Monthly Archives: July 2011

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When I weed a section of my garden, I leave no proverbial stone unturned – unless I can’t identify the weed and it looks, for one reason or another, like like one that has garden potential. Such has been the case with the mounds of moss-like leaves that sprouted and have been slowly growing at the ends of some beds in the vegetable garden.

 The plant hardly seemed menacing. And it wasn’t.

The plant graduated out of the “weed” or “potential weed” category as a scattering of lemon-yellow flowers opened atop the mounds. Aha! I looked back on my early autumn notebook entry of last year and identified this year’s plant as Goldilocks Rocks (Bidens ferulifolia), one of a few annual flowers that I received last year for testing. The plant bloomed nonstop all last summer, and has returned for an encore.
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I will be spreading the blueberry gospel with a BLUEBERRY GROWING WORKSHOP at my farmden on July 30th, from 9:30 to 11:30 am. This workshop will cover everything you need to know to be on your way to picking your own blueberries, including soil preparation, obtaining plants, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and, or course, eating (and tasting). The cost is $40. Space is limited so reservations are a must. Contact me through my website “contact” (at right) for more information.
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One small, red flower caused quite a bit of excitement last week. It was a pomegranate blossom, which is quite flamboyant in and of itself, but the real excitement was because I’d been waiting for this one for 6 years.

Pomegranate would normally freeze, dead, in our cold winters. It’s a Mediterranean plant that calls Western Asia home, just like figs. And, like figs, it can be grown in pots …

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In 1810, English essayist Charles Lamb wrote: “Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think of them.” Obviously, Charles was not a gardener. I spend a lot of time thinking about time and space in the garden, and out there this morning was particularly proud of one result of that “trouble.”

That source of pride is a bed 20 feet long by 3 feet wide that’s overbrimming with luscious greenery. I planted it back in April, 4 rows, one of radishes, one of mustard and arugula, and two of various varieties of leaf lettuce. The radishes are long gone and the mustard and arugula are just now going to seed, but the lettuces have a little more time left in them. The bed is packed so full of garden plants that hardly a weed peeks through anywhere.

As the …

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Many years ago, at this time of the year, I was hiking in Minnewaska State Park when a most delectable, spicy-sweet aroma wafted past my nose. I followed my nose off the trail and into the woods. After stepping over and around fallen stumps in boggy soil and ducking under low-hanging branches, I came upon the source of that aroma: the white flowers of a large swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum).

Last night as I lay in the comfort of my my bed and was about to drift off to sleep, that very same scent drifted into the open bedroom window. I immediately knew the source of that aroma: a swamp azalea that I had planted in a bed along the north side of my home back in 2006.

My yard is obviously quite a different habitat from that of Minnewaska woods, and especially where that wild swamp azalea grew. Besides …

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Upcoming lectures – “Luscious Landscaping, with Fruits! – by Lee Reich:
•July 9th, 11am at the Mountain Top Arboretum, Tannersville, NY
•July 10th, 10am at the Phantom Gardener, Rhinebeck, NY
•July 22nd at Permaculture Convergence, High Falls, NY
(I will host a tour of my farmden on July 21st for the Convergence)

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The hardest part has been getting the caterpillar to smile. This caterpillar is about 20 feet long and 3 feet high, 5 feet to the top of its antennae, and it lives near a wall along the front of my house. It’s green. It’s a yew.

The caterpillar started out conventionally enough. Like so many gardeners and new homeowners, I succumbed to the enticement of inexpensive evergreens – in this case, 5 innocent-looking, small yew bushes – to dress up the bare front of my house. Once planted, they would contribute to the ubiquitous gumdrop school of landscape design. That was over 25 years ago.

Well, at least I decided not to shear them into exacting gumdrops. Pruning with a hand shears once or twice a year kept them informal. My plants never suffered neglect, a good thing because too …

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