Thursday, December 28, 2006

Braggy Braggy

Hey, check out what Dean got me for Christmas...a new Canon 28-135mm zooooooom lens. With image stabilization (he knows me well). It's totally awesome. Not too many pictures of plants yet...

...lots of pictures of kids, and lots and lots of pictures of Trout Lily.

"Vacation" Fun - the Renegade Gardener

I'm technically working today and tomorrow, but with everyone else lazing about, playing Nintendo DS and helping the itunes store to crash, it's hard to keep a serious focus. So after I had worked for four or five minutes this morning, I took a much needed break and checked out Don Engebretson is funny. Goofy and silly, but truly funny, and also he appears to know horticulture. Check out the 2006 Renegade Gardener High Spot/Black Spot Awards, where you can read Engebreston wax poetic about this favorite willow: "Growing ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ is like waking up and seeing Dakota Fanning standing silently in your garden. It’s just gorgeous, somehow emitting depth and meaning."
(I don't know why part of the above paragraph appears in semi-bold type. New Blogger thing I guess.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Late November

These pictures were taken at one of my favorite spots in Caledonia—the shortest nature trail ever, which runs from Tennent Park back to one of the trestles that crosses Spring Brook. It is one of the two places I take Lily (see below) most mornings. OK, weekday mornings. When there's school. The other is the MacKay Wildlife Preserve trail, which is about a mile loop and is definitely her favorite place in Caledonia.

A Beautiful Flower

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
Since Trout Lily is truly a native American wildflower, I can put her on my blog, right?


Friday, November 17, 2006

Out & About: Aurora

On my way back up the east side of Cayuga, I passed through the darling village of Aurora. I had been making a bee line for the MacKenzie-Childs retail shop, but this gorgeous Ginkgo caught my eye, and so I turned around.

Out & About: Ithaca

I visited Ithaca on Monday and stopped, as always, at Cornell Plantations. The Winter Garden, while only a few years old, is looking very fine. My pictures don't do it justice.

At the bottom is a leaf from the bigleaf magnolia, referenced below, in the groundcover garden.

Seats Available for Philly Tour

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — Want to see the Philadelphia Flower Show in style? Michael Warren Thomas takes a group each year, and the visit encompasses a lot more than just the show, which is worth a trip in itself. This year there will be stops at Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, and as always, some excellent dining.
Spots are available for March 7 – 8 and March 10 – 11, 2007. The price of the trip, $340 per person (double occupancy) includes transportation, hotel, two lunches, continental breakfast, and an “elegant” closing dinner at Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.
For details or to sign up, call 585/328-8300 or visit

Naturally Green “First in Bloom” Contest

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — Michael Warren Thomas’s “First in Bloom” contest has definitely expanded since the days when all you had to look for was the first snowdrop. For 2007 there are eight categories, from bulbs to perennials to vines, each with a prize of dinner for two. The first person to call Thomas after midnight on January 1, 2007, at 585/328-8300, with the first flowers blooming outdoors (not just in bud) in each of the categories, will win a dinner for two gift certificate. If you do happen to find the first snowdrop, your reward is dinner for two at Max of Eastman Place—pretty fancy.
Naturally Green airs Saturday mornings at 9 on WYSL am, 1040 in the Rochester area. Listen online and get full details about the contest at

News from The Gardens—Photo Contest, Poinsettia Sale

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ annual photo contest in underway, with entries due by November 27th. Each submission should fall into one of the following categories: Flora, Architecture, or Human Interest. Fess are $10 for the first entry and $5 for each additional one.
Here’s a way to get your holiday plants while helping The Gardens at the same time. Orders for poinsettias will be accepted through November 10, with pick-up December 4 – 10.
For details, call 716/827-1584 or visit

CNY Blooms Debuts This Spring

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — Good news for garden lovers! The Central New York State Nursery and Landscape Association is busily planning its first ever independent flower and garden show, CNY Blooms. The event will be held at the OnCenter, a facility with a decidedly “outdoor” feel, right in the middle of Syracuse. There will be competition gardens, participation from local colleges, and garden club representation, plus seminars and educational presentations. The opening night preview party will benefit the Food Bank of Central New York.
CNY Blooms will take place March 1 –4, 2007, dates that will not conflict the two existing shows in our area: GardenScape, in Henrietta, March 15 – 18, and Plantasia, in Hamburg, March 22 – 25.
For more information, visit

