Sales Representative & Gardening Coach
TEICH GARDEN SYSTEMS
By Barbara Hobens Feldt
May 21, 2011Ã‚Â
Q. What weeds grow in Philipstown?
A. According to comments posted last week they are bindweed, bittersweet, pokeweed, Japanese knotwood, mugwort, garlic mustard, and garlic chives.Ã‚Â Planting garlic chives and mint cooking andÃ‚Â
Ã‚Â cocktails are best planted in a container near the kitchen door.Ã‚Â DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let all this rain be a missed opportunity Ã¢â‚¬â€œ get out there now for easier weeding. Add your Ã¢â‚¬Å“favoritesÃ¢â‚¬Â below, email, or Facebook (details below). Ã‚Â As Sun Tzu put it (500 BC) Ã¢â‚¬Å“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Once pinpointed, then Ã¢â‚¬Å“best practicesÃ¢â‚¬Â will be shared to get rid of them.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Barred Owl Blue Jay, Canada Geese Cardinal, Carolina Sparrow, Catbird, Chickadee, Cooper’s hawk, Cowbird, Crow, Dark-eyed junco, Eastern bluebird, Flicker, Goldfinch, Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Indigo bunting, Killdeer, Mallards, Mockingbird, Mourning doves, Nuthatch, Red-tail Hawk, Red-wing Blackbird, Robin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds.
Seagull, Starling, Tufted titmouse, Turkey Vulture, Wild Turkey, Wren, and Woodpeckers: Downey, Hairy, Pileated, Red-bellied, and Red-headed. Grey squirrel, Chipmunk, Woodchuck, Raccoon, Black Rat Snake, Rattlesnake, Box turtle, Snapping turtle, Muskrat, Skunk, Opossum, Eastern Coyote, Fox, Fisher, White-tail deer, Black bear, Bobcat, and Moose.
Ã‚Â Q.Ã‚Â I need ideas on what plants to add. Ã‚Â Suggestions?
A.Ã‚Â Are you in luck.Ã‚Â We are so fortunate to have Stonecrop Garden, Boscobel, and Manitoga right here in town to visit throughout the growing season for ideas but there are other great opportunities to be a Ã¢â‚¬Å“snoopy nose.Ã¢â‚¬Â See what other homeowners are doing on their patios, planting by ponds, in yards and flower beds, and along woodland paths. Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that you want to replicate exactly what you see, but you can see how to achieve the effect and what plants thrive here.
Visit The Garden Conservancy for
two dates to see extraordinary private gardens in Putnam County
(tomorrow and Oct.Ã‚Â 8) and there are five dates to see gardens in
Dutchess and 11 dates in Westchester. Ã‚Â Their publication, the Open Days Directory
is Ã¢â‚¬Å“theÃ¢â‚¬Â guide to visiting the best of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
private gardens.Ã‚Â The Garden Conservancy works with public and
private organizations to secure and preserve exceptional gardens that
would have been lost forever.Ã‚Â
The Putnam County Secret Garden Tour is June 11th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ã‚Â Tickets are $30 in advance ($40 the day of).Ã‚Â As a past host and participating Ã¢â‚¬Å“snoopy noseÃ¢â‚¬Â I can attest for the fun everyone has driving from garden to garden and seeing such wonderful and eclectic gardens while benefiting children and adults with developmental disabilities.Ã‚Â 845-278-PARC, ext. 287Ã‚Â
White Pines, Helping Wildlife, Feeding Birds, Top Gardening Dangers, Weed Update
By Barbara Hobens Feldt
May 28, 2011Ã‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â What is happening with the white pines in town?
A.Ã‚Â Looks as if White Pine blister rust has spread into the Hudson Valley or white pine weevil could be the culprit.
Blister rust affects many 5-needle pines including our stately Eastern white pines and especially young ones. Ã‚Â Take a good look at your trees then click here for maintenance suggestions.Ã‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â What can I do to help the wildlife?
A. Ã‚Â Create a wildlife friendly environment on your property and plant more native plants. Ã‚Â It really doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take much to become a natural gardener and it makes a difference since we have taken away so much of their food and habitat.Ã‚Â As author Douglas W. Tallamy states in Bringing Nature Home, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Second only to paving in its impact on biodiversity is our love affair with sterile lawns.Ã¢â‚¬Â The National Wildlife Federation teaches people how to attract beneficial wildlife with their Certified Wildlife Habitat Program.Ã‚Â If you do it this weekend, they will plant a tree in your name!
