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Trees are Worth more Dead than Alive (to Wildlife)

Walking around the lake near my house I’ve noticed the preponderance of snags – dead trees left standing, most of them without their tops. Here’s one along the path. Knowing they’re important for wildlife, I was happy to see so many, but it took a bit of googling to discover just HOW important. According to […]

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Posted by on February 17, 2017 at 10:13 am   This post has 11 responses.

Stop with the ugly evergreens

Why do so many landscapers think evergreens are an absolute must in cold climates? Aside from healthy mature trees and tree farms that I see on drives, most of the evergreen plantings I see around me in Western New York fail for a variety of reasons. Brown/mostly brown/somewhat brown...

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Posted by on February 14, 2017 at 9:13 am   This post has 6 responses.

Beauty and the Beasts

  Paul Hetzler has an ax to grind. “Tree topping is a subject I can really get worked up about. It’s unprofessional, unsightly, outrageous, unethical, dangerous, and I even suspect it causes more frequent rainy weekends and bad-hair days.” Hetzler is the natural resources and horticulture specialist with Cornell...

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Posted by on February 8, 2017 at 7:12 am   This post has 7 responses.

Butterfly weed—why not

Many of you have heard that 2017’s “Perennial Plant of the Year” is Asclepias tuberosa/butterfly weed. It’s not a surprising choice—attention to attracting and supporting pollinators, especially butterflies, especially monarchs, has been peaking for the past few years and shows no sign of declining. A good thing. Normally, I...

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 at 9:51 am   This post has 10 responses.

Robinson Crusoe’s Ten Favorite Perennials

  It’s the dead of winter, and you might be wishing you were stranded—with amenities—on a desert island with Robinson Crusoe. But Robinson Crusoe is not on a desert island. He is stuck in Kentucky. Crusoe is not afraid of cannibals or mutineers, but he is tired of scraping...

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 at 8:10 am   This post has 7 responses.

Bark for the Winter Blues

Guest Post by Bob Hill Somewhere between the January Blahs and a typically mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder – the aptly acronymed SAD – I find comfort in wandering our yard in mid-winter marveling at the upbeat, happy bark offered by our collection of maple trees, especially our...

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Posted by Bob Hill on January 6, 2017 at 7:10 am   This post has one response.

How to Recommend Plants with Video

Searching the Internet for good gardening videos for over a year now, I’ve come to lament their dearth in one major category – ornamental plants. Thanks to Extension universities and a few media-savvy experts, there’s plenty of help for new veg-growing gardeners, but if you want to beautify your...

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Posted by on December 16, 2016 at 8:36 am   This post has 7 responses.

Ask a Designer: Deer-Proof Perennials

Next up in our “Ask a Designer” series is designer Claire Jones  in Maryland. How many times do you visit a garden center and get overwhelmed with the many choices that entice with gorgeous foliage and blooms? And you impulse buy the “flavor of the month” perennial that the garden center...

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Posted by Claire Jones on December 8, 2016 at 8:54 am   This post has 2 responses.

Red-Free Holiday Decorations!

Same-old holiday decorations, dominated by your basic Crayola red, give me the bah-humbugs faster than “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on repeat play. So the holiday display that opened yesterday at the U.S. Botanic Garden is a relief and a respite for this perennial Scrooge because red seems to have been...

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Posted by on November 25, 2016 at 8:47 am   This post has 4 responses.

Sex Talk at the US Botanic Garden

I returned last week to the U.S. Botanic Garden for another lesson in plant morphology, but this one was a bit sexier than the foliage talk I posted about here. This time, Dr. Susan Pell talked flowers and her audience quickly caught on that this talk would be R-rated. Early one...

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Posted by on November 18, 2016 at 8:05 am   This post has 5 responses.

My Tiny Oak Forest

  The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. –Ralph Waldo Emerson I’m not giving into global warming or to Donald Trump. I’m planting acorns. I won’t live to see my oaks grow into a thick forest canopy, but time’s a wasting. Regardless of the president-elect’s head-in-the-sand...

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Posted by on November 16, 2016 at 7:20 am   This post has 9 responses.

This is the other thing I like about David Austin roses

On Saturday, my stylist was showing me her long hedge of Knock Outs (various colors, don’t know the type) in front of her house and I have to admit I was a bit jealous. She then remarked that she needed to “cut them all back,” and I tried to...

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Posted by on October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am   This post has 4 responses.

Gifts of Autumn

In temperate climates, autumn showers us with a cornucopia of visual stimulation before we enter the season of dormancy. Here are some of my favorite examples of this season’s gifts of beauty.             What do you appreciate most about your garden in autumn?

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Posted by on October 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm   This post has 5 responses.

How I stopped worrying and learned to accept hydrangeas the way they are now

If I was bitter, I’d say that the industry has done its best to destroy hydrangeas, at least the macrophyllas I used to buy, with their deep, true colors. I can’t find the two brilliant pink macrophyllas I bought many years ago—‘Alpenglow’ and ‘Princess Beatrix’—at any nursery anywhere these...

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Posted by on October 6, 2016 at 8:39 am   This post has 4 responses.

Leaf Morphology is Surprisingly Marvelous

I recently attended this tour at the U.S. Botanic Garden, despite my doubts that the topic of leaf structures – leaf morphology – would be marvelous, as promised, but darned if it wasn’t! I maintain my skepticism that a talk by another expert could put me to sleep but...

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Posted by on September 23, 2016 at 12:16 pm   This post has one response.

Cool Corpse Flower Time-Lapse

From the U.S. Botanic Garden.

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Posted by on September 8, 2016 at 3:30 pm   This post has one response.

Annuals are forever

At this time of year, the perennial beds  are beginning to fade; most of the stars have done their job. I don’t see how people can survive without annuals, at least around here. But it does depend on which ones you choose. This time, I used annuals that are...

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Posted by on September 6, 2016 at 8:02 am   This post has 7 responses.

Big Honking Coleus!

We’re at summer’s end and look what’s starring in my garden – the humble Coleus. Once restricted to shady spots, these newer sun-tolerant ones are something else, growing tall enough to actually provide privacy for this front-yard patio. The pots they’re in give them an added lift, but still....

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Posted by on September 2, 2016 at 7:33 am   This post has 8 responses.

No bouquets at the Olympics this time

Apparently, it did not jive with the Brazil Olympics’ environmental message to give out thousands of cut flowers that would be discarded by their recipients within days. And that makes sense, for sure. But. As an avid Olympics watcher (the only sports I watch), I’ve recently been paying a...

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Posted by on August 11, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 6 responses.

Ask a Designer: Make Invasives Great Again

Next in our “Ask a Designer” series is a guest rant by David mcmullin. The debate about invasive plants has become, well, invasive. It crops up anywhere gardens and plants are being mentioned. The general idea is this: gardeners are a band of outlaws set on destroying our Habitat through...

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Posted by David mcmullin on August 8, 2016 at 1:03 pm   This post has 72 responses.