Back on Campus, Figuring out Park(ing) Day  by  Susan Harris

Walking across the University of Maryland campus last week*, I happened upon the school’s National Park(ing) Day exhibit. So once again I asked myself what the hell IS National Park(ing) day? and finally got an answer. At least here, it’s a day for the Landscape Architecture Department to promote the profession, which no doubt could use some public exposure. But naturally there’s more to it. This blog post on The Dirt, the blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects, describes it like this: On Friday, September 21, landscape architects and designers around the world participated in the 14th annual PARK(ing) Day to demonstrate the power of public space. PARK(ing) Day helps the public see the difference a designed space, even one as small as a metered parking spot, can make in their community. To see how creative the project can be, peruse the 424 entries by ASLA members following this hagboard. There was no budget for this exhibit, so the department borrowed some newly bou..
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How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff

Tree Care How Trees Can Retain Stormwater Runoff By Arbor Day Foundation | September 27, 2018 Trees in our communities provide many services beyond the inherent beauty they lend to streets and properties. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated is their ability to reduce the volume of water rushing through gutters and pipes following a storm. This means less investment in expensive infrastructure and – importantly – cleaner water when the runoff reaches rivers and lakes. READ: Drip Drop, How do Trees Make Flooding Stop? How do trees help with stormwater management? Trees help reduce stormwater runoff in several ways. Trees intercept rain and hold a portion of it on their leaves and bark. Part of this intercepted rain will evaporate and part will be gradually released into the soil. Fallen leaves help form a spongy layer that moderates soil temperature and helps retain moisture, harbors organisms that break down organic matter, and recycle elements for use in pla..
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8 Trees that Flaunt Brilliant Fall Color

Landscape Design Tree Planting 8 Trees that Flaunt Brilliant Fall Color By Arbor Day Foundation | September 24, 2018 Autumn is “leaf season,” nature’s annual color festival. Environmental factors and the genetic makeup of the trees determine the intensity and times of peak color, with factors varying from tree to tree and region to region. Here are 8 of our favorite trees for fall color. These trees will also provide spring color, shade, privacy, and wildlife habitat. Black Tupelo Nyssa sylvatica Called “one of the best and most consistent native trees for fall color” by tree expert Michael Dirr, the black tupelo is a terrific landscaping choice. Displaying various hues of yellow, orange, bright red and purple—often on the same branch—its foliage is a stand-out of the autumn season. Even the distinctive bark, which resembles alligator hide, adds visual and textural interest. And while its blooms may not seem noteworthy, bees will be very appreciative of the presence o..
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It’s Over: Ending 19 Wonderful Years in the Nursery Business  by  Bob Hill

As anyone who has ever opened a small, home-grown retail nursery can tell you, the economic reality for such is straight out of the veteran horse gambler’s prayer: Lord, I hope I break even, I need the money. So it went as we opened our Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden 19 years ago on a hopeful wing, happy ignorance and a prayer. History was not in my favor. My obligatory role as a newspaper columnist had always been to make cheerful fun of capitalists, not become one. Yet I had grown to love plants; a sweet addiction with no known cure – had I even been interested in one. I had eight acres of relatively open Southern Indiana land and an old barn, a modicum of plant knowledge and a yen for the nursery business. I had growing connections to the specialty wholesale nurseries and companies that catered to the needs of we the possessed; tiny exotic hostas, glorious blooming shrubs, weeping trees, stone owls and fountains from which water fell in rhythmic wonder. My plant enablers..
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On the Dissing of “Ornamental Plants”  by  Susan Harris

Anyone else bothered by the term “ornamental” to distinguish certain plants from those that are considered useful, usually edibles? For example,Wikipedia uses this petunia to illustrate the term and offers this definition: Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as houseplants, for cut flowers, and specimen display. The Wiki authors (and I’ve noticed, users of the term generally) make it clear that the plants are for aesthetics only: Commonly, ornamental [garden] plants are grown for the display of aesthetic features. In all cases, their purpose is for the enjoyment of gardeners, visitors, and the public institutions. If we hadn’t already gotten the point: (bold in the original) Ornamental plants are plants which are grown for display purposes, rather than functional ones. While some plants are both ornamental and functional, people usually use the term “ornamental plants” to refer to plants which have no value..
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New Jersey Tree Foundation Greens Communities on TD Tree Days

