Small ways to do big things for small creatures: read 3 new articles about spring, learn about a wildflower walk at Connecticut College, and see a list of upcoming talks.  
Greetings <<First Name>>, April is like a rainbow. Look fast, or it will be gone. Bright displays such as Virginia bluebells above (Mertensia virginica) and daffodils are easy to see. But look a bit closer, and we find that some of spring's most important visitors arrive in tiny forms. In the articles below, take a look at the role of ephemeral flowers in the spring environment, and small ways we can help April's small creatures like the frogs, toads, and salamanders, and queen bumblebees. Also below, see my upcoming talks. 

Sometimes the public news cycle overwhelms me with the big problems of the world. I like to remember this suggestion from Mother Teresa: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Happy spring, Kathy Connolly

2019 Talks & Seminars


10 Ideas & Trends Landscape Professionals Wished Home Gardeners Knew

Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 - 7:30, Branford Garden Club at the Branford Police Station,
33 Laurel St., Branford, CT. See description.

Grow a Meadow, Large or Small

Thursday, May 23, Haddam, CT, 10 - noon. Sponsored by UConn Extension, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam, CT. Register here

Five Ways to Cover Ground (and Give the Lawnmower a Rest)

Tuesday, May 28, 1 - 2 p.m., Newtown Garden Club. Newtown Library, 25 Main Street. See description.

Introduction to Growing a Meadow

Saturday, July 13, 4 - 5 p.m. at Torrison Stone and Garden, 422 Main St, Durham, CT

10 Ideas & Trends Landscape Professionals Wished Home Gardeners Knew

Tuesday, July 16, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. See description. North Stonington Garden Club at the NS Senior Center, 391 Norwich-Westerly Road (Rt. 2).

Tour of Meadows in Southeastern CT 

If you're wild about wildflowers, please save Saturday, August 3, for a tour of five meadows. See more than a hundred native plants in peak flower or plume and pollinators in full force. Sponsored by New England Wild Flower Society and Connecticut College Arboretum. Details to follow. 

Ground Covers and Low-Mow Lawns

Saturday, August 17, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tower Hill Botanical Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA, 508-869-6111. Details to follow. 

Frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, snakes: Natural predators of ticks, mosquitoes, and more

Consider the amphibious and reptilian creatures we find in quiet places. They have a "slimy" reputation, but consider this: They play weighty roles in natural tick and mosquito control, clean water supplies, and more. Learn how to protect and encourage the little critters.   

Photo by Dennis Quinn,

Spring wildflowers:
Beautiful, important, and very short-lived 

Look now and you'll see them. If you wait, you won't find the native wildflowers that earned the name "ephemeral" from their habit of blossoming in the dappled sunshine of spring woodlands. By the time trees get their leaves in mid- to late-May, all but a few have disappeared. Most are less than twelve inches tall. Most blossom for less than two weeks, some for just a few days, yet they play a key role in nature's awakening. To learn more, see the full article here

You'll find a treasure chest of ephemeral flowers in the native plant collection at Connecticut College Arboretum in New London. The arboretum is open to the public daily, free of charge, from sunrise to sunset. 

If you'd like an expert to guide your walk, arboretum director emeritus Glenn Dreyer will lead the way on Friday, May 3, from noon to 1 p.m. Enter through the large gateway on Williams Street; walk downhill and meet at the outdoor theater near the pond.

On May 10, kids and their adults can join Caroline Driscoll, a long-time arboretum volunteer, on the "Just for Kids Wildflower Walk" from 4 to 5 p.m. (Ages 4 to 10.) Please make a reservation for the children's event by email,, or call 860-439-5020.

Flowers for the queen

Queen bumblebees are among the earliest insects to emerge in our area. If you imagine that gives them a leg up on the rest of the bees, think again. It actually poses a problem.

The queens are their species’ sole support in April, but very few plants blossom at the same time they emerge. Spring ephemeral flowers play an important role in the success of queen bumblebees at this time of year and bumblebee survival. See the full article here

Photo of queen bumblebee on the May flowers of bush honeysuckle by Kimberly Stoner, Ph.D., CT Agricultural Experiment Station. Visit her pollinator page

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) emerges in the April woods under the filtered sunlight of an open canopy, as do other native ephemeral flowers. 
Cut-leaf toothwort blossoms on the forest floor. (Cardamine concatenata)
Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) blossoms in late April and early May. 

A helpful guide: "Wildflowers of New England" by Ted Elliman and the New England Wildflower Society (Timber Press)

About me: I am a landscape designer, writer, and speaker from Old Saybrook, CT. Contact
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