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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts

      Friday, January 21, 2011


      The scoop on growing roses sustainably in a new book of essays written by international rose experts, edited by Pat Shanley, Peter Kukielski and Gene Wearing from Newbury Books, a division of Casemate Pub. U.K. $34.95

      Although an unschooled gardener myself, I've contributed "Memoirs of a Condo Rose Grower and Composter" to the book. above, 'All the Rage' blooming on my rooftop with drip irrigation

      Always looking for the New York connection for Garden Bytes readers, of particular interest are pieces by Kukielski and Karl McKoy, curators of roses at the NYBG and Queens Botanic Garden respectively, and Stephen Scanniello, former curator of roses at the BBG, now President of the Heritage Rose Foundation. Other local gardeners Pat Shanley and Marjorie Marcallino have written pieces as well, but the book's crucial message of sustanablitiy applies to us wether the expert is from India or California.

      John Starnes a rose hybridizer from Florida, contributed "Probiotic Rose Growing" and offers a recipe for Poop Soup for roses. A necessary ingredient is a gallon of fresh horse poop. My immediate thought is that since I no longer have my farm, this ingredient will be impossible to obtain in Manhattan; second thought crowding in on the first is an image of me shovel in hand, on Central Park South & Fifth Ave. where the horse carriages await their fares. Can I add horse pooper- scooper to my current title of trash scavenger?

      This book of individual essays would be improved a thousandfold if there were an Index at the end.

      Sunday, January 24, 2010

      In your opinion...

      It's that time of year again: Flower & Garden Show Time! This works out well for us Garden Communicators in cold climates, since we're not so busy outdoors for the next few months. I can't think of a better way to spend the winter than learning about new plants and hearing garden experts speak about what they know and love. (Well maybe an extended topical vacation, but that gets expensive...)

      This year I'm giving a brand new presentation as the keynote address for the Connecticut Master Gardeners Association Symposium, in Manchester, CT: Just Because You're a Gardener Doesn't Mean You're Green! I'm excited because this is a chance to talk with experienced gardeners about making considered, careful choices on how to garden in harmony with the environment.

      As gardeners we're more aware of our natural surroundings than many people...that's what comes of being obsessed with plants and landscapes. But we can do better. This lecture focuses on simple suggestions on how to be a better gardener AND a better environmental steward, and I'd like your help.

      E.g., one of my pet peeves is how some gardeners don't understand that even organic insecticides can be harmful to the environment. Pyrethrin based sprays (made from certain Chrysanthemum species) may be organic, but they're still toxic to pollinators, fish, and birds. We all need to understand that there are alternatives to reaching for a bottle of bug spray.

      What do YOU think is important? Have you reduced the size of your lawn or started cultivating the Soil Food Web? I want to know. Please share your ideas with me, and I promise to give a public shout out to anyone whose contribution makes it into my final presentation. And of course you'll have my undying gratitude...

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