Three or four days of irrigation brought our new clover lawn back from the brink of death. Clover and fescue is drought proof, kinda, once established. This lawn is only seven months old... it’s not self-sufficient yet. I just started my 45th year here at the nursery, and I can’t remember one year where May/June have been so dry lawns are dying already. HINT: STOP mowing your lawn. The longer blades shade the soil and the crowns of the grass plants. This prevents the desertification of the soil at the base of the turf. Repeat: stop mowing your lawn, or set the blades at the highest setting.
Nothing said about this in the news- all we hear is that it’s “beautiful weather.” ITS NOT. Plants and grasses are dying across the state. Don’t wait to water- sometimes it’s too late to save plants by the time you notice .
No rain of significance in the past few weeks. Nothing coming for the foreseeable future. Full sun and hot wind dry everything out and starts killing little by little.
Thin soil under turf shows stress first. Grass turns dark green then yellowish then broomstick brown. As it nears death, it becomes apparent that there’s absolutely nada that one can do about it.
Planting trees to shade the lawn isn’t a bad idea for so many reasons.
Lawns that are less than a year old do this during droughts- you gotta do it all over again.
Hummingbird magnet “black and blue salvia” shining yesterday in the afternoon light.
Obscene 5’ tall hollyhocks delight me each time I walk past them. Never have I ever enjoyed this plant before. Incredible blossoms remind me of wedding flowers (not mine).
Emperor 1 Japanese maple glowing yesterday on a cloudless sky.
View of my back yard one morning last week. The scene reminded me of a civil war battlefield before the bloodletting started all those years ago. The ginkgo tree to the right was planted by me and my son the afternoon of the murder of all the Newtown kids a few years back in the fall of 2012. My son was the same age as the murdered little ones, so that act seared special emotions on my heart forever.
Our form of government is ineffective, hate to say it. New Zealand had a mass shooting, and so did Canada. Within a year, both countries outlawed assault weapons for civilians. Was our first mass school shooting Columbine? I forget. When was that event? Twenty years ago? Thirty? When is our government going to do SOMETHING about taking those weapons out of our hands? If not that, then some other fix?
I think these thoughts each time that ginkgo tree catches my eye, which is almost every time I walk past it.
Finally, Connecticut is very strange now. We have gone from few cars and trucks on the road to many more. We have gone from quiet to noisy again. I liked it quiet. I guess the assault on our climate issues, and the various ecosystem decline can proceed now that people are on the go again. It’s too bad in a way. We all saw how quickly Mother Nature rebounded once we humans took a step back from our polluting ways, something to keep in mind if we ever decide to attack the global warming catastrophe.
Whenever that happens... probably never.
I had to go to the nursery last night to turn off the irrigation, and saw this new moon- you have to squint to see the sliver. When the intense summer sun goes to bed, everyone with no air conditioning rejoices. The birds seem to chirp happier and louder, fans seem to be more effective, light in the sky illuminates without burning. Last night on my trip I saw the summer’s first bats and lightning bugs. As I drove I thought to myself how damn good life is.
Look around your yard. Sleep with the windows open. Get up early. Take pictures. Start a blog. Listen to the birds. Get a plant and bird identification app on your phone. Feel the sun on your face. Plant tomatoes.
This year, being alive has taken on new meaning for many people. It’s no longer just going through the motions. This year, more time spent at home makes many want to continue to spend more time at home, myself included.
Asclepias incarnata, Mother lode of monarch butterfly incubation. My fictitious story goes like this:
Monarch butterflies fly along in complete darkness until they see any member of the Asclepias family (milkweed). When they see these plants, they see flashing neon signs advertising “HOME.”
They land on this plant, lay their eggs on them, then suck on the nectar within the flowers.
The zebra-like caterpillars chomp on the foliage, get huge, then pupate into nature’s most popular butterflies.
The life cycle of this insect is only partially known. The pupating structure has parts whose function is unknown. Their navigation system is wholly unknown.
Plant this plant in your yard, and you get to see the entire life cycle in your yard every year, forever. Forever or until American demand for avocados totally eradicates the Mexican overwintering forests. I’ll never buy avocados ever again.... won’t make any difference for this magnificent insect, I’m afraid.
The moon three nights ago made me listen carefully for werewolves and vampires. I wrapped my neck in foil before I went to sleep so I could stay alive. Sure would be a shame to (so far) survive coronavirus only to wake up with no blood and two marks on my neck.
I appreciate each and every aspect of life now, more than any other year in my life. I see beauty everywhere I look.
My son’s crew practice today. Some still manage to do what they have always done and still survive. It’s entirely possible. Connecticut and New York have done an INCREDIBLE JOB in educating us on how to coexist with this horrible pathogen. Do not let your guard down- ever. The silver lining in all this for me is that I will never take my life for granted ever again- nor the world around me- especially the non-human world.
Perfectly proportioned paperbark maple with wind-uplifted foliage yesterday after an entire day of 20-30 mile an hour wind.
