Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day and a Half Hike

Last weekend my wife and I went to the New Paltz area for a couple of days of hiking. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. The Shawangunk (pronounced Shon-gum) mountain chain, located between the Catskills and the Highlands, may be the most interesting and diverse ecological niche in the northeast and only 2 hours from NYC.
Many hikes travel along or have views of rockface.

Moss, lichens, ferns, shrubs, and trees grow on the ledges.

Rivers of brilliant red blueberry bushes lined the top of the mountains and the distant valley appears like the sea. All this near Sam's Point.



Along the path, red blueberry bushes mingled with this white-seeded plant which I think is Pearly Everlasting, or Anaphalis margaritacea.

Dwarf Pitch Pine Plains around Lake Maratanza, near Sam's Point. Trees are around 5 feet tall.

Looking west from Sam's Point at sunset

Salvia Elegans-Full Bloom

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Hurrah

Its come a bit earlier this year than those recently passed, but the late bloomers are doing their thing. From a distance it doesn't look like much, but up close...


Asters with loads of honey bees

New Dawn rose hips

Verbena (actually blooming for quite awhile)

Latest Aster of them all, this one only has a few buds open

Chrysanthemum (or whatever they're calling them these days) "Sheffield Pink"
Seaside Goldenrod, Boltonia, all the purple asters, Phlox, Hardy Ageratum, Maximilian Sunflower, Rosa "Knockout", Grandma's Tea and others still blooming.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Free Compost This Weekend

Don't forget the NYC Compost Project's compost giveaway this weekend at the Fresh Kills Compost Facility on Staten Island.

For specific info please see the calendar at right.

Apparently this is the last opportunity for free compost until the city budget changes for the better. Separate leaf removal by the DSNY has been suspended for budgetary reasons. Without the leaves there simply is no reason to do bulk composting in NYC according to the DSNY. This is a sad moment for us, not unlike the previous suspension of recycling. Leaves will now be collected with the regular trash.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SEARCH QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Can you divide a hydrangea plant?


I suppose you could, but I do not recommend it without great care. Hydrangeas are woody shrubs. In general, I do not consider woody shrubs as candidates for root division. I would, however, multiply my woody shrubs by "rooting" cuttings of branches or through layering -the laying of a branch onto the ground and covering it with soil and a rock to encourage rooting of the stem. Once the branch has rooted, in either method, you can transplant anywhere.

Not So Long Ago...

I made a trip to the Adirondacks. It was early Autumn, Zone 4.
I took a quick hike around this beaver pond.

Growing on the dam was Jewelweed.

Across from the dam was some Turtlehead.

And some yellow Goldenrod, some white Asters, and what I think is Joe Pye or Milk Weed.

And in the woods, this Groundnut -maybe.
Consider adding these natives to your garden this Autumn.

Addressing NYC

For the coming month before our election I have installed on these pages Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union Address. A few years ago I attended the Sam Waterston reading/acting of this speech at Cooper Union's Great Hall. The reading was in response to Harold Holzer's book, Lincoln at Cooper Union.

In it's rigorous, often humorous, fashion Lincoln made his simple point about the way politicians skew history and meaning to sway voter's opinion. This is speech that matters because it convinced his skeptical audience through logic and reason delivered with emotion. I am often wishing that our media space allowed for such arguments. Speech was king before soundbites. So, I present the text of this speech on my sidebar and I do believe it resonates today in content and structure. There is an audio player with the Librivox recording and also a link to the C-Span Video Archive where you can watch the whole event above the text.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Late Bloomer

The front yard is doing well, if still over-packed. Soon the Solidago Sempervirens (Seaside Goldenrod) will bloom. A Boltonia and an Aster are still budding as well as the Chrysanthemum "Sheffield Pink". I cannot forget the Salvia Elegans that should bloom soon. The Asters, the Maximillian Sunflower, even the Phlox, Sedum, Knockout Rose, and Russian Sage are looking good. The Tradescantia (Spiderwort) has made its way back after the summer's heat and is blooming some. I need not mention the Hardy Ageratum with its blue going quite strong. Grandma's Old Garden Rose has sent up another set of buds (the fourth this season!).

Green Monster


My five tomatoes have grown into one large mass, predominately German Stripe and San Marzano. These two are still producing. I get about two or three tomatoes a week-enough for me. But the sun is so low now that it is behind trees for most of the vegetable gardens time slot. But they keep producing flowers and new growth. The San Marzano must be about 12 feet long now.

San Marzano

Still getting beans too. These are Pole Bean "Kentucky Wonder." Good flavor and moist at maturity if a little stringy. Can be eaten as beans too, fresh or dried for later.

Trippy Camera

My camera has been bugging out lately. It started last year and now does it more and more. These are the pictures it takes half the time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Salvia Elegans About to Bloom


I've waited all too long for this. Its been cooler this summer and now this autumn. I wonder how much effect this has had on the bloom time, which to me seems a bit late in a location where I tend to get blooms early. It should be in full bloom in about a week.

Free Compost This Weekend

Don't forget the NYC Compost Project's compost giveaway this weekend at the Soundview Compost Facility in the Bronx.

For specific info, see the calendar below to the right or go to the above giveaway link.


Apparently this is the last opportunity for free compost until the city budget changes for the better. Separate leaf removal by the DSNY has been suspended for budgetary reasons. Without the leaves there simply is no reason to do bulk composting in NYC according to the DSNY. This is a sad moment for us, not unlike the previous suspension of recycling. Leaves will now be collected with the regular trash.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

SEARCH QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Can you build a vegetable planter on concrete?


Why not? Build your box as you ordinarily would. Then place it on the concrete. If your question is more about putting a wood-framed raised bed on concrete, then I would say yes -but make sure the soil is deep enough for the vegetables you are planting.
Drainage is key. If you are building a box, make sure to put in drainage holes.
Either way, make sure that you keep the plants watered. The heat-holding and radiating power of concrete will dry out the soil quickly if it is in full sun all day.