Tree of the Week
Eastern White Pine: Monarch of the Forest
By Sheereen Othman | February 7, 2017
Eastern white pine trees were among the first trees colonists discovered when they first came to the country. Hundreds of miles of eastern white pine once lined the Hudson River. It was one of the most popular evergreens that blanketed the east coast. These old giants reached as high as 200 feet and extended nearly 40 feet around.
The Fight for Independence
White pines like those old giants are hard to find these days. Native white pine trees were popular to use as masts for naval sail ships. Records show that almost every year after 1653 England received white pines from the colonies. By 1691, their disappearance in the American landscape began to show. Popularity of the eastern white pine led to King George III of England passing a law which restricted any white pine tree with a 24-inch diameter or more for exclusive use by the British navy.
The law was th..
Community Tree Canopy Programs Made Easy
By Kristen Bousquet | February 6, 2017
This story originally ran on Sustainable City Network. Written by Randy Rodgers.
Empowering citizens to acquire the right trees, and plant them in the right locations, can make an important contribution to a city’s sustainability goals, and the Arbor Day Foundation recently made it a lot easier for local governments and organizations to get a tree distribution program up and running.
By now, most people know the benefits of trees: they can save energy by providing shade and wind breaks around buildings, they reduce soil erosion, mitigate stormwater, provide habitat for wildlife, cool and beautify neighborhoods, absorb carbon, clean the air and water, and raise property values.
At the same time, as every utility and street department knows, the wrong tree in the wrong place can be a headache, cost money and even endanger lives.
The answer: invest up-front to distribute tr..
Last Monday I went to Plantorama at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a sort of jobs fair, symposium and reunion all rolled into one that is a must for any horticulturist in the New York area in January. Serious gardeners – whether novices or veterans — are also, of course, welcome. I don’t mean to discriminate against the more casual practitioners of our field, but they probably would be bored by the chatter about the latest floral discoveries and the boutique nurseries that are offering them.
What struck me most forcefully was something Kelly Norris, the Director of Horticulture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden said. Morris is a rising star in the horticultural world and with good reason. He gave a stemwinder of a talk about “Planting for the Future” that focused on the changes he believes we gardeners must make in how we perceive and use plants in the times we are entering. What struck me most was one sentence, when he said that we must remove the word “maintenance” from our b..
New England-area garden designer Matthew Cunningham will be speaking in Silver Spring, Maryland for the local chapter of APLD on Saturday February 11 from 10 to noon. His topic: “Stone, Wood, & Metal in Landscape Design.” (Reserve a spot here.) To bring attention to his talk, we were offered the chance to pick his brain about native plants in the landscape and demand a slew of gorgeous photos. He obliged us.
GardenRant: On the mind of many eco-minded gardeners regards Doug Tallamy’s directive to Plant Oaks! That works for people with large lots but what’s a gardener with less than a quarter acre to do?
Cunningham: My first response is that we should definitely plant oaks. Even on small lots. That’s my “designing in a bubble” reaction to your question.
(GardenRant: What’s that? Cunningham: “Designing in a bubble” to me means working on a project that does not take context or client’s goals into consideration. It’s very easy to be be a purist about planting only natives, but there are..
The February update from Good Gardening Videos starts with the news, then recommends 16 new or newly-discovered videos. Some have no point other than to entertain – so we thank them for the distraction.
NEWS: GGVideos Welcomes Nonprofit Supporters
The missions of the Garden Writers Association Foundation and Kids Gardening – educating the public, encouraging gardens, and more – align so well with those of GGVideos, they’ve signed on as supporters. We thank them for helping to spread the word about GGVideos and for their own good works for the cause. We look forward to connecting with other respected nonprofits in the plant world.
PlantPop and New “Cool Stuff” Feature
Time to show off the hottest thing in plant videos – PlantPop, a “horticultural film studio” telling stories of “plants and how they improve people’s lives.” Some of their videos explore real gardeners and their gardens but others (like their video poems) are just COOL, so we’ve created a brand new category for them on..
