Gardening-Related Groups Growing Across Central New York
If you have a passion for a particular plant or group of plants, or just enjoy sharing your growing joys and sorrows, there are many groups of like-minded gardeners all across Central New York. Below is just a sampling of these groups with the most recent contact information I have at hand.
If you're aware of a group that's not included here, or have updated contact information for a listed group, click here to send me a note.
First positively identified in Detroit, Michigan in 2002, and now known to have been present in the U.S. since at least the early 1990's, Emerald Ash Borer (at right) was confirmed to have infested about thirty ash trees in Randolph, New York, just off Exit 16 of State Route 17/I-86 this past week. Unfortunately, it's quite likely that this pest is much more widely established in the state than this initial observation can confirm.
Because infestations by this east Asian wood-boring beetle have been confirmed for quite some time in Ohio (2003), Ontario (2004) and Pennsylvania (2007), it's confirmation in New York State while not surprising, is certainly discouraging as there currently are no 100% effective methods for preventing ash trees from becoming infested. According to the NYS DEC Emerald Ash Borer website, this tiny beetle is estimated to have killed more than 70 million ash trees in the U.S. in less than ten years!
According to the Syracuse Urban Forest Master Plan published by the USDA Forest Service in 2001, there are nearly 2,000 ash trees along the more the 400 miles of streets in the city. Add to that the several thousand ash trees in parks and both residential and commercial landscapes in the city, it's likely easily 5,000 trees are at risk as this insect pest continues to spread. Doing some simple math, it's easy to see several tens of thousands of ash trees are at risk just in Onondaga County!
Just a few sources for additional information include:
The center of the gardening universe - Buffalo, of course!
Wednesday 07-14-2010 4:34pm ET
The most humongously (that may not be a real word, but it
should be) spectacular horticulture event EVER in the history of the universe
is only seven days away – the 2010 edition of Garden Walk Buffalo!
Next Saturday and Sunday, July 24th and 25th
from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days, you can tour more than 350 (that’s not
a typo) public and private gardens scattered throughout several historic
neighborhoods – bounded roughly from the newly renovated Japanese Garden in
Delaware Park on the north, Main Street to the east, Front Park near the Peace
Bridge to the west, and the test gardens at the Buffalo Erie Basin Marina on
the lakefront to the south.
Oh, you know what – I forgot to mention that the entire two
day soiree is 100% FREE, including the map!
Using the incredible success of this extraordinary event (an
estimated 40,000 to 50,000 visitors attend Garden Walk) as a springboard, a
group of civic organizations have banded together to create the five week-long
National Garden Festival. This first-of-its-kind event features seventeen
weekend garden tours (900 gardens total), private open garden tours for those
that can’t make the weekend tours, seminars, concerts, and a garden makeover of
nineteen front yards on North Parade Avenue in Buffalo! Oh, and if you enjoy reading online garden blogs, dozens of bloggers from throughout North America (including, no doubt, your favorites) survived the mother of all meet-ups, Garden Bloggers Buffa10 last weekend!
Coordinator of the National Garden Festival,author, and Buffalo garden media personality, Sally
Cunningham, joined me on the show to tie all of these
events together in a nice, tidy bow!
And, Thomas Herrera-Mishler, President and Chief Executive Office of the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy introduced us to some of the features of one of the most inspired urban green space master plans ever created in North America, if not the world!
Finally, should you still need a bit of convincing to head on over to Buffalo next weekend, you can watch the Time Warner YNN "Garden Journeys" episodes videographer Tom Walters and I shot at last summer's edition of Garden Walk Buffalo right on your computer by clicking on the following links!
A question I've been getting over and over this how to avoid losing tomatoes to late blight this coming summer?
The good news is that providing there are no overwintering potato tubers in your garden, or in nearby gardens or fields, and you grow your own tomato transplants or buy disease-free tomato transplants from local, independent garden centers, farmers markets or greenhouse growers, there should be no need to worry about late blight this coming growing season.
The late blight that devastated both backyard and commercial plantings of tomatoes throughout the northeast last summer resulted from a "perfect storm" involving the distribution of infected tomato transplants from a large grower in the south through mass distributors in combination with unusually damp, cool summer growing conditions. If last summer had simply been more typically warm and dry, the disease would've been far less widespread.
