Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Building for Cornell Plantations

The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center
I had the honor of being among the first to see the new building at Cornell Plantations the other day, It's gorgeous. It's very open and airy, but anchored with beautiful stone walls that continue from the outside in, so that when you enter the building, you feel like you're still outside. (Not the most eloquent of sentences, but there you are,) There are louvers to keep sun out in summer and in in winter, a green roof, and get this: real, flushing toilets. I'm not even kidding. Though I am going to miss the super-deluxe high-class porta-potties of yore. Cornell has applied for LEED certification and from what I overheard, will likely get at least silver and is hoping for gold.

Plantations staff hopes to have the building open to the public in January, and there will be a grand opening event May 22 (to coincide with the rhododendron collection's peak bloom time). In June we'll be bringing our usual two busloads down for a special tour. We have groups leaving from Rochester (via the RCGC) and from Buffalo/Batavia.

I'm sure I've mentioned this in the past, but I'll say it again. The garden at Plantations HQ is my all-time favorite garden, ever. Ever. So I can't help but include some gratuitous garden shots.

Fell in love with this Mexican bush sage


The old building

The old building will continue to house Plantations staff. The new building has no offices, but it has a gorgeous conference room, a larger room for presentations, and a (thank God—this isn't Disney!) small gift shop downstairs. The facility and/or its parts will be available for rent for company retreats, weddings (I assume), etc.

For more images, click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Garden Walk Buffalo Call for Poster Artwork

Submitted by Garden Walk Buffalo

Garden Walk Buffalo is looking for submissions of original artwork for use on the Garden Walk 2011 posters, t-shirts and maps. Artwork must be garden-related and it is preferable that it relate to the type of gardens, flowers, and neighborhoods found on Garden Walk Buffalo in late July.

Submission tips:
Keep it Simple: Artwork needs to reproduce well on a variety of materials. Do not put any type over your design.
Be Different: Try not to use colors or flowers "too similar" to recent artwork used by the GW
For Everyone: Artwork should be considered "wearable and salable" for both men and women

Entries are due Friday, January 28, 2011

It can come in the form of a painting (in any media), a photograph, a drawing, an illustration, or a mixed media work.  If you are working digitally, the original art/photo must be 300dpi at 8x10 or larger. Please submit up to five slides, or a CD containing high quality .jpgs to:

 Garden Walk Buffalo
 PO Box 161
 Buffalo, NY 14207

Please do not send original work---slides on CD only.  Include a resume and a brief letter explaining why the imagery would be particularly appropriate to Garden Walk.

If you need further information, email your questions to or call at 716-228-1855.

Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S., is held the last weekend of July each year. In 2010, the free event will be Saturday and Sunday, July 30 & 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 350 residences and businesses throughout the west side of Buffalo open their creative urban gardens for tens of thousands of visitors from around the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit
Submitted by Garden Walk Buffalo 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Late Breaking Event: "Vertical Gardening" Talk

Submitted by the Adirondack Chapter of NARGS

Elizabeth Zander, program chair of the Berkshire Chapter of NARGs, will speak on 'Vertical Gardening' at the October 16 meeting of the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society.

“Most alpines in nature grow wherever the wind takes the seed,” she observes. “Many times this can be in a vertical crevice or a slope with loose scree.” Zander will explore how this translates to crevices and screes in the garden.

The meeting is free and open to the public and will be held in 404 Plant Science Building (Whetzel Room) on the Cornell University campus. Brown bag lunch at noon. Program begins at 1:00 p.m.

For more information on this and other events, visit the ACNARGS website at 

Submitted by the Adirondack Chapter of NARGS

Monday, September 27, 2010

Four Chances to See Amy Stewart This Week

Amy Stewart
As I reported in my column this Saturday, renowned author Amy Stewart, of Flower Confidential and Garden Rant fame, is making three appearances in upstate New York this week in support of her latest book, Wicked Plants.

The first, presented by Cornell Plantations, is at Statler Hall Auditorium at Cornell University in Ithaca, Wednesday, 9/29, at 7:30. Click here for more details.

Thursday, 9/30, Stewart will appear at FLCC in Canandaigua. Click here for more details.

Both lectures are free.

On Friday night, there's something else entirely in the works: a fund-raising "Wild and Wicked" dinner for Ganondagan from 6 - 9 pm. Jan Longboat, Mowhawk healer and herbalist, will join Stewart in a presentation accompanied by a meal of native foods. There will be a book signing and, of course, the opportunity to interact with both experts in the intimate environment of a beautiful private home in Mendon. Seating is limited. Tickets are $100 for non-members and $80 for members. For more information or to register, click here.