Bulb forcing provides bright color and warm scent when it’s most needed.
Life is messy. I think we can all agree. You’d like to keep all the separate activities—professional life, family, hobbies, friends, travel, politics—in their little boxes, but it’s never easy. Things run together, things collide, especially in the age of social media. I look at my Facebook posts from five years ago or more, and they’re usually images of food, flowers, and friends. Back then, Facebook was like a byway of the Shire, punctuated by jolly feasts and minor scuffles. Now, it’s more like the outskirts of Mordor, filled with spiky rocks and dank swamps—a land of anger and fear. In one of the first posts I saw on my feed this morning, someone wrote: “6:28 and my first block of the day.”
Over the past week, both Susan and I have been separately asked (in so many words) to “stick to gardening” when it comes to Rant posts, whatever we may write about in other outlets. We definitely could write about gardeni..
Tree of the Week
Douglasfir: A Western Champion
By Sheereen Othman | January 31, 2017
Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca
Scottish botanist David Douglas was among early explorers to North America. He travelled to and from the continent on numerous voyages studying plant culture. On his second expedition, he explored the pacific northwest of the United States in what the Royal Horticultural Society called his most successful expedition.
Douglas introduced more than 240 species of plants to Britain, including the Douglasfir. Although the common name of the species is named after David Douglas, its scientific name is actually named after rival botanist Archibald Menzies who discovered the species 40 years before Douglas.
Among other misleading names, the douglasfir is not a fir tree at all. It is often written as douglasfir or douglas-fir to distinguish it from real firs. In fact, the douglasfir is its own genus comprised of five species. To add to its co..
Too Warm To Grow Tree Crops? Pushing Through Climate Change Challenges
By Ezra David Romero | January 30, 2017
This story originally ran on KVPR, an NPR member station in Central California. Written by Ezra David Romero.
The valley’s fruit and nut trees need cold temperatures in the winter in order to go to sleep and wake up healthy in the spring. New research suggests that in as little as 30 years, it may be too warm in the valley to grow these trees due to climate change. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports that the agriculture industry is taking the issue very seriously.
Tom Coleman is busy pruning branches off pistachio trees that aren’t budding at an orchard just north of Fresno in Madera County. He farms and manages more than 8,000 acres of pistachios across the state. “Here’s an example of some hanging down nuts from last year that just wouldn’t come off because of the position on the tree so we want to remove that,” says Coleman.
Ask An Arborist
Ask an Arborist: Why Should I Plant Evergreens?
By Pete Smith | January 27, 2017
Certified arborist Pete Smith explains the benefits of planting evergreens on your home landscape. Evergreen trees provide numerous benefits when planted around your home. They can be used as a living snow fence, provide energy savings, and block cold winds. Additionally, they beautify your home.
Living Snow Fence
Planting a living snow fence is more cost effective than installing a slatted snow fence. Trees are not only cheaper to plant, but they live longer and require less maintenance than a slatted snow fence. On average, a slatted fence lasts 7-20 years, versus a living snow fence which lasts 40-50 years. A living snow fence captures up to 12 times more snow than a slatted fence and requires less maintenance.
Aside from redirecting snow from driveways or streets, planting a row of trees blocks strong winds. In the winter, this means less cold drafts through ..
After three years as a regular GardenRanter, Evelyn Hadden has retired from blogging to concentrate on her music. Her last post was in October but in hopes that she’d change her mind, none of us announced it, or thanked her for her many wonderful posts, which we know readers will miss. But it’s time.
I recently browsed through her posts for the Rant and all that great writing and photography from a nature-loving perspective just made me feel worse about her leaving. Here are some quick thoughts about what I saw in my review.
I’ll miss seeing her garden, a full year younger than my new garden and already better established (damn!). She taught me that it’s possible, after just three years in a new garden, to show off its “grandplants” and already be winnowing out the extras. My garden? As if.
She covered nature, not just gardening.
She was serious about conveying lots of important information, and about conveying it accurately -about topics like food forests, ways to use fallen leave..