Silent Spring by Rachel Carson Celebrates 50th Anniversary

  • Post published:01/11/2013
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Silent Spring by Rachel Carson can possibly be credited with starting the popular environmental movement. When the book was published in 1962 it was chosen as a Book-of-the-Month and was on the New York Times best seller for weeks. The book remains relevant today. The Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association is sponsoring a Reading Silent Spring Together program with three free talks by local experts with community discussion.  There is no charge, but readers are asked to pre-register because…

Enjoying Christmas Gifts

  • Post published:01/03/2013
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Those who know me know  that books, or a bookstore gift certificate, are my favorite Christmas gifts. Latin for Gardeners, Over 3,000 plant names explained and explored by Lorraine Harrison is a beautiful book. The textured cover even feels beautiful, and the interior pages are subtly tinted with green. Special sections of Plant Profiles, information about Plant Hunters like Sir Joseph Banks and Jane Colden and Marianne North, and Plant Themes like The Qualities of Plants, are a deeper but…

Cynthia Boettner and the Silvio O. Conte Fish and Wildlife Refuge

  • Post published:11/17/2012
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    The first thing Cynthia Boettner had to explain to me about the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is that the Refuge consists of  the 7.2 million acres of the Connecticut River Watershed that runs from the far reaches of New Hampshire, through Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut before it exits in Long Island Sound. That is an enormous charge and responsibility. As Boettner explained how she works to monitor, control and eradicate invasive plant…

Deer – Come and Gone

  • Post published:08/13/2012
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Deer have come and gone in my garden. Our gardens (and house)  are essentially in the middle of a large field bordered by woodland. The deer population crosses the field and goes down to our Frog Pond. Very beautiful when they are not hungry and there is plenty of forage. But are they satisfied? Earlier in the spring I did not see any deer in the garden and I thought perhaps I had planted so many deer resistant…

Bug on the Bridge of Flowers! Emerald Ash Borer

  • Post published:07/08/2012
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When a 5 foot tall bug appears on the Bridge of Flowers we all take notice. Especially when it is a shimmering shade of emerald green I wasn't the only one taking photos of this beautiful creature. But beauty is as beauty does, and the Emerald Ash Borer is no beauty infesting and killing ash trees. The USDA Forest Service has created a website with full information about how to watch  ash trees for damage. These bugs are…

Rain Barrels, Rain Gardens and Raised Beds

  • Post published:05/05/2012
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We finally got rain. Hallelujah! And more was promised, but it does not seem to be arriving, at least not in the amounts I was hoping for. The lesson seems to be that we need to be always prepared for flood or drought. The question is how do we do that. Rain barrels, rain gardens and raised beds can help us to moderate, though not eliminate, both of those problems. Rain barrels that collect the rain from our…

Feed Your Living Soil – Soil Tests Needed

  • Post published:04/14/2012
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Soil is alive. It is more than sand, silt or clay particles. It is even more than rotted organic matter. It is full of bacteria and all kinds of fungi, good and bad. Soil is alive and it needs to be fed. Some people go to the garden center and buy bags of 5-10-5 fertilizer. The numbers stand for the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium or potash (K). This kind of fertilizer is soluble and…

Christmas Extended – For the Birds

  • Post published:01/10/2012
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Christmas celebrations end for us on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. The wise men have finally arrived, the last gifts have been given and the party is over. But maybe not quite. When I take the Christmas tree down, I put it outside and decorate it for the birds. The ornaments are simple, but tasty, peanut butter smeared into pine cones and then rolled in bird seed.  A tie can be ribbon, yarn or twine, no…

Urban Greenways

  • Post published:12/21/2011
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  High Line in New York City 5-3-10 Annik LaFarge, author of On the High Line: A Walk Through America's Most Unique Urban Park, which will be available in April, is also writing a blog In the blog he writes about many other elevated/railroad gardens including The Bridge of Flowers. I visited the High Line in 2010 and it is a fabulous space, but it has to be said that the Shelburne Falls Bridge of Flowers predates the High…

Winterberry – Ilex verticillata

  • Post published:11/10/2011
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It was Martha Stewart who first introduced me to winterberry, a native deciduous holly. Since it was Martha who pointed it out in an arrangement I thought it must be exotic, and not something I could grow.  I was wrong. I did buy and plant five winterberry plants this spring, four female 'Winter Red,' and one male 'Southern Gentleman', but this photo is of a clump of winterberry growing by the side of the road. Those roadside shrubs…