Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wood Nymphs In The Garden

the outsider wood nymphBy mid-July, the oregano in my herb garden has grown tall and tatty, and I want nothing more than to cut it back into a tidy mound. But I don’t. Doing so would deprive the flurry of common wood nymph butterflies that swarm the plants every year. The messiness is a small price to pay for the sight of them flitting around en masse.

I have learned to expect their arrival, having witnessed it every summer, since I planted gardens around my home six years ago. At first, just one or two appear, but within days there are dozens. Soon, the oregano’s purple flowers are covered in butterflies. But this brief visit is a only a part of the story of the common wood nymph butterfly (Cercyonis pegala). What are they doing for the other eleven and a half months of the year?

Not much, it turns out. At least, not at first. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Patches Of Dame’s Rocket Sought For Study

Dame's RocketElizabeth Lombardi, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, is collecting field data on plant pathogens in natural ecosystems throughout the Adirondack region, and has identified a virus in the non-native species Dame’s Rocket at several locations. Lombardi is asking the public if they cultivate this flower, or have seen it in the Adirondacks.

Wild plants, like their cultivated relatives, are susceptible to a diversity of pathogenic antagonists. Unlike crops, however, wild plants live or die by their own defenses when confronted by adversity. In recent years, there has been an uptick in scientific interest in plant epidemiology of natural systems and how environmental changes such as urbanization and global warming may alter pathogen presence wild plants. » Continue Reading.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Adirondack Garden Club Flower Show July 19-20

adk garden club flower showThe Adirondack Garden Club, a member of the Garden Club of America, will present a GCA Flower Show, “Mountains & Valleys”, on July 19-20th at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid.

“Mountains & Valleys” will include floral design, horticulture, photography and conservation exhibits. Entries will be judged by GCA judges. It is free and open to the public on July 19 from 3 to 5 pm and on July 20 from 9 am to 2 pm. The public can learn which exhibit won the highest awards in the various classes as well as the judges’ comments. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dead Trees: Suddenly Is Relative

witch of 4th lake postcardOne of the drawbacks of being an arborist is the language barrier. Routinely I spout off about trees such as Corylus, Carpinus, and Crataegus before noticing a glazed look on the faces of my victims, I mean audience. Once I engage my Nerd Translator, though, such offensive words are corrected to hazelnut, ironwood, and hawthorn, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Sadly, this works in reverse, too.

Fairly often someone calls up wanting to know what caused the unexpected and untimely death of their well-established landscape tree that “suddenly” died over the spring or summer. As a result of my arborist-ailment this sounds to me as absurd as if they said the tree shot up from a sapling to fifty feet tall with no warning at all while they were on vacation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

‘Secret Garden Tour’ With View, Old Forge

view secret garden tourView’s annual Secret Garden Tour will take place on Thursday, July 21. The tour provides attendees the opportunity to visit local pristine gardens at private residences within a ten-mile radius.

Attendees of the Secret Garden Tour will meet at View at 9 am and leave at 9:30 am on July 21. The tour should be finished by noon. View will be providing leaders to follow, and attendees can carpool or drive the ten-mile tour on their own. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Paul Hetzler: Pining For The Good Old Days

Adirondack Rain StormEver find yourself pining away for the “good old days” when things were simpler, a time when 911 was just a number, and no one was allergic to peanut butter? Maybe you like the era of Beatles concerts, big collars and even bigger hair, or you dream of living in the horse-and- buggy days.

Personally, I get misty-eyed when I think back to the early 2000s. It’s not that I can’t remember further back—my memory isn’t quite that bad yet. But those were the good old days when you could grow tomatoes free of blight, and pine needles were green. (Have you taken a look at the eastern white pines and Scots pines this summer? I’m pretty sure yellow and brown are not their normal colors.) Plant diseases have really blossomed recently. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Edible Forest Garden Tour Planned For June 18th

A Forest Garden (courtesy Chickenshack, North Wales)Adirondack Harvest is co-sponsoring an educational workshop in Cross Island Farms’ Edible Forest Garden on Saturday, June 18 from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Over the past three seasons Dani Baker, co-owner of Cross Island Farms, has developed just under an acre of her certified organic farm as a multi-functional edible forest garden encompassing numerous permaculture principles and practices. Attendees will join her as she describes the process of planning and planting over 300 cultivars of edible fruits, nuts, berries, and other edibles, both native and uncommon; learn about factors considered in deciding where and with what to plant the seven permaculture layers she has incorporated; and identify a large variety of supportive plants integrated into the landscape. Attendees will have an opportunity to sample edible fruits, flowers, greens and herbs in season and go home with a potted plant to begin or add to their own garden. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Saranac Lake’s Daffest Coincides With Mother’s Day

IMG_6423Springtime in the Adirondacks can get a bad reputation sometimes, thanks to the black flies and muddy trails. For my family, spring is an opportunity to witness change, even if that change comes with some bug bites and dirty shoes.

