Los Papales Estate is a Model Farm for Sustainability

Arbor Day Coffee Los Papales Estate is a Model Farm for Sustainability By Jon Ferguson | July 12, 2017 Los Papales has their own cupping room on-site, ensuring customers a rich, smooth tasting coffee every in every cup. Situated high in the mountains of northern Nicaragua is a small town with a reputation for producing some of the best quality coffee in the country. More than half of Nicaragua’s coffee comes from the Jinotega region, also known as the “capital of coffee.” The variety of high-altitudes, forests, valleys, soils, and climate are all factors that contribute to the quality of coffee in the area. Arbor Day coffee buyer Jon Ferguson visited one of the area’s largest coffee producers and learned a lot about the practices behind the operation that make this farm successful. Los Papales Estate is a family-owned farm that manages nearly 200 hectares of coffee fields full of leguminous fruits and hardwood shade tree species. Nearly half of the farm is left as natur..
Read More

American Beech: The Engraved

Tree of the Week American Beech: The Engraved By Sheereen Othman | July 11, 2017 Fagus grandifolia When early settlers would search for fertile land, they looked for American Beech trees, but these trees started disappearing as land was cleared to establish farming for food. The tree was also popular to make water wheels from because of the tree’s resistance to water decay. In hilly locations, passenger pigeons were commonly found perched on branches of the tree. It wasn’t uncommon for limbs to break off because of the weight of so many pigeons. This beauty is more than a rest stop for passenger pigeons. Its dense canopy and smooth silvery-gray colored bark catches the attention of spectators. Beech nuts are an important food source for chipmunks, squirrels, and birds. The wide-spreading canopy provides great shade in the summer and beautiful bronze coloring in the fall. Although slow-growing, it is a versatile tree, often used in parks, golf courses, acreages, and the f..
Read More

Garden Bloggers take DC (area) by Elizabeth Licata

Outside the Hirshhorn in DC (by Jimmie Durham) First, it must be stressed that I am not a good tour taker. I love looking at gardens, but I can enjoy a smaller garden pretty quickly, and then I’m done. I’m better in big public gardens, where you can keep moving and there’s always something different around the corner. That said, I found plenty to absorb my attention during the recent DC-area garden bloggers get-together, which was packed with really cool gardens, small and large. Organizer Tammy Schmitt did a great job. However, I was not able to see all the gardens on the schedule, as it was my first trip to DC and I had to take time out to see all the iconic sights that are probably old news to most of you. Hillwood And finally, just one more caveat. I was probably the only person there shooting with an iphone. One blogger had three cameras with her, two hung around her neck at all times, and everybody else also had professional SLR equipment. Click here, which has the posts from ..
Read More

I’m a City Center Gardener by Susan Harris

People in my town routinely pass this garden spot as they walk from the parking lot to the town center (appropriately named Roosevelt Center, since the town was built as a New Deal works and housing project). But walk a few more steps and just before reaching the Center you see this pitiful sight – only imagine the bare space covered in weeds most of the year. Besides weeds, there were established Nandinas and some sad, crispy hostas and a hydrangea, left over from a shadier era before the first tree there died. Why the weedy mess? Because the city stopped using herbicides without having an alternative weed strategy. Avid gardeners will understand my reaction to the high-visibility weed patch, which was to get SO sick of the eyesore that I finally adopted the spot. I did it not guerrilla-style, but with the permission of the city’s director of horticulture, who immediately saw the adoption as lightening his crew’s workload. So here’s the first stage of the much-needed make-over, wi..
Read More

American Mountainash: The Witchwood Tree

Tree of the Week American Mountainash: The Witchwood Tree By James R. Fazio | July 4, 2017 Sorbus americana Looking for a shield to cast off witches and malevolence? Travel back to 18th century Europe and residents would tell you to use mountainash wood as a guard to keeping witches away. Old folklore tells stories of people planting mountainash trees near the front of their houses and burning twigs to lay outside their home entrance to ward off evil. Some people went as far as making necklaces of ash wood. So, when colonists first moved to America and discovered American mountainash —cousin to the European mountainash — it was said that “the witches who crossed the ocean with the first colonists were soon exorcised by the very air and the sky of the New World.” The tree was said to bring good luck because of its five-pointed star, or pentagram, on the stalk of each berry. Pentagrams were considered symbols of protection. Although the tree may have been useful to keepin..
Read More

