Northern Red Oak: A Tree of Ease

Tree of the Week Northern Red Oak: A Tree of Ease By Sheereen Othman | May 30, 2017 Quercus rubra The northern red oak has been called “one of the handsomest, cleanest, and stateliest trees in North America” by naturalist Joseph S. Illick. During the colonial times people realized that red oaks are of high value and have superior wood qualities. This Midwest native quickly became a favorite for landscapers because of the tree’s adaptability and usefulness, including its hardiness in urban settings. In addition to its strength, the tree is attractive, displaying a beautiful show of reds and browns in the fall. One of the many distinctive features of the northern red oak is that it is easier than most oaks to transplant. It is believed that the first red oak to be transplanted was in Bishop Compton’s garden in England. It is equally at home on a shady city street or as part of a natural or managed forest. By 1924, there were more than 450 acres of red oak plantations in Ba..
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A Whole Different Spin on Pot Planting by Bob Hill

There have been very few opportunities for even the most avid of gardeners to plant bright red geraniums in an old, gray washing machine tub, so pay attention to this one. The story begins almost 45 years ago as Bob and Janet Hill, garden neophytes whose possessions included two small children, hefty monthly payments on a Volkswagen Squareback and the address of the local laundromat, received an income tax return for $444. This itself was a financial miracle since that figure was equal to about two-weeks take-home pay. The other miracle was that on the very same day the check arrived Bob and Janet saw an ad in the local newspaper for a washer AND dryer on sale for…please lean forward in anticipation here…$444. Yes, of course we did. With free delivery and appropriate hoses. The Washer & Dryer Gods had spoken. We Grateful Listeners were so proud of the purchase we gave our new appliances personal names – Max and Edna Hill Whirlpool. The couple served us faithfully and well for a long..
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Where Leaders for Public Gardens Come From by Susan Harris

The ridiculously fit Bill Thomas when I first met him in 2006. Last week I showed off my favorite views in Chanticleer Garden from a recent visit, promising a second post about the “good and important work that Chanticleer does.” So I’m back to spread the word about the behind-the-gorgeous-gardens stuff that goes on there, good works I had no notion of until I read this announcement of the prestigious Scott Award going to Chanticleer’s director, Bill Thomas. (I’ll rush to reassure everyone that it has nothing to do with ScottsMiracle-Gro but more happily, is awarded by Swarthmore College’s Scott Arboretum – the best landscaped campus I’ve ever seen, by the way.) The announcement mentions Chanticleer’s programs that “emphasize leadership training for the next generation of public garden professionals, through the Chanticleer Scholarship, Internship, and Guest Gardener programs.” What’s all that? A really big deal is what it all is. I asked Bill about it during my visit. The awesome..
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Once more in Buffalo—this time for the GWA by Elizabeth Licata

Those of you who belong to the Garden Writers Association know that its annual conference happens in Buffalo August 4–7. Here’s a video our local tourism agency and GardensBuffaloNiagara.com (the group that runs Garden Walk) made to help lure the conference. Not that it took much convincing. Many GWAers were first exposed to Buffalo’s amazing gardening culture in 2010, when we had the annual bloggers meet-up there, and know firsthand how much there is to see in Western New York, gardeningwise. If you’re a GWA member and haven’t registered, click here to learn more about this garden-obsessed area and watch the whole video (which we’ve also shared on the Rant Facebook page). The tours that GWA has planned are spot-on to take full advantage of it. You’ll be able to see the charming Cottage District (without the Garden Walk crowds), Buffalo’s Olmsted park system, Mike and Kathy Shadrack’s creekside paradise, and a garden shed that must be seen to be believed. There’s a lot more; you can f..
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Tree Campus USA Keeps Students Involved

Tree Campus USA Tree Campus USA Keeps Students Involved By Amber Filipi | May 25, 2017 Since 2008, the Tree Campus USA program has recognized college and university campuses that effectively manage campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests, engage student population through service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community forestry efforts. In 2016, more than 300 colleges met the program’s five standards and were recognized as a Tree Campus USA. Lone Star College-Montgomery received the distinction in 2016 and shares some of the wonderful forestry work the campus has focused on below. From the beginning, Lone Star College-Montgomery has known the value of trees on our campus. Located just north of The Woodlands, Texas, students and visitors enjoy our “paradise behind the pines” wooded grounds. Our campus has a reputation for its beautiful setting, largely provided by trees. Lone Star Co..
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The Mysterious Case of the Orange Petunia by Allen Bush

