Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Urban Roots [Buffalo] Fall Events

Submitted by Urban Roots.

Seed Saving Workshop: Heirloom Vegetables, Herbs, and Ornamentals—How to choose varieties for preservation, pollination, isolation, seed harvest and storage information
This workshop is led by Richard Price, head of Faerie Seeds, a seed saving Buffalo-based business.
4pm Saturday, September 29, 2007
A huge amount of the genetic diversity in our food supply has been lost in the past few decades as large seed/chemical conglomerates switch to hybrid vegetable varieties, increasing their profits and forcing the farmer and home gardener to return each year to purchase new seed.
Members of organizations such as Seedsavers’ Exchange have assumed the job of saving from extinction those oldfashioned vegetable varieties selected by generations of farmers, gardeners, and early seedsmen for their yields, unique flavor qualities, adaptation to local growing conditions, etc.
This presentation provides basic seed-saving techniques enabling the gardener to preserve, indefinitely, those heirloom varieties he or she prefers to grow, not necessarily those currently available commercially.
Reservations recommended—RSVP to 716/362-8982

First Annual Fall Festival
11am - 4pm Saturday, October 6, 2007
• Revel in the glories of fall: pumpkins, gourds, apples, straw bales, and scarecrows
• Art projects for children and families
• Concurrent with our Third Annual Fall Plant Swap
Urban Roots Community Garden Center will host our First Annual Fall Festival, an opportunity to extend our connection with nature through October, this festival highlights the season for harvest. Events for children include pumpkin painting, tile carving, and leaf rubbing. The day will also include our Third Annual Fall Plant Swap, an opportunity to share the plants you are thinning, and to add plants to your garden free of cost. Urban Roots had its first Plant Swap in the spring of 2005, hosting two annually, it is one of our signature, community serving events. The Plant Swap is a chance to share your love of plants with conversation and the living thing.

Fall Wine & Cheese Tasting Party
7pm – 9pm Saturday, October 6, 2007
• Music by John and Mary, wine tasting by Niagara Landing, and seasonal gelato by Gelato G
The evening Fall Wine & Cheese Tasting Party is for adults to mingle and celebrate one of Buffalo’s most exciting new businesses.

All events free and open to the public
At Urban Roots Community Garden Center
428 Rhode Island Street, Buffalo NY

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Not Conifers?

That's the answer I received when I asked the Canadian woman sitting next to me at dinner Friday night what had brought her to the American Conifer Society's Northeast Region's Annual Meeting. I figured she must be an obsessed collector like so many of the other 150+ attendees. But she was just interested in learning more about plants. And why not conifers?

Why not indeed? They're fascinating.

Friday's dinner was followed by a presentation from Dr. Richard L. Bitner, whose new book "Conifers for Gardens" has just been published by Timber Press. In the morning, after breakfast (at 6:30!!!), we hopped on three buses and after an inexplicably circuitous trip arrived an hour and a half or so later at Cornell Plantations, one of my Very Favorite Places in the Whole World. It looked as good as ever.

From Plantations we traveled north, through Skaneateles to Sycamore Hill, the gardens of George and Karen Hanford. This amazing place is only 15 years in the making from what I understand. It's not open to the public except for at certain times, so if you see a chance to get in there, grab it. The conifer collection alone is astounding, but there is a lot more going on, too. Ponds, fountains, statuary, all variety of trees, shrubs and perennials, and lots and lots of little areas���������it's really a wild place. (And by wild of course I mean wildly cultivated.) I won't get too much farther into it, because Michelle Buckstrup is actually profiling the garden for our January issue. Watch for that.

The Maze.

The Ruins, a work in progress.

Ah. I loved this. My favorite plant of the day. It looks like golden afternoon sunlight is reflecting off the needles of this spruce. In fact, the day was quite gloomy. This is Picea mariana 'Golden', which glows all on its own.

After dinner Saturday night came the silent auction results, and then the live auction which was as raucous as promised. I did snag a plant, though not a conifer. It was a Japanese maple, 'Atrolinaire', donated by Diana Smith at Topiary Gardens���������many of the group had visited her Friday and raved about the place. I am looking forward to stopping there the next time I am Syracuse way.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scottsville Garden in National Magazine

Here's the latest issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, on your newsstand now. I wrote and took the photographs for a story in it called "12 Design Tips for Your Landscape." I had a blast with it. For one thing, the garden is absolutely beautiful, and while photographing it I got to really take my time and explore every bit. Also, the gardeners—they live in Scottsville— are friends of mine, and they are just a lot of fun and very sweet. The story turned out great; I hope you'll buy a copy! (My mom found one at Wegmans today.)