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â As their spokesperson, David Mizejewski, puts it natural gardeners Ã¢â‚¬Å“don’t automatically try to squish, zap or otherwise kill animals that show up in their yard (there are people who would). Ultimately they rather enjoy a beautiful garden filled with birdsong, brightly-colored butterflies and the buzz of teaming life than spending their weekend rather than pushing a loud, polluting mower and spraying toxic chemicals.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â Do I need to keep feeding the birds throughout the summer?
A.Ã‚Â Need to? Ã‚Â No.Ã‚Â But go ahead if you want to (as long as you keep the feeder clean) since songbirds appreciate the seed we provide. In return, we enjoy their beauty, song, and benefit from their insect-eating skills. Feeding birds in the winter is highly recommended since their natural food supply is very
limited due to our snowy winters. Ã‚Â Feeders should be filled and out by Thanksgiving but to be safe, remove them by ValentineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day since male bears may be out and about by this time.Ã‚Â You certainly do not need to look out your window to see a sloth heading towards your feeder. Common sense is the rule if you feed all year. Ã‚Â If you hear that black bears have been spotted, remove your bird feeders and secure garbage cans. If you have an overpopulation of Canada geese that stay close to your home year-round, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll want to stick with Black-oil sunflower seeds, since they turn their beaks up at them.Ã‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â Other than getting bitten by a tick, what else should I be aware of?
A. Ã‚Â Thanks for bringing up an important, timely, and personal topic.Ã‚Â Now is prime time for ticks to be very active and the one time I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t apply a spray – one bit last Saturday. It sure is worth looking geeky (white socks pulled up and over your jeans) than to spend time at the Hudson Valley emergency room having a nice doctor use a scalpel to dig the entire nymph deer tick out of your skin. There are many tick sprays on the market, such as this natural ingredient favorite, but the key is to use a spray every time, cover up, and check for ticks whenever you are actively gardening or walking in the woods.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Since the most common cancer in the U.S. (one death every hour) is skin cancer, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go out in the garden without the proper lotion, make-up foundation and/or covering.Ã‚Â The most serious form, melanoma, is on the rise and most common in 25-29 year olds.Ã‚Â Since the odds of getting skin cancer is 1 in 5, see these tips from yesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Fry Day.Ã‚Â
Weed Update:Ã‚Â Although compost was recommended to get rid of mugwort (since this weed could care less about herbicide applications) it failed to have any appreciable effect except after a weeksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time, it was a lot easier to pull right out.Ã‚Â Conclusion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ toss on compost in one section at a time Ã¢â‚¬â€œ not only will you be weeding, but leaving a nice topping of friable soil to plant desired plants in.Ã‚Â Calcium was also recommended, but as of now, unsure as to what product would be the most effective. Ã‚Â Readers?Ã‚Â
Note on Philipstown fauna
Email your addition(s) to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have seen with my own eyesÃ¢â‚¬Â list of birds and mammals. See the list in formation in last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Philipstown GARDENS column.Ã‚Â
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.Ã‚Â Barbara Hobens Feldt is a garden and landscape consultant and designer, White-tail deer and gardening with wildlife specialist, and author of Garden Your City. Ã¢â‚¬Å“LikeÃ¢â‚¬Â Hudson Highlands Garden Design on Facebook for links on organic practices, how-to tips, and plants for gardens, lawns, patios, and yards. Photos courtesy of the author unless noted.Ã‚Â
Wildlife education is everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s responsibility
Barbara Hobens Feldt
June 4, 2011Ã‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â I am so glad to hear and
see the frogs back in the garden and I herded one back outside that
followed me in from the porch last night.Ã‚Â My weekend-only neighbor
has a small pond but hates them and complains about the noise. Ã‚Â What
should I say?
A.Ã‚Â Living along with wildlife is not determined by someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s address or age.Ã‚Â Spring starts the acting mating season for most wildlife that visit urban parks, suburban apartments, and rural yards.Ã‚Â Along with that annual reality is the fact that some people just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like animals. But not liking wildlife has nothing to do with the fact that they live here too and were here long before people came along and started to alter their habitat.Ã‚Â A disturbing trend is on the increase.Ã‚Â When people donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like something, it is often destroyed and that is what is facing Canada geese and their few goslings in New York City, burrowing owls in California, and many other species such as bison, grizzly bears, fishers (they have been seen here in Philipstown more often), and grey wolves.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Hearing that people Ã¢â‚¬Å“hateÃ¢â‚¬Â wildlife to the point of throwing things, literally torturing them to death with chemicals, or shooting them is deplorable.Ã‚Â These are not instances of people killing animals for eating, but simply because they are bothered by their noise or that they are fearful of them. One heated Facebook discussion included this (lightly edited) post:
“That is the problem with yuppy city slickers buying “wild” or woodsy property. Ã‚Â They don’t have any former contact with the wild. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have an ounce of sympathy or humanity in them when they buy property where there are animals and proceed to annihilate them and then keep going further and further into what is left of the wild. Stay in the city and don’t bother nature and we’ll all be better off. These policies benefit no one but those kinds of people who are afraid of anything that moves or flies.”