Masses of penstemon blossoms clustered together on floriferous stalks about three feet tall on deep-maroon foliage. Deer-proof
Black stemmed lace cap hydrangeas brightening up a dark corner of our perennial section yesterday.
This year we almost doubled our native pollinator plant/perennial section to accommodate our desire to beautify peoples yards with plants that serve many purposes- lift people’s spirits, decorate landscapes, and above all, help out the thousands of insect and bird species endangered by our human-only lifestyles. Maybe we can turn environmental degradation around after all? Little by little, one native flower at a time.
Look closely. See the honey bee? This is a HUGE SUCCESS STORY. This tiny insect is what it’s all about, folks. Killed off by us humans, native honey bees are no more. EXTINCT. Now, because of (again) we humans, even the man-made honey bee population is endangered... troubled mainly by imidicloprid- made by BAYER, the satanic German chemical company. Neo-nicatanoids that poison all insects non-selectively. Do not trust any chemical that you put on your property. It might be “ok” to use today, and taken off the market next year because it causes cancer, or kills unintended animals, plants, and/or insects.
Asclepias tuberosa. Number two monarch plant. Full sun, deer proof, tolerates crappy rocky soils, plumes used by birds to line nests in fall/winter. A friend to the creatures great and small. Native, and a must for nature lovers. Do not hesitate to buy these- they sell out completely every year.
...in the garbage, right where I threw it thinking it was a junk mail offer for another unnecessary credit card, that’s where it is!
Luckily I had just read an article saying taxpayers are throwing them away, which is exactly what I had just done.
For months I had been looking for a check like a tax refund check from the US Treasury.
I wonder why they did it like this? Think of all the wasted plastic and paper when a check would have used so much fewer resources.
Also, why didn’t they tell everyone to be on the lookout for these instead of checks? Just seems so much more complicated than it could have been.
It would have been so much more efficient if they had just electronically transferred them instead.
If my elderly parents received one of these, they would throw it away- maybe that’s why they did it this way- you know that a percentage of the population will never get their money.
Spring during coronavirus means clear blue skies, quiet, and birds singing loudly- not to mention flowers. Lots of flowers!
Shasta daisies just beginning an obscene display of happiness
Luscious lupine glowing in the late day sun
Pink flax (silene) seems to flower almost forever
Appalachian red redbud going to someone’s house yesterday
It’s still so so so cold, my wood burning stove is on as I write this, most of our new landscaping plants are crammed inside the store, and gardening is limited to rough and durable plants. Some of our perennials have really suffered, but when it warms, they will come back to good health and good looks.
When I was leaving work last night, I looked before I pulled out onto route 25, and the coronavirus coast is clear. At a time when commuting rush hour might stall my departure from work for three to four minutes due to bumper to bumper traffic, there’s not a car in sight.
When this first started, the road looked like this much of the day, but now things are starting up again, an unfortunate sign that people are relaxing their guard against our little single-celled enemy. A bigger enemy are the people who do not wear masks for some inexplicable reason, getting the virus and spreading it all over the place in an absolutely pathetic display of some sort of politics.
The driver of this truck offered me an opinion of his- that the coronavirus was a democratic hoax and blown way out of proportion. He then irresponsibly got into the truck and helped us unload without a face mask with two of my employees.
I shouted into the truck-
”Guys, put your masks on!!! You don’t know where the driver has been, and I saw him sneezing!!!”
They put on their coverings. We all need to protect ourselves, and if a little peer pressure is needed to save lives, so be it. The driver disregards protocol everywhere he goes, gets infected, infects the guys in the truck, who then go into the store by opening the door using the handle. EVERYONE ELSE who pulls on the handle then gets infected. That’s how people die- from the initial maskless irresponsible truck driver.
Clematis shining yesterday as I locked up the store.
Yucca “bright sword” shining yesterday.
Silene ‘catch fly’ from last year’s inventory exploding with happiness on a chilly May afternoon.
There are few plants that look as good as lavender in the light of the setting sun. This one isn’t even flowering yet but one can see when it does, it’s gonna be incredibly beautiful.
A redbud tree I planted about twenty years or more displaying happiness yesterday. Redbuds and dogwoods- native showoffs during the spring expression of happiness.
Zelkova tree in our parking lot absolutely glowing in the setting sun. I’ve had this tree for two decades, and want it at home. It would cost me $10,000 to plant it, though. Machines would need to be rented to man-handle it onto my property and into the hole.
‘Seiryu’ Japanese maple with its cloud layering canopy. Japanese maples are sophisticated statements of finesse.
Pink buckeye foliage is one of the most interesting.
I have not fed this lawn for three years, and it looks good. All lawns look good now, but the hundreds of yards of soil I trucked in and the high quality grass seed equates to a lawn that is mostly self-sufficient. The clover that I have added in addition to what has taken over assists with weed control and fertility.
This is my 100% organic clover lawn. Self-feeding, self-insect control, repressed lawn growth resulting in less mowing. Flowers support dwindling insect populations. More drought durable than turf for a better summer lawn. Out competes weeds so no more disgusting weed killers. Ever.
