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Check out the great work Annapolis Maritime Museum is doing teaching environmental understanding and with it, stewardship. Article link below.

Chesapeake Bay Magazine



by Nancy Taylor Robson
Published in 2013 by GWA (now GardenComm) the national garden communicators’ association

Carpinus caroliniana ‘J.N. Upright’, Firespire® Musclewood

Nativar, a term coined by University of Georgia horticulturist Dr. Allan Armitage, has something like cult status among gardening cognoscenti.

“There’s a huge discussion about it,” says Jillian Zettig, horticulturist and landscape designer at Johnson Nursery in Menomonee Falls, WI.

Derived from mashing together ‘native’ and ‘cultivar’ (which itself is a combination of “cultivated variety’) the term nativar refers to a cultivar of a native plant species. Armitage says he coined it to signal to his daughter the connection between native parentage and cultivar offspring.

“Whether natural or manmade in the world of the native plant – Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Gaura – I wanted to let her know it’s a cultivar of a native plant,” Armitage explains.

What exactly is a nativar? According to Grace Chapman, Director of Horticulture at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, nativars are: plants that have adapted from the straight species; that are either a natural cross pollination or a natural mutation; that are the result of a human-made cross pollination; or are genetically modified plants.  Abreeder starts with a native plant then selects to change specific cultural qualities or enhance a plant’s aesthetics.The ‘new and improved’ versions of natives help to sell the idea of native plants to landscapers and gardeners, who are often looking for a visual POP! that native plants don’t always deliver.

“They’re the ‘WOW’ plants of our native flora,” says Mike Yanny of Johnson Nursery in Menomonee Falls, WI. “They were selected for some characteristic or combination of characteristics that make them superior to the average seedling. For instance, Carpinus caroliniana‘J.N. Upright’, Firespire® Musclewood was selected for having extraordinary orange-red fall color and an upright, barrel-shaped form.”

Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’

While native plant purists aren’t always sold on the idea of nativars, Armitage insists that they have an important function in horticulture.

“The native plant movement is terrific, and especially for those who are doing reclamation work and ecological replanting,” he says. “However, if we take that native plant movement into the real world of landscapes and gardens, then cultivars must be considered if the native plant movement wants to make native plants more mainstream.”

Landscapers and designers usually weigh aesthetics heavily, and nativars tend to outshine their native parents in the looks department. But the term nativar also implies that it carries a genetic bonus bestowed by its native parent.

“The huge advantage of anything derived from native species is its potential adaptation to new circumstances,” says Dr. Donald Falk, professor of natural resources and restoration ecology at University of Arizona.

However, an individual nativar may or may not be endowed with the same adaptive gifts as its forbear.

“The [aesthetic focus] has nothing to do with tolerating or being a productive member of the environment,” says Dr. William Bauerle, plant physiologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.

“Cultivars lack genetic diversity,” says Dr. Sara Tangren, founder of Chesapeake Natives Nursery, who taught environmental policy at Johns Hopkins. Tangren says that nativars have distinct, well-defined traits that are reliably reproducible because genetically, the nativar is usually many copies of an individual, which can be an ecological shortcoming.

North American Aster

North American Aster

“The key to surviving changing times like ours is to have a reservoir of genetic variability,” says Falk. “In the restoration field, people are really aware that native species probably have adaptations in their gene pool that … could become important to the species’ survival as well as that species’ contribution to the ecology as a whole.”

Another factor to consider in the nativar equation is ecotype, something Yanny feels strongly about identifying to a customer.

“People who are selecting that nativar to benefit the ecology need to pay close attention to the ecotype as well as the provenance (the wider native region of the original species) to make it really useful,” he says. “Different ecotypes of a single species can even vary within as short a distance as 20 miles apart.”

Ecotypes are native plants of a given species that have evolved in and adapted to the demands of a specific region (along with that region’s plant and animal populations). For example, the North American Aster is native to most of the eastern US. Yet the ecotype from Montgomery County, MD that Tangren grew without irrigation during a drought-stricken year was three times the size with five times the bloom of the same species that grew beside it whose seed had originated in Erie County, NY. The Montgomery ecotype was much better adapted to the ravages of a Maryland summer than the northern ecotype.

So are nativars productive members of a sustainable landscape?