Shrub Coat in Production Locally

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — Beaver Landscaping, Clarence-based producers of the Shrub Coat, announce that they have contracted with Depew’s Southeast Works, a company employing and training handicapped individuals in the community with job skills. Southeast Works will assemble and package the locally-manufactured product, a “better than burlap,” reusable, alternative for protecting shrubs from the winter ravages of wind, snow, ice, salt and animals.
Shrub Coat, the invention of owner Steve Bakowski, is made of green, breathable fabric on a pyramidal frame, and comes in various sizes to conveniently protect shrubs and bushes up to nine feet tall. This design helps dormant plants emerge green and healthy in the spring. And, as Steve’s wife and business partner Joyce points out, it is easy to incorporate into your holiday decorating scheme—just add lights.
For more information on the Shrub Coat, call 716/583-7872 or visit

Dangerous Beauty

(From the Nov-Dec '06 UGJ) — Our cover image this issue is beautiful. But the invasive plant it depicts, autumn olive, is a threat to plants—and even animals— in our native environment. This juxtaposition is the theme of Christine Sevilla’s new series of images, “Thanatopsis.”
“The dangerous beauty of invasive plant species has brought them to new, alien locations where a less handsome weed would be quickly eradicated,” Sevilla writes. She hopes her project will encourage citizens to grow native plants and varieties of non-natives that are proven not to be invasive.
The artist has made twelve of the Thanatopsis images into her 2007 calendar. Each month is printed on a separate five by seven-inch card that fits into a simple, clear, plastic standing frame, which can be reused from year to year. The calendars are available at the Memorial Art Gallery Store, 500 University Ave, Rochester, or by calling 585/586-6085 (this number is WRONG in the print version) or e-mailing Sevilla at They are $20 each, or $15 for just the cards.
Sevilla is also planning an exhibit in 2007, and to publish a brochure this spring. To see more of her work, visit
For information on what you can do to help control invasive species, visit

Susan Latoski Exits RCGC

ETTG is sad to report that Susan Latoski, long time Executive Director of the Rochester Civic Garden Center, has left in order to take a position with the Landmark Society. She will be sorely missed.

Given the untold hours I have spent with Susan over the past ten years, often with camera in hand, it amuses - and frustrates - me to not be able to come up with a lot of images of Susan in the Garden. I have plenty of shots of Susan's garden, and many of Susan on a Bike and Susan on Skis, but of Susan in the garden, this is the best I can come up with...and she's not even in focus (the bigleaf magnolia flower is!). I took this slide in '02 at one of our frequent visits to one of our favorite spots, Cornell Plantations.

I know Susan will knock 'em dead in her new job, and I wish her the best of luck and send her off with lots of love.

A new way to find the UGJ

Looking to pick up a copy of the latest UGJ? Check out our new map of distribution locations, updated with each issue (keep in mind that some outlets are only open seasonally).
UGJ Distribution Locations

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brian Eshenaur's New Gig

Brian Eshenaur is the UGJ's esteemed, essential, beloved Technical Editor. And whew! Even though he has a great new job, he's going to STAY our T. E. For the past couple of issues he's been concentrating on getting used to being an IPM Ornamental Educator for the (statewide) Cornell Cooperative Extension, so Judy Hubbard, who is also great, filled in (she'd been filling in for Brian at his old job at Monroe Extension, Horticulture Program Leader, as well).

Congratulations to Brian.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

That's right, folks. It's apple harvest season! Nirvana.

I'd like to report on two new varieties I discovered this week. Out at Burnap's Farm Market in Sodus, I picked up a single Zestar, and I could kick myself for not buying out their stock. This apple was so sweet, so juicy and crunchy, it had me talking to myself in the car. According to Mark at Whittier Fruit Farm in Gates, who also grows Zestar, "the side of the fruit facing the sun develops a sweet spot that’s brighter red and wildly flavorful." (Read Mark’s Guide to Apple Varieties.)

What I did pick up a bag of, at Burnap's, was another new one, Sansa. Not quite as sinfully sweet at Zestar, it is nontheless very sweet and juicy, with a lovely texture (I hate mealyness in apples) and perhaps a little more complexity to it, a little tartness.

Also, I understand this summer's been good for the Honeycrisps, which is a relief after last year—they were done at the end of September, it seemed! At least the Crispins were in good supply.

It's HERE!

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
I've been waiting for ages to see this plant in the flesh. Terra Nova teased me with a slide and a press release a few years ago, but when I asked them please to send a plug, they were all out. Grrrr. So yesterday, I'm taking a quick trip around the back gardens at Sara's in Brockport (quick because it's raining and I'm cold), when this little guy leaps out at me.

Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans' is a petite groundcover for shade (yes, it will grow under trees—I've seen the green version doing well there at Cornell Plantations). I won't describe the foliage as you can see it for yourself here, and I haven't seen flowers or pictures of flowers, but being that it's a close relative, I image they're similar to that of garden saxifrage.