Awareness and education is key to coexistence.Ã‚Â Once one neighbor heard the benefits of having a black rat snake in their garden, their fear diminished. If you were to buy a condo in a city, wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you visit at night before closing?Ã‚Â If you purchase a home near a lake or one that has a pond, wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you expect animals to live in and nearby?Ã‚Â Frankly, little sympathy here since the animals were here first and it is us that needs to adapt.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
So, for your neighbor that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like frogs,
email them this article or print it out for them.Ã‚Â Tell them to add
more fish and a fountain to move the water which should reduce
breeding.Ã‚Â Since frogs eat live insects, leaving the patio light on
creates the perfect dining experience for them.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also attract them
by offering some nocturnal light which is highly suggested since they
eat mosquitoes and their larvae, snails, slugs, moths, flies, beetles
and cockroaches. Sadly, many amphibians are threatened with extinction.Ã‚Â
Watering tips, our wildlife list grows & White Pine update
Ã‚Â Barbara Hobens Feldt
June 11, 2011Ã‚Â
Q.Ã‚Â How often and what time of day should I be watering my flowers and vegetables?
A. We just cannot count on Mother Nature to provide the correct amount of water for every plant we grow.Ã‚Â Especially in the heat of summer, count on watering your containers, especially the small ones, at least once a day.Ã‚Â Ideally, watering in the morning before 9 a.m. and/or no later than 8 p.m. is best for most plants. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need any fungal issues.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
A water source to supplement rainfall is the most important factor to consider before you begin to garden.Ã‚Â Plants can fight and survive wind, poor soil conditions and adverse light conditions, but without water, you are guaranteed to have dead plants!Ã‚Â The ideal is to have a water Off for the weekend and no rain forecasted?Ã‚Â After a thorough watering, insert cotton rags or handkerchiefs through the drainage holes of small empty clay pots, Ã¢â‚¬ÂplantÃ¢â‚¬Â them near the plants that need it so just the rims are above the soil, and fill with water.
Now that your plants are in, your
interest in rainfall has certainly increased and radio or television
weather forecasts are now a Ã¢â‚¬Âmust watch.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â You may even
find yourself defending the pouring rain to people you run into:
Ã‚Â ”Isn’t this awful?” and respond, “Oh no, this is great, we really|
How much water do you really need?Ã‚Â What is the perfect balance between drowned plants and parched?Ã‚Â You want to water long enough to give the roots a good long drink without saturating them.Ã‚Â
Enough is enough
Before you water, stick your fingers into the soil and wiggle them around the soil.Ã‚Â How does it feel?Ã‚Â Can you easily move them around or is the soil compacted?Ã‚Â Healthy soil and good drainage are vital to your plants.Ã‚Â If you are having a tough time, think about what the roots are going through.Ã‚Â Using a sprinkler? Put out a few tuna fish or small pet food cans to see how much water you are really getting to your lawn or garden. Other than sticking in a water meter into every container (and wiping it down each time you use it), your easiest gauge is to periodically stick in your finger to feel the soil. Obviously, a window box will take less water than a 3-foot-high container.Ã‚Â Be extra vigilant in hot weather.Ã‚Â Check your soil with your finger after you feel you have watered enough. If it’s still dry, almost dusty, two inches down.Ã‚Â Keep watering!
More animals to add to Ã¢â‚¬Å“seen in PÃ¢â‚¬â„¢TownÃ¢â‚¬Â list
Great Egrets seen in wetlands on Route 9 and along the shoreline.Ã‚Â And, also adding a Blue-tailed Skink lizard (also known as the Five-lined Skink).
Follow up: White pines
A few online colleagues agreed that doing a soil test, observing for any obvious insect problems, and reaching out to a licensed arborist here in town would all be sound recommendations if your pines are failing.Ã‚Â A change in the soilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pH, an increase in salinity, and even the changes in the ozone may be at fault.
Note:Ã‚Â Keep the questions coming but there will be no column posted on June 18th for a brief sabbatical.
Deer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a call for action
By Barbara Hobens Feldt
June 25, 2011
Q.Ã‚Â Why are there so many deer in Nelsonville?
