In (somewhat) better days
Trees are suffering. First, there are the pests; among the most current are the emerald ash borer, the mountain pine beetle, and the wooly aldegid. Then there are the ravages of fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters; it was awful to see the defoliation in the Caribbean earlier this year (though growing conditions there should promote faster replacement than we’d see in Buffalo). And then there are the always-ongoing threats of bad planting and bad maintenance.
One of only two trees on our actual property—we are surrounded by trees we don’t own—was just cut down last week, the last in a series of must-do pre-winter tasks. A big sugar maple, it had been weakening over the past five years, and now posed a serious threat to neighboring structures. We think it’s many decades old, but aren’t sure of the exact age. During garden tours, visitors have always been surprised to be seeing such a large tree in an urban courtyard garden; it grew directly against ..
Tree of the Week
Littleleaf Linden: Tree with a Past
By James R. Fazio | November 21, 2017
Few of our street trees have a heritage as rich as the littleleaf linden. We enjoy this transplant from Europe for its pleasing shape, dense canopy, and super-fragrant flowers, but to the ancients it was much more.
Littleleaf linden is one of some 30 species of lindens native to the northern hemisphere, including our native forest tree, basswood. In Europe, littleleaf dominated the woodlands of England after the Ice Age and today it is the linden that stretches farthest north into Scandinavia. This was such a valued tree that there is evidence of it being planted and used for social purposes as early as 760 A.D. The special qualities of littleleaf and its kin evoke things romantic. Youths and maidens are said to have “danced wildly” around the village lindens. This probably was because in the Germanic and Norse countries, at least, the tree was special to Freya, the g..
These days we’re all paying more attention to beneficial wildlife in our gardens, and to that end, looking for good native plants to grow. But which ones? Those official lists of state or regional natives don’t really help the aspiring eco-gardener make their choices. So many of the listed plants aren’t even in the trade! Instead, I always recommend asking experienced gardeners.
Gardeners like me, for instance. In this short video I gush about the 10 best-performing native plants I’ve ever grown, and by that I mean they look great and are easy-care. No fertilizers or fungicides needed. And except for the Oakleaf Hydrangea, no regular watering after the plants are established.
They are: Black-Eyed Susans, Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Spiderwort, Joe Pye Weed, Golden Groundsel, Amsonia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Crossvine, and Redbud. And in the video description on YouTube I add three “bonus plants” that aren’t in the video for lack of decent photos of them: Ninebark, Penstemon and Little B..
Arbor Day Coffee
What is Agroforestry and why Does It Matter?
By Jon Ferguson | November 13, 2017
Arbor Day Coffee is grown by farmers who are committed to using sustainable agroforestry management practices on their farm. Agroforestry is a land use management system where trees or shrubs are grown around crops or pastureland. We call it the shade-grown difference.
This shade-grown practice of harvesting coffee leads to healthier crops and has a positive environmental impact. In some cases, it can also be more cost effective than farms with sophisticated technology and chemical treatments.
Agroforestry has its advantages. For example, planting a diverse selection of tree species — like fruit trees — empowers smallholder coffee farmers to grow nutritional food sources, making them less dependent on a single crop.
Additionally, there are numerous environmental benefits. Trees add nutrients to the soil, provide shade to crops, and add an aesthetic value to the property. Th..
My latest gardening obsession is making over the landscape in front of my housing co-op offices, where the top priority is to do something about the overgrown junipers. Planted too close to the sidewalk and doors, they’d been sheared back, which caused much unsightly needle-browning.
The problem wasn’t just that they were encroaching onto sidewalks, either. Their looming presence over the doors made the female staffers feel less than safe as they exited, especially at night. Something had to be done, and right away.
So the team of staff and volunteers working on this decided to have the junipers closest to the sidewalk removed, and it was super-gratifying to watch those bad boys being yanked out of the ground by a Bobcat excavator.
Unfortunately, this exposed even more dieback and browning in the adjacent junipers (above). So ugly.
But man, I live for pruning projects like this! Oh, the mountain of dead juniper branches I gleefully (obsessively) compiled, ignoring the dozen or so c..
