Category Archives: Things They Never Tell You

Scaring Skunks Away

  SKUNK SCARING TACTICS All of a sudden, after years of peace in the skunk department, we had a nasty nightly fragrance in multiple adjoining yards. Several dogs and a couple of people had been squarely hit, and the neighborhood smelled decidedly skunky most mornings. Just a few weeks before our Open Garden and a […]

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Wreathing the Beds

  Greens After Christmas  A second purpose for the branches of Christmas trees and other holiday greens is to re-use them as decorative wreathing for your otherwise somewhat bare perennial beds, but the reason to use them is usually to help insulate plants residing in the earth beneath. I find this branch overlay technique especially […]

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Best Evergreen Floor Plants

Best Evergreen Floor plants Chapter 1 : The Myrtles A Suitable Plant for Memorial Day : Vinca  The word ‘Vinca’ is derived from the Italian verb ‘Vincere’, which refers to success by winning or conquering, whether I, you, he or she. The Vincas are a seriously reliable and handsome Genus of plants, so it is […]

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Good Green Words

Green Words

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Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond In February and later, nicely shaped cut branches of  Forsythia brought inside to a vase with lots of water will flower gracefully within 2 weeks. Yes, it really is as simple as that. Just keep the water refreshed, nearly to the top of the container. If you cut some […]

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Recycling Christmas Greens

Wreathing the Beds Greens After Christmas A second harvest purpose for the branches of Christmas trees and other holiday greens is to use them as decorative wreathing for your otherwise somewhat bare perennial beds. …… One might choose to lay evergreen branches on some beds just to look wonderful through the winter, but these branches […]

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Winter Preparation

 Anticipating the End of the Year Winter Preparation Some More Things They Never Tell You. Save the final blowing and cleaning of your diverse planted beds until after the ground is cold hardened. For the thorough cleaning of beds in which perennial and self sowing plants reside, it is safer for those inhabitants if you […]

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Stone Facts and Stories

Stone Facts and Stories What is the difference between a ‘Rock’, a ‘Stone’, and ‘Granite’ anyway? Saying bedrock, rock, stone or granite is like referring to the same Ornithological acquaintance in conversation as a bird,  a songbird or, more particularly, a Sparrow. Bedrock and Rock are terms used to refer to large deposits of naturally […]

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Potatoes and Rocks on Long Island

The Rock who Tried to be a Potato When you hand harvest potatoes in Eastern Long Island you soon learn that the sandy earth coats the stones which also inhabit the earth there so thoroughly that, before washing, the two entities are often virtually indistinguishable. Their weight difference is the only clue sometimes. If you […]

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Reusing Antique Granites

Some of the handsomest granites for residential landscape use are those which were quarried and worked by stone cutters and masons a hundred years ago or more. With the wear of use and coloration from a century of  exposure to the elements, these stones have a patina of age. The granite bedrock formed around 4 […]

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Euphorbia, Beautiful but Sometimes Dangerous

EUPHORBIA WARNING!!!   BE CAREFUL OF THE SAP !!! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When you trim ANY Euphorbia variety – and there are many lovely ones among the 2000 or so species in the Genus – Be Careful not to get the latex like sap that bleeds from cut stems onto your hands or face ……and Oh my Goodness, […]

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Snow, Brooms and Squirrels

The Old Worn Corn Broom   A friendly old Corn broom is indispensable for sweeping snow off trees and shrubs in the winter and for freeing frisbees, balls and balloons in the other seasons. Its bristles softened and shortened by time, usually on an angle from all the corner work it has tried to do […]

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Winter Arrangements, Indoors and Out

In my landscapes, evergreen branches that will need to be pruned anyway wait for that attention until I can use their lovely offcuts for decorative winter purposes. …………. You will see your tree and shrub elements alone in the winter, when there are fewer other plants around to distract you. It is a good time […]

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Dear Readers

* In the Spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to thank you all for your thoughtful comments. They do encourage the work. I don’t answer comments because if I did I would never have time to write my articles, but I do think about the things you say, and my writing will reflect your input. Please […]

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Your Ecotome

ECOTOME This self describing noun is not much in current use, yet it would seem to me by its etymological origins that it could usefully be incorporated when referring to ones own local ecological context. The ‘local ecotome’ would refer to the surrounding area of which you are a part, the one whose ecological realities […]

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Fall Tending

Good Garden Housekeeping Fall tending in your garden will help all the winter compositions to show their best. There should be nothing to detract from the pictures, even in this season. Most herbaceous plants are trimmed down close to the earth now, but any that still look nice, by flowering or being evergreen, perhaps by […]

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November Nor’easter

………………………………………………………………. * The small grove of Maples I pass each late night Today were moon – lit Cross black blue and star white. …………… Nor’easter behind them, Their yellow leaf  hands Waved wildly at me, Those last leaves of the stand. ……………… Soon to be fallen, tonight was so dear, “Till next year” we said […]

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Pumpkins and Other Long Island Characters

 Harvest Holiday On 10/10/10 I drove slowly through the Orient Point Park and wildlife reserve, which lies like a ribbon stretched out alongside the Atlantic Ocean at the easternmost tip of Long Island, New York. I was on the lookout for my old friends, the box turtles, who live quietly there (with turtle crossing signs […]

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Plant Names and Why They Matter

“Most of us are bored with gossip and photographs of people we do not know. The beginner feels the same way about plants”[1] … The plant scene becomes more interesting when you understand the cast of characters a bit. To develop relationships with the plant players, you will want to get to know them as […]

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Plants as Beings

Plants are such dynamic living beings that ‘It’ just never seems to me to be the right pronoun to use in conversational and prose references. As one Horticulturally minded friend has said,  “referring to a plant as ‘It’ is absolutely Rude” For fun, try referring to particular plants, shrubs and trees too, as ‘he or […]

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Growing Your Own Moss: Some Tricks to Know

GROWING  MOSS If you have Moss and you want to encourage it, or you are bringing some into your land… Choose or create an ecology like the one in which your moss was originally thriving. Look for clues as to the favored habitat of your particular candidates. Think about the soil and exposure around each […]

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Mosses You are Likely to Meet

 Mosses You are Likely to Meet Accurately labeled, this display identifies many of the prevalent resident mosses of New England so that they can introduce themselves to you. Once you know the name of the kind you are curious about, you can find out more about it with the help of Google. I wanted you […]

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Earth Swapping = Easy Underground Composting

  Underground Composting … You will need loam and compost each season in your yard. Often it will just be a little, but you can’t get along without it. Earth washes away, sinks and compacts so somehow, if you are working the garden, you will always need a little more. One might prefer not to […]

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Encouragement

The Tuft of Flowers ………………………..Robert Frost I went to turn the grass once after one Who mowed it in the dew before the sun. The dew was gone that made his blade so keen Before I came to view the leveled scene. I looked for him behind an isle of trees; I listened for his […]

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Propagating your Clematis

Certain methods of propagation are so simple that it would be a shame not to use them. If you take a stem or branch of some cherished woody plant, bend it down and bury it a few inches (or more) in the ground adjacent to the parent, you will have a good chance of getting […]

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