I didn't see Kathy to ask her whether she had any in stock, but if it's in her display garden, it can only be a matter of time.

Bargains Abound

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
Ah, September. The air cools, the energy soars, and the prices drop. I went around this weekend delivering magazines and found that pretty much everywhere I stopped there were bargains to be had. At the Garden Factory in Gates, there is a whole section of shrubs and grasses that are five dollars and change—I saw some good-looking Panicum 'Heavy Metal' in what I think were #15's. Towards the front they were offering the chelone pictured here, 'Hot Lips', for eight bucks, in gallons. Not exactly cheap, but not too bad, and the plants were healthy and fresh. Up at Harris Gardens on 250 in Penfield, Rosy's having a "yard sale," getting rid of some of the leftover stuff from the previous owners. Some excellent deals there on hard goods.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More Fall Garden Faire News

I want to post this update because I'm getting a lot of hits here from people searching for the Fall Garden Faire. It IS still on, it's on Saturday, NOT SUNDAY, September 9, and it's at the Cooperative Extension, NOT Knox Farm or Hamlin Park, 21 Grove St. East Aurora.

I won't be there this year. I can't believe it! It conflicts with the Gathering of Gardeners. Waaa. But Maria will. Stop and see her at the entrance, and pick up the latest UGJ.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's Blooming Now

I got this clematis, 'Mrs. Robert Brydon', from the great plantswoman Joan Hoeffel, probably ten years ago. I've never seen it for sale in person since. In fact, until I visited Bluegrass Lane at Cornell earlier this month, I hadn't seen it at all in person since. It interested me that they had it in the test plot there. Does that mean it's being evaluted for market? I hope so. This is an excellent plant.

Mrs. Brydon isn't a climbing clematis. She's more of a sprawler. I like to prop her up on things. In one of the above images, she's propped up on the heptacodium, whose bloom time overlaps hers. In my old garden I used to encourage her to laze about in the Hosta plantaginea. Verrry pretty.

OK. Enough with the anthromorphizing. What's really cool about Mrs. Robert Brydon is the color of the flowers. They are little bells, perfect little baby blue bells. Powder, baby-boy blue. And we all know how tough it is to find true blue for the garden.

It's not the toughest plant; it took a couple of years to recover from its move across the street, and it doesn't spontaneously root at the nodes the way I wish it would (like some ground creepers do). Also, it's brittle, so you have to be careful not to step on it. In the early spring I cut back the woody stem, leaving a few sets of nodes, to get rid of all the dead stuff and to try to encourage branching.

Oh yum

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
OK, these tomatoes don't look too purple. But they are, in fact, 'Cherokee Purple'. They were pretty tasty, but of the 5 heirlooms I grew this year, I hate to say it, but...'Brandywine' is the best tasting. I know, I know. Brandywine this Brandywine that. It's just a good tomato.

Cherokee Purple is prettier though.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Come with me to the Chelsea Flower Show & More!

May 19 - 27, 2007, Publisher Jane Milliman will accompany a group of Western New York garden lovers to England, to visit some great gardens (Sissinghurst and Great Dixter, for starters) and attend the Chelsea Flower Show.
If you are interested in joining the group, please e-mail jane AT janemilliman DOT com for more information.

Perfectly, Naturally Elusive

I wrote about this product, Perfectly Natural Weed Killer, in my D&C column a while back, and yes, it's very good and I do use it myself around the house. (The kids always think someone is making applesauce. Or pie. Or pickles!) My readers have had a really tough time finding it though. I am sorry about that! Wal-Mart did carry it in the spring but didn't re-order when (or should I say EVEN THOUGH) it sold out. Home Depot doesn't carry it in the East. And they don't quite have the independent garden centers lined up yet, either.
So. To buy it, for now, you have to order it at this Web site:
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday, August 11, 2006

...And We Have a Few More!

I'm not worthy.

That's really how I felt on Tuesday, at Bluegrass Lane at Cornell University in Ithaca, judging the Kathy Pufal memorial container competition put on by the Cooperative Extension in conjunction with its annual Field Days. I mean, in comparison to the talent that was on display, my own home containers are pretty lame. Not to mention the two pros on my team: Donna Moramarco from martin Viette, and Cornell Plantations's Liz Brown (have you SEEN the containers at Plantations?), who knew exactly what they were doing. I learned a lot.