How to Create a Garden Around Your Home That Stands Out
By Arbor Day Foundation | November 10, 2017
Guest Post by Mike Andrews, My Door Pro.
Whether you just moved into a new home with a large lawn or recently sparked an interest in gardening, this article is for you. Sure, you can always ask your neighbors how they did it in their lawns, but as usual, you want to stand out from the crowd. You want your garden to be as attractive and as colorful as possible without the high cost.
Thinking of transforming your garden? These tips are for you ¾ everything you need to know about gardening is listed here ¾ eliminating the need to hire professional help.
Ensure you have a weed-free garden
This is the first rule whenever you want to beautify your garden. Before anything else, ensure that you can rid your garden of weeds. You can get a wheeled stool to do the job. If you want to replant in place of the weeds, you can go for sweet alyssum (Loburia Maritima) o..
10 Most Popular Nursery Trees and Shrubs Shipping This Fall
By Sheereen Othman | November 8, 2017
Arbor Day fall shipping started this week, which means your new trees will be arriving soon and ready to plant. Thousands of trees will be shipped from the Arbor Day nursery. Here are the 10 most popular Arbor Day nursery trees finding their new homes.
Green Giant Arborvitae Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’
The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen—shooting up by as much as 3′ per year until maturity. Its natural pyramidal to conical form boasts dense, rich green foliage that darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter.
This is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge or single specimen. It is also resistant to wind once established and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a natural windbreak.
2. American Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis
This native evergreen is a hard-working, versatile..
Jamie Dockery, wizard of farm and garden. August 12, 2017.
I don’t know anyone on this planet, or galaxy, with more runaway enthusiasm for gardening than Jamie Dockery. And that’s not all. Besides his rabid determination to grow anything with chlorophyll, Jamie also raises little cows, little goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, and tends an aviary with finches and canaries—all of this on his ten-acre farm in Salvisa, KY, not far from the Kentucky River.
Ansel, the newborn, black and white calf. March 26, 2017.
“I’m a full blown nut job,” Jamie confessed during a lecture he gave early last spring called: “A Glimpse of a Lunatic’s Garden.”
This was one of nearly 50 talks Jamie presents each year as part of his day job as the Fayette County Extension Agent for Horticulture Education. Jamie’s first love, after his livestock, is perennials, but he is no one-trick pony. He’s extremely knowledgeable on trees, shrubs, and fruits and vegetables, too.
The little cows in early May.
Tree of the Week
Northern Catalpa: Rarely Unnoticed
By James R. Fazio | November 7, 2017
Catalpa is a hard tree to overlook. Trumpet-shaped flowers herald its awakening for the summer and are soon followed by some of the largest leaves in the northern hemisphere. Elephant ears would not be too far off the mark for their description. Finally come the seed pods — bean-like in shape draping the tree like green tinsel.
There are two key species of catalpa in the United States — southern and northern catalpa. Originally, southern catalpa was more widespread, but when the pioneers discovered the northern species in a very limited area of the Midwest, it didn’t take long to realize that this one grew larger and could tolerate colder winters better. Thanks to its fast growth and rot-resistant wood — and a promotional campaign by Nebraska governor Robert W. Furnas, a contemporary of J. Sterling Morton — farmers began planting it for fence posts and to sell as rai..
Gardeners in the play “Native Gardens”
My recent rant about stereotypes of gardeners in a new play got me thinking about the images of gardeners used in advertising and elsewhere. The garden-club-competing gardeners in the play typify the demographic so often used to portray us – white and elderly.
More of the same can be found by searching “gardener” at istockphoto, where these images of older women especially bug me because they convey the surprising (to all real gardeners) impression that gardening is about fussing over flowers. You and I know that gardening requires hard work – digging, hauling, and wrestling branches with pruning tools.
Thankfully, iStock’s offerings include more diversity than just older white women.
On Google image there are plenty of young people and quite a bit of pruning going on.
Searching “gardener” on Shutterstock yields mostly super-fake images of gardens and just a few actual people, most of them young.
Pexel’s gardener images are even stranger, st..