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 [...]

Saratoga Springs Celebrity Gardening With Allison Mack: Part I

Saratoga Springs celebrity gardening with Allison Mack? I think it's taken me roughly a year to process something really cool that's happening in my business and personal life. Somehow an internationally famous actress and activist heard about my ecological garden design business and in the summer of 2012, she contacted me to develop a wildlife [...]

New butterfly garden in Glenville, NY

This week I designed a butterfly garden in Glenville, NY. The bed is in constant dappled sun, so we chose butterfly host and nectar plants acclimated for both full sun and partial shade, as well as some native species shrubs to increase shady effect. Ninebark and Lindera were used, both support butterfly habitat as a [...]

Edible gardening in southern Saratoga County.

Last year I had the privilege of designing and installing a habitat garden in Clifton Park, NY, and this week the same client and I worked together to create an edible garden on their southern Saratoga county property. During installation of the habitat garden last year we had included some garlic in the side bed, [...]

Organic edible gardening in Glens Falls, NY

Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with a fun young couple in Glens Falls, NY (in the capital region) to co-create their first organic edible garden. The couple happen to be newlyweds and new homeowners, and joy permeates their property in a palpable way. It feels like all the edible gardening here will do [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]