Butterfly Garden at the Schenectady, NY Woodlawn Nature Preserve

This week saw the much anticipated butterfly garden installation at the Woodlawn Nature Preserve in Schenectady, NY. The Friends of the Woodlawn Preserve contacted me to design a butterfly garden that the volunteers could plant. The nature preserve is located at the edge of a Schenectady district elementary school, and the butterfly garden site is [...]

Native Plants at the Mall?

At the Healthy Living Market in the Wilton Mall, just off exit 15 in Saratoga Springs, NY, I've been asked to plant a garden that's a mix of edible annuals (vegetables and flowers) and perennials, herbs and flowering native species. For Saratoga native plant lovers and natural gardening enthusiasts, this is a dream project. It's [...]

Rain gardens and an apple orchard near Saratoga Springs, NY

Rain gardens and an apple orchard near Saratoga Springs, NY This week I was the landscape designer for a fun and useful beautification project near Saratoga Springs, NY that included a simple storm catch basin rain garden and a miniature apple orchard. The rain garden sits at the drainage spout for the neighborhood's storm water [...]

A wildlife corridor in Saratoga Springs, NY

A wildlife corridor in Saratoga Springs, NY This week I completed a landscape renovation that was of special interest to me: an urban habitat garden that is part of an unofficially connected patchwork quilt shaped wildlife corridor in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. Migrating birds and butterflies will find this region more and more appealing as [...]

Habitat garden design at the Bed and Breakfast on Glen Lake.

Habitat garden design at the Bed and Breakfast on Glen Lake This past week one of the most delightful projects fell into my lap: a new habitat garden design at a bed and breakfast on Glen Lake in Lake George, NY. The property is owned by some of the lovliest people: educators and ecology enthusiasts. [...]

Town of Queensbury municipal gardens project

This July I was delighted to be asked to take on a garden renovation and new design project for the town of Queensbury, NY at a municipal garden site. The gardens are located at the busiest corner in town, across from the Lowe's. The community knows this space affectionately as the, "$50,000 corner" due to [...]

New bird gardens in Saratoga Springs, NY

Last week I was commissioned to design and install some new bird gardens for a Saratoga Springs, NY property using native plants. Podophyllum peltatum, Mayapple and Sambucus canadensis, Elderberry were added to the bed in the above photo to create an understory with edible fruits that birds love to eat seasonally. This property sits adjacent [...]

New Monarch butterfly habitat garden in Queensbury, NY

Photo from websource Recently I mentioned how Monarch butterflies have declined as a species this year. Ecologists across the country are encouraging home owners, gardeners, landscape designers and proprietors of public spaces to plant more Milkweed. Milkweed, the native plant family Asclepias, is the Monarch caterpillar's host plant. When we integrate it into our gardens, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Lake George Rain Gardens Progress

This past May I collaborated with some local contractors on a large rain garden project in Lake George, NY. This week we returned to take some photos of the rain gardens progress. Shown above is the rain garden that we manipulated to behave as a wetland habitat; this piece of the property has standing water [...]

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 [...]