A solution for letting cats enjoy the outdoors—safely  by  Elizabeth Licata

Merlin and Sirius Black in their catio Backstory: As some readers will remember, I’ve posted before about free-roaming and feral cats and the dangerous lives they lead—dangerous to both them and their songbird prey. Studies vary, but it’s safe, even conservative, to assume that a billion or so birds and an even larger number of small mammals are killed per year. On a less serious level, cats like to treat the gardens they happen to wander into as litter boxes, which is not great for plant health or general ambiance. Weasley In Buffalo, animal agencies follow the TNR (trap, neuter, release) policy for feral or abandoned cats, which is considered humane by some, ineffective by others, and downright cruel by a group of animal activists who believe the lives lived by outdoor cats are characterized by hardship, disease, and injury. It’s difficult for me to speak to this, as I’m not sure what the alternatives would be. As a cat owner, I keep my cat inside. A friend and neighbor, Johanna, h..
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A solution for letting cats enjoy the outdoors—safely

Merlin and Sirius Black in their catio Backstory: As some readers will remember, I’ve posted before about free-roaming and feral cats and the dangerous lives they lead—dangerous to both them and their songbird prey. Studies vary, but it’s safe, even conservative, to assume that a billion or so birds and an even larger number of small mammals are killed per year. On a less serious level, cats like to treat the gardens they happen to wander into as litter boxes, which is not great for plant health or general ambiance. Weasley In Buffalo, animal agencies follow the TNR (trap, neuter, release) policy for feral or abandoned cats, which is considered humane by some, ineffective by others, and downright cruel by a group of animal activists who believe the lives lived by outdoor cats are characterized by hardship, disease, and injury. It’s difficult for me to speak to this, as I’m not sure what the alternatives would be. As a cat owner, I keep my cat inside. A friend and neighbor, Johanna, h..
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Designing a Landscape with Trees

Landscape Design Designing a Landscape with Trees By Sheereen Othman | July 30, 2018 Plants are some of the easiest (and most sustainable) ways to make a landscape more vibrant and welcoming. Planting the right tree for the right place helps ensure that your tree will live a healthy life for years to come. The most successful designs are those that are planned and take climate and environmental factors into consideration. The Right Tree for the Right Place This guide will help you get started on creating a healthy and functional yard using trees and shrubs. Plan Before you Plant What do you want? Before you can narrow down your tree selection determine why you are planting a tree. Here are some of the most common reasons trees are planted in the home landscape. Shade: Do you want to add shade to your yard? Pick a tree with a broad canopy that will cast a big shadow. Beauty: If you want to enhance your curb appeal, consider planting something with vibrant color or uniq..
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Making Peter Great Again – One Fountain at a Time  by  Bob Hill

Most gardeners after about 40 years in the asparagus patch begin to at least consider downsizing. You know, cutting back to only three-quarters of an acre of weeds, fewer disease-plagued rose bushes and compost-pile-death to those ever-needy iris and day lilies. The same with back-yard fountains. Sure, they offer bubbling sounds and elegant gushes of water at the flip of a switch, but the pumps go bad, the dirt clogs the outlets and it can be difficult to keep the hungry goldfish trapped within them happy. Chances are the house, yard and garden fountains will eventually be sold to some minimalist gardener who only cares to raise a few onions in some ecologically-pure raised bed anyway. Then there was Peterhof, the cozy 1,250-acre Russian complex of paths and gardens, 150 incredible fountains and a looming yellow palace first brought to light by aptly-named Peter the Great in St. Petersburg in the early 1700s. Three centuries later it still tells a larger story: To hell with downsiz..
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Making Peter Great Again – One Fountain at a Time

Most gardeners after about 40 years in the asparagus patch begin to at least consider downsizing. You know, cutting back to only three-quarters of an acre of weeds, fewer disease-plagued rose bushes and compost-pile-death to those ever-needy iris and day lilies. The same with back-yard fountains. Sure, they offer bubbling sounds and elegant gushes of water at the flip of a switch, but the pumps go bad, the dirt clogs the outlets and it can be difficult to keep the hungry goldfish trapped within them happy. Chances are the house, yard and garden fountains will eventually be sold to some minimalist gardener who only cares to raise a few onions in some ecologically-pure raised bed anyway. Then there was Peterhof, the cozy 1,250-acre Russian complex of paths and gardens, 150 incredible fountains and a looming yellow palace first brought to light by aptly-named Peter the Great in St. Petersburg in the early 1700s. Three centuries later it still tells a larger story: To hell with downsiz..
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Natives here, natives there, natives, natives everywhere…  by  Carol Reese

