Growing Native Lilies

Posted by on Feb 25, 2017 in Gardening, Plant Profile, The Catskills
Growing Native Lilies

  I’ve driven a fair amount over the Catskills in all times of year, and I regret to say that I’ve had very few encounters with native lilies (I am speaking here specifically of the genus Lilium – the trout lily, Erythronium americanum, is one of our most common and beautiful wildflowers but is in […]

Owls and evergreens

  I’m not much of a fan of winter but I do have a very soft spot for owls. I don’t think I need to explain why- you all get it. They’re flying sorcerers, the stuff of other worlds, the perfect (confounding!) union of lots of beauty and lots of deadly tools to dispatch little […]

Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed.

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Gardening, General, Plant Profile
Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed.

It is a bit unfortunate that one of the best native plants for Catskill gardeners,  Asclepias incarnata, should have been given the name “swamp milkweed.”  I just tried to give away a couple of seedlings of swamp milkweed, and I was greeted with suspicion.  “Weed? Is the plant ugly?”  “No, it’s quite pretty.”  “Do I […]

Roseshell Azalea, or Pinxterblooms.

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Gardening, General, Plant Profile
Roseshell Azalea, or Pinxterblooms.

Now is the time to look for the one of the Catskills’ showiest shrubs, the Pinxterbloom Azalea, Rhododendron prinophyllum.  People who try to use common names for plants strictly will tell you that this plant is called Roseshell Azalea, and the Pinxter refers to Rhododendron periclymenoides, a similar but slightly more southern species.  But all […]

Fagus grandifolia

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Gardening, Landscape, Plant Profile
Fagus grandifolia

Fagus grandifolia, the American beech, as a young tree or whip can often hold it’s leaves throughout the winter when found in the understory of the forest.  In the UK, F. sylvatica, American beech’s European cousin, is used often as a hedge responding well to structured pruning.  Have you thought to use our native woodies […]

Betula alleghaniensis.

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Plant Profile
Betula alleghaniensis.

In Thoreau’s book The Maine Woods, he lists two hundred fifteen plant species he identified in his tour of the state, giving Latin names for all. Unfortunately taxonomists have been busily at work in the intervening century and a half, and many of the names are no longer in use. Some I wish we could […]

Mountain-ash

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Edibles, Gardening, Landscape, Plant Profile, The Catskills
Mountain-ash

Sorbus americana is one of the prettiest white flowering, under utilized, red cluster berry producing, Northeastern favorite tree o’ mine.  I mean I literally freak out.  Have you ever been on a hike with me?  I repeat myself in the latin and the common name, I point, I even jump up and down, ok almost jump […]