Our team judged the Unlimited category, which basically is anything other than a hanging basket or a 16 inch patio pot. I'm not sure how the images will stack up on this post, but the wagon was first place and the chest second, and they were both submitted by Wallkill View Farms in New Paltz. Third place was captured by first-time entrant Country Power Products out of Greenwich.

Here is the total line-up of winners as announced by Cornell:

3rd: (Tie) B1, Lockwood’s Greenhouses, Hamburg, NY, and
B4, Adams Fairacre Farms, Poughkeepsie, NY
2nd: B7, Mischler’s Florist, Williamsville, NY
1st: B9, Little York Plantation, Little York, NY

3rd: N9, Country Power Products, Greenwich, NY
2nd: N1, Wallkill View Farms, New Paltz, NY
1st N2, Wallkill View Farms, New Paltz, NY

3rd: P3, Wallkill View Farms, New Paltz, NY
2nd: P2, Wallkill View Farms, New Paltz, NY
1st: P12, Zema’s Nursery, Stephentown, NY

We Have a Winner!

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
Actually, we have quite a few.

Way back in July I was on a team that made the "Celebrity" (gotta love that) pick at the Monroe County Fair Flower Showw. We could choose among any of the entrants (except flower arrangements), and among them all (there seemed to be hundreds, but I don't know how many), interestingly, we all three had this charming lily stem in our top three. So it was a no-brainer. Turns out the entrant was a kid, which made me smile.

The actual, trained, certified judges chose something else entirely (shows how much WE know). The Fair's press release follows, edited:

Diane Magin of Irondequoit, NY was this year’s winner of the Julia Meister Memorial Trophy for Best of Showat the 2006 Monroe County Fair Flower & Vegetable Show. Ms. Magin‚s entry, an Annabell hydrangea, first won the Best of Section for Cut Flowers, then was selected Best of Show among the Best of Section winners by a panel of certified
This year the Fair had a Celebrity's Pick for Best of Show. This award was selected by the following panel of judges: Katrina Irwin (WROC/WUHF), Jane Milliman (D&C/Upstate Gardeners‚ Journal), & Joe Peters (Legends 990 AM). A lily submitted by Jake Futter of Hemlock, NY won the Celebrity's Pick for Best of Show. Jake’s lily also won Best of Section for Cut Flowers (Youth Division).

Dolores Sibs of Greece, NY won the Adult Gardener of the Year, with a total of 84 points. Ms. Sibs also won the Best of Section for Roses with her Double Delight Spray which also was selected as the People’s choice Award for Flowers & Roses by fairgoers.

In the 3rd Annual Florist Exhibition-People’s Choice Award, Kittelberger’s Florist of Webster, NY won First Place in the under $50 class and Schum‚s Florist of Rochester, NY won First Place in the unlimited class. These awards are also selected by the fairgoers.

For the second year in row Adam Goldsmith of Brighton, NY won Best of Section for Vegetables/Fruits with his
Green Beans entry.

In the Genesee Valley Hosta Society Show, Donna Lowry’s ‘Minuteman’ entry won Best of Show.

Other Winners were:

Libbie Rosati of Rochester, NY- Best of Section for dahlias with her ‘Duet’ entry; Judith Ledgerwood of Macedon, NY- Best of Section for African violets with her Violet in a Decorative Pot; Angie Centola of Irondequoit, NY- Best of Section for Container Plants with her crown of thorns; Theresa Madonna of Penfield, NY- Best of Section for Hanging Plants with her impatiens entry; John Futter of Hemlock, NY- Best of Section for Vegetables/Fruits (Youth) with his leaf lettuce; Rachel Yuhas of Henrietta, NY was named Junior Gardener of the Year with 51 points.

For further information please contact Sal Madonna (787-9153) or Mike Centola (467-3809).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Correction—The Show Will Go On

After we went to press I heard from Sally again. She caught wind that there will, in fact, be a FGF this year, "...apparently adopted by Roycroft Campus Corporation, and a combination of Knox Farm State Park and Cornell Cooperative Extension." So I guess we'll just wait and see on this one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fall Garden Faire No More

Update -
For folks who have found this entry via a Web search, please note it is dated and no longer applicable. The Faire is on for 2007.

ETTG is sad to report that one of upstate New York’s finest gardening events, East Aurora’s Fall Garden Faire, will not be taking place this year.

Traditionally held the second weekend in September, the event was formerly hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, with volunteer management. In 2005, lacking county support, it was produced by volunteers and funded privately.

