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 [...]

Adding native plants to the bluebird house gardens in Burnt Hills, NY

Last summer I began transforming a bland ornamental garden in Burnt Hills, NY into a colorful, low maintenance native plant habitat oasis. We began referring to the newly eco-friendly garden property as, "the bluebird house" because soon after the addition of the first round of native plants bluebirds began frequenting the gardens and yard. One [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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