This time of year, it’s a joy to sit outside in the darkening evening to watch fireflies. They are coming back slowly after a scare about extinction. Pesticides and lack of habitat have forced them out but the movement to make our landscapes into more natural all-encompassing habitats is helping them regain a foothold.
I’ve been watching a movement in Britain now taking hold here in the US called “rewilding”. It is basically what we’ve been doing for years to replace our lawns with meadows, our ornamental landscapes with natives and pollinator plants. The movement is worth looking into for ideas if you are in the mode of introducing natives and pollinators to your landscape.
Instead of adding a new ornamental shrub, think about a native fruiting shrub or tree. Fill your landscape with a food forest. The upper canopy full of native fruiting trees, the shrub layer with black chokeberries or currants and the ground level with herbs to keep your trees and shrubs from being planted in a sea of grass.
Instead of blowsy flowers that have no scent, consider pollinator favorites like beebalm and coneflowers. Or something for the hummers and butterflies like native salvias and penstemon. It’s pretty easy once you start looking to find many resources on these types of plants.
And perhaps if we all make an effort to restore damaged landscapes to a more natural state, we will make better firefly habitats. Not to mention butterflies, moths, beetles………….
I, for one, simply cannot imagine a summer without fireflies.
Quick Berry Jam
Use any mixture of berries to make this jam without any pectin.
6 cups berries such as sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, chokeberries, blueberries
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
Place the berries and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir the mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a soft boil on medium heat and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the jam has thickened. Stir in lemon juice.
To test the thickness of the jam, at the start of cooking time place a few metal spoons in the freezer. Take out one spoon and coat the back. If it’s too runny, continue cooking and test every 5 minutes the jam sets. Once cooled, transfer to a glass jar with a fitted lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy on toast or sandwiches.