The National Wildlife Federation is partnering with Scotts the lawn chemical giant;
The USDA has published the 2012 Plant Hardiness map.
The Scotts/NWF debacle is being defended by the CEO as being beneficial to both sides. Perhaps they think that Scotts is going to go green and make more natural products for the lawn. I am having problems with Miracle Grow and natural backyard habitats. Scotts can make a difference but they have to start promoting some better, less toxic products for the home gardener.
The USDA map has been greeted with mixed reaction. Most think that the divisions are likely to encourage gardeners to take chances with plants. Better maps are touted as being from Sunset (which divides everyone into micro zones) and the Arbor Society that also has a map. The problems with both these maps is that catalogues and books really just use USDA. Using the theory that most years we fudge the zones anyway, I have been using 5/6 all along!
So just so that we have a picture of the wildlife that Scotts and NWF are so protective off, the little fellow at the top was perched in the old apple tree earlier today – he tries to bully the little birds by the bird feeder, or when they take shelter in the little spruce next to it.