Gardener’s Notebook

If one must grow roses, these are the varieties to grow

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a big fan of roses. But I can’t help myself. The garden is awash in golden-yellow, crimson-red, soft pink, apricot-pink and plain…

Almanac Weekly garden columnist Lee Reich

Full of vinegar: Lee’s natural homemade weedkiller

Oriental poppies, now in bloom with large, floppy, flaming-red blossoms, are worth oohing and aahing about. Likewise for snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum), with small gray-green leaves and small white flowers, except that too few…

I ripped out the forsythia and planted instead a row of Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa), a species of cherry from Manchuria that first made it to American shores – to great enthusiasm – at the end of the 18th century. Gardeners were not sure whether to praise it more highly as an ornamental or as a fruiting plant. When my plants are awash in white blossoms (pictured above), bicyclists have stopped and asked for their identity. (photo by Dimitry Ruchkin)

Juneberries, Nanking cherries now ripe and abundant

I’m not saying where my juneberries – now ripe – are, except to say that they are not here on my farmden. If you don’t know juneberries (Amelanchier spp.), you’ll wish you did….

Japanese barberry (above) is a commonly planted ornamental that was introduced into this country almost 150 years ago. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently banned the sale, purchase and transportation of 126 species identified as invasive. Among the prohibited plants are garlic mustard, Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet, phragmites, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, yellow iris, privet and Japanese stiltgrass. To read more about spreading barberry and its role in Lyme disease, go to “The quite invasion” on our Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly website at: (photo by Sheila Sund)

How Japanese barberry bushes could lead to more deer ticks & mice

Uh-oh! I was pulling an odd weed here and there in my heath bed and came upon a seedling of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunburgii). Should I start checking myself for deer ticks? Are…

“Planting” these shiitake mushrooms involved nothing more than pounding short lengths of wooden dowels, purchased with shiitake mushroom spawn growing in them, into numerous holes drilled in freshly cut pin oak logs. (photo by Wendell Smith)

Nice weather for ducks and mushrooms

Wouldn’t you know it: I write about the extended dry spell one week, and the next week – which is now – the rain comes and doesn’t let up. Not that all this…

Lee with his soil-moisture probe (Lee Reich)

How to know when you’ve watered enough

Yes, little water has dropped from the sky this spring here in the Hudson Valley (as of this writing, at the end of May, at least – all of which could have changed…

Red lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) on fritillaria (photo by Adrian  Paine)

New beetle threatens lilies & fritillarias

The turds on my crown imperial plants were unwelcome, but no surprise. I’d been forewarned that the red lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) was in the area. Finally, it found my garden and my…

Ande and Peter Rooney’s Twin Brook Farm in Ulster Park will be open on Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as part of the Open Days program of the Garden Conservancy.

Open Days program to feature Twin Brook Farm

“Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam…” No, I don’t want buffalo on my farmden, but others beg to differ. And you can visit them (bison, actually), on May 30 at…

Lee’s spur-pruned grapes (photo by Lee Reich)

Another vine mess

Anyone appalled at the apparent brutality with which I approached my grape and kiwi vines a few weeks ago, pruning shears, saw and lopper in hand, would have been further shocked today. But no…

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The grim pruner

Deb gets a little nervous every time I go into the garage for some pruning tools this time of year – not because she’s afraid that I might hurt myself, but for what I…

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