Archives for the month of: July, 2013

“Feverfew is an underrated plant and a great performer when used as herbaceous perennial. The flowers are a wonderful white and look similar to daises – when planted among daisies Feverfew adds a second wave of blooms. The fragrant foliage is delicate, feathery and attractive” This is Hazel’s evaluation of Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)  which grows in both her herb garden and perennial beds. Hazel has been gardening with Feverfew for many years. Her garden is located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains in NY (zone 5b).

Feverfew in bloom. Source: Self

Feverfew in bloom. Source: Self

A useful height at 10″ to 18″ tall, it is a great ‘proper-upper’ as it supports other heavy-headed flowering plants.

Works great with annuals too. Source: Self

Works great with annuals too. Source: Self

To quote Hazel:

” I really like white as the unifier in the perennial bed – that’s where the Feverfew comes in. Especially at dusk when you throw in some white flowers such as impatiens, daisies and Feverfew, I can’t think of anything prettier. “

This plant (in bud) will flower later, extending the flowering season. Source:Self

This plant (in bud) will flower later, extending the flowering season. Source:Self

When introduced into the herbaceous border the flowering season is about one month which is a good length of time. Prior to flowering the spring greenery is vibrant and lovely.

After flowering Feverfew becomes brown and straggly and should be deadheaded to avoid self-seeding. It can become invasive but it is easy to control, if it seeds itself in the wrong place it is easy to pull out, even when mature, the root comes up easily.

Deadhead after flowering. Source:Self

Deadhead after flowering. Source:Self

According to Hazel,

” There’s no guilt when pulling because it’s everywhere you want it to be! “

Feverfew growing among potted plants and decorative stones. Source:Self

Feverfew growing among potted plants and decorative stones. Source:Self

For other ideas on gardening with Feverfew and other herbs, take a look at this blog Home and Family


Near the Kaaterskill Creek is a garden located in the hollow of a dry creek bed, shaded by Maple and Eastern Cedar trees.

Source: Self

Source: Self

The gardener, Hazel generously explained the history of the garden and the various artifacts within. This is the first of a series of posts in which she shares her ideas and creativity with us. Incorporated into the design are ‘found objects’ from the local environment including smooth river rocks, Hemlock stumps and reclaimed furniture.

Source: Self

Source: Self

The garden was overgrown when Hazel and her family arrived, as they cleared the brush they discovered some daylilies – an indication that there had once been a garden. Now many years later there is a profusion of carefully selected perennials, annuals and shrubs.

Source: Self

Source: Self

Source: Self

Source: Self

From the herbaceous beds, to the right are twin Maple trees with garden furniture beneath them. The yellow chair (a piece of classic Americana) was salvaged from the roadside where is was left on ‘metal refuse collection day’ about 15 years ago. Upon seeing Hazel pressure washing the chair, hubby asked “Why the hell did you bring that home?”  The blue chair is also a classic design called the ‘Adirondack Chair’and it was made by Hazel.

After all that hard work in the garden it’s time for a refreshing cool drink…iced tea anyone?

Source: Self

Source: Self

See more of Hazel’s garden here


Colorful and carefree

The HudsonValley is baking with temperatures in the mid 90°s F. Along the roads are masses of wild flowers including fiery orange daylilies. Growing in between the road and the railway tracks the brightly colored drifts remind me of a painting by Monet.

By the CSX tracks

By the CSX tracks

Although considered a wild flower, the orange daylilies were brought to New York by European settlers, I suppose they needed an adaptable, aggressive grower to survive in their newly cultivated wilderness. Now they are found in a variety of habitats from hot, dry terrain to the shady edges of wetlands.

Beside a parking lot

Beside a parking lot

A weedy clump

A weedy clump

They are beloved by locals who call them ‘Tiger Lilies’ and have been heard to remark ” Must stop by Boices and get some for my yard” (Boices Farm being a location where the daylilies grow in abundance roadside).

Lawn border

Lawn border

So the daylilies are back in domestic gardens and planted in carefree clumps around mailboxes. In flower beds the clearly defined shape of the daylily and the height (2′ stems, 4″ flowers) adds drama to the seasonal mix of Monarda, Asiatic lilies and Coreopsis.

Colorful flower bed

Colorful flower bed

I believe that Pantone ‘Vibrant Orange’ is one of this years key colors in the design world. In the HudsonValley it is in season every July.

Hot orange in July

Hot orange in July


All is quiet…

For the past week or so, I have seen the tips of branches on trees turn brown due to the female cicadas laying their eggs in the bark. The female will scar the bark in order to lay eggs and sometimes this results in the branch tip breaking and falling to the ground.

Tree showing brown branch tips due to Cicada activity

Tree showing brown branch tips due to Cicada activity

There is noticably more branch debris on the ground compared to other years.

Tips of tree branches on ground due to Cicadas laying eggs in bark

Tips of tree branches on ground due to Cicadas laying eggs in bark

Oak tree twig showing scarring by cicada

Oak tree twig showing scarring by cicada

There are many cicada carcasses on the ground providing a feast for wildlife.

A feast for ants and chipmunks

A feast for ants and chipmunks

Dead cicadas are all over the place

Dead cicadas are all over the place

The volume of noise produced by the male Cicadas began to diminish during the last week in June, by the second week of July the noise ceased entirely. The adult cicadas are no longer visible on foliage, it appears that the adult phase of the Brood II Cicada is drawing to a close.

Just a note about the cicada life cycle: The females lay eggs in branches, the baby cicadas drop to the ground where they burrow into the earth. They grow bigger under ground, staying there for 17 years before emerging as nymphs. After emerging they shed their exoskeleton and become adult cicadas. The male cicadas produce the sound to attract females and the cycle begins again.

Exoskeletons left behind when nymphs became adult cicadas

Exoskeletons left behind when nymphs became adult cicadas

Cicadas mating, beleive it or not they can walk at the same time

Cicadas mating, believe it or not they can walk at the same time

Participate in a Cicada Tracker project and assist research scientist John Cooley and professor Chris Simon at the University of Connecticut Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department, who are conducting scientific research into the 2013 Brood II Cicada event. Cicada Tracker


Inundated with Cicadas

Local resident Hatice observed a huge number of cicadas in the Malden on Hudson area which abuts the eastern shore of the Hudson River. Check out the photos she provided to get an idea of just how numerous the cicadas were.

Cicadas - Malden on Hudson. Photo by Hatice

Cicadas – Malden on Hudson. Photo by Hatice

Cicadas on peony. Photo by Hatice

Cicadas on peony. Photo by Hatice

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