I killed a portion of my lawn and reseeded it with clover/fescue. The clover popped up immediately and the grass seed is slower. Pretty soon, this section will be fluffy and green, a nice chemical-free biodiverse lawn, a nice trend to be able to promote.
This is the biggest mystery this year- what kind of bird is this? Does anyone know? We kind of narrowed it down to some sort of wren. Carolina wren?
Little fella found, somehow, a crack under our greenhouse door big enough to squeak through. He/she then constructed an intricate and sophisticated nest complete with a walkway to the front door, a four inch wide perfectly circular opening four inches in diameter that is 2/3 the size of a basketball complete with a gnarly roof and sturdy sides and floor and a soft comfortable floor and walls.
If feeding is interrupted by a careless human, the babies know magically what to do- SHUT UP AND DUCK DOWN! Be invisible till the beasts go away. How do they know what to do?
How do the parents know how to build their nests? These birds do a lot more than most species do to make a nest.
If I’m quiet when I go in this room, I can creep a shot of them in between feedings.
...and if I’m sneaky, I can tap on the roof and pretend to be mommy, inspiring this noisy response. Screaming kids “FEED ME FIRST MOMMY!!!” It’s really loud, and I love it!!! Mankind hasn’t eradicated every other species on the planet (yet). Coronavirus is a warning to humanity:
“stop polluting the planet NOW, and we can recover.”
It’s true. Yesterday I got out of my truck at work, and heard Pavarotti bellowing our an opera solo up in a huge sugar maple above my head. I looked up into the tree to see the third Baltimore oriole I've ever seen. Such a rare event, I felt the reassuring hand of Mother Nature on my soul.
How cool, I talked about it all day.
In the afternoon I was talking to people outside and something caught my eye. I looked up and saw a bald eagle flying alone northbound above route 25. I shouted “HOLY SHIT!” I couldn’t help it, it just came out. I turned around and saw a young child and her mother standing behind me- they heard what I said and I apologized to them and said that I’ve seen five in my life, and couldn’t help it.
Five total strangers stood there staring up into the sky for a rare event.
A mother and father made this nest inside our store. The nest looks like a pile of gnarly sticks that would wash up on shore or get caught in a stream by a fallen branch, but upon further inspection it is extremely well-designed and intricate. I’ve never ever seen a cave-nest before. It even has a stick path leading up to the opening.
If anyone knows the ID of this bird, please please tell me who it is.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! We are open today from 9-4 so you can buy beauty like this for your mom and for yourself. We can also make mulch and top soil deliveries.
We have tons of color and flowers in stock.
WARNING- do not plant veggies or annuals until Thursday. There will be frost between now and Wednesday night. If you plant tomatoes today, you will need to buy them again next week- just too cold this spring.
Iberis (candytuft) flowering in my parking lot. June Beney planted it approximately thirty years ago!!! Twenty got delivered yesterday, half are still in stock. Surround yourself with beauty during CV times. Appreciate mother nature’s bountiful array of flowers- makes you feel good, and staying positive and happy in these times is half of your fight against CV.
Green low drooper is “karmina” perennial geranium thirty years old. The foliage is stunning, and the flowers are even better later in the year. Full sun- full shade. Low and deer-proof!
Pink dogwoods flowering in the bitter cold and wind yesterday morning. My absolute favorite tree.
White birch trees- 40 years old approximately. We have 8’ birch trees in seven gallon pots- five left @$160.
Bluegrass sod- we have the best sod money can buy, and we care for it better than anyone around. $9/piece, ten square feet. $8 each when it is still on the skid when it first arrives, before we put any labor into keeping it happy on the plastic. Lay it down, and you have two year old sod instantly.
I was reading the news this morning and came across this article. I found it interesting, and hope it helps some out there.
When this whole thing started, I heard also that to prepare for total warfare with tRUMP’s Coronavirus (tRUMP owns this epidemic), we as a country needed to stop smoking and lose weight. Those two things, obvious helpful health tips even in non-epidemic days, are as essential to survival these days as they ever were before.
Healthy lungs are more able to withstand attacks by the lethal virus, so tobacco and cannabis smokers...STOP!! If you need tobacco that bad (nothing medicinal at all about tobacco and you know it), try a patch or gum until this passes. Lungs start repairing themselves immediately after each cigarette is finished! Give ‘em a chance, give you a chance.
If cannabis is part of your life for recreation or medicinal purposes, STOP SMOKING IT!!! Edibles.
If you are overweight, this is the time to finally pay attention and do something about it, it could (will?) save your life. Everyone knows how difficult it is to slim down, but this time that effort might just save your life just as much as the all-important and necessary masks.
Wakeman’s White Birch Nursery is not a public service provider. We are not a health service. We aren’t more than a horticultural nursery. This website is SUPPOSED to help our customers navigate horticultural information all in one place......
Try this article, it may contain helpful information for someone out there:
Nice little gift someone threw out the car window for someone else to pick up. Not nice.