Plant Pick: White and Red Oaks

White oak leaves Recently I was asked to identify an oak at the edge of a woodland where a new house had been built. This was a woods tree, with whitish bark somewhat resembling a hickory tree: clearly a white oak. Another clue was the rounded lobes on the leaves. The Latin name for white…

a deer grazing on dandelions

Deer

  There are more deer per square mile than ever before in our area. This season, they have even sampled a few native plants at my back stoop! Garlic clips attached to a bamboo stake stopped this invasion, and the native Rubus odoratus (Flowering raspberry) and Porteranthus tridentata (Bowman’s root) have sprouted new growth, albeit shorter than usual.   This reminds…

closeup view of a monarch butterfly, title: Good News!

Update on Funding for Healthy Soils, Glyphosate Study & the End of Roundup Sales – News from NOFA/Mass

As a Board member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Priscilla was active in early 2020 promoting the passage of the Healthy Soils bill at the State House. We recently received news about the funding of this bill, and concurrently, news about state funding for a study of the impacts of…

sorrel growing in cement

Weeds

Where soil is disturbed, weeds will grow! We utilize hand tools to remove, or in some cases, cut weeds to the ground. Curly dock, for instance, is best controlled through repeated cutting so that photosynthesis does not occur and seed heads do not form. It has a deep root system that is hard to dig out, so…

heliopsis scabra in bloom with yellow flowers

Plant Pick: Helianthus annuus, Sunflower

Recently I read the Boston Sunday Globe article about a field of 3,000 sunflowers that artist Euka Holmes has planted in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. What a great idea to take advantage of the full sun and bring a smile to the faces of passersby! And another artist, Elizabeth James-Perry, has surrounded the…

pale pink rose with buds

Rose Care After Bloom

Many roses will have a repeat bloom period after the first flush in June. How to encourage this? Here are some tips: Deadhead spent flowers promptly above a leaf with a set of 5 leaflets Remove vegetative canes (long shoots with all leaves) as they appear this month – will not bloom Rake up fallen leaves and…

beet leaf miner damage on swiss chard

What’s Wrong with my Plant?

Swiss Chard and Spinach – mottled young leaves that curl and wrinkle, then turn tan/yellow. Answer: Beet leaf miner damage Remedy: Remove damaged leaves quickly and do not compost. You can eat any undamaged leaves. Since larvae feed inside the leaves, sprays are not effective. Next year, rotate this crop and cover young seedlings with row covers to exclude the…

salvia victoria blue

Day Trips to Find Blue Flowers in July

Here are two of my favorite places to visit in summer: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Courtyard is a cooling vision in blue and white all month. Hydrangeas are especially impressive. If you can’t get enough of blue hydrangeas, be they mophead or lacecap, this is the spot for you. https://www.gardnermuseum.org/experience/courtyard/summer-blues Advanced ticketing required A historic garden…