Discover gardening ideas from all over the country.
Edwina von Gal, East Hampton, New York
Landscape designer, founder of
There are almost as many names for Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo, black tupelo, black gum, sour gum, beetlebung, pepperidge) as there are reasons to love it. The deciduous tree naturally appears in wet spots, but it’s happy in almost any soils that can hold some moisture. The tree’s branches grow perpendicular to the tall, straight trunk, and its tiny twigs give it a witchy quality, especially in winter. Its leaves and flowers bloom at the same time, all lime green. In the fall, they go from shiny dark green to purple and then blazing red. Bees love the flowers; birds love the fleshy fruit. Squirrels, raccoons, and possums nest in the cavities left when the limbs fall off, which they have a way of doing. Deer eat most of the young seedlings as they sprout, but those that make it live longer than any other non-clonal flowering plant in eastern North America: more than 650 years.
Joseph O. Evans III, New Orleans
Landscape designer and permaculturist,
Some would describe New Orleans as hot and humid. I tend to think of it as a liquid landscape, existing on the precipice of gulf, river, lake, groundwater, and atmospheric precipitation. The cathedral of live oak trees in New Orleans is astounding. I love the plethora of species that live symbiotically with the oaks, especially the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides). To me, the resurrection fern is more than a symbol of resilience; it models a biomimetic solution for the future. It acts as a living sponge that intercepts rainfall where it lands, going from dry dormancy to green lushness within hours of a rain event. This is what our cities must become—not concrete-laden watershed superhighways, but networks of “green infrastructure” capable of adapting to variable climatic conditions and modulating the pollutants and flooding in our urban environments.
Shaun Doering, Oklahoma City
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