A lot of green-minded people look askance at lawns these days, sometimes for good reasons. But I had the good fortune to hear Cornell turf expert Dr. Frank Rossi speak on the ecological values of lawns last year and he offered a unique perspective. I later interviewed him.
On February 4, I showed heath (right) in bloom along a sidewalk in my coastal Connecticut community. Then we had the biggest snow storm of the season on February 8 & 9. The blossoms were buried, of course.
Ah, yes . . . Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis). Seen nearby today, February 25.
Trees that I've been (successfully) nurturing for 15 years are groaning under snow loads, wind and ice. Here's an example of a Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point') that we planted as a 2' sapling around 1998. It had grown to a very healthy 18'. The February 2013 storms have broken a number of branches from the center.
It's the largest horticultural industry trade show in New England, with more than 300 exhibitors, 13,000 visitors, and dozens of educational sessions. You might say it's the horticultural equivalent of the village that's required to raise a child--the mix of sellers, buyers, and experts who each play a role in what we see on any city, town, or suburban street.
What was that driving by? Vehicular advertising has become very sophisticated in recent years, but I can't say I've ever seen a more attractive and happy example than the Plantmobile of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at the 2013 New England Grows.
I visited the Charles Hart Seed Company booth at New England Grows, where staffer Sandy Marshall was happy to share packets of their latest offerings. She talked about the company's recent campaign to help the public (and the growing industry) distinguish between GMO (genetically modified organisms) and GE (genetically engineered).
Permeable paving has been around for a few years and examples were many at the New England Grows conference I attended on February 6 & 7. (They were right alongside some other water-savvy innovations such as green roofing and living walls.) Permeable paving is simply a surface that lets water soak through rather than run off.
One of my current design projects is a lakeside garden of native shrubs and perennials. Several online resources have proved very helpful, but one of the best new resources to come along in the past year is Go Botany.
Who says you can't smell the herbs in February? This weekend, I used all of these--sage, savory, lavender, leeks--and they were all all highly aromatic at 22 degree F.