Saturday, Ganondagan will again present the pair, this time at the Victor Town Hall from 10 am - 2:30 pm. For details and to register, click here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

GOG recap

I went to the Gathering of Gardeners here in Rochester yesterday—the morning sessions only—and thought I'd relate just a few things I found interesting from each of the two talks.

Bill Hendricks, of Klyn Nursery in Perry, Ohio, is a man who knows his shrubs.

It turns out I've been a little light-handed with one of my fall favorites, Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amythest'. The plant should be cut back hard in the spring, like a buddleia. This will keep it in check size-wise, and it does bloom on new wood (not all do, so check each other species). (My image.)

I've seen sorbaria growing in public gardens in England, and I've always found it very interesting, but I never remember to look it up when I get home. (Here it is, left, at Wisley.) It's also rather large, like a sumac. Bill had images of the truly dwarf 'Sem', however (see below), and I'd love to try that. I dig the tri-colored foliage.

Below that, we have Young Lady (TM) smokebush (cotinus), special in that in blooms on new wood. We also learned that the best yellow (or chartreuse) hops is 'Bianca', and that there's an elderberry that blooms early, has red berries and will thrive in sun or deep shade, Sambucus pubens.
Next up was C. L. Fornari, who was very entertaining and had these tidbits to share (among many others):

- One inch per week is the perfect amount of rain for the standard garden. A rain gauge is a good investment.

- Put used kitty litter in woodchuck holes to repel the rodents.

- Homemade rabbit repellent: 1 beaten egg, one cup milk mixed in 1/2 gallon water.

- Good deer controls: Wireless deer fencing and the Scare Crow motion-activated sprinkler.

- Did you know you can grow beautiful dahlias from cuttings? These are bigger and better, she claims, than her tuber-grown ones.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Dan Snow on Dry Stone Construction—September 18

Here is an opportunity to learn from one of the most respected names in dry stone walling, and it's entirely FREE.

Submitted by the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society

Vermont artist Dan Snow, the author of In the Company of Stone: the Art of the Stone Wall, will give a presentation on "Dry stone construction: a 'fitting' medium for the rock garden" at the September 18 program of the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society.
Snow has been building with stone since 1972 when he worked on the restoration of a 13th century Italian castle. His dry stone constructions have included stock-proof fences, pillars, stiles, staircases, arch bridges, garden follies, grottos and grandstands, as well as environmental art and non-functional, abstract and figurative works of sculpture. His work has been featured in This Old House and Vermont Life magazines, and the New York Times. For more about Snow and his work, visit:

The meeting is free and open to the public and will be held in 404 Plant Science Building (Whetzel Room) on the Cornell University campus. Brown bag lunch at noon. Program begins at 1:00 p.m.

For more information on this and other events, visit the ACNARGS website at

Submitted by the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society

Sunday, August 15, 2010

IPM Insights - Guardian Plants in Greenhouses

There's a good article in the new Northeastern IMP Center Insights newsletter about using guardian plants for pest control in greenhouses. The example they use is eggplants for whitefly; the eggplants draw the whitefly away from the greenhouse crops (e.g. poinsettias), plus provide a good place for the whitefly's natural predator, a parasitic wasp, to live. If there are still too many whitefly, major chunks of the population can be controlled just by targeting the guardian plants—the whole greenhouse doesn't have to be sprayed.

IPM Insights - Guardian Plants in Greenhouses

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Artful Gardener—Rochester's Newest & Coolest for Garden Stuff

I finally stopped in to The Artful Gardener on Mt. Hope today. It's in the building formerly inhabited by ARC Floral, and Jean Westcott, the owner, has transformed the space into something quite chic and modern. Even on approach you have a feeling that what is inside will be special—her little plantings on and around the building are charming.

Inside are stunning fountains, statuary, beautiful containers, many of them quite large, some furniture and other neat items for garden & home. I was quite impressed. Scroll down for more pictures.

The new shop is at 727 Mt. Hope. Tel. 585/454-2874.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Dry-Laid Stone Wall Classes—Sara's Garden Center

Submitted by Sara's Garden Center

Stone Wall Seminars 2010

The following is the schedules for the 2010 season of our weekend-long dry stonewall construction classes. We are offering 3 sessions this season; two with local stone craftsman Scott George and one with John Shaw-Rimmington.

June 26th & 27th, August 14th & 15th and September 18th & 19th.

Each weekend session will take you through the entire process of constructing a stone wall utilizing the dry laid method. Each day’s class begins at 9 a.m. and goes till 5 p.m. with a break for a provided lunch each day.

June 26th & 27th – Class will be held at an old farm house on Gordon Road near the Ogden/Sweden border and will be led by Scott George. Scott has worked on several walls there along with a few other projects, including a rustic fire place. In keeping with the work that already exists on the property, this project will cover the basics needed to construct a simple, country wall with local stone. Class size is limited to 7 people.

