Friday, September 30, 2011

Riparian Buffer

From Biology Online Dictionary

(noun) A strip of vegetation (trees, shrubs, grasses, etc) that grows along the edges of a bank or a waterway. Its major role is to provide shade and protect the nearby ecosystem from the impact of adjacent anthropogenic [caused by humans] land use.
Riparian buffers act as a cushion protecting the more sensitive ecosystem from the impact of anthropogenic land use. For instance, a riparian buffer near a roadway reduces traffic noise, air and water pollution, as well as provides a space for organisms to abound in the area.

These buffer zones serve as a natural filter. They improve water quality, reduce pollutants, reduce force and power of runoff, reduce erosion. If large enough, riparian buffers can play a role in flood control. They also discourage Canada Geese since the geese are not comfortable with taller vegetation and prefer open grass – a bonus for anyone who has tiptoed through goose droppings at their local park.
The size of the buffer depends on available land and the purpose of the buffer. At least 200’ of trees, shrubs and grasses is needed for flood control. Bank stabilization can be accomplished with about 50’.

With all these benefits it would seem that we should put riparian buffers along every stream in America. I’ll go into some of the difficulties next time.

A scholarly look at Riparian Buffers from Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, “Understanding the Science Behind RiparianForest Buffers: Effects on Water Quality”.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Celtic Classic

The tents are up,

The stages are set,
The beer taps are ready,

and the port-o-johns are lined up.

The 24th Celtic Classic begins tonight in downtown Bethlehem.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantid

I spotted three Praying Mantises in my garden this year. I’m always glad to see the voracious eaters. They seem to like the coleus.
They are so good job of catching and eating other insects that some people think they would be more aptly called Preying Mantis. In fact, they are fast enough to catch mosquitoes and flies. Unfortunately, they don’t discriminate and also eat good bugs.

I’m always confused by the difference between Mantis and Mantid. According to Gary Watkins and Ric Bessin, University of Kentucky Entomology,
Although many refer to a member of this group as a ‘praying mantis,' mantis refers to the genus Mantis. Only some praying mantids belong to the genus Mantis. Mantid refers to the entire group.”
So all Mantises are Mantids but not all Mantids are Mantises. Right?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2011

Sweet Autumn Clematis with Rudbeckia ‘Autumn Sun’

Few perennials are blooming in my garden this September 15. Mums, asters and anemone have not opened.  The annuals are carrying the day. 

As I looked around the garden for perennials in bloom, I had a thought -Carol’s Bloom Day Blog at May Dreams Garden is the perfect place to find other plants that are blooming now in other gardens and add them to my garden.

I can imagine planning a whole garden by following Bloom Day month by month. Of course, I would have to look for other bloggers in zone 6.  

Wouldn’t it be fun to create a virtual garden this winter from Bloom Day posts?

Here’s what’s blooming in my garden now.

Chrysanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’
Sedum Autumn Joy

Garden Phlox (pink pass-a-long and white ‘David’)

Hardy Hibiscus

Check host Carol’s Bloom Day posts and start your own virtual garden. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Community Gardens

As the vegetable gardening season starts to wind down, I stopped by a local community garden. I am interested in what goes right and wrong with in community gardens - the personal stories. Right now I have more questions than answers. I would like to share the answers with officials and other gardeners.
Here are a few of the questions:

· Was there adequate communication among gardeners?

· Were the rules understood and followed by all the gardeners?

· Did you have enough time to spend in the garden?

· Were you physically able to do the work required?

· Was water accessible? Mulch? Compost?

· Were tools available?

· What made your experience with community gardening a success or failure?

· Did you use a Master Gardener to educate gardeners on subjects such as: planting, plant choices, propagation, weed identification, fertilization, soils, compost, mulch, etc.?
If you have any experience with or opinion about community gardens or can answer any of the questions, please leave a comment. I will be very grateful for any information.

More information on Community Gardens from ACGA and SUN*LV

Saturday, September 03, 2011


The Coleus again are proving their worth.
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of the varieties I have. You can see lots of varieties in the Rosy Dawn Gardens online catalogue. (Coleus blog from March 2008)
I do know the name of the one below which I bought from Rosy Dawn. It is Mariposa. Large leaved and beautifully colored, it is one of my favorites.
With the deep pink Crepe Myrtle, this one looks almost black.
In a pot they also stand out.

If I learned anything from my coleus it is this: always label plants when propagating. I’m sorry now that I don’t remember the variety names.
Coleus Finder searchable database.

September 10, 2008 blog "Confessions of a Coleac".