Dying on the Vine? Part I by Allen Bush

2015 Baltimore Perennial Plant Association (PPA) symposium. (L-R): Ed Snodgrass, Mary Vaananen, Georg Uebelhart, Allen Bush and Mary Anne Thornton. This is the first of a two-part series on the decline of plant societies and garden clubs. Tomorrow, Scott Beuerlein explains how to dig out of the hole. Many of us who garden, and who benefit from garden group gatherings, have kept quiet about the decline of plant society and garden club memberships. We don’t like to talk about our sense of loss. We feel the same as we did when our teenagers came home two hours late after curfew. We scolded the kids to little avail and kept quiet about it with others. We didn’t want the neighbors across the street to call Child Protective Services. 2006 PPA at Expo Flora Montréal. It’s hard to predict what will happen to most of these plant groups in ten years. Maybe gardeners will cloister again behind a monastery wall, sow seeds and preserve plant species. After all, the Gingko, extinct in the wild, ..
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At the closing of the year by Elizabeth Licata

I always leave this stuff up as long as possible. In our region, the end of the year corresponds rather neatly with the end of the gardening season. Yesterday (Boxing Day), I was texting with a friend who was taking advantage of the freakishly balmy temps to finally getting some bulbs planted I had given him. He wanted to know how deep. It’s a bit risky to plan bulbs this late, as they won’t have much time to get established, but better to do it than waste them. Aside from intermittent bulbing, though, there is little left to do gardening-wise. Now the back garden becomes a wildlife sanctuary (of sorts), with a suet feeder and a seed feeder set up by the pond. The seed feeder is squirrel-proof; if a squirrel jumps on it, the outer guard comes down, blocking him (or her) from the seeds; it seems to work pretty well. The suet is also somewhat enclosed; only smaller birds can get to it. There are also plenty of pickings on the ground. Do I wish we had more interesting birds? Yes. But I’..
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Ponderosa Pine: Old Soul of the West

Tree of the Week Ponderosa Pine: Old Soul of the West By Sheereen Othman | December 27, 2016 Pinus ponderosa “Of all the pines, this one gives forth the finest music to the winds.” John Muir When Lewis and Clark trekked through the Rocky Mountains into the headwaters of the Columbia River, they sailed in a canoe made from ponderosa pine. Nature writer Enos Abijah Mills was so intrigued by a ponderosa pine he wrote The Story of a Thousand Year Pine — unfolding the story of how loggers cut down a ponderosa pine he admired next to his camping site and left the tree there after it tumbled down in pieces and couldn’t be used as lumber. Upset by the actions of the loggers, Mills dissected the tree limb by limb, counting the growth rings from the stump and up. He dug up the roots and cut into the bark. He calculated that the tree was 1,040 years old. Ponderosa pine is a heavy wood that was popular in colonial America for its durability in harsh climates and growing condition..
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A Message From the Office of Matt Harris

Executive Message A Message From the Office of Matt Harris By Matt Harris | December 23, 2016 Reflecting on 2016 Reflecting on 2016 with our Chief Executive, Matt Harris. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make these accomplishments possible. Posted by Arbor Day Foundation on Friday, December 23, 2016 As the year comes to a close, Chief Executive Matt Harris reflects on all that we accomplished this year because of supporters like you. This year was another year of growth for the Foundation. Thank you to everyone who helped us reach new milestones. Your continued support is improving communities and changing the lives of the people we work with. We look forward to what we will accomplish together in 2017! Read A Year of Gratitude for more examples of the difference our members and supporters make. December 2016executive message 0 Comments Share: facebook twitter pinterest googleplus linkedin Matt Harris Chief Executive Office..
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Garden Flags and Bird Feeders: Failures and Fixes by Susan Harris

I’ve complained before about the hassle of bird feeders in my tiny townhouse garden, where the shit-stained baffle isn’t doing the job of keeping squirrels away as these world-class gymnasts simply vault from anything nearby to the feeder. I then complained that hummingbird feeders are too much of a commitment for me. Finally, I gave up and declared that my garden is NOT for the birds after a neighbor complained about the flocks attracted to the feeder hanging out and crapping from nearby branches over her car. So this year, the old hook held up a cheap basket of petunias that looked amazing for months, with just a bit of trimming and only two feedings. Next season I may get more adventurous in my plant choices, but maybe not. I’m fine with cheap, common annuals in colors I like. But I DID find a way to feed some birds with this simple thistle feeder hanging a few feet from my porch, for prime viewing of the goldfinches at the feeder and the mourning doves below it. It works because..
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Nothing to be SAD about? by Elizabeth Licata