We have played hard during the winter. Now we’re looking for some colorful indicators that the cold weather is behind us and summer is around the corner.

Native wild flowers, like marsh marigolds or the trout lily, are part of Mother Nature’s subtle approach to brightening spring.  The thousands of bright yellow daffodils planted for Saranac Lake’s Daffest are the much bolder approach by humans. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lake George Garden Club Perennial Plant Sale May 21st

lake george perenial saleThe Lake George Community Garden Club’s Annual Perennial Plant Sale will be held in Shepard Park in Lake George Village on Saturday, May 21th from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

The sale offers hundreds of high-quality perennial plants grown and dug from our member’s zone 4 and 5 gardens.

Garden club members will be available to share planting instructions, tips for successful gardening, and other information. Special features of the sale include dish gardens, painted clay pots, and garden art objects all created by Garden Club members. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Paul Hetzler: Consider The Dandelion

dandelion by greg humeApril showers bring May flowers, but not all posies are a welcome sight. Although it is quite possible they arrived on the Mayflower, dandelions do not get the esteem they deserve as plucky immigrants that put down firm roots in a new land, or as a vitamin-packed culinary delight, or as a multi-purpose herbal remedy.

On this latter point, dandelion is so well-respected that it garnered the Latin name Taraxicum officinale, which roughly means “the official remedy for disorders.” There are many reported health benefits of dandelion, including as a liver support and for alleviating kidney and bladder stones, as well as externally as a poultice for skin boils. I don’t pretend to know every past and present medicinal use of the plant, and I strongly recommend consulting a respected herbalist, as well as your health care provider, before trying to treat yourself. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

American Hazelnut: A Tasty Treat For Native Landscaping

american hazelnut in bloomWhile many people might be familiar with store bought European hazelnuts, or the popular spread Nutella which is made from hazelnuts and chocolate, the American hazelnut is also a tasty treat if you are lucky enough to beat the birds and other critters to it! The ½” edible nuts ripen in the fall, but the flowers typically bloom in April. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Garden, Landscape Symposium Set For Fort Ticonderoga

garden symposiumThe King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga will present its Fifth Annual Garden & Landscape Symposium on Saturday, April 9, 2016. This day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides insights from garden experts who live and garden in Upstate New York and Northern New England.

This one-day program focuses on practical, easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape. The programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between presenters and attendees. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Forest Product Biochar Enriches Soils, Improves Productivity

enriching soils with biocharAt this time of year, many a gardener’s daydreams turn to the springtime promise of sprouting plants. Seed catalogs start arriving in the mail months before the soil will be thawed and drained enough for planting, and we use this downtime to plan for the coming season.

At Green Fire Farm in Peacham, Vermont, Michael Low is also planning, not only for this year’s crops, but for biochar to help those crops grow. He harvests about 50 cords of low-grade wood each year on his 67-acre homestead, and turns the wood into his own version of black gold. Biochar is charcoal used for agricultural purposes. Its advocates laud its potential to retain soil nutrients, sustain moisture levels in both drought and heavy rain conditions, and sequester carbon in the ground. For evidence of biochar’s usefulness, they point to the terra preta of the Amazon region, where biochar-enriched soils have maintained high fertility for thousands of years. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Front Yard Forestry: Cabling Weak Trees

Front yeard foresteryOne of the ways Mother Nature keeps the forests healthy and strong is by “letting” trees with poor structure split during high wind or ice load events. Such trees become decayed and die young. Those with better genetics (or better luck) are the trees that reach maturity. This selection process is great for woodlands, but it doesn’t work quite the same way for trees growing in yards, streets and parks.

Trees often develop imperfections. The vast majority of these are benign, but some can be dangerous. To avoid breakage of large limbs and associated flying lawsuits and debris, trees with obvious defects are often removed. But since many problems are a result of human activities, it hardly seems fair to cut down a mature shade tree if there’s an alternative. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Winter Gardening: Reading, Houseplants

DiffenbachiaCornell3002Here are a couple of books to consider reading this winter from the comfort of a cozy chair as you wait for spring to come.

Anyone interested in growing any kind of plant should be glad to receive How Plants Work, the science behind the amazing things plants do by Linda Chalker-Scott, a professor of horticulture at Washington State University. This is not a how-to garden book but instead a book to help you understand and appreciate how plants grow. The author has a very readable writing style and explains the whys of many gardening practices and plant functions. She also debunks several garden myths about nutrient supplements and management practices. Every serious gardener should read this book this winter! » Continue Reading.


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