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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Nature has singing mosquito eaters.

Nature has singing mosquito eaters. If we plant our gardens with native plants we create a habitat to entice these elusive birds. In the gardens of Saratoga, use of native plants is becoming much trendier. Great news for the birds; shown here is Jerusalem Artichoke, which is also edible for people in it's roots. Mullein, [...]

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: [...]

Trip to the Native Plants WildThings Rescue Nursery in Photos

My family was fortunate enough to visit the WildThings Rescue Nursery yesterday. The experience was breath taking. The proprietor of the nursery -Dawn Foglia- travels each week to the Saratoga farmer's markets. Gardening in Saratoga has become much more habitat friendly thanks exclusively to this one woman's serious grind. First, some stinky herbs for bug [...]

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 [...]

More on Hops

Rain poured from the sky today as I staked the baby and mid-growth hops vines with fishing line. It was a relief as the weather has been brutal this week so far. In this business of professional gardening, rain is immeasurably preferable to blazing sun. In the rain, we don't worry about sunburn or heat [...]

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 [...]

A Tenacious Beauty

This summer, Mullein is the habitat plant to catch my eye. I've seen it in gardens since I started this work in 2005, and often heard my colleagues who were also trained in ecology vaguely reference Mullein's capacity to be a medicinal plant, and it's ethnobotany uses. I looked into this today. Many home owners [...]

Surprise Habitat Garden in Saratoga Springs, NY

Imagine my delight when I pulled into my bank's parking lot this morning, in Saratoga to discover a fully established and tasteful habitat garden! The garden is long, perhaps 100 feet or more, narrow and optimized with plants to attract birds and plants to attract butterflies. Saratoga Springs, NY is special this way: you never [...]