Is there any garden center that doesn’t carry coneflower? Now and again, someone asks me where they can buy native plants. Sometimes they go on to complain that native plants are hard to find in today’s nursery industry. My hackles rise, and I know at that moment that they have no real knowledge of plants, yet have simply heard this somewhere and felt it worth repeating. It’s just another example of industry bashing without investigating the facts. In fact, in a chat with plant guru and renowned nurseryman Bill Barnes just the other day, he said that he personally surveyed the industry and that three of every four plants in the landscape industry were native or derived from natives. Many selections of the native smooth hydrangea are available. I know I can walk into any local garden center and find a large number of natives. Are these peevish people unaware that the ubiquitous blackeyed Susans and coneflowers are native? That’s just for starters. You may choose to speed read the next..
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The Sights of Cornell, Ithaca and More  by  Susan Harris

Almost on a whim I drove to Ithaca to attend the Children and Youth Garden Symposium being hosted by Cornell (with the American Horticultural Society), and I’m glad I did. First, the stunning beauty of the campus, the town and the whole region reminded me not at all of the flatlands of Northern Ohio where I went to school. Above is the Plant Sciences Department, where the symposium was held. One treat was meeting Craig Cramer, who started a blog way back when the Rant launched and became an early commenter. Here he is in his office showing off one of the many scanned-art works he’s famous for. See lots more on his blog Ellis Hollow. The Cornell Botanic Garden, until recently unfortunately named the Cornell Plantation, was so much more than I’d expected. The Herb Garden was my favorite part, so much so that I couldn’t choose between these shots. The Cornell BG includes a whole arboretum with this lake, a shrub collection and much more. And possibly unique among botanic gardens? A ..
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The Sights of Cornell, Ithaca and More

Almost on a whim I drove to Ithaca to attend the Children and Youth Garden Symposium being hosted by Cornell (with the American Horticultural Society), and I’m glad I did. First, the stunning beauty of the campus, the town and the whole region reminded me not at all of the flatlands of Northern Ohio where I went to school. Above is the Plant Sciences Department, where the symposium was held. One treat was meeting Craig Cramer, who started a blog way back when the Rant launched and became an early commenter. Here he is in his office showing off one of the many scanned-art works he’s famous for. See lots more on his blog Ellis Hollow. The Cornell Botanic Garden, until recently unfortunately named the Cornell Plantation, was so much more than I’d expected. The Herb Garden was my favorite part, so much so that I couldn’t choose between these shots. The Cornell BG includes a whole arboretum with this lake, a shrub collection and much more. And possibly unique among botanic gardens? A ..
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How to Properly Water Your Trees

Tree Care How to Properly Water Your Trees By Arbor Day Foundation | July 27, 2018 Guest post by John Lang of Friendly Tree. Now that summer is in full swing, watering your trees properly is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and stress-free. With much of the Southwest United States currently in drought conditions, consistent watering is key to happy trees. But did you know — the most common watering mistake is actually too much water? Whether it’s too much or too little, watering can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it. Follow this guide to ensure your trees make through summer with flying colors: When to Water During a summer afternoon, up to half of the water can be lost to evaporation. The best time to water is in the morning or evening, so the roots have a chance to absorb most of the water. Unfortunately, there’s no magic schedule for watering trees. How often you should water will depend on the size of your tree, soil conditions, and weather conditio..
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Natives here, natives there, natives, natives everywhere…

Is there any garden center that doesn’t carry coneflower? Now and again, someone asks me where they can buy native plants. Sometimes they go on to complain that native plants are hard to find in today’s nursery industry. My hackles rise, and I know at that moment that they have no real knowledge of plants, yet have simply heard this somewhere and felt it worth repeating. It’s just another example of industry bashing without investigating the facts. In fact, in a chat with plant guru and renowned nurseryman Bill Barnes just the other day, he said that he personally surveyed the industry and that three of every four plants in the landscape industry were native or derived from natives. Many selections of the native smooth hydrangea are available. I know I can walk into any local garden center and find a large number of natives. Are these peevish people unaware that the ubiquitous blackeyed Susans and coneflowers are native? That’s just for starters. You may choose to speed read the next..
Read More