A venerable oak presided on the far side of a hump of land behind the house where I grew up. Deeply rooted, steady, its head was in the clouds and arms open wide to embrace whatever came its way. It seemed to stand guard over some wonderful secret, and it dropped the biggest acorns I'd [...]
Small actions can keep us mindful. Actions have reactions, whether they happen far away or right at home, whether we see them or not. Every spring, when the fever to plant runs high, I remember the words of Bill Duesing, founding executive director of NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmers Assoc.). "We grow lettuce (which is 95% [...]
Color is so personal. We all gravitate toward certain colors and color combinations. Our choices express our personalities and creativity. Favorite colors make us feel good. I love gold foliage in the garden. It makes dynamic combinations with other colors and looks like sunshine. One of my clients thinks gold plants look diseased. Don't let [...]
I did it! After years of sinking money into things that don't show - chimney liner, new oil tank, electrical upgrades, insulation, etc. etc. etc. - I finally got to do something I want. The entire yard on the east-southeast side of my yard is lawn no more. Never again will I have to tip [...]
Without human intervention, most of New England is inclined toward becoming forest. But humans have intervened. When managed land is abandoned, meadows are not periodically mowed and invasive plants are not managed, it is not a pretty picture. If you "let nature take its course" invasive plants will take over.
Plants that look good in fall and winter abound in prairies. Travels to The Olbrich Botanical Garden, Curtis Prairie and Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin show how to use them in the garden.
Having studied painting rather than horticulture or landscape design, I long thought of myself as a self-taught gardener as I felt my way along the convoluted path to where I am today. But that's not quite right. Gardens and other gardeners have been my teachers. The gardens that most intrigue me were made by similarly "self-taught" gardeners who spent serious time looking, developed their very personal gardens over time and who never stopped learning, looking and sharing.
Among the many native perennials in my landscape, goldenrod has the highest ecological and wildlife value. It's a standout "good guy," a beneficent prince. It's also one of the worst thugs in the prime real estate of my gardens. I've had to draw the line between garden (where I don't want them to seed in) and landscape (where they can run rampant).
I’ve always loved staghorn sumac’s tropical-looking leaves, young stems resembling velvety antlers (hence its common name), plumy cream-colored flowers, spectacular fall color and fuzzy red berry clusters (only on female plants - they’re dioecious). But I had no idea how much interrelated life, drama, trickery, sex, life and death went on in its embrace until the show was right under my nose.
Creating a reliable food system calls for a shift of priorities from efficient and as cheap as possible to reliable and local. It needs to be about reliability and nourishment. The big threat is lack of pollination services. To protect the pollinators we must plant native plants and protect habitat.