Feeling SAD? Try your local conservatory. Ours has a light show every winter. This holiday season, I’m searching for any good news, and this might qualify. Or at least it might save people some money. According to studies conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the Centers for Disease Control and Production, the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may not exist. The two organizations started their studies fully expecting to find evidence of SAD, but no signs of light-dependent increases appeared in their depression measures. They’ve concluded that previous methodologies that supported SAD (talk of SAD peaked in the 90s) must have been seriously flawed. Here’s an article from Scientific American summing up the research and a hat tip to my favorite Buffalo weatherman, Don Paul, for a local report that drew my attention. I am sure many of you know people who own “happy lights,” or talk of being afflicted by SAD, especially in late winter. For gardeners, a ty..
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2016 Rockefeller Tree Lighting: A New York Tradition

Corporate Partnerships Featured 2016 Rockefeller Tree Lighting: A New York Tradition By Zach Kane | December 21, 2016 The Today Show personalities are joined on stage with Alec Baldwin after the Rockefeller tree is lit up. Every year a Christmas tree is lit up in Rockefeller Center in New York City, kicking-off the start of the holiday season and a hallmark for the city. This year I was fortunate enough to attend the annual tradition and captured video of the celebration and musical performances. More than 45,000 multi-colored lights illuminated the 94-foot Norway spruce from Oneonta, New York. A nine-foot star adorns the top of the tree, weighing 550 pounds and covered in 25,000 Swarovski crystals. The selected tree is generally donated to the Rockefeller Center. After it serves its use for display, the lumber from the tree is donated to Habitat for Humanity. Trees are selected based on their hardiness to hold the heavy ornaments, and their “Christmas tree shape.” This ..
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White Spruce: Amongst the Season’s Finest

Featured Tree of the Week White Spruce: Amongst the Season’s Finest By Sheereen Othman | December 20, 2016 Picea glauca When Jacques Cartier sailed up the broad St. Lawrence River in 1535, he became the first colonist to see North America’s white spruces. As he laid claim to the land, he proclaimed the trees to be “as beautiful as one could wish for.” According to Cartier, the white spruces were “the finest trees in the world.” Four hundred years later, naturalist Donald Peattie echoed Cartier’s remarks, stating of the conifers lining the river banks, the white spruce was the “beauty of its family.” This tree has often been heralded as a beautiful tree in North Country. It’s popular along river banks and the northern boreal forests. It’s a tough tree that does well in urban settings and is resilient in cold climates. Among its appealing traits, the white spruce is popular in the Christmas tree industry. It’s pyramidal form, dense crown, stiff needles and needle retenti..
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A Better Way With Weeds by Thomas Christopher

I have a love/hate relationship with weeds. Perhaps love is too strong a term, but I do greatly admire the persistence of weeds and the role they play in preserving disturbed soils. Indeed, a number of years ago, I wrote an article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine about the beneficial role that weeds will play in our era of rapidly changing climate. The hate is easy enough to explain: weeding is, at least for me, the most annoying and least rewarding of garden chores. Friends speak of the sense of accomplishment they feel when they survey a neat, freshly weeded garden bed. I feel mainly a sense of hopelessness in those circumstances, for I know that merely disturbing the soil in this fashion will prompt the germination of some of the tens of thousands of weed seeds that lie dormant there and that soon the bed will be as disheveled as ever. Don’t pull such weedy intruders — snip them at the base This is why I was so intrigued by landscape designer Larry Weaner’s approach to wee..
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A Day in the Life of a Tree Planter

Community Tree Recovery Featured Replanting Our National Forests A Day in the Life of a Tree Planter By Melissa Wilson | December 19, 2016 This year, we reached a new milestone by planting our 60 millionth tree on our nation’s forests. These trees are planted with the help of tree planters, who spend long days in varying terrain dedicated to planting new trees. Melissa is one tree planter who was part of the Lost Pines Forest Recovery effort in Bastrop, Texas — where wildfires burned more than 32,400 acres of forest land. Melissa shares insight on what it’s like to plant hundreds of trees a day and the challenges they overcame. I think most of us had a romanticized vision of planting budded trees along riversides, we weren’t expecting boxes containing thousands of saplings. For seven weeks, I led a tree-planting crew committed to replanting trees damaged in the Bastrop County Complex Fire, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. Although we worked for AmeriCorps ..
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