Editing for Autumn by Thomas Christopher

I’ve been spending a good deal of time recently at Wave Hill, the 28-acre horticultural paradise in the Bronx – I’ve been asked to write a book about its garden art. Wave Hill is famous for many things: its matchless collection of exquisite plants, its daring color combinations, and its use of plant architecture, among others. I’m particularly impressed by the craftsmanship of the gardeners. In particular, I am struck by how they are preparing now for the fall displays. Exquisite details such as this are the glory of Wave Hill The fall garden has long been a special focus at Wave Hill. In large part, this reflects the pattern of its visitorship. The supporters of the garden (although Wave Hill belongs to the city of New York, the bulk of its funding comes from private sources) are mostly out of town in the summertime, as are many of the residents of Wave Hill’s Riverdale neighborhood. Besides, whereas packing a garden with bloom in spring or summer is relatively easy, accomplishing t..
Read More

joe gardener Goes Live! by Susan Harris

For months I’d been dying to set my eyes on Joe Lamp’ls new website joegardener.com, hoping for a lot. It launched last week and at the risk of gushing, it includes everything a how-to-garden site should have and some stuff I didn’t think of. In Joe’s words to me on the phone recently, it’s a “hub for accurate information in the formats people want.” Like all of us, Joe laments the loss of “gardening on TV – there’s nothing out there.” After Scripps Howard bought HGTV it concluded that advertising won’t support a real gardening show, so it offers backyard make-overs with lots of furniture and at least one fire pit. In Joe’s words, “This lack of consistent, reliable sources for accurate, trusted and professionally produced garden-related media is a big problem…And people are turning to the Internet for that.” Yet even on the web, Dave’s Garden, now owned by Internet Brands, is nothing more than customer reviews, with no editorial judgment in sight. Joe sums up the problem: Unfortun..
Read More

Which Small Trees will Work for your Yard?

Landscape Design Which Small Trees will Work for your Yard? By Sheereen Othman | June 28, 2017 Trees are great landscaping tools to beautifying your yard, creating privacy, and adding color. Numerous factors go into deciding what tree is suitable for your yard. Planting the right tree in the right place is crucial for the health of your trees, and for the safety of nearby structures. There are trees suitable for every landscape, including those with limited space. Check out these small landscape trees that are perfect for adding color in smaller yards. Sargent Crabapple Malus sargentii This compact landscape tree is a spring star, with abundant clusters of fragrant white flowers making their appearance in May. Its dense, spreading crown and zigzagging branches add to the appeal, often making the tree wider than it is tall. Because of its size, the Sargent crabapple is useful for planting under utility lines, in confined yards, as privacy screens and hedges and on slopi..
Read More

Perfect Prairie Meadow? More like Field of Broken Dreams by Bob Hill

Queen of the Prairie My lust for the perfect prairie meadow show – aided and abated, of course, with the need for a new septic system – began with the lacy-pink flowers of Queen-of-the-Prairie, or Filipendula rubra. I had not seen The Native Queen in all her glory until purchasing our history-worn Hoosier farmhouse and six acres of weeds. I’m not even sure now if that American native was already presiding out back in our long-neglected field, or was an early purchase by a would-be nursery owner who had no idea what the hell he was doing. I just remember Her crown of cotton-candy flowers, deep pink and fragrant, gracefully floating above five-foot stems that one normally non-salacious garden site described as “naked.” Any way you phrase it, it was love at first sight. Laugh, if you must, but much of the same literature also mentions that Native Americans used Queen-of-the-Prairie as a treatment for various heart problems and as an herbal aphrodisiac. I also vaguely remember readin..
Read More

Hackberry: One Tough Tree

Tree of the Week Hackberry: One Tough Tree By James R. Fazio | June 27, 2017 Celtis occidentalis The hackberry has appropriately been called, “one tough tree.” Colonists had enough other trees to choose from that they didn’t pay much attention to the hackberry trees. They found them scattered throughout forests rather than in solid stands. The quality of the wood relegated its use mostly to barrel hoops. On the drier plains, it was used along with any other wood that could be obtained for flooring and other parts of the homestead. The first colonists paid it the indignity of calling it ‘hagberry.’ This was either mistaken identity or because they found it similar to the wild cherry species by that name in Scotland. The tree eventually became the ‘hackberry.’ This tree has some unique characteristics. The bark resembles warts on young trees and changes into ridges as the tree matures. Witches’ brooms are also common among hackberry trees. Witches’ broom is a disease where..
Read More