“It’s a premature question,” says Dr. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware entomologist and author of Bringing Nature Home(Timber Press, 2009). “When I talk about the effect of a cultivar on the productivity of that plant, I’m talking about food webs, which means more than pollinators. For example, is it going to change the number of caterpillars [a key protein source for baby birds] that it can produce? You can affect pollinators without affecting caterpillar production. A change in leaf chemistry can end up poisoning caterpillars,” he explains. “And if you take any flower and increase its size, you’re messing with the flower energy budget so there will be less for production of pollen and nectar. Or if you change color pattern, some specialized pollinators won’t be able to find it. These are all guesses, and it all needs to be measured.”

How nativars do or don’t fit into a sustainable landscape is a question that has no definitive answers based in research – yet.

“Everyone’s asking the question,” says Tallamy, “but the research hasn’t been done, though it looks like Mt Cuba is funding [University of Delaware] to do some of this research.”images-2

images-1We all feel guilty at one time or another — what we did and shouldn’t have done, what we failed to do and should have done. For caregivers, who may also feel resentment, anger, frustration and more, the guilt can be multiplied. But it’s not useful — for either you or your loved one. Doing something about it, whether physical or working toward an attitude adjustment, (which some of us would call spiritual work), helps. Tips for doing something positive to relieve yourself of caregiver guilt can be found in the link below. They can also be found in OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters amazon, which addresses the guilt, resentment, et al of being thrust into the role of caregiver and what you can do about those feelings in straightforward terms that are also practical. It’s the reason this purposely compact book won the 2016 Friendly Caregiver award from Today’s Caregiver magazine.  Whether you find the digital version of these tips below or having the paperback or digital version of the book with its additional support close by to bolster you and give you relief, consider the suggestions as coming from a compassionate, experienced friend and dose yourself as needed.




Cooking once for all week is a saving in time and energy, and if you have help, it makes it more fun.

Nearly everyone will at some point, become a caregiver of a loved one. It’s a difficult job, especially if you have a busy life to start with. But we all need to keep on living at the same time. Below is a link to one caregiver’s list of tips. Virtually all are contained in one way or another in OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters, though sometimes hearing something in different words, even though it conveys the same meaning, helps it to hit home.



Available at  Amazon.com

UnknownIt often comes on so gradually it’s hard to pinpoint when it turned a corner. Hiding and rummaging can even be exaggerations of traits the person has exhibited all his or her life. Someone who has taken care of business — gotten the mail, paid the bills, made sure everything is taken care of — has crossed over into behavior that is detrimental to their and potentially their caregiver’s welfare. One friend, whose husband had vascular dementia, and who had his entire adult life taken care of the family business, began to hide the mail. Bills, notices, financial statements, it didn’t matter. It went into a hoarding place (in addition sometimes to the trash) that only he knew. It took his wife and children several weeks to work out where  all these important pieces of paper had gone, and then to sort out how to prevent it happening. Unknown-1

The article, (link below), has practical suggestions that, if not immediately applicable to your specific circumstance, may well offer ideas for adapting with the least amount of struggle.



Breathing mindfully helps our whole body

Breathe. That’s the mantra Sue Collins, RN and I sound like a low bell throughout OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters. Breathing deeply and mindfully is something that we often forget when we’re rushing, fraught, stressed. Yes, we’re breathing, but we don’t remember to BREATHE. Taking a moment to breathe, deeply, evenly, consciously, can help calm us and even helps to bring down blood pressure. It’s simple, can be done anywhere, and has a genuinely positive effect on our body as well as our outlook. There are other simple things that a caregiver can do to help himself or herself that don’t require cash or even much time. But each can, in its own way, help us continue our journey a little bit refreshed.



Get a massage

Life can be complicated even when everything is relatively simple — you go to work, you come home, you pay the bills, spend some time with family and friends. But it is even more complicated when you are the primary caregiver for a loved one, whether it’s a parent, a spouse or a child with medical issues. Most caregivers are women, and women, as most of us know, will sacrifice their own health (it’s the ‘Everyone-Comes-Before-Me syndrome) rather than take care of themselves. It may seem selfish. It’s not. It’s practical. If you as caregiver are not OK, you can’t offer the kind of care for your loved one you want to. But sometimes figuring out what and when to do for yourself is not as easy as I’ve just made it sound.


Getting a home water massage may be more practical, depending on circumstances

OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters, which won the 2016 Friendly Caregiver Award from Today’s Caregiver magazine and caregiver.com, offers practical tips not only for self-care, but since it was written by and with a longtime RN, Sue Collins, it also includes down-to-earth tips for caring for your loved one. Recommended by Marian Grant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow “A very readable book full of helpful advice from people with a lot of professional experience.”

20 Ways list: caregiver.com


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