Archives for posts with tag: Cornell Cooperative Extension

Learning in the Garden Series

Here’s the first class in this series:  Learn how to successfully divide perennials and ornamental grass at the Perennial Division Workshop and go home with a few great new plants for your very own garden!

  • Saturday, May 21, 2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM  at Ulster Community College, Stone Ridge, New York.

Click here for more details about the other classes, directions and contact info.

While you’re there, take a look at the beautiful xeriscape garden at the Stone Ridge campus.




Shiny, green leaves of a drought-tolerant ornamental grass at the xeriscape garden at Ulster Community College in Stone Ridge NY

Ornamental grass in the ‘River’ bed at the xeriscape garden

Master Gardener’s Plant Sale to Benefit Xeriscape Garden

The Masters Gardener program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC) will be hosting a Plant Sale and free workshop

  • Saturday, September 20th
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • At their Xeriscape Garden located on the SUNY Ulster campus on 491 Cottekill Road in Stone Ridge
  • Rain or shine
  • Cash, check or credit cards accepted
  • The sale will offer an array of plants from the xeriscape garden itself plus plants grown in the Master Gardener’s own gardens!
  • A free workshop “Photographing your Garden” will take place at the same location at 10:00 am

Please contact Master Gardener Coordinator, Dona Crawford at 845-340-3990 ext. 335 or for more information.

Please call the CCEUC office at 845-340-3990 if you have any special needs.

Click on the calendar  for more events and programs and follow CCEUC Facebook

Drought-tolerant monarda (red flowers) and ornamental grasses

Drought-tolerant monarda (red flowers) and ornamental grasses





The Master Gardeners of Ulster County Cornell Cooperative Extension created this garden at Ulster Community College in Stone Ridge. Donations were provided by several local businesses.Distant view of Ulster Community College garden, showing lawn, trees and flower beds

The garden is near the main entrance to the campus. It is a demonstration xeriscape garden. A xeriscape garden requires little water and conserves water use. This is achieved by selecting plants that thrive in dry conditions, in particular native plants/trees/shrubs.  Mulch is used to conserve water in the soil and irrigation is kept to a minimum.

Wooden pergola with four posts, with a yellow trumpet vine growing up each post, covered in green foliage and yellow flowers

At the entrance to the garden there is a hand-built pergola covered in yellow trumpet vine campsis radicans

Close up of three clusters of yellow trumpet vine flowers and green leaves

The garden consists of 11 island beds. Each bed has a theme such as Viburnum Bed, Nursery Bed, Herb Bed… Garden bench made from concrete uprights with a bluestone slab on top Pink evening primrose flowers and green foliage

The ‘Bench Bed’ includes a bluestone and concrete bench surrounded by sun-loving pink primroses Oenothera speciosa. Chokeberry tree, sedum, ornametnal grasses in a garden with ornamental 'river bed' made from pebbles

One of my favorites was the ‘River Bed’ which included a ‘river’ of pebbles. This dainty tree is a Chokeberry. It is native to NY, has white blossom in the spring and small fruit in the fall. The bright green sedum in front of the tree grows well on dry gravel.

white datura flowers

This Datura is an annual in the Hudson Valley climate (USDA zone 5) the flowers are about 4″ long. Pale purple Echinops flowers with bees and other insects

The garden was teeming with pollinating insects, especially on this Globe Thistle Echinops

Prickly pear cactus with yellow flower

Many plants in the ‘River Bed’ were drought-tolerant species suitable for a xeriscape (minimal-water) garden, such as this Prickly Pear cactus Genus Opuntia in bloom. The fleshy pads are modified stems.

low growing euphorbia with grey leaves, growing next to pebbles

Grey Euphorbia Euphorbia myrsinites forms mats of slightly swirling stems, perfect for the ‘river’ themed bed.

Another of my favorites was the ‘Compost Bed’ I admired the way the compost bins were hidden – here’s the front, a planting of Spirea shrubs, silver-leaved Lambs Ears and beautiful grass Miscanthus Sinensis. spirea shrubs, lambs ears plants and ornamental grasses in a garden

And here’s the back of the bed. Plant pots, three compost bins and a tool box – all very neat and tidy unlike my garden. three garden compost bins, plant pots and tool box in a garden

The ‘Mouse Bed’ (I couldn’t figure out the reason for this name!) included a tall rudbeckia and purple coneflowers Echinacea species.

yellow rudbeckia flowers

purple coneflowers and lambs ear plants

The ‘Milkweed Bed’ included Common or Swamp Milkweed which is food for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar. The flowers smell like jasmine.

Common/swamp milkweed flower

. yellow achillea flowers

Yellow Achilea in the ‘Milkweed bed’.

The ‘Butterfly Bed’ includes plants such as purple coneflowers that are attractive to skippers and other butterflies.

skipper butterfly on purple coneflowers (echinacea species)

Gaillardia 'Goblin' yellow and red flowers

A butterfly favorite, Gaillardia ‘Goblin’ in the ‘Butterfly Bed’.

heat tolerant succulent plant www.hudsonvalleygardens

Heat tolerant succulent plant

This garden is functional as well as beautiful, because it

  • Enables people to see hardy, drought-tolerant plants
  • Includes plants and trees that are native to NY or cultivars of native plants
  • Provides wildlife habitat, especially for insects and hummingbirds
  • Reduces the use of water and fossil fuels (lawn mowing)
  • Creates a space for people to unwind and enjoy nature

Relax and enjoy the moment in the shade of the pergola…and watch the hummingbirds visiting the trumpet vine.

wooden pergola with yellow trumpet vine growing up it

On a sunny day, the pergola provides a shady spot to sit

Tours of the garden are provided by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Master Gardeners Program, contact them to schedule a tour. CCEUC

Are you interested in xeriscape  gardening? Add a comment and share your thoughts.

