Working Together to Plant for the Future

Corporate Partnerships Working Together to Plant for the Future By Amy Ossian | April 20, 2017 CSX became a sponsor of the Arbor Day Foundation through the company’s work with Alliance for Community Trees — a network of community-based organizations is dedicated to improving the livability of towns and cities through planting and caring for trees. Last fall, some of the Arbor Day Foundation staff met with CSX colleagues at one of the company’s service days that included planting trees in Philadelphia. Below is a guest post from a CSX employee who attended the service day. My name is Robert Rohauer, and I’m proud to have over 27 years of service at CSX. I started on the railroad as brakeman and currently lead CSX’s team of Community Affairs and Safety managers across the eastern portion of our railroad. The Community Affairs and Safety team is the link between trains that run through 23 states and the community residents who live along either side of the tracks. We act as..
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Why Tree City USA? Why YOUR City?

Tree City USA Why Tree City USA? Why YOUR City? By Amber Filipi | April 19, 2017 This article was originally published in the March issue of Community Tree Connections newsletter—The newsletter of the Oregon Urban & Community Forestry Assistance Program. Written by Kristin Ramstad, Acting Urban & Community Forestry manager, Oregon. “I think you just get a flag.” “It doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort.” “There are too many hoops you need to jump through.” These are statements I typically hear from city leaders as to why their cities are not designated as a Tree City USA. Yet, in my opinion, these statements reflect a lack of knowledge about the “subtle power” of the Tree City USA program. What do I mean by “subtle power?” I mean that the Tree City USA program has the potential to positively transform how communities see themselves. The Tree City USA program recognizes cities for basic tree care efforts and activities they could be, possibly should be — and maybe al..
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Pollen, Politics and Doomsday Prep by Allen Bush

Dead nettles in bloom along VanArsdall Road in Salvisa, KY on March 26th. Molly Bush photo. I’ve been a careless victim of too many late nights in my past, but knocking back shots of Bourbon into the wee hours did not redden my eyes this spring. Pollen is the culprit. The warm late winter and early spring brought flowers into bloom earlier than usual. And of course that meant pollen— lots of it. Pollen’s bumper season has not been caused by the president’s disregard for the environment, although his recent actions may make matters worse for allergy sufferers. The president has decided to ignore the effects and consequences of global warming—the explosion of pollen being a small part. Global warming has increased the levels and “potency of pollen.” Trump’s “unnecessary and harmful” rollback of environmental protections stirred my small, personal protest and sparked an epiphany. In a deliberate act of kindness for clean air and water, I planted a native spicebush (Lindera benzoin) o..
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Garden variety hellebores are still the best by Elizabeth Licata

The upper middle hybrid is pretty, but doesn’t do nearly as well as the others here. Like many shade gardeners, I am in love with hellebores. They start flowering in March (or earlier) and some stay in bloom right into May. Deer, though not a problem for me, hate them; it’s easy to figure out why—just grab a handful of the plant’s sharp, raspy foliage. After bloom, the foliage provides lush structure. This is lovely close-up, but has yet to make much of an an impact as a plant. And here’s the best part—there is really no need to spend a fortune on the rarest hybrids. I’ve seen plants for $30 each on the Plant Delights site, and I bought some for around the $20 mark, but the ones that have performed the best for me are the common Helleborus x hybridus plants I bought from Wayside years ago for maybe $6.99 each. The plants are supposed to be the same, but one is pure white and the other includes shades of light mauve and green; they’re both single. I also have several other white vari..
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Starting from Seed by Thomas Christopher

Real gardeners, compulsive gardeners, are up to their elbows in seedlings this time of year. We (I qualify at least as compulsive) have a number of rationales for starting from seed. To begin with, it’s economical, the only way we can afford all the plants we want. For the price of a packet of a few packet of seeds, I can (and do) start hundreds of plants. I remember once at the wonderful public garden Wave Hill seeing an amazing planting that the staff there advertised as “a $16.00 dollar garden” or something like that because the gardeners had secured all the seeds they needed to fill the whole big bed for that price. Lettuce seedlings — 72 salads for the price of one packet of seeds An even better reason for starting from seed is that by doing so you can have plants you will get no other way. I do most of my vegetable gardening on a chilly hilltop in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, where it is too cool to ripen fruit of the mass market tomato seedlings found at loca..
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Garden Photographer of the Year Winners by Susan Harris