Over the summer a crew from Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living was in Buffalo, and they photographed one or more Garden Walk gardens, so be on the lookout for that next year.

I'll be scouting gardens again this fall for possible inclusion in a future GIOL (or one of its sister titles—they all are under the Better Homes & Gardens umbrella). If you know of a garden that really stands out in the autumn, please let me know and I'll check it out.

Image courtesy of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living magazine, Meredith Corp.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Great Hosta Massacre—A Happy Ending

You may remember my crazed post earlier this year about the savagely rototilled hostas. Here are the survivors; they're doing very well, and I plan to give them permanent homes this fall, now that I can see what they all are. Yay.

Upgrade: Village Garden Store

They've been busy over at the Village Garden Store in Mendon, completely revamping the display areas, product, and basically everything. I spent a good amount of time there chatting with Ann Marie, a former worker who's come back this year. She is full of energy and knowledge. I asked her what plants she was really into right now, and she headed straight for this Japanese holly 'Helleri', a sweet, petite spreader along the lines of a dwarf boxwood. Cute!

Here is the new sales area.

It doesn't look like much, but I love it just the same

I'm talking about my hardy fuchsia. I don't know why I'm so attached to this damned thing...it's really not so exciting. This May at the Chelsea Flower Show I met the enthusiasts behind the Hardy Fuchsia Society, and I guess their passion wore off on me. Though I don't build mine little tunnels to live in over the winter. Anyway, here's my first acquisition, purchased at Ballantyne Gardens in Liverpool, near Syracuse.

I also have a variegated one, just coming into bloom, and a chartreuse-leaved variety. Both came from Deb Lampear at Bedlam Gardens in King Ferry. She told me the secret to overwintering them is to a. plant them at a depth equal to the width of your hand when your fingers are spread apart and to b. take cuttings. My correspondent in the U.K. agreed, though HE said to plant them deep, yes, but not to fill the hole with soil until late fall. We'll see. Specimen #1 has lived through two winters already and I did none of these things. Also Jerry Kral has one in his garden he brought from Ireland 30 YEARS ago. Of course he does!

Here's the one at Sara's in the display garden:

Kathy has a fabulous design sense.

Garden scenes this week

Monarch on 'Honeycomb' Buddleia

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It's Mine! All Mine!

I have finally laid my grubby hands on this decade's must-have ground cover for shade: Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans'. I blogged about my lust for this plant exactly one year and one day ago, and I've been patient, waiting. Waiting. Well I got an e-mail from Kathy at Sara's in Brockport a while ago, asking did I want one still, as she has a few in stock. Yes, please! I went over there yesterday and picked it up. I didn't mean to arrive during their 40% off customer appreciation sale, but, um.... Seeing as it's an expensive little thing to begin with (24 bucks!) I don't feel too bad about it.

Want one? Yesterday there was the good part of a tray left.

There are actually many, many great deals to be had out at Sara's right now, and in fact at most nurseries. I loved this mountain mint and regret not buying it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cool Fence

I was up in Osceola, on the Tug Hill Plateau, over the weekend, and I saw this excellent fence. It was installed by the town highway department to corral their dirt pile (which is according to the young kids the most fun thing to play on EVER). Our camp happens to be right next door to the highway department (don't ask), so we have extreme close personal access to the dirt!

Fall Garden Faire Update

A reader recently made a very good point: If you do a google search on "Fall Garden Faire," an old blog post of mine comes up—one from last year, stating that the FGF is cancelled. The reason this happens is that the post got picked up by Garden Voices, so it got a lot of views. If you continue reading that post you'll find corrected information in the comments. But that was last year. This is now! The FGF, now known as the Fall Garden & FARM Faire, is on, Sunday September 9, 10 to 4 at the Roycroft campus in East Aurora. Admission is free.

This has consistently been a great event, and I urge you to come by. Look for us with the newest UGJ, hot of the press.