spring Azure butterfly’s caterpillar!

white dogwood cornus florida ©kim Smith 2013 copyOh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden is available at my publisher’s website, click here.

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! and Happy Spring!

The Power of Flowers!

Pink Tulip ©Kim Smith 2013White Bleeding Heart ©Kim Smith 2012Feathered Tulips © Kim Smith 2012Purple Pink Tulips © Kim Smith 2013Carolina Silverbell Pink ©Kim Smith 2013Pink Carolina Silverbell is a native flowering tree (Halesia tetraptera var. rosea)

Carmine tulip ©Kim Smith 2013 copyTemple of Beauty

American Dogwood Cornus Florida © Kim Smith 2012Native American Dogwood ~ Cornus florida

Tulips Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge ©Kim Smith 2013Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge

Red Tulip ©Kim Smith 2012

Poignant Banksy Monarch Image Shared By Bing McGilvray over at Good Morning Gloucester

Banksy quote ~ “We don’t need any more heroes; we just need someone to take out the recycling.”

banksy-1

GMG FOB Bing McGilvray posted this Banksy Monarch painting on our Good Morning Gloucester Community Group. THANK YOU BING!

Another Banksy quote ~ “Writing graffiti is about the most honest way you can be an artist. It takes no money to do it, you don’t need an education to understand it and there’s no admission fee.”

Planting in Harmony with Nature

The following excerpt I wrote over fifteen years ago. The article was later adapted for my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! (available at my publisher’s website-click here). Yesterday’s post about how planting for wild bees and butterflies can save farmers money reminded me of the chapter “Planting in Harmony with Nature”.

Cecropia Moth ©Kim Smith 2011Male Cecropia Moth on Magnolia virginiana foliage

“The idea of a garden planted in harmony with nature is to create a loosely mixed arrangement of beauty combining native and well-behaved ornamental flowering trees and shrubs. This informal style of a woodland border or bucolic country hedge is not new and is what the French call a haie champêtre. Perhaps the country hedge evolved because it was comprised of easily propagated, or dispersed by wildlife, native species of plants and perhaps as a revolt against the neatly manicured boxed hedges of formal European gardens.

The country hedge is used, as is any hedge, to create a physical and visual boundary, but rather than forming the backdrop for ornamental plants, it is the show. By planting with a combination of native trees and shrubs, whether developing the framework of a new garden, designing a garden room, or extending an existing garden, one can create an interplay of plants drawing from a more widely varied collection of forms, textures, and colors. The framework is the living tapestry of foliage, flowers, fruit and fauna. Working and living in our garden rooms, we are enchanted by the wild creatures drawn to the sheltering boughs, blossoms, and berries. Additionally, by choosing to grow a combination of companionable fragrant North American trees and shrubs, designing a garden planted for a well-orchestrated symphony of sequential and interwoven scents is decidedly easier. We tend to be more familiar with ornamental trees and shrubs because they are readily obtained through the nursery trade. With the accessibility to resources available through the internet we can design with an increasing selection of native species.”

For the homeowner, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, a Boston Globe best-of, is chockablock full of design ideas for attracting pollinators to your garden, including extensive information about specific plants, plant combinations, and their cultivation. Oh Garden also makes a terrific gift book, at any time of year, but especially in the spring as we begin to see the earth reawakening and are seeking fresh design ideas and inspiration.

Read more about Oh Garden here.

Magnolia virginiana ©Kim Smith 2011 copy

Magnolia virginiana is one of the most deliciously scented flowering trees you could grow. And the foliage is a caterpillar food plant for the fabulous Cecropia Moth, North America’s largest species of Lepidoptera. The above male Cecropia Moth found in our garden had a wingspan of six inches!

Xerces Society Letter to President Obama

April 14, 2014

President Barack Obama The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture The Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior

Dear Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of Agriculture, and Madam Secretary of the Interior,

In light of the severe decline of both the eastern and western monarch butterfly populations that has occurred since the late‐1990s, we are writing to ask you to establish a multi‐agency monarch butterfly recovery initiative to restore the habitats that support the extraordinary migrations of this iconic species. We encourage you to direct the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Forest Service (USFS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior to develop a cooperative, landscape‐ level initiative with the many stakeholders willing to help foster significant monarch recovery.

These migrations can be saved for future generations by restoring to the landscape milkweeds, the host plants for monarch caterpillars, and nectar plants that sustain the adult butterflies. These habitats would support pollinators and a large number of other species as well. The federal agencies that incentivize conservation of wildlife habitat on private lands and that directly manage wildlife habitat on public lands can play key roles in this effort by targeting funding and technical support for such an initiative.

As you know, the eastern monarch population has been declining for more than a decade, and this year scientists observed the lowest numbers ever documented, representing a 90% drop from population numbers recorded in the mid‐1990s. Since then, there has been a significant loss of milkweeds in agricultural areas of the Midwest, which is directly correlated with the declining monarch population. Monarch habitat has also declined sharply in the West.

Monarch Migration Map

Paul Mirocha Illustration for Monarch Watch Continue reading

My Photos in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine!

boston-globe-logo Happy Airborn! copyCheck out JoeAnn’s article and my photos for this week’s Boston Globe Magazine!

Contractually, I don’t think I can post any of the photos from the article on GMG (for a brief period of time), so here are some of the outtakes. Click on any image and it will take to the article.Rooster ©Kim Smith 2013

Nasturtium ©Kim Smith 2013 copy