As we enter this resolution-laced New Year, let us adopt some ways to more fully enjoy the natural world.
• Plant a perennial for wildlife. Regardless of your yard’s size, there is a compatible tree, shrub or vine that would enhance your home’s appeal to birds and other creatures. Some favorites for the Carolinas include dogwoods, hollies, persimmons, Chickasaw plums, Sawtooth oaks, American Beauty Berries, red honeysuckle, Virginia creeper and trumpet vines.
• Learn to identify plants in your immediate surroundings. Somehow knowing the names of things helps us to appreciate them more. There are numerous field guides to help you. We have especially relied on the National Audubon Society’s “Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region,” and our new favorite is the beautiful “Native Trees of the Southeast” by Kirkman, Brown and Leopold.
• Go one step further and learn the botanical name of trees you frequently encounter. It makes me happy to pass a white oak and think, “Quercus alba.”
• My mama always said that there is a right way and a wrong way to do just about everything, so remind yourself to review best methods before you plant, prune or fertilize. It is well worth the time to go to the Internet for mini-tutorials by plant experts.
• Take a hike. Enjoy an outing to one of our state or national parks or forests with family and friends, especially young ones. In particular, mark your calendar for a mid-May trip to Landsford Canal State Park to see the breathtaking display of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies.
• If you have 10 or more acres of woodland, please consider contacting the S.C. Forestry Commission for help in developing a forest management plan. It is amazing how simple projects accomplished over a period of years can transform a property.
• Share memories of your personal tree connections or forest experiences for an upcoming column featuring readers’ reminiscences. Send thoughts to me at email@example.com.
— Joanna Angle is a Master Tree Farmer and 2012 South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year. Her Cedarleaf Farm in Chester County is a Certified Stewardship Forest and part of the American Tree Farm System.