An inspired wildlife garden in southern Saratoga

This week a challenge was posed to imagine turning this sandy pine forest edge into a native plant habitat oasis. Many ecological factors need to be taken into consideration: the complete abscense of any nutrients in the sandy soil, the slope of the hill that lends to erosion, and lack of water retention in quickly [...]

More habitat garden development in Clifton Park, NY using native plant species.

This week I completed installation of a habitat garden in Clifton Park using native plants. Like many gardens in the capital region, adding native plants gives an immediate and noticeable influx of wildlife motion. This property has a forest edge and natural wetland habitat within a half a mile. Butterflies and songbirds are nearby and [...]

Bluebird house habitat gardening in Burnt Hills, NY

This spring I began native plant garden designs and installation at a property in Burnt Hills that quickly gained the nickname, "the bluebird house," for all of its bluebird visitors. This is an endangered species of Coneflower called Echinacea tenesesis. It's endangered because it's rare, not because it's hard to grow. There is a lot [...]

Our organic gardening ace in the hole

This lovely but scary spider sits square in the middle of our organic container edible garden in Lake George, NY. We've watched him (her?) get noticeably plumper over the summer, he's (she's) a wonderful ecological neighbor. The spider eats any garden pests who might dare visit, and our tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, [...]

An installation of butterfly habitat and edible gardens in Clifton Park, NY

This work week continued in a Clifton Park property that's added extensive habitat garden space over the summer. Many native plants for butterflies have been introduced, especially in this featured photo, which will one day be referred to by neighborhood children as, "Butterfly Land." Here we see the quintessential Monarch habitat plant: Swamp Milkweed or [...]

A visual update on a native plant garden in Clifton Park, NY 2 months after planting

It was delightful to visit a home in Clifton Park this week where I'd designed and planted a habitat garden two months ago. The above photo shows Filipendula rubra in bloom, and the photo below shows the same plant at installation time. The home owners have done a stellar job of keeping their new habitat [...]

A new butterfly habitat garden in Queensbury, NY

This week I installed a habitat garden design in Queensbury, NY. The project was especially exciting because of the property's proximity to wetland habitat. In every direction around the home in fact, there are wetlands, and 3/4 of the photos used for our wetland habitat post were from within one mile of our ecological garden [...]

Our wetland habitat’s native species struggle against invasives, in photos.

There is a desperate struggle in our local wetlands between the native plant that creates habitat for butterflies and birds called Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpurea) and the invasive plant species, noxious weed and habitat thief known as Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). As both wetland plants are in bloom right now, the competition is obvious. [...]

An urban oasis habitat garden in Glens Falls

This week I designed and installed a native plants garden that will double as a living fence. The home is located in an urban area: the heart of downtown Glens Falls. The homeowner would work in the existing gardens and people would walk by on the street and be able to see in. The new [...]

Surprise habitat garden found while traveling

Imagine my delight at finding Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) just outside my grandparent's window at the garden by their home in Greenfield, MA on a recent visit. They live in an apartment building with a courtyard and that's where this native plant that attracts birds is found. In a recent blogpost we elaborated, at length [...]

Just after installation, at a brand new Habitat Garden in Clifton Park, NY.

This week I got to work on my favorite type of project of all time: developing a habitat garden for butterflies and birds in Clifton Park NY, using native plants. This home is located near a tremendous amount of wetland habitat already, and creating an ecological garden in this proximity just makes it sparkle all [...]

About Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)

Today I saw the first Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) blooms of summer, 2012. It is actually the first Cup Plant I ever planted, at a house I was residing at in 2004. Cup Plant is special: a statuesque beauty and a habitat plant. The flowers are reminiscent of tiny sunflowers that form seeds birds love [...]

An organic gardener’s dream wedding gift

We released live Monarch butterflies at an already beautiful wedding ceremony today: our dear friends were married on a butterfly habitat rich farm in Saratoga, so this seemed like an ecologically appropriate wedding gift. There's lots of Milkweed and other native plants all through this capital region property; the Milkweed single-handedly creates Monarch butterfly habitat. [...]

On a recent visit to the DEC tree nursery in Saratoga

This past week I finally had a chance to do something I've meant to for weeks: visit the Saratoga DEC Tree Nursery. I drive by it on Route 50 all the time on my way to garden design projects in the Saratoga and capital district. I've been more than curious: I've read about some of [...]

Native Plant Alchemy and Reflections

"Gather out of star-dust, earth-dust, cloud-dust, storm-dust and splinters of hail, one handful of dream-dust, not for sale." -Langston Hughes This year I've designed and developed native plantscapes and habitat gardens in and beyond the tri-county region: Clifton Park seems to be the new frontier in ecological gardening. As the butterflies swarm the Joe-Pye Weed [...]

Plant Natives for Exponential Kindness to Wildlife.

This Blossoming Elderberry is in a garden just north of Saratoga, NY. I planted it last autumn for my client, applauding his native and habitat plant choice. This property is surrounded by a three-quarters crescent moon shaped forest edge, giving the five acres lots of riparian zone activity. It is honestly the quintessential habitat lot: [...]

Ecological Gardening in the Connected Pine Grove

A recent rainy Monday found me on a break between two client's in the Hudson Point Nature Preserve. This nature preserve is a 2 minute walk from the garden I was working in; 10 minutes drive from Lake George and 20 minutes from Saratoga. This particular wildlife habitat gets significantly less press and applause than [...]

Season’s First Coneflower

Today I saw the first blooming Coneflower of the season. Well, first to me. Most likely people in gardens south from Saratoga and Lake George have already seen Echinacea open. This one seems early; the ecological explanation for that is most likely because of it's proximity to the hot blacktop. It bakes in the extra [...]

Another Native Plants Garden Project in Saratoga

There's a garden mid-way between Lake George and Saratoga that was designed this spring to be a habitat spot; full of native plants that attract butterflies and songbirds. The garden is happily located on a farm, so there is more than the average amount of wildlife rambling through. The photo above shows our Buddleia, or [...]

Beautiful Wildlife Garden in Southern Saratoga

Today I found myself in one of the most beautiful native plant habitat gardens I've ever seen, weeding and sculpting the wild beds for my Saratoga home owner. The gardens were single-handedly planted by one lady. She has excellent taste and a great handle on her Latin taxonomy. This property is full of fun, other-world [...]