Japanese Knotweed shoots in April.

Japanese Knotweed shoots in the spring

Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica is growing well in the Hudson Valley. Too well – it’s everywhere, including people’s gardens. It forms large stands, preventing all other plants from growing and eliminating habitat for wildlife.

Japanese Knotweed shoots.

Spring shoots

If it’s growing on your property, remove it as soon as possible before it becomes a  large clump which is much harder deal with.

Japanese knotweed stems.

The semi-woody stem is hollow


  • A herbaceous perennial that can grow over 5′ tall with stems 2″ wide.
  • Hollow stems look a little like bamboo.
  • In spring the shoots are a reddish color
  • The green stems have enlarged leaf nodes and may have red spots
  • The green leaves are alternate, 6″ long, 3-4″ wide and broadly ovate
  • In August, the flowers are greenish-white panicles in the axils of the leaves
  • In the fall the foliage dies back, leaving the dead woody stems standing
Clumps of Japanese Knotweed in April.

Clumps of Japanese Knotweed in late spring


Barbara Bravo an experienced Hudson Valley gardener, Garden Coach and Master Gardener, recommends these steps for removing the plant.

  • Mowing or cutting to ground. To be effective, continue all season.
  • Use heavy black plastic sheets to smother plants
  • For large stands, the best method is to cut stems off at about 3′ high just below a stem node – use a squirt bottle and fill the hollow stem up ¼ of the way with 25 % Glyphosate (Use Rodeo if in a wetland or near water). Follow all instructions on the product label exactly to avoid contamination and over-use of chemicals.
  • In all cases, dispose of cut stems properly – the plant can resprout from stem or root pieces that are left on the ground.
  • Do not put the plant on a compost heap because it is possible to spread the plant when applying compost
  • Put the plant in a sealed bag in your trash can for garbage removal.
  • Complete removal may take several years, inspect the area often for regrowth and continue the removal process if needed.
  • Alternately, hire a professional Invasive Plant Removal company
Japanese Knotweed flowers in August.

Japanese Knotweed flowers in August

Japanese Knotweed dried flowers in November.

In the fall the foliage and flowers die back

Japanese Knotweed stem in October

Woody stem in the fall

How does this plant spread?

  • This plant has a horizontal, underground plant stem (rhizome) that produces a shoot and root system for a new plant. This rhizome can grow under surfaces such as concrete, bricks etc. until it finds a space to start a new plant.
  • It is also spread by seed
Japanese Knotweed sprouting in November.

New plants sprouting from rhizomes. These new plants are growing in October!

How did this plant arrive in the Hudson Valley?

Japanese Knotweed is native to Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan and was brought to America in the late 1800s as a garden plant. It now grows wild because it can grow in a variety of soils, in sun or part shade and thrives in this climate.

Japanese Knotweed stems in October.

Japanese Knotweed stems in October

Japanese Knotweed in October. Hudson

Foliage has died back, leaving the dead stems.

Preventing the spread of Japanese Knotweed

In her excellent lecture about invasive plants in the Hudson Valley, Barbara Bravo explained “Gardeners are the first line of defense against invasive plants, if you see a plant that is thriving and you do not recognize it, do some research to identify the plant. If necessary, remove it”

Need some help with this plant?

Contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension Office

Contact Barbara Bravo at Enter the Garden

For help identifying a plant, post a picture on the Plant Identification Facebook page

Foragers of wild plants can find recipes for eating Japanese Knotweed here

For professional plant removal, contact Poison Ivy Patrol, this business uses non-chemical removal methods

I first met Barbara Bravo at a lecture she gave about the ‘Top Plants for the Hudson Valley Region’. During the lecture I learnt about plants that were the favorites of local expert gardeners – what a resource, I was busy taking notes for sure!

In November, Barbara is presenting another lecture on a very pertinent topic – Invasive Plants in the Hudson Valley. Unfortunately something that affects us all whether we realize it or not. I recommend this lecture because Barbara is an expert in gardening in the Hudson Valley Region. Here are the details:

When: Thursday, November 7 at 6:00 pm

Where: Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Education Center. 232 Plaza Road in Kingston (Hannaford Plaza, the Cornell office is opposite Herzogs).

Each participant is asked to bring in one (1) weed to the lecture for identification.

Invasive Japanese Knotweed

Invasive Japanese Knotweed

Barbara will introduce participants to a few of the Hudson Valley’s most noxious weeds during her lecture. She says “Gardeners are in a good position to take action but need to be educated to recognize these plants. Be vigilant. If you notice some unusual and robust growth, especially if you didn’t plant it, identify the plant.”

Invasive Oriental Bittersweet vine

Invasive Oriental Bittersweet vine

As a resident of Ulster County, Barbara has more than 25 years experience gardening where the wildlife is plentiful and where she continues to learn peaceful co-existence. Her garden has been featured on the Saugerties Secret Gardens Tour and her articles have been published in Hudson Valley Life magazine. Barbara is a Master Gardener Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, a Garden Coach and Coordinator of Garden Day.

Please RSVP by calling Dona Crawford at 845-340-3990 or email Please contact the CCEUC office at 845-340-3990 if you have any special needs.

Invasive Bush Honeysuckle

Invasive Bush Honeysuckle

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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