Rattlesnake Fern

My aunt, Ruth Smiley, spent over half a century helping shape the gardens and wild areas of Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills of upstate New York. Though she spent much of her time on the formal gardens, she also enthusiastically explored the plant life of the surrounding woods and meadows. My family spent countless… Continue reading Rattlesnake Fern

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Tenacious Violets

Violets are one of the first flowers in my woods, a number of species emerging when it is still winter here. I have at least half a dozen species, flowering from late winter well into spring. Now all the forest violets are dormant, but for months now a small white violet has been flowering in… Continue reading Tenacious Violets

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Bringing Back Chestnut Trees

The American chestnut was once the dominant tree of forests in the eastern United States. There were around 4 billion trees, important to wildlife and also for lumber, preferred for its high-quality wood for everything from houses to railroad ties and telephone poles. They also provided seasonal chestnuts which were a treat for people. When… Continue reading Bringing Back Chestnut Trees

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

White-Tailed Deer

My aunt spent much of her life nurturing the gardens of Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills of New York. She kept lists of plants for various display and wild gardens. Over the years she showed me around the gardens with pride, helping to initiate my own interest in gardening. On one of our many… Continue reading White-Tailed Deer

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Go Big With Foliage Plants

Classic garden advice suggests you choose plants for their flowers, fruits, or foliage, or all three. When selecting plants for my garden I consider their value to wildlife, including flowers for pollinators and fruits as an important resource for animals that share my yard. But after the flowers and fruits are gone, you still have… Continue reading Go Big With Foliage Plants

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Great Blue Lobelia

I have two species of lobelias growing naturally in my yard, cardinal flower, and the great blue lobelia. Between the two of them they flower for much of the summer and well into fall, both among my longest lasting flowers. The cardinal flower begins to flower in early summer and has only finished flowering a… Continue reading Great Blue Lobelia

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

The Importance of Goldenrods

At this time of year, I have several species of goldenrod flowering in my yard. Whenever I look at them, they are full of pollinators, including this fly. They are one of the few flowers left now, so provide one last source of pollen and nectar for the remaining insects. They often get the blame… Continue reading The Importance of Goldenrods

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Aster Season

This time of year, there are quite a few asters flowering, both in my woods and in sunnier areas near the creek. They provide food to lingering pollinators like flies, wasps, butterflies, and this bee, shot with a slower shutter speed to catch its busy blur. Asters provide welcome sources of pollen and nectar as… Continue reading Aster Season

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized

Vulture Visitors

There is a roost of black vultures in the park next to me, and a few times a year they venture into my yard. They just made one of their infrequent appearances, around thirty birds resting and sunning near the creek. As the day warmed, they slowly took off in small groups to fly in… Continue reading Vulture Visitors

Featured post

Published
Categorized as Uncategorized