Ann Arbor to host National Rock Garden Meeting in May

nargsThe Great Lakes Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society is excited to host the group’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Ann Arbor, from May 7-10, 2015.

This is a superb opportunity to see and hear great speakers, and see great gardens. There will also be choice plants, tufa, troughs, and books available to purchase. It is a rare chance to meet and talk with seasoned rock gardeners from all over the U.S. and Canada—without flying to a distant city.

Plus, there is a post-conference tour from May 10-12. This field trip is to the “Straits Region” of Michigan with stops on the way there and back. The focus will be on natural rock gardens and rock garden plants in the wild. This includes shaded and sunny rock outcrops, rocky, gravely, and sandy beaches, plus a stop to see large stands of trilliums.

For more information, click here.

Young generation finds future in agriculture


America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.

Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again — and there’s new crop of farmers to thank for it.

On a windy hillside just a few miles from Maine’s rocky mid-coast, it’s 10 degrees; snow is crunching underfoot. Hairy highland cattle munch on flakes of hay and native Katahdin sheep are mustered in a white pool just outside the fence. Not far away, heritage chickens scuttle about a mobile poultry house that looks a bit like a Conestoga wagon.

Marya Gelvosa, majored in English literature and has never lived out in the country before. “Just a few years ago, if you’d told me that I was going to be a farmer, I would have probably laughed at you,” she says.

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Monarch butterflies continue their decline

The Detroit News:

Brenda Dziedzic caught the bug, or butterfly, early on.

She has fond memories of the fields near where she grew up in Waterford Township teeming with butterflies at a time in her life when she didn’t know a black swallowtail from a pearl crescent.

“They always just seemed so beautiful and peaceful,” said Dziedzic, 62, who now operates a butterfly habitat in Westland. “When you see them, it just brings a smile to your face.”

Smiles have been in shorter supply recently as the population of monarch butterflies, one of the most popular species in the United States, has been in a steep decline in Michigan and across the country. It’s a pattern experts believe was caused by a combination of factors and put the future of Danaus plexippus in question.

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New DTE Energy tree trimming program faces homeowner backlash

If you have trees on your property that grow near power lines, pay close attention to this developing story…

Hometown Life:

Faced with the threat of an emergency injunction, DTE Energy has agreed to temporarily stop an aggressive tree-trimming program in the Bloomfield area.

“We voluntarily agreed to put the work on hold,” DTE spokesman Scott Simons said Wednesday. “We will be meeting Friday with Bloomfield Hills City Manager Jay Cravens and Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie to continue building on a series of meeting we’ve had with both communities.”

Following a directive from the Michigan Public Service Commission, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are implementing an aggressive tree trimming program to help alleviate future power outages.

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Additional Information:

DTE Launches new tree trimming program

Aggressive DTW Energy tree trimming occurring in Livonia

The Michigan Gardener bookstore is OPEN for business

mg-bookstoreOur bookstore is now open. You can now browse all the titles we feature in the “Books for the Michigan Gardener” feature. Best of all, the bookstore is powered by Amazon so there is no need to setup any new accounts or input payment information. There is no better time than now to purchase some reading or reference material for the gardener on your gift list. Happy shopping!

Take me to the bookstore…