Korean Bellflower – Beware – Invasive Mystery

  • Post published:07/10/2014
  • Post comments:3 Comments

This flower showed up mysteriously in my garden. A Facebook appeal has identified it as Korean Bellflower, Campanula takesimana. The warning is that it is invasive, but I have found it for sale from several nurseries on line. Only one Canadian company noted that it was a strong grower and needed to be kept in bounds. I also checked Google images so I think I have a good ID, even though there is not total agreement about how…

Let’s Eat the Invasive Species

  • Post published:08/27/2013
  • Post comments:2 Comments

'How (and why) to Eat Invasive Species by chef Bun Lai in the new issue of Scientific American proposes an answer to the economic damage ($120 billion a year) that invasive species cause. Eat them. Eat the wild boar, the lionfish and Japanese knotweed. Turn them into thin-sliced hot meat drizzled with ginger, garlic,roasted sesame and sauvignon blanc soy sauce, or thinly sliced raw lionfish sprinkled with lime juice, seven kinds of crushed peppers, roasted seaweed flakes, toasted sesame seeds…

I is for Invasive Iris on A to Z Blogger Challenge

  • Post published:04/10/2013
  • Post comments:9 Comments

I is for Invasive Iris on the A to Z Blogger Challenge. Ihe iris in question here is the yellow flag, Iris pseudacorus, which I planted at the edge of our Frog Pond nearly 20 years ago. It didn't actually succeed there, which is amazing, but before it died it sent seeds up to our Sunken Garden which is very wet. I have been trying to destroy this plant for years, letting the little grandsons loose with clippers…

Bringing Nature Home at the Master Gardener’s Spring Symposium

  • Post published:03/30/2013
  • Post comments:4 Comments

Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, was the keynote speaker at the Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners Spring Symposium last week. His talk focused on the need for more insects to make our gardens – and the world – healthier and more ecologically balanced. “A mere 1 % [of all insects] interact with humans in negative ways. The other 99 % pollinate plants, return the nutrients tied up in…

Variegated Plants for Shade

  • Post published:01/12/2013
  • Post comments:2 Comments

Some people think that the palette of plants for deep shade provide little visual diversity in color and texture but this is not true. Variegated plants can alter that perception. First I have to say that there are all kinds of shade, from the deepest shade that you would find in a coniferous woodland, to the gay dappled shade or high shade beneath deciduous trees. It is important to remember that if you want flowers in your shade,…

Master Gardener’s Spring Symposium

  • Post published:03/05/2011
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The days are longer and the sun is brighter, so even though snow lies deep on the ground we know that spring is coming.  That means that the annual Master Gardeners Spring Symposium held on Saturday, March 19 at Frontier Regional High School is coming up, too.. This year I am presenting a slide show of Elsa Bakalar’s perennial gardens in all their glory. Elsa passed away last year, but her memory remains green for many of us.…

Native Alternatives to Invasives

  • Post published:09/04/2010
  • Post comments:7 Comments

“Invasive species have the potential to completely alter habitats, disrupt natural cycles of disturbance and succession, and most importantly, greatly decrease overall biodiversity, pushing rare species to the brink of extinction. Many ecologists now feel that invasive species represent the greatest current and future threat to native plant and animal species worldwide, greater even than human population growth, land development and pollution.” William Cullina of the New England Wildflower Society We do not have to travel far to…

Obligations at the Edge

  • Post published:12/29/2009
  • Post comments:3 Comments

As I prepare for the new year I have been thinking about the importance of conservation, about preserving the best of what we have for the benefit of the next generations.  Today I am posting a piece I wrote three years ago after talking to an inspiring conservationist and speaker.  My inspiration is a gaggle of grandchildren, two of whom love to play in the old apple tree in our field, home and pantry to birds - and…

Falling – Gently

  • Post published:09/21/2009
  • Post comments:7 Comments

After a chilly, even cold, week we are now enjoying a sunny warm spell.  Autumn begins tomorrow but the fall into the golden season is now a gentle one. I am looking forward to a mild week because there is a lot to do in the garden. In spite of the chill, I did get to observe the eradication of the Mile-a-Minute vine in Greenfield, and visit some other gardens last week. I cannot stress how dangerous this…

Mile-A-Minute is too fast

  • Post published:09/19/2009
  • Post comments:1 Comment

Mile-a-Minute vine is the latest threat on the invasive plants front. This nasty vine has moved up from the mid-Atlantic states and is now well established in Connecticut. Massachusetts residents should be on the lookout for this fast growing vine, up to six inches a day! It has arrowhead leaves and nearly invisible but really treacherous barbs. It flowers in August and starts setting seed which begins to ripen right about now. The seed is small and blue,…