Archive for September 2010

Talk on Native Plants at State Museum October 4th.

September 29, 2010

Fort Orange Garden Club

Albany, New York

Is  Pleased  to  Present

Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy

Author of: Bringing Nature Home

How you can sustain wildlife with native plants.

Monday, October 4, 2010 – 7 PM

New York State Museum, Hudson Auditorium

225 Madison Avenue, Albany, New York

Copies of Bringing Nature Home will be for sale

Admission:  $12.00 in advance; $15.00 at the door; seating is limited

Mail check, payable to FOGC, to Fort Orange Garden Club,

6 Carriage Hill Dr., Latham, New York 12110-4947

Free parking after 6 PM in lot adjacent to Museum and on the street.

Dr. Tallamy is a well known and highly respected scientist and is chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of Delaware. His book Bringing Nature Home won the Garden Writers Association of America Silver Medal in 2008 Doug argues that the choices we make as gardeners can profoundly impact the diversity of life in our yards, communities, and planet. All plants are not created equal in their ability to support wildlife, especially the birds and butterflies we so cherish in our yards.  In his book he gives a justification for the liberal use of native plants, shrubs, and trees in our landscape. He also gives us a new appreciation of the role of insects in his version of the Great Chain of Being.   He asks us to re-evaluate our centuries old love affair with alien ornamentals and to aggressively fight invasive aliens.  But above all, he argues for going native! His book gives a clear sense of the interrelationship of plants, insects, birds, butterflies, other wildlife, and humankind.  By favoring native plants over aliens, we as gardeners can do much to sustain the biodiversity that has been our country’s richest asset.  This diversity has been threatened by suburban sprawl, the paving of over 400 million linear miles of road, and our love affair with the perfect lawn.


In Search of Long Island Rare Plants 4 – Sandplain Gerardia

September 27, 2010

From Steve Young, NY Natural Heritage.

In August and early September I searched grassland habitat on Long Island for Sandplain Gerardia, Agalinis acuta.  There are only a few sites left on Long Island for this federally endangered plant but some new sites have been established by planting seeds in the last decade. With the help of volunteers Rich Kelly, Mike Feder and Carole Ryder we explored known grasslands and some new sites to see if sandplain geradia has been overlooked recently.  Unfortunately we did not see any new populations but saw other interesting plants during our search.  Most of the native grassland areas on Long Island are small and are now growing up to shrubland since active management has been reduced in recent years by budget cuts and other factors.  Here are some of the plants and habitats we saw.

Our quarry. Flowers of Agalinis acuta are pink and have a notch in the upper margin. Photo Carole Ryder.

The Hempstead Plains is a remnant of a much larger grassland in Nassau County that is now hemmed in by development. It is a managed preserve and contains Agalinis acuta.

A small population of green milkweed, Asclepias viridis, still survives there despite nearby invasive species.

Here is a closeup of the distinctive flowers.

A federal grassland refuge in Sayville contains the largest population of Agalinis acuta in New York

This plant of Agalinis in bud shows the narrow branches and leaves.

Also here are large populations of goat's-rue, Tephrosia virginiana, with its twisted pods.

It also contains one of the largest populations of stargrass, Aletris farinosa, a state-rare plant in the Lily family. Its tall stalks of white flowers turn to tan fruit in late summer.

Butterfly weed is another chacteristic plant of these grasslands. Its orange flowers and erect pods are hard to miss.

The old grass airstrip and surrounding shrubland openings of Montauk airport seemed like a good place to find Agalinis.

No Agalinis but there was another pink flower here, on the Natural Heritage watch list, cross-leaf milkwort.

The tops of the eroded bluffs at Camp Hero at Montauk Point contain grassy openings that could harbor Agalinis (there are small populations on bluffs to the west) but they turned out to be too small or too weedy.

The bluffs are covered with maritime shrubland.

The light blue fruit of Bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica, are common here.

As are the bright yellow flowers of golden aster, Chrysopsis mariana.

They are so photogenic!

Below the lighthouse is a small grassland area but no Agalinis.

Turn around and you see one of the state's most recognizable landmarks.

When exploring shrublands and grasslands at this time of year we had to put up with the masses of tiny red larval ticks that can end up on pant legs looking for their first blood meal. Fortunately they don't contain disease but can leave an itchy bite. They are often confused with chiggers which probably don't live in New York.

On the way back to home base I stopped to check on a population of whorled-pennywort, Hydrocotyl verticillata, in Montauk. Its small white flowers are in multiple tiers above the round peltate leaves. Some years the water is so high here the plants are not visible but this year they were easily seen.

Black Walnut in Danger of Being Destroyed in Eastern Forests

September 22, 2010

Thousand Cankers Disease has been found in Tennessee recently and there are fears that it will spread to all black walnuts in the East and eliminate it from our forests.  Will we have any tree species left with all the organisms that are attacking them?  Learn more about TCD in Wikipedia by clicking HERE.

Center for Plant Conservation Reintroduction Registry

September 21, 2010

In October of 2009 the Center for Plant Conservation hosted a conference on evaluating plant reintroductions.  As a result they established a Reintroduction Registry to enter and view projects that have reintroduced native plants into known or new habitats.  There is an example of one New York State orchid, Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea, that was reintroduced into a restored prairie.  Maybe you have an example of a plant reintroduction that you could share with others on this site.

2010 Catskill Watershed Conference Announcement

September 17, 2010

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, US Geological Survey, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Catskill Institute for the Environment are sponsoring an informal research forum to be held on November 17th and 18th, at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount, NY.
This meeting is intended mainly for researchers and resource managers working in the region, but we do not intend this meeting to be exclusive. Therefore, please forward this to others you think may be interested in attending or presenting.

The purpose of this forum is to:

  1. exchange information about current research, monitoring, and data collection efforts within the Catskill Mountains related to
    • climate change
    • stream water quality
    • biodiversity
    • forest health, and
    • stream stability
  2. identify monitoring and research gaps; and
  3. stimulate discussion; and promote collaborative efforts that address present and future environmental issues within the region.

We request that you forward topics for discussion, titles, and abstracts (300 word maximum) for a poster or verbal presentation (15-20 min talks) to Elizabeth Higgins, of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, at on or before October 15, 2010.

Some additional activities will be planned for Wednesday evening and part of Thursday afternoon will be kept open for general discussions and/or breakout meetings.

The submission form is available on the conference website
(\research%20 conference.html).  You can also find registration and lodging information there.  A final agenda and program will be forwarded to interested parties in late October and will be available on the conference website.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Higgins at (845) 688-3047 or

NYFA Field Trip This Sunday

September 16, 2010

Learn about lichens at one of the most beautiful places in New York, Chaumont Barrens near Watertown. Click on the NYFA calendar in the links list to learn more.

Dr. Don Leopold from ESF Discusses Planting Native Plants for Green Roofs

September 8, 2010

This is a short segment on YNN of Don talking about the merits of planting native plants for green roofs.  Click Here.