Co-chair Sally Cunningham said, “It was painful to see this end, as it was so loved by both the public and the vendors…. The final 'Faire' in East Aurora's Hamlin Park was a real pinnacle for us, just the perfect setting, a magical aura, the feeling of a country gardening festival—beauty and joy all around—but there aren't enough hours or financial [resources] to do it, volunteers are exhausted, and sometimes things have to change. It was wonderful—ten years, quite an achievement—and I am proud we ended it on such a glorious note. Cngratulations to all who helped!”

Cunningham and co-chair Kathy Guest Shadrack thanked all of the volunteers, industry participants, vendors, and attendees who have been active with the Faire over the past ten years.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Free Business Analysis Service Available to Greenhouse Operations

ITHACA - Cornell University is offering business analysis services for greenhouse operations through the Greenhouse Business Summary Program. The program helps greenhouse operators evaluate financial performance of a business in relation to industry benchmarks and use this information to improve bottom-line and make management decisions involving pricing, investment, and more.

Supported by a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI), this program is free to New York greenhouse growers in 2006 and 2007. A Cornell greenhouse business specialist will work with the greenhouse operator to conduct a profitability analysis for the business. The business will receive a customized financial analysis report and a performance comparison with others in the industry.

More information is available on the Cornell Greenhouse Summary Program at

Monday, June 05, 2006

Another Great Odyssey

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
Saturday we conducted our 3rd annual, and best ever, Odyssey to Ithaca. Despite some minor navigation errors and, well, the constant rain, a good time was had by all. Money was spent. Items aquired. Chocolate eaten. Next year, insstead of 12 hours, should we just go straight for the whole 24?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Check out the peonies

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
I never miss the Linwood Tree Peony Festival in Pavilion. The past three years, I've combined my love for the peonies with my love for the LeMond, and ridden down there with a group of friends. It's becoming a tradition. Afterwards, we have a little party.

To see more images, click on the flickr sampler in the right column. There's still one more weekend to get down and see the blooms! For details, visit

Monday, May 29, 2006

Crab apple blossoms

It was a good spring for the bloosoms. This is one of our crabapples in bloom. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where the hell have I been?

Originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.
Well, I'll tell ya. I've been out delivering the UGJ, which is one of my favorite things to do, because I get to visit wonderful nurseries and garden centers and gardens, and see lots of my favorite people. This here scene is from Holmes Hollow on Turk Hill Road. Exquisite.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mischler's Greenhouses, WIlliamsville, NY

Annual perrenial sale was a tremendous success. A visit to Mischler's is worth a interesting greenhouse and florist right in the first "greenbelt" of Buffalo.

Some pictures from local greenhouses

In travelling around the Buffalo area, found some proof that soon gardening efforts will be rewarded. Lavocat's Greenhousees, Clarence, NY.

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's a Festivus Miracle

Why, you may ask, am I posting these obviously inferior images of some plants that are barely peeking out from the ground? Because when I saw them yesterday, I was so excited that it felt like Christmas. These are the first blue-flowered corydalis that have ever returned for me.

Blue Heron, below, is from Terra Nova. Its flowers are electric blue (not to be confused with the actual plant Electric Blue, which did not survive when I tried it in my garden). Blackberry Wine, above, is a Proven Selections variety I got from Gardner's Greenhouses in West Henrietta, and its flowers are closer to purple. of the two, it's the more vigorous right at this moment, but I got it as an established 4 inch, whereas the former arrived as a mere plug—and did pretty well all summer.

Green Prayer Flag

I love prayer flags. I'm not a Buddhist; I wish I were so disciplined. But I do love their flags. In the garden, in the house, you name it.

The other day I was driving past a used car lot and I saw one of those strings of flags, the triangles, all different colors, that you always see at used car lots. All of a sudden the connection seemed so obvious: they have to be based on prayer flags. Right? I mean, they're quite similar, and I'm sure the used car lot flags didn't come first.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Is this all we do?

Not really, though here is UGJ editor, Jane at the East Aurora Garden Faire, in fall of '05. Posted by Picasa

A Very Big Job

We know that Rick Hedrick has sold his Ithaca nursery, the Plantsmen, to Dan Segal, who will open it on time this spring (yay!). Have you wondered what Rick's got himself up to now? It's pretty wild. He's living during the week in New York City, where he is designing the landscape for this new city being built in Korea. When I say "landscape," I mean the whole thing. I was surprised when he told me this isn't even the biggest space he's designed in his former - and now current - career as a landscape architect.

Oh, and also, he has to wear a suit to work every day. Now that's a big change.

More Plantasia pix

It's not true that all we do is go to garden shows

OK, so lately it IS true. Ask my husband, who's taken to calling himself a "garden show widower." Pretty sure my kid has grown a few inches since the last time I saw her, too.

Plantasia was really well done, and Saturday was packed!