december 2021

Maple leaf viburnum with berries in autumn

This is the day that many of you have been waiting for. Our Service Request Form is now open! Requests received during this current enrollment period will be fulfilled in the late winter - early spring (consultations) and late spring - early summer (installations and kit pick-ups). It is our sincerest hope that we can fulfill every request we receive. BUT! We need your help. Please only request the service that you are able to receive. If you are not ready, no worries! There is always the autumn. If you are ready, click on the link above and make a request for a consultation, a garden kit, or a micro-meadow installation.

Give. Donate on Patreon so we may continue to bring our services to new areas.

Serve. Volunteer with Adapt in whatever capacity you are able.

Regenerate. Bring back the native ecosystem where you live.

We had the wonderful opportunity to work with Cathryn and Mario in early November. They enthusiastically invited us to host our first shrub cutting workday at their beautiful home in Ypsilanti. This beautiful home happens to also be surrounded by quite a few beautiful black and white oaks as well as pignut hickory complete with an intact understory of spring ephemerals like trillium, bloodroot, cutleaf toothwort and may apple. With the increased light reaching the soil and decreased competition from the shrubs and vines, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the native wildflowers over the next few years. Click on the photo above to learn about common invasive shrubs in the midwest and northeast.

planning and designing in winter

Pause for a moment to look at the above photo. Imagine this drab, boring picture here as an oasis of native wildflowers, grasses and sedges hemmed in by a juneberry and a clump of black raspberry. Imagine the dragonflies darting through the joe pye. Imagine the 2 dozen species of pollinators, most that you’ve never seen before, sipping from the flowers of the mountain mint. The grasshoppers on the little bluestem… That simple act of imagining you just performed is the first step in garden design.

Stop, stare, and imagine.

Now is the absolute best time to begin planning and designing for the spring. The physical activity of the garden is low (unless you’re cutting shrubs. in that case, rock on), the nights are quieter, and there is more time to focus on the mental aspects of the garden. Now is the time to read, research, draw, design and plan.

For some inspiration, check out this Michigan Garden Design for the Birds pdf from the Michigan Audubon featuring elegant designs from many of our favorite local native plant contractors. And make sure that you request a consultation if you need help figuring out the best course of action for your needs.

book rec: The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook

This month we have two book recommendations for you! The first is The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook. For Prairies, Savannas and Woodlands - i.e., the bible of midwestern, fire-dependent habitat restoration. If you live in an area that is or was once prairie, oak savanna, or any oak woodland AND you want to get deep into various aspects of ecological restoration, this book is for you. In particular, if you have larger tracts of land (1/2 acre or more) that you are looking to return to native vegetation, and the idea of heavy-handed garden design seems unapproachable or too costly, then this book can help guide you through the process of recreation or restoration of native plant communities. As an individual who is both a plant nerd and a people person, I really appreciate the attention this book gives to the different scales of native planting, from detailed botanical inventories by state, to philosophical considerations of regional genetics, to issues of community organizing. This book is fairly advanced in certain topics. The level of detail on topics such as seed collection, storage, and sowing will be a bit beyond most of us regular folks. But you never know what will strike your fancy! If you are looking to get deeper into ALL issues of midwestern ecological restoration, I highly recommend this book.

The second book in todays recommendations is The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. This story follows the adventures of little Liam, a curious fellow who explores an abandoned railway station in a run-down city where he finds a suffering patch of vegetation. We observe the garden grow curious itself as Liam nurses it to health over the years. The world around Liam transforms through his considerate acts of kindness. I have thought many times about writing a book about the philosophy of Adapt. Lucky for me, it’s already been written in a much more elegant manner than I could ever hope to produce. While this is ostensibly a children’s book, we all know the best ones are just as profound for adults. Perfect gift for the holidays.

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