September invites fall lawn and garden advice. Soon, articles on bare patch repair, leaf composting, and fall pruning will flutter onto screens and pages like leaves from the trees.
This year, I’m suggesting a less conventional autumn topic: Weeds.
Some experts call it our single most valuable perennial plant for pollinators, but many people still try to eradicate goldenrod because they think it causes allergies.
The real source of sneezes is likely to be ragweed or other wind-pollinated plants. But old stories die hard.
Crew-cut or mop-top? In the early 1960s, the Beatles stirred up a generational divide and instigated plenty of push-back from parents when their sons let their hair grow. Then the guardians of convention moved on, and men’s hairstyles have never been the same. Will it be the same for low-mow lawns, the mop-tops of the landscape world? I've met plenty of people who are planning to switch.
On July 4, 1876, eight citizens of Old Saybrook held a town meeting to declare they would plant 56 American elms in honor of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. “Said trees [are] to be known and cared for by the town as the Centennial Trees,” the clerk recorded in Volume 8, page 159 of the records book that resides today at the Town Clerk’s office.
I was researching the history of a centennial elm on Old Saybrook's Main Street when an acquaintance suggested I pick up a copy of "Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees in the American Cityscape" by Jill Jonnes. The cover looks like a textbook and the title is almost as exciting, but never judge a book by its cover.
Fast moving and not overly technical, the tale of "Witness Tree" takes us down the path of bio-geographic research, particularly as it pertains to trees. Long-lived as they are, today's trees are likely to encounter unprecedented conditions as they age. The story takes place at Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA, one of the most studied forests in the world.
David Montgomery and Ann Bikle peer into the scientific community's current understanding of the microbial world and its interactions with plants, insects, animals, and people. The writers, a husband and wife team, also bring a personal angle to their motivation for digging into the fast-emerging field of microbial medicine.
In the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his band are blocked by the dreaded Knight Who Says “Ni!” in an enchanted forest.
“Bring me a shrubbery,” demands the giant Knight, adding, “One that looks nice...And not too expensive.”
For many of us, May seems like the very beginning of the growing season. The tomatoes are still in the greenhouse and squash seeds still in the packet.
But by May 15, many weedy plants are already dropping the year's first crop of viable seeds. To reduce future weeds, we need to pull or dead-head seedheads before they can spread.
When it comes to container gardens for the home grower, what's not to like?
Container-grown plants can live close to the kitchen door, convenient to watch, water, and harvest. They are easier to protect from deer and other critters. They largely avoid the weeds and diseases that often visit in-ground gardens.