A.Ã‚Â Overpopulation. Although a call not to feed them is fine and good (and yes, it is against the law in New York State), it is not the reason.Ã‚Â For many prior years, hunters living in and visiting Philipstown for the day used to target the males (bucks) and that puts the females into a reproduction panic mode to have as many fawns as possible. The sad news is that their Ã¢â‚¬Å“naturalÃ¢â‚¬Â family is not natural or healthy. The population is now filled with females and very young deer.Ã‚Â What do we see?Ã‚Â Young males with unusually small antlers and some are even deformed.Ã‚Â Since does (many say they have better tasting meat, like lobsters!) are overlooked, yet they are the sex that gives birth.Ã‚Â Since the strong bucks are gone, they mate with young, small, inferior bucks.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
A strong, healthy buck who has won the
Ã¢â‚¬Å“affectionsÃ¢â‚¬Â of his doe (female) by winning the
fallÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rut (beating out the Ã¢â‚¬Å“other guyÃ¢â‚¬Â with the
strength of his antlers and power) is very rare.Ã‚Â A 6 or 7 year old
buck is the first to be shot, not for the meat, but for the living room
wall.Ã‚Â If you have deer, you Ã¢â‚¬Å“knowÃ¢â‚¬Â your herd.Ã‚Â
Expanding this knowledge into what I have coined Ã¢â‚¬Å“square mile
managementÃ¢â‚¬Â is about taking notice of who is living on or passing
through your property- how many bucks, does, and fawns?Ã‚Â There is
nothing nicer than enjoying seeing a healthy (balanced ages and sex)
herd of deer.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Keep track and if there are too many does, you really should open up your property to experienced hunters in order for them to balance the population.Ã‚Â If there are too many, they just starve in the winter and expand their usual square-mile territory to eat somewhere else Ã¢â‚¬â€œ crossing more roads and causing death to themselves and us.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Personally,Ã‚Â I don’tÃ‚Â like venison and though skilledÃ‚Â atÃ‚Â shooting ranges,Ã‚Â could not pull the trigger.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I do cringe at animal bodies on walls but whenÃ‚Â any deer conversation comes up,Ã‚Â I speak up for the hunterÃ‚Â and the goalÃ‚Â ofÃ‚Â healthy,Ã‚Â stable populations of all wildlife forÃ‚Â homeowners andÃ‚Â for municipalities to adopt. As a Deer Steward (Quality Deer Management Association) I learned thatÃ‚Â removing the older bucks creates a weakened social order and genes.Ã‚Â If hunters hunt for meat, then the female deerÃ‚Â have more of it.Ã‚Â Cornell has the right idea.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
I am all for deer. Ã‚Â There is nothing
like seeing a doe guide her fawns into the open to show them off, but as
a realist who drives, gets ticks, gardens, and wants to preserve our
native plants, shrubs and trees, I support the experienced hunter.Ã‚Â
As a deer culling mediator (working with property owners, wildlife
sanctuaries, and hunters/clubs) I am also a White-tail deer advocate –
bringing the issues, biological education, and explaining their
plight.Ã‚Â They are not enjoying this overpopulation and lack of food
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â In order to have a balanced, healthy herd that will not continue to eat the understory of our forests and eat our landscaping and gardens, I urge homeowners to notice the ancient trails that Ã¢â‚¬Å“theirÃ¢â‚¬Â deer use and plant something for them to eat near them (known as a food plot).Ã‚Â I urge the Town of Philipstown to establish Ã¢â‚¬Å“Earn a BuckÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ have hunters tag two does first before issuing a permit to kill an adult buck. This will not only reduce deer overpopulation, but will result in some bucks aging a few more years, growing stronger, and raising healthier bucks so that our mineral-rich soil that feeds the plants they eat will produce the quality racks the hunters seek.Ã‚Â A win-win for all.Ã‚Â
Email your questions to email@example.com.Ã‚Â Barbara Hobens Feldt is a garden and landscape consultant and designer, White-tail deer and gardening with wildlife specialist, and author of Garden Your City. Ã¢â‚¬Å“LikeÃ¢â‚¬Â Hudson Highlands Garden Design on Facebook for links on organic practices, how-to tips, and plants for gardens, lawns, patios, and yards. Photos courtesy of the author unless noted.
Questions may be edited for length and clarity. Photographs are encouraged to show your problem or design question. If considered for publication, you will be notified first for permission and photo credit. Submissions must include your name; request if you want your question to be anonymous since it will appear on www.philipstown.info and www.hudsonhighlandsgardendesign.com