Outlawed orange-red petunia If you’re growing an orange petunia this summer, you may be one of the lucky ones. Or the afflicted ones. Orangish petunias were taken off the market several weeks ago, in Europe, when a Finnish watchdog agency, Evira, announced they had discovered that the summer flowering annual had been genetically modified. Frankenflowers? The USDA got on the bandwagon shortly afterwards. (Elizabeth Licata reported the petunia irregularity, here on Garden Rant, on May 16th.) Any genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organism (GMO)—food product or ornamental plant—is routinely forbidden in Europe, although exceptions have been allowed after thorough scrutiny proved there was no potential danger Petunias have no natural orange gene. Now breeders are backpedaling, arguing that there was no mechanical gene splicing to produce the orange petunia. One head-scratcher is the suggestion that the genetic transfer was windborne. The seed companies are claiming..
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Pin Oak: Autumn Glory

Tree of the Week Pin Oak: Autumn Glory By Sheereen Othman | May 23, 2017 Quercus palustris The pin oak pleases me for reasons I cannot wholly explain. — Hal Borland, A Countryman’s Woods The pin oak is the type of tree that stands out from its neighbors. Pin oak is not the largest of forest trees, but its distinctive branching pattern sets it apart from other oaks. The pin oak has a single, central trunk that rises from the ground to the tip of the tree. Upper branches are upright, middle ones horizontal and its lower limbs slant gracefully toward the ground. Its Latin name palustris means “of the swamp,” a reference to the tree’s ability to thrive in heavy soils on moist bottomlands. In the wild, the lower branches of the tree are often shaded by other trees, eventually splitting from its crown and leaving pin-like stubs. The pin oak has also become a popular street and park tree. interestingly, the same traits that led to its popularity have the potential to lead to..
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New Beginnings

Corporate Partnerships New Beginnings By Amy Ossian | May 22, 2017 As I write this post, I am sitting at my dining room table enjoying the view of my backyard through the window. The centerpiece of our property is a beautiful thirty-year old white ash tree. It stands strong in the middle of our backyard and provides shade throughout the heat of the summer. It puts on a beautiful display in the fall with its leaves turning orange and gold. I can’t imagine living here without it. And yet, I must, because I know that it will eventually succumb to the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive species of beetle that made its way from northeastern Asia to the US where it was first detected in Michigan in 2002. It has since spread across the U.S., killing tens of millions of ash trees to date. It is expected to kill most of the estimated 8.7 billion ash trees across America. The severity of this threat inspired the Arbor Day Foundation to create an EAB campaign as part of the Commun..
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Chanticleer, the Modern Gardener’s Garden by Susan Harris

Butchart’s Sunken Garden Serious gardeners love to hate Butchart Gardens, Canada’s most famous public garden, and I’ll cop to being one of the haters. It’s blindingly colorful and the very opposite of naturalistic, the gardening style popular today. I wonder if people who love the Butchart style could also appreciate a very modern, sophisticated, naturalistic garden like my favorite garden in the whole world – Chanticleer, near Philadelphia. I visited last week and offer these more modern scenes for your enjoyment. This Tea Garden, designed and maintained by Dan Benarcik, is about as formal as the gardens at Chanticleer get. Here’s Joe Henderson on the right (with an unidentified intern) having a yuck with me. Hearing Joe talk recently is what promoted my repeat visit, though honestly I’ll use any excuse to go back. It’s a manageable two-hour drive from my house. Any combination of purple and chartreuse is a hit with me. Here, the Alliums really deliver. Chanticleer’s iconic Ruin..
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Experts Learn how to Protect Trees AND Utility Lines

Urban and Community Forestry/Green Infrastructure Experts Learn how to Protect Trees AND Utility Lines By Arbor Day Foundation | May 17, 2017 Guest post by Phil Charlton, Ph.D. Executive Director, Utility Arborist Association. North America depends on electricity and gas. Admittedly, I get my energy from caffeine but I depend on electricity to make the coffee. My house is heated with gas. I depend on streetlights and stop lights, both of which depend on electricity. Our jobs, factories, and every other part of life are possible because of the electric and gas infrastructure that supplies our homes and businesses. Unfortunately, trees and other vegetation — if not planted in the right place — are not always compatible with our energy needs. The network that crisscrosses North America includes about 5 million miles of high-voltage distribution lines (the ones that run down our neighborhood streets), 450,000 miles of very high-voltage transmission lines largely running acr..
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