For more information on late blight in upstate New York vegetable gardens, visit the excellent entry entitled "Avoid the Late Blight Blues" on the Cornell University Department of Horticulture blog that was posted a couple of weeks ago.
Today's brisk wind, overcast skies and scattered showers aren't going to do much to remedy many Central New Yorker's severe case of cabin fever. Fortunately for Beth and I we need just look out our dining room window for a glimpse of spring as our `Jelena' witchhazel, at right, has been in full bloom for a couple of weeks!
Stepping out onto our front porch, we can see Christmas roses (Helleborus niger) and snowdrops blooming along our front walk. And, probably by next weekend we'll have winter hardy cyclamen blooming along our driveway!
The moral of this entry is that you don't need to wait for tulips, daffodils, crocus, magnolias and forsythia for spring color in your Central New York garden!
Heavy Snow's Not Friendly to Trees and Shrubs!
Saturday 02-27-2010 9:50am ET
My left hand and forearm are a bit achy as I put this entry together.
Just like you, I spent several hours yesterday morning removing the foot or so of snow that had fallen late Thursday evening through early Friday morning from our eighty-eight foot long driveway - one shovelful at a time!
Fortunately, other than worrying about being able to get out of our driveway if necessary, I didn't need to worry about damage the heavy snow may have inflicted on plants in our landscape.
However, if you have arborvitae or other shrubs that look like those of our neighbors down the street, above, what are your options for helping them recover?
First, don't try to brush the snow off. Now that it's had a chance to freeze on the branches of many plants, you could end up breaking the snow-encrusted branches. Though it may be painful to look at for the next week or more, patience will most likely be a virtue.
After the snow has melted, your shrubs may look like the one at right? The good news is that with less than a dollar worth of wire, a galvanized washer, a sixteenth inch diameter drill bit, and ten minutes or so of your time, not only can you repair the damage, but you can keep it from happening again in the future, as shown at left!
For more information and step-by-step instructions for helping plants in your landscape and garden that have been damaged by this past week's snow storm, click here.
Seed Catalogs and Garden Shows Means It's Time to Think Spring!
Friday 01-22-2010 10:50pm ET
Now that we're in the midst of our annual mid-winter thaw and many of our mailboxes are stuffed with seed catalogs, it's time to get serious about this coming years plans for our lawns, landscapes and gardens.
To help us with our plans, a couple of weeks ago I chatted with Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Associate Professor and Urban Horticulture Extension Specialist at Washington State University in Puyallup, Washington (whew . . . . , how's that for a mouthful), one of the four blogging Garden Professors (the group also includes past "Weeder's Digest" guest Dr. Jeff Gillman of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Bert Cregg of Michigan State University, and Dr. Holly Scoggins at Virginia Tech University).
What's unique about this group's blog is that they are doing the science that allows us all to become better gardeners! And, for all of our benefit, they're doing their best to put their findings (and their interpretation of other scientist's research) into terms we can understand and implement.
What Linda and I focused most specifically on during our conversation is her ongoing online series of Horticultural Myths. Some of the topics she addresses including the benefits (or not) of adding coffee grounds to your plants, the value of compost tea, and whether or not it makes sense to amend garden soils with various kinds of organic matter.
Next I spoke with Lori Bushway, Senior Extension Associate at Cornell University about Cornell's Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners. This is an online database of more than 5,000 varieties of vegetables - from acorn squash to zucchini - and everything in between. So, if those seed catalogs have your head spinning, this might just be the resource for you! Also, you might want to consider attending a series of vegetable and fruit growing "how-to" and technique-sharing programs at the Liverpool Library that are being sponsored by Edible Gardening CNY.
And, finally, it wouldn't be going on spring if we didn't start chatting up CNY Blooms, Central New York's very own flower and garden show, sponsored by the Central New York State Nursery and Landscape Association. According to event co-chair Tim Ballantyne, new this year at Central New York's only exclusively lawn, landscape and garden-focused garden show will be a floral arrangement competition in the lobby of the OnCenter that's guaranteed to dazzle before you even step into spring inside the exhibition hall!
Saturday 10-17-2009 10:45am ET
Now that snow has flown across all of our listening area, you may be wondering if there's still time to prune all of the overgrown shrubs in your landscape - you know, the ones you've past practically every day since the first nice days this past spring!
If it were me, I'd definitely hold off until next year to do any major pruning.
