“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”


Private shade garden, Garden Tour, July, 2018


Field Trip to Blithewold Mansion Gardens, August 2018


Private garden tour, Garden Tour, July 2018





Garden Pests (For all flowering plants and vegetables):
Lily leaf beetles often show up first in spring on leaves of the crown imperial (Fritillaria). Check both sides of the leaves and down inside the center whorl of leaves. Also check the undersides of leaves for tiny orange eggs. The larvae have orange, brown, or greenish yellow bodies that are sometimes hidden under their excrement. Hand-picking the adults and the egg masses into soapy water is the easiest control method, but you can also put Neem in a spray bottle and spray both sides of the leaves and stems after each rainfall.  
Scout for black vine weevil adults feeding on the foliage of Rhododendron sp., Taxus sp., Euonymus sp. and Ilex crenata and use a foliar insecticide.
Lace bugs and aphids will appear soon. Spray with water or use a low-toxicity insecticide to control them. (Asian lady beetles are a beneficial insect that feed on aphids.)     
Check family members and pets for ticks after being outside, especially when in tall grass or wooded areas. If necessary send ticks to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for testing.












3 Elements for Making Perfect Compost

1. Start with a container
Compost bins are of two types, stationary and rotating. Both types must have their contents turned periodically to provide oxygen and combine the decaying materials. 

Stationary bins can be as simple as well-ventilated cage made from wire fence sections or wooden crates assembled from a kit. A well-designed bin will retain heat and moisture, allowing for quicker results. Locate the pile in a sunny location so that it has as much heat as possible. If it’s in the shade all day, decomposition will still happen, but it will be much slower, especially when freezing temps arrive in the fall. Compost tumblers can also take heat advantage of being placed in direct sunlight.  Skip meat, fish and dairy for outdoor bins because they tend to attract pests like mice, raccoons and dogs. Begin by placing chunky material like small branches or woody stems on the bottom for good airflow. Every time you add green material, add some brown as well to keep a good moisture balance and create air pockets.
Compost tumblers are easy-to-turn bins that speed up the process — compost in weeks, not months or years — by frequent oxygen infusions and heat retention. Select one based on how much plant matter (grass, leaves, weeds, stalks and stems from last year’s garden) you have at your disposal, how large your yard is, and how quickly you need to use the finished product.
2. Get the ingredient mix right
A low-maintenance pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, plus some moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Shredded newspaper, wood chips and dry leaves are ideal for the brown elements; kitchen waste and grass clippings are perfect for the green add-ins.  It’s a good idea to give your new pile a jump-start to get the process started. There are several great activators that are ready to go right out of the box. No need to mix it in well. Fold in a couple shovelfuls of garden soil rich in organic matter and let the natural process begin.
3. Remember a few simple chores. 
Taking care of a compost pile is extremely basic, but a wee bit of care makes a huge difference. Add material regularly to give the happy bacteria some fresh food to consume and enough insulation to keep the process warm.
Turn the pile with a pitchfork or compost aerator every week or two to make sure that all of the materials are blended in and working together. After you’ve mixed things up, grab a handful to see if it’s slightly damp. Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process and too much will leave you with a slimy mess.  In a few months, your finished product should be a dark, crumbly soil that smells like fresh earth.


HOME | About | Contact Us | Join | Programs | Search / Site Map | Back to Top