Replacing Barberry with Native Wildflowers in Saratoga Springs, NY

Recently I wrote an article about the link between using Japanese Barberry shrubs in landscaping and an increase in human Lyme disease infection rates in the surrounding neighborhoods. As people in Saratoga Springs, NY are learning about how we the people are collaborating against ourselves in a public health crisis through lazy and shortsighted landscaping practices, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Children’s Gardening Project

This week found me delightfully engaged in one of my all time favorite types of gardening projects: I was comissioned by an amusement park center near me to design and install some Children's Gardens, with the kids there helping! We decided to use Little Acres because they are the perfect size for manageable fun for [...]

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 [...]

Local Food Gardens in Saratoga

Today I was invited to visit the Gomez Family Farm, highly productive vegetable gardens south of Saratoga. The style of gardening is work horse utilitarian, high volume output and all natural methods. It was beautiful to observe. The Gomez' produce can be acquired at the farmer's markets in Saratoga year round, and other farmstand locations [...]

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 [...]

Hops Orchard Project

This summer I am growing, of my own volition and for my own edification, a hops orchard. At harvest time, in autumn, the hops cones will be sold to Adirondack Brew Pub, the hippest brewery in the Lake George-Saratoga region. Shown in the photos are the teepee structures used for trellising. Hops grow as high [...]

Organic Gardening for (and with) Tea

Tea is medicine to me year round; iced tea is literally a spiritual experience for me in the summer. There is something ethereal about the process of seeing herbs grown organically in all their aromatic splendor, harvesting them and seeing them transform, as if by magic into tea, a substance so subjectively wonderful and really [...]

On Beneficial Insects in the Garden

One of the staples of organic gardening and companion planting is attracting beneficial, or predatory insects to the garden to help. Yesterday, in a garden halfway between Lake George and Saratoga, I saw this Dragonfly. That means that the home gardener is doing something right: his property is loaded with Dragonflies, Bees, Butterflies, Assasin Bugs, [...]

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 [...]

Paradigm Shift

I have noticed, in my north to south daily migration patterns, an ever so slight trend among open-minded gardeners in the Saratoga county region to be more ecology minded in regards to their weeds. This photo, of Dandelion greens being sold for salad produce, was taken at the White River Junction, VT food co-op. Ecological [...]

Late Spring and Early Summer Indoor Gardening Joy.

This week, as late spring rapidly turns to early summer, I'm witnessing a profusion of gorgeous Passiflora blooms. Several types of Passionflowers- Maypop is shown above and Star of Clevedon below. The Lake George region is a great place to have an indoor garden: winters are so long, dark and cold up here. It's really [...]

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 [...]

Font Resize