August 14th & 15th – This class will be held at the same location on Gordon Road and will also be led by Scott George. We’re hoping to cover corner construction in this session. Class size is limited to 7 people.

We decided to change the venue and number of students for the first 2 sessions to offer some more in -depth time, really allowing you ‘one on one’ work with Scott. He has a very creative style, while still being technically in tune to the art of the construction. There is a lot to be gained from being able to work with him and glean some of his insights from working so intimately in the medium. We also felt that the atmosphere at the nursery during the busy seasons of spring and summer might be a little too intrusive.

September 18th & 19th – Our final class will be held at the nursery; you may have seen last year’s wall near our barn. It is incredible and it was all done by our 12 amazing students! This session will be led by John Shaw-Rimmington of the Canadian Dry Stone Wall Association. Another unique personality in the world of stone, John has traveled across the country and the world, learning, teaching and fulfilling what is truly a lifelong purpose in sharing the magic of stone wall creation. Again, times are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a provided lunch both days and a class limit of 10. Check out the DSWA.CA site for photos of last year’s event and see more of John’s work.

Last year’s schedule was sold out very early. Each weekend is $300.00 with a deposit of $150.00 required to reserve your space. Cancellations are accepted with a full refund if notice is given at least 5 days before the event.

You will want a pair of sturdy gloves and if you have any of your own tools (chisels, hammer, etc) you can bring them as well. Classes will go on rain or shine! Best to come prepared for any weather issues: rain coat, dry socks, gloves, shorts/pants, t-shirts/sweaters, etc. We do have tents that will be utilized as needed to keep you as dry or as cool as we can. These stone wall guys are troopers and not much puts them off in terms of conditions. We will provide lunch around noon. We will also have beverages and snacks to keep you going throughout the day. You can email (kkepler AT rochester DOT rr DOT com) for more detail or to register.

Submitted by Sara's Garden Center

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Another Great Chance to See Sycamore Hill

Central New York Land Trust Hosts Annual Garden Tour

Submitted by CNY Land Trust—Central New York Land Trust's annual garden tour and plant sale returns to the beautiful Sycamore Hill Gardens located at 2130 Old Seneca Turnpike in Marcellus.. The gardens will be open, rain or shine, for self-guided tours on Saturday, June 19, from 11 am until 4 pm.

“These private gardens are not usually accessible to the public,” said Jeff Devine, Central New York Land Trust executive director. “George and Karen Hanford own the property and graciously open it to the public a couple times a year for non-profit organizations to hold fundraisers, so our Summer Solstice Garden Tour is a rare opportunity not to be missed.”

The event will feature live music from The Barrigar Brothers from 12:00 - 1:00, and The Oswego Valley Fiddlers from 2:00 - 3:00.

The cost for adults is $8 in advance at, or $10 at the door, and children 12 and under free. Food will be available for purchase, and visitors are also welcome to bring their own picnic lunch. Proceeds from the tour will benefit Central New York Land Trust in its work to extend protection to important habitat and natural areas in Central New York and to provide proper stewardship for the 2,500 acres that it currently owns.

Key features of the gardens include several large ponds with fountains and colorful koi, which the children can feed, statuary from all around the world, an evergreen maze and more than 500 cultivars of trees.  The gardens are home to a variety of perennials and an unbelievable collection of hostas making the landscape a mecca for gardeners in the Central New York area.

In conjunction with the garden tour, the organization will also hold a plant and tree sale across the street from the gardens where a variety of local plants will be available for purchase.  The plants come from area gardeners who have made donations from their local gardens and consist primarily of perennials and native plants, trees and shrubs. There is no admission fee for the plant sale.

About Central New York Land Trust, Inc.
Originally established in 1972 as Save The County, Central New York Land Trust is a private, membership-supported, not for profit organization dedicated to the protection of Central New York’s vital natural areas for the health of the environment and the enjoyment of the public.

Anyone can become a member and help maintain properties through financial donations or volunteer work. Central New York Land Trust acquires land either by donation, purchase or bargain sale. The organization improves some properties to include trail systems, parking, and better public access for visitors, while protecting each property’s natural state. All properties are open free of charge for hiking, photography, nature study and other passive recreation from sunrise to sunset every day of the year.

