Lansdowne Farm’s botanical history: plants preserve memories






Stories stream from Barbara Backus as she strolls the grounds of Lansdowne Farm, the property where she and her husband, Curtis, live in Fredericksburg, Va. From the farm’s history to the various iris, dahlia and daylily beds spread about the property, there’s no shortage of material. But that doesn’t mean that the botanical details of […]

Lamberton Conservatory shines at the holidays and beyond






Towers of poinsettias and trees festooned with lights make Lamberton Conservatory glow against the cold nights of early winter in Rochester, N.Y.’s Highland Park. The conservatory’s Holiday Show, which this year runs from Dec. 3, 2016, until Jan. 3, 2017, is a popular tradition and setting for holiday photos. It’s one of the many benefits this conservatory, […]

A coalition rallies behind an important Seattle-area forest






Like many communities on the outskirts of large cities, the city of Bothell, Wash., saw rapid growth during the housing boom of the mid-2000s. It’s easy to look at growth as an intrinsic threat to preserving open spaces, but that’s not quite how things turned out in Bothell, located outside Seattle. In fact, you could […]

Volunteers turn a public library landscape into an educational pollinator garden






Across the U.S., there’s a growing realization that pockets of public land that would otherwise house fertilizer- and water-dependent sod can be put to better use through the use of native plants. Pollinator gardens—landscapes designed to attract the bees, butterflies and birds that are necessary to plant life and food production—are becoming a popular project […]

Garden connects school students with literary classics






Every garden has a story, but the West Bloomfield High School Literary Garden, just outside of Detroit, Mich., has dozens. There are the stories of how of individual plants came to reside in a well-worked patch of dirt in what was once a neglected high school courtyard. The bittersweet vine was grown from seeds sent […]

A century-old landscape endures at Wyoming’s Trail End






John B. Kendrick came to Wyoming in 1879 as a poor, orphaned cowboy, and began building a ranching empire. By the early 1900s, he had amassed a wealth that allowed him to start construction on his dream home, a “castle on a hill” in Sheridan, Wyo. Trail End, the home Kendrick built, was completed in […]

Virginia Master Naturalists care for public landscapes and educate visitors






The public landscapes of Virginia benefit from an active corps of volunteers. Devoted to protecting the state’s natural ecosystem, these citizen scientists and stewards do everything from monitoring the health of important pollinators to transporting recycling materials at state parks. These volunteers are certified members of the Virginia Master Naturalists program, which started in 2006 […]

Granite Ridge builds smart home with connected landscape technology






In fall 2014, Granite Ridge Builders opened its NextSTEP Innovation Home Gallery in Fort Wayne, Ind. The home is packed with hundreds of gadgets and tools that allow homeowners to control or automate everything from lawn irrigation to lighting through wireless apps and remotes. The “STEP” in the name stands for smart technology and energy […]

Belle Isle Conservatory is a botanical treasure in Detroit






The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory at Belle Isle park was one of the first things Lisa Steinkopf’s husband took her to see when she moved to Detroit 30 years ago, and it has remained  a key destination for Steinkopf and her family. The Belle Isle Conservatory, as it’s commonly known locally, is the oldest continuously […]

Community effort brings new life to Stevens Park






The small South Carolina town of Kershaw is home to just under 2,000 people, but its Stevens Park offers those residents amenities many larger communities lack. A public swimming pool, amphitheater, skate park, nature trails, community center with rooms to rent and public bowling alley are just a few of the park’s highlights. Stevens Park […]