Corporate Partnerships Urban and Community Forestry/Green Infrastructure New Jersey Tree Foundation Greens Communities on TD Tree Days By Mary Sweeney | September 21, 2018 Guest post by Beth Kwart, Development Director, NJ Tree Foundation The TD Tree Days program gives us opportunities to make a large impact in community parks, residential streets, and open spaces. We have planted anywhere from 30 to 130 trees at one time through our TD Tree Days events. -Lisa Simms, Executive Director for the New Jersey Tree Foundation. Each year, the Arbor Day Foundation and TD Bank awards 10 community grants to municipalities with Tree City USA designation as part of the TD Green Streets program. The grants are used to plant trees in barren and underserved communities. The New Jersey Tree Foundation—an organization dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life for New Jersey residents by planting trees—has partnered with TD Green Streets grant recipients in New Jersey..
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9 Trees that Can Survive Flooding

Featured Tree Planting 9 Trees that Can Survive Flooding By Sheereen Othman | September 19, 2018 It’s that time of year, where storms, hurricanes, and flooding become more common. Storms deliver torrential rain that can lead to massive flooding, damaging homes, businesses, and sometimes our community trees. But some tree species are more tolerant than others at withstanding the impact of a storm and its aftereffects like puddles, soil deposition, and rushing streams. Here are 11 tree species that can thrive in wet soil and flood conditions and can weather a storm. 1. River Birch Betula nigra As its name suggests, the river birch naturally grows along river banks. But as a landscape tree, it can be planted almost anywhere in the U.S. The species is valued for its relatively rapid growth, tolerance of wetness and some drought, unique curling bark, spreading limbs and relative resistance to birch borer. The river birch has not yet reached the popularity of many maples and..
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Thoughts on water, living with water, and storms  by  Elizabeth Licata

This is some stage of Arthur, off Topsail Island, NC, July 2014 We’re drawn to water and connected through water, especially gardeners. Most of the gardeners I know—not just in WNY but all over the US—spend half their growing seasons hoping for water in the form of rain. They have rain gauges and weather stations and use apps and websites to monitor annual rainfall in their areas. They have become amateur rain scientists. Gardeners try to save rain with rain barrels and to stop it from running out into storm gutters—as much as they can—through creating rain gardens and other plantings that capture water. We revel in water as humans, seeking out opportunities to swim, splash, and float. I’m often scheming about how I could get a small, good-looking pool installed, and I haven’t given up. I love beaches even more. For years, we have spent at least one summer week on the beautiful coast of North Carolina, a place very familiar to me from childhood summers spent there when my father was i..
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The Iconoclastic Gardener – Breaking May’s Stranglehold  by  Scott Beuerlein

Way back in 1914, an awful calamity happened that would ruin gardening in America forever. With the seemingly benevolent stroke of his pen, Woodrow Wilson foisted the Tyranny of Mother’s Day upon us all. Soon after came the backhanded slap from the long arm of the law of unintended consequences. To be clear, I’m actually fairly okay with honoring moms. I’ve got one, and my wife even became one too. Willingly. What I don’t like, however, is that this holiday has established the second Sunday in May as the one and only epicenter of the entire Horticultural Universe. As if graven on stone tablets, it was apparently ordained that every homeowner in America must cram a year’s worth of yard work, and do all their garden shopping, within two or three days of that holiest of holy days. As you can imagine, because people inherently buy from garden centers things that are in flower, this has ensured that every last homeowner’s yard explodes into bloom right on Mother’s Day and sheepishly goes ..
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Are Your Trees Stressed?

Tree Care Are Your Trees Stressed? By Arbor Day Foundation | September 17, 2018 Guest post by John Lang of Friendly Tree. Believe it or not, trees get stressed, too. While trees in forests typically live for a hundred years or more, trees in cities and towns usually only survive for a few decades. This is because various stressors in the urban landscape take their toll on tree health. Let’s explore some of these factors and how they can be managed. What Causes Tree Stress? It’s a common misconception that insects and disease are the main causes for tree death. The human environment actually causes the majority of stress that trees experience – and in fact, even infestation can in many cases be traced back to human activity. Improper planting is one of the major reasons trees decline in urban environments. Additional contributors to tree stress include watering too much, watering too little, soil compaction, exposure to road salt and pollution, and construction near roo..
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