Does choosing wildflowers for the edge of your yard leave you in a bind? The showy native vine Virginia virgin’s bower is a great choice to plant along wire fences and trellises. This native vine’s beautiful flowers are beneficial to pollinators and its seeds look like silky fireworks. [Read more…] about Wildflower Spotlight: Virginia Virgin’s Bower
Coltsfoot: Eye Candy, Cough Syrup, and Early Flowers
After many months (five-plus where I live) of winter whiteness, it’s a relief to watch the snow melt at last. We’re always grateful, even though the loss of snow cover gives way to a mostly brown world: brown grass, sand everywhere – even brown pine needles along the roads.
Not to mention the leaves, trash, or dog poop that was mercifully hidden under the snow. Those few sepia-toned weeks after the white stuff disappears and before trees and grass wake up can be visually bleak. [Read more…] about Coltsfoot: Eye Candy, Cough Syrup, and Early Flowers
Clover: A Widely Naturalized Non-Native
Call it a flower or call it a weed – clover is a plant everyone knows. Who hasn’t idled away an hour hunting for a four-leaf clover, hoping for good luck? [Read more…] about Clover: A Widely Naturalized Non-Native
April is New York Native Plant Month
The 23 Garden Club of America member clubs in the state of New York have announced the official designation of April 2023 as “New York Native Plant Month.” A signed proclamation by Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to follow by April 18th, 2023.
The GCA has led this effort across all 50 states and Washington, DC to increase awareness of the critical role native plants play in supporting a healthy environment, thriving wildlife and pollinator populations, reducing use of pesticides and fertilizers, cleaning air and water and so much more. [Read more…] about April is New York Native Plant Month
Dire News In New York’s First-Ever Pollinator Distribution Survey
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a multi-year survey of hundreds of pollinator species in New York State.
It’s hoped the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey 2017-2021 will provide the foundation for future pollinator research and conservation efforts. [Read more…] about Dire News In New York’s First-Ever Pollinator Distribution Survey
In Praise of Dandelions
Why do we hate lions? For reasons that are beyond any logic I can see, we have been convinced that dandelions are posies non grata in our landscapes. Yet they are a critical food source for native pollinators, vitamin-packed culinary delights, and multi-purpose herbal remedies. I’d say that’s not bad for a “weed.”
In fact, dandelion is so well-respected that it bears the Latin name Taraxicum officinale, roughly meaning “the official remedy for all disorders.” It has many reported health benefits, including as a liver support, for alleviating kidney and bladder stones, and as a poultice for boils. I don’t pretend to know every past and present medicinal use of the plant, and I recommend consulting an herbalist, as well as your doctor, before trying to treat yourself. [Read more…] about In Praise of Dandelions
Ephemeral Wildflowers: Brief Beauties of the Forest Floor
Have you spotted some of spring’s first wildflowers in the forest? This is the time when the famously fleeting flowers called spring ephemerals bloom – but only for a brief period of time. [Read more…] about Ephemeral Wildflowers: Brief Beauties of the Forest Floor
Signs of Spring: Bloodroot Blooms
Every spring, after the last of winter’s snow has completely melted and as I start the wonderful, dirty work of turning the soil of my vegetable beds, I find myself gazing often to the just-greening-up ground beneath the old apple tree behind the garden.
It’s a rather unruly tree, sprouted at some point from the fallen-over trunk of its ancestor apple tree. And beneath its sprawling branches, every year, blooms a patch of bloodroot. [Read more…] about Signs of Spring: Bloodroot Blooms
Mustard Power: An Historic Food Crop
First domesticated in Central Asia some six-thousand years ago by ancient cultures looking for the best way to ruin shirts, mustard has evolved from zesty warm to blistering hot to the point that it’s now being developed as an ultra-low emission jet fuel.
Given the large size of the mustard or Brassica family – some 3,000 strong, according to Cornell University – it’s no surprise that it comprises historic food crops, showy flowers, noxious invasive weeds, and more. [Read more…] about Mustard Power: An Historic Food Crop
As I stroll through the cemetery near my home on a snowy day, splashes of golden orange, bright as daylilies in July, pop from the gray stones. These patches are elegant sunburst lichens, which provide a vibrant example of just how colorful lichens can be. Lichens come in a wonderful range of colors, from the subtle pale green of old man’s beard to the brilliant yellow of goldspeck lichens. While these colors can be beautiful, they are also useful, as the pigments block harmful ultraviolet rays, allow lichens to absorb light as heat, and protect them from harmful microbes. [Read more…] about Colorful Lichens