For more information, visit

Submitted by CNY Land Trust

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dry Stone Walling Workshop

Stone Wall Workshop
with Chuck Eblacker & Andy Loudon
At The Harley School
Saturday, June 12 and Sunday June 13, 2010
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Join local stone waller, Chuck Eblacker, of Eblacker & Stone, and his guest from the UK, awarding winning waller Andrew Loudon. A Rochester first, this hands on workshop will be instructed by two accredited and professional Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA) wallers. Chuck is one of only a handful of Americans to hold an Advanced certificate from the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. Eblacker has taught dry stone walling workshops throughout the Northeast.
His one of a kind dry stone constructions in the Rochester area have been featured in local and national publications. Andy Loudon is the DSWA UK Chief Examiner and current winner of Britain's top honor in dry stone walling, the Pinnacle Award. He has also done some walling in conjunction with noted Environmental artist, Andy Goldsworthy. Experts in their field, Chuck Eblacker and Andy Loudon will teach a two day weekend long workshop on the art of dry stone wall building. The workshop will be held at the Harley School Veggie Garden this summer, June 12th and 13th. An evening presentation
on dry stone walls with slides for participants and friends is planned for Saturday night.

Participants will learn the basic principles of wall building, from establishing foundations, to the methods of dry laid (sometimes called dry-stacked) construction and ‘hearting’ the wall, laying of 'throughstones' and coping the wall. If desired, more advanced instruction can be provided for those with higher skill levels. Participants will work together to complete a dry stone wall from start to finish. This hands-on workshop will address not only the structure and principles behind wall building but also the aesthetic considerations of balance and proportion. Students should expect to take away a knowledge of the structural techniques involved in the building of a dry stone wall that will prepare them for there own projects and help train their eyes to identify proper walling techniques in all walls.

Participants should bring a lunch, gear for inclement weather, sturdy shoes, work gloves, safety glasses and tools, if you have them. Morning coffee, snacks and water will
be provided. The cost for the two-day workshop is $300. For more informatio: 585-233-5320.
Chuck Eblacker and Andy Loudon Walling Workshop
When: June 12th & 13th, 2010 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: Harley School Vegetable Garden

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rochester Hypertufa Expert in National Magazine

Check out the current issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, a Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication, for a piece on Rochester hypertufa artist Betsy Knapp. The story was written by Upstate Gardeners' Journal publisher Jane Milliman after a photo shoot last summer at Knapp’s city home.

The containers, made with a special mix of Portland cement, peat moss, vermiculite and polypropylene fibers, are perfect for creating tiny landscapes. Knapp’s intense attention to detail, artistic sensibility and vast knowledge of alpine plants combine to make the planters exquisite, perfectly proportioned little scenes.

Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living is available on newsstands throughout the country.

Buffalo National Garden Festival Debuts in ‘10

Anyone who has experienced Garden Walk Buffalo knows that the there is something extraordinary going on. But Garden Walk lasts just one weekend, and the city has a lot more to offer than what can be experienced in such a short time. So a group of avid gardeners, community activists and marketing professionals have come up with a way to extend the magic—the five week National Buffalo Garden Festival.

From June 18 through July 25, 2010, the festival will feature walks, talks, tours and more, incorporating existing goings-on and adding quite a bit more. Businesses, museums, neighborhood groups and others will coordinate their events under the festival’s umbrella. Buffalo gardening expert Sally Cunningham will serve as the project’s coordinator.

For more information, visit or call 800-BUFFALO.

Happy Birthday to Us!

This issue marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long—I certainly don’t feel fifteen years older than when we started.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every advertiser, subscriber, reader, contributing writer, critic and cheerleader. We’re grateful to have learned a lot about horticulture and a little about business, and for all of the wonderful friends we’ve made over the years.

We’ve been looking back at that very first issue, and I have to say that is still makes me proud. It was only 24 pages, black and white with one spot color (green, of course), but even back then Dean’s eye for clean design set the magazine apart. Like each one since, it was painstakingly proofread by my mom, Sarah Koopus. Some of the advertisers in that very first issue are still with us today! These include the Greater Rochester Flower and Garden Show, which we now know as GardenScape, Clover Nursery and Garden Center (formerly DeVisser’s), Van Putte Gardens, Sara’s Garden Center and of course, my dad, Jeff Koopus.

In the past fifteen years we’ve grown considerably, expanded geographically, added color, put up a Web site and gone to all-digital production. Much of our growth is directly attributable to our Western New York representative, Maria Walczak. Brian Eshenaur, who has been my go-to-answer-guy since the beginning, joined up “formally” as technical editor a while back, and subscriptions management and the calendar are now under the capable supervision of Debbie Eckerson. It’s a great team. I’m very lucky.

In fifteen more years, who knows what changes technology, the weather, and life in general will bring? It’s my hope that I’ll still be publishing the Upstate Gardeners' Journal, in whatever form that takes, that you’ll still be reading it, we’ll all still love getting out and playing in the dirt, and that none of us will feel any older than when we started.