More butterfly habitat gardening insights

This past weekend I had the privilege of being asked to teach a workshop on butterfly habitat gardening at the Albany 2013 Capital District Garden and Flower Show. I've since heard from several people who wanted to attend and couldn't; this post will summarize the butterfly habitat gardening presentation. Carole Sevilla Brown recently composed an [...]

Building Monarch butterfly habitat at the farm

This week in the news I noticed a disheartening article that illuminated this year's decline in Monarch butterfly species population. A friend and colleague, Ben Vogt, has created several new online platforms for Monarch advocates to rally together and celebrate milkweed, the Monarch host plant. Encouraged by Ben's positive movements, and also by the spring [...]

Springing into the edible garden. (and planting peas in the rain.)

A week and a half ago on the other website I contribute to, Beautifulwildlifegarden.com, I wrote about my 2012 edible container garden, and had taken some pictures at the Saratoga Organic Supply store where my friend is currently growing some beautiful, healthy, organic leafy green vegetables. Stopping in a week and a half later, I [...]

A sincerely eco-friendly Christmas Tree

Something has always troubled me about the practice of mass cuttings of conifer trees for Christmas trees this time of year. In my adult life I have never once been able to stomach the tradition in my home, and this year a new inspiration hit. The herb, Rosemary, grown organically in container gardening or as [...]

A new edible garden installation in Saratoga Springs, NY

October started in the most lovely way I could have wished for: planting a mostly edible native plants garden in Saratoga in the balmy, tasteful weather. We have a proud line of 12 Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosa) on either side of the fence, with some Goldenrod "Fireworks" (Solidago rugosa) interplanted. The front edge is June-bearing [...]

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 [...]

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 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 [...]

India Spinach: an obscure but delicious green for the edible garden.

This summer many of the edible gardens I've planted, in Saratoga and the capital region have included the obscure but hardy spinach known as "India Spinach." I found out about it from the Otrembiak brothers in Rock City Falls: they have a booth at the Saratoga Farmer's Market and they grow seedlings for many obscure [...]

Grow your own organic wedding bouquet.

This year I am growing my own organic wedding bouquet. This project only works for people with a Type B personality: you absolutely must be easy-going to do this. I purchased some Dahlia tubers from the Otrembiak brother's Saratoga farm in April, and planted them in my organic container garden. Dahlias, like Zinnias respond to [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

A traveling gardener’s porch

My house has a screened-in porch that doubles as my native plant and vegetable seedling storage area. This year I am working or have worked in gardens in Lake George, Diamond Point, Bolton, Glens Falls, Queensbury, gardens in Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Burnt Hills, Round Lake and Ballston Spa. This all makes for a lot [...]

An organic food garden deep in Saratoga

The past week an organic produce garden was developed deep in Saratoga county. The soil is sandy; we amended with 6 bags of compost humus. Many unique plants are being experimented with, like Italian Spinach and Tomatillo, as well as many standards. A farmer told me the other day that the more people who are [...]

A visit to the Saratoga gardening Mecca of the Otrembiak Farm.

One of the first things that happened to me upon arrival at the Otrembiak Farm today was holding a baby duckling who immediately pooped on me. I got to help plant melons in the field. The black plastic blocks weeds and heats the soil underneath. One of the melons I planted is shown here. The [...]

Homemade Pesto

In the region of the world where I live, (the Saratoga and Lake George area) gardens are just starting to produce basil in useable quantities. The Saratoga Farmer's Market is the first place I've seen basil for sale, and only one organic herb farm has it ready fresh from their gardens. I also found garlic [...]

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