Edible Gardening for Children in Saratoga Springs, NY

20140717-125040.jpg These days a lot of people want to grow their own organic food in edible gardens, at home. In Saratoga Springs I have several clients who have edible gardens in raised beds like the one shown here. It is always a good idea to plant to attract pollinators, like the Sunflower, Borage and Nasturtium in this garden, and also native flowering perennials.

20140717-125516.jpg Growing vegetables is really fun for kids when they can be involved with the watering and weeding. Growing vegetables organically is much easier when native flowering perennials for pollinators and other companion planting methods are included.

20140717-125849.jpg This Liatris spicata is just starting to bloom, attracting many butterflies and bees, many who stick around to pollinate the Eggplants, Zucchini, Tomatoes and Peppers. Gardening in Saratoga Springs, NY can take many forms; organic edible gardening with children is a beautiful endeavor that can be made simpler with the integration of native perennials for attracting pollinators.

Year Two in a Saratoga Springs, NY Eco-friendly Garden

20140713-175018.jpg In July of 2013 I designed and installed an eco-friendly garden in Saratoga Springs, NY. The new, eco-friendly landscaping is mostly located in the front yard of the property, and it’s really developed into something beautiful this year. We decided to create a formal garden theme to fit the track neighborhood motif.

20140713-180008.jpg There is gorgeous Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), a NY native plant we planted last year, in bloom right now.

20140713-180527.jpg The Skullcap (Scutellaria incana) is also in bloom right now, soon to be followed by the Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) and White Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa).

20140713-181629.jpg This year there’s a noticeable increase in the presence of butterflies and songbirds on the property. This is a happy and effortless result of the addition of all these wonderful native plants into the landscape design. This property adds great ecological value to the city limits of Saratoga Springs; the eco-friendly garden that’s full of native plants will add exponentially to the local seed bank for generations out and act as a wildlife corridor for migrating birds and fulltime urban wildlife residents. As more Saratoga Springs locals pick up on the ecological trends in landscaping, our community’s habitat will just keep improving.

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The Big Wildflower Garden Work in Progress on Saratoga Lake

20140707-095950.jpg About this time last year I was contacted for one of the largest landscape design projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on to date. The formal wildflower garden project on Saratoga Lake is in its second year of development, and it’s really starting to take shape into what it will look like.

20140707-100422.jpg The homeowners didn’t enjoy the maintenance a large lawn demanded, so they were interested in transforming the sloped quarter acre at the front edge of their property into something lower maintenance and more ecologically productive than lawn. A large, formal wildflower garden composed of plants, trees and shrubs indigenous to New York state is the premise of this landscape design, and it indeed will prove to be lower maintenance than a lawn, and much more ecologically productive too.

20140707-101222.jpg We began the transformation process by using the organic gardening, “lasagna method” of layering cardboard with mulch to smother the turf grass underneath and easily create a blank canvas that’s ready for wildflower planting. A friend helped us with the construction of two simple stone walls to accent the plant centered landscape design.

20140707-101606.jpg This quarter acre formal wildflower garden is now packed with many different species of Saratoga native plants, trees and shrubs. There will be three solid seasons of blooms, which will provide food and shelter for many species of butterflies and songbirds. This garden will benefit the greater ecosystem of Saratoga Springs as a whole over time, because as birds feed on the native species plants, they will move the seeds around, which will enrich the Saratoga seed bank and promote biodiversity.

20140707-102511.jpg The summer blooms are just starting, and within a couple weeks it will look like a wildflower fireworks display.