Well, first, hard pruning right now will delay the rate at which your shrubs continuing "hardening off" in preparation for the really bitter weather that's ahead of us. Also, the extra time will give you a chance to consider other options - such as removing all of those overgrown monstrosities you've been cursing for years and replacing them with more attractive plants that won't grow too large with time!
However, if there's nothing I can say to dissuade you from hauling out the pruning shears, let me at least direct you to several pages on my website than may be helpful to review before going to work. The pages include:
A common question on the "Weeder's Digest" is about getting rid of moss that's "crowding out" a lawn.
It's actually impossible for mosses to outcompete/overrun vigorous lawn grasses. They are, however, very good at filling in bare spots where lawn grasses have either died, or are very thin and struggling.
To help answer all of your moss-related questions, a group of students at SUNY - College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse has prepared the following information.
Why are there mosses in my lawn?
Mosses become established where the grass isn't growing vigorously.
strategies to live in inhospitable parts of the landscape where "vascular" plants can't, from poor soils to rocks to dead logs.
Mosses don’t have roots to pull nutrients from the soil, meeting their needs instead from trace amounts of nutrients found in rainwater. Mosses also thrive in the shade, even deep
shade, while your lawn and many of your beautiful flowers need more
There are also mosses that grow well in full sun, and these may be the culprits you see in
the middle of your lawn?Many of these
mosses can tolerate periods of extended drought, drying out
and rolling up on themselves until the rains return and they
unfold in all their glory.
What if I like mosses and I want to encourage them in my
Mosses can add wonderful shades of green in all hues to your garden, and
even hints of reds and yellows depending on the species.
Their ability to grow on surfaces such as
rocks and dead logs allows you to add more color and texture to your garden
without making it look like you’ve added a bunch of debris.And not all mosses are the same.There are many species, from the
stair-step moss (Hylocomium splendens) to the haircap mosses (Polytrichum
spp.) to elegant mosses like species in the genus Fissidens.
They’ll do best if you give them a place
where they won’t have to compete with your garden plants.Mosses love rocks and dead wood, moisture,
and shade, though some of them will do just fine in the sun, too.The bases of trees are another good place to
encourage mosses, and they won’t harm your trees at all.
So, once you’ve created a home for mosses, how
do you add them to your garden?
If you’ve already found some in your yard, you can transplant patches into the areas where you’d like to see them thrive.Once they've been moved they’ll “re-root” themselves and begin to spread.Don’t worry that they’ll take over the
garden - remember, they simply can’t
compete with larger plants.
You can also encourage mosses from outside your garden
to establish themselves on their own. Essentially, “if you build it, they will come!”
Simply provide suitable areas (outlined above) and keep the soil bare. Moss spores will literally ride the wind
and ultimately find their way to you. Or, you can make a moss "smoothie" and pour it over your future moss garden spots!
Here’s a recipe - into a blender (though maybe not your best Cuisinart) place:
- One six inch chunk of moss torn into bits
- One cup of manure or humus
- Beer, buttermilk or water
- Blend until the consistency of mortar
Apply the smoothie liberally to the spot(s) where you
want to encourage the mosses, and they’ll do the rest.
Pieces of mosses can be obtained from the area around you, as long as
you collect responsibly and don’t over-harvest any one spot.Protected areas like state parks and private properties are off
Since mosses are
desiccation tolerant, you can order them from commercial growers and have them
shipped to you.And remember to look in
your own backyard.Chances are they're
there, too, just waiting to be encouraged to become an attractive addition to your landscape!
Informational links about mosses and moss gardening:
Living With Mosses - A very informational site for all
levels of interest constructed by students at Oregon State University about the
mosses all around us.
What's on Your Mind?
Saturday 04-11-2009 7:56am ET
The bird's are chirping, the days are getting much longer and and warmer, and local garden centers are getting close to bursting at the seams with gorgeous trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, etc., that would all look GREAT in your yard!
Before rushing out to buy a couple of burning bush, rose-of-Sharon, evergreen trees and shrubs, and grass seed, take a couple of minutes to read through several previous posts on this blog.
What you'll discover is that burning bush, rose-of-Sharon, and essentially all evergreen trees and shrubs (including "dwarf" Alberta spruce) grow much, Much, MUCH too large for typical residential landscape settings. You'll also learn that spring is the absolutely WORST time of year to do almost everything in your lawn!
Oh, and don't throw out the Easter lily you bought this past week. I'll explain why next weekend!