As a kid of about five, I became suspicious of lawns. In a rare moment of TV viewing, I had seen a public-service ad wherein a bundle of green leafy stuff thudded into an eerily vacant playground while a baritone voice boomed out something like “Grass. We think it’s bad for kids. Stay away from it.” My mom insisted this was “bad grass” which did not grow in our yard. However, she declined to elaborate, which fueled my mistrust. So I kept off the lawn a while.
These days, “bread” is no longer money, “mint” is just a flavor, and the pernicious leafy stuff mostly goes by other names. There is only one grass, and it is almost time to cut it again. Jargon may change, but things like paying taxes and mowing lawns don’t seem to. » Continue Reading.
Spring is in the air and that means Saranac Lake’s Daffest. With daffodils peeking out from individual yards and local parks, the April 27-30 festival is here to shake off the last of that winter melt and celebrate the hardy flower. Saranac Lake is flush with the bright yellow blossoms.
There are many events on the Daffest schedule including a Pub Crawl, Historic Walk and a 5K Fun Run. By far the largest draw is the annual soapbox derby. My children and friends have been a part of Saturday’s Daffest Derby for years. Though neither were ever in the fastest derby car, the process has always fun. Don’t worry. You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a tiny wooden car and careen down George LaPan Memorial Highway’s hill, to enjoy the soapbox derby. It’s just as fun to be a spectator and check out all the creative cars. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that more than 50 species of trees and shrubs from the DEC’s Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools.
Spruces, pines, shrub willows, dogwoods, high bush cranberry, winged sumac, white cedar, and wetland rose are among the 50 species available. » Continue Reading.
The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga will hold the sixth annual Garden & Landscape Symposium on Saturday, April 8th in the Mars Education Center. Designed for both beginning and experienced gardeners, this day-long symposium includes insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and northern New England. This event is open by pre-registration only. » Continue Reading.
Warren County Soil & Water is beginning year four of its “Farm Talks” on Friday, January 13th from 6 to 8 pm at DEC’s Warrensburg Office, 232 Golf Course Road.
The first presentation of the night will be “Soil Blocks: A Better Start” with Rand Fosdick, Farm Manager of Landon Hill Estate Farm. In the northeast, starting your vegetable seeds early and correctly will lead to healthier plants with a head start to transplanting in spring. The soil block methodology is growing in popularity due to the success vegetable producers are having with this pot-less technique. The general concept behind it is using a soil recipe with structure and nutrients and a tool called a “soil blocker” to form the soil mixture into blocks to directly plant your seeds into. Soil blocks reduce transplant shock and add nutrients to your garden beds. » Continue Reading.
Applications for the January 2017 Master Gardener Training Program are now being accepted at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County.
After enrolling in the course, participants are given a binder of information that supplements weekly presentations by Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of garden topics.
The topics include basic botany; entomology; soil health; home lawn care; vegetable, fruit and flower gardening; composting; organic gardening, and other practical and interesting subject matter. » Continue Reading.
This photo of a spotted cucumber beetle was made on an early fall overnight at the SUNY-ESF Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. Widely considered a pest, the spotted cucumber beetle is a striking presence despite its otherwise undesirable character.
The big, meaty green caterpillars that many of us have been fighting to eradicate from our gardens this summer make plenty of people squirm. In part it’s because they are among the largest caterpillars in the region, sometimes reaching close to three inches in length, with reddish horns on their ends that look like stingers (but aren’t). They also have voracious appetites and a preference for consuming our tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper plants.
Despite their alien appearance, tobacco hornworms are native insects that contribute to local food chains and eventually transform into beautiful Carolina sphinx moths. These large-bodied moths have five-inch, coffee-colored wings that enable them to hover over flowers like hummingbirds. According to Sam Jaffe, founder of The Caterpillar Lab in Keene, New Hampshire, Carolina sphinx moths have the longest proboscis of any insect in New England, which allow them to probe the deepest flowers. » Continue Reading.
By 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?
Elizabeth 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.
The 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.
One 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.
View’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.
Ever 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.
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.
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