A local photography friend sent me a link to the International Garden Photographer of the Year, which bills itself as “the world’s premier competition and exhibition specialising in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography,” now in its 10th year. The competition works with Kew Gardens and the winners are displayed there and on tour throughout the U.K. I’m not much of a photographer myself and no judge at all, but that won’t stop me from having an opinion or two. For one, the overall winner, above left, seems a strange choice – effective but not gardeny. Comments by the judges don’t really help (me) much: “The photo perfectly encapsulates both the extremes of fortune and personality of these giants” and the image “draws the viewer in, to reveal the still surface of the lake behind. It demands closer inspection.” I bet if I were to see a large print of it in person I’d be totally on board. On the other hand, the winner above in the “Beautiful Gardens” category that, to my eyes i..
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See how this Supermarket is Protecting Local Watersheds

Corporate Partnerships See how this Supermarket is Protecting Local Watersheds By Jeff Ashelford | April 15, 2017 Visit any one of our nation’s forests and you will quickly become a fan. Their beauty is majestic and unrivaled. Beyond their beauty, you may be surprised to learn our forests are actually hard at work deep within the tree line. Watersheds found in our forests are the largest supplier of drinking water to more than 180 million Americans across the country. But many of these watersheds are threatened by drought and disease afflicting forests across the country. Publix Supermarkets —one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country — believes in making responsible choices that positively affect the environment. They have implemented green practices throughout their stores to run more sustainably. So, when Publix learned about two important watersheds under threat in their home state of Florida, they wanted to do something. Publix partnered with the Arb..
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Ask a Designer: What’s a Good Ground Cover for Shade? by Susan Harris

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ with Narcissus ‘Thalia’-imp. When a local Yahoo group was asked for ground cover recommendations for shade, these plants were suggested: Ajuga, Hosta, Pachysandra (native and nonnative), Epimedium, and Lily of the Valley, ferns, Hellebore, “some phlox, some carex,” Dicentra (bleeding heart), Sedum ternatum, Tiarella, Acorus, Asarum canadense (ginger) and “lots of spring ephemerals.” But hey, isn’t a ground cover a plant that literally covers the ground, and not just part of the year? According to Wikipedia, “Ground cover is any plant that grows over an area of ground. Ground cover provides protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought.” I agree, and to accomplish that task, the plants have to BE there all year, which eliminates Hosta, Lily of the Valley, most ferns, Dicentra, and all spring ephemerals. Autumn fern I was still silently ranting about the misinformation being handed out when a very meaty answer came from Carolyn Mullet, a local..
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I Aspire to Buffalo-Style Gardening by Susan Harris

Elizabeth’s recent post about the new term “Buffalo-style gardening” got me thinking. The style is said to be characterized by gardening not landscaping, man-made objects, and less lawn, but to me there’s more to this, my favorite style of gardening ever. I ‘d add to the list: color and lots of it, and plenty of seating. Not just seating but full-scale party rooms like Gordon Ballard’s amazing garden, shown above. (Thanks to GardenWalk Buffalo for the images.) Or how about Jim Charlier’s garden, for crissakes? And though tiny, Elizabeth’s garden hosts parties and high-impact color, too. (Shown here with party animals Sally Cunningham, Jim Charlier and Gordon Ballard.) Then there are buffalos as garden ornaments. And the wild-and-craziness of these planters made from tires. In my own gardens I’ve aspired to but never achieved full-on Buffalo-style gardening – though I keep trying. The first step was buying Adirondack chairs in teal. Another, painting the back wall of my house turquo..
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Videographer Teams up with Horticulturist Neighbor by Susan Harris

Connecticut-based videographer Patrick Volk emailed me recently, having discovered my blog posts about videos. It seems that this son of a landscape architect teamed up with neighbor Eric Larson, long-time director of Yale’s Marsh Botanic Garden, to create a slew of outstanding gardening videos. They call their website and Youtube channel GardenClips. In a follow-up email Patrick wrote that “These days video (primarily on YouTube) has become the first place people look for information on everything from fixing their clothes dryer (I’ve done it!) to gardening. In the beginning you could throw pretty much anything up on YouTube and people would watch it, but the medium has evolved and now high quality is expected. There’s still a lot of junk videos online but there’s increasingly excellent work being produced, too – if you can find it.” Then he “shamelessly plugged” Good Gardening Videos, a plug I’ll shamelessly mention. GardenClips videos Over the four years that Patrick and Eric hav..
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