August 29, 2006 |
Albert F.W. Vick Jr., 90, former owner of Vick's Wildgardens in Gladwyne, who won gold medals for his re-creations of rocky woodlands, died of a stroke Aug. 18 in Arnold, Calif., where he had lived since 1995. In the 1900s, Mr. Vick's ancestors sold seeds in Rochester, N.Y., and later in Philadelphia. Around 1930, his father established a nursery in Glenmoore. Mr. Vick joined his father after graduating from Friends' Central School and attending Franklin and Marshall College. In the 1940s, when a state road was built through the Glenmoore property, the Vicks used the debris to form rock formations and filled in cracks with wildflowers and ferns.
April 14, 2006 |
If I tried to sell you a garden product that holds water in the soil yet allows it to drain, fertilizes plants, suppresses weeds, and loosens compacted soil, and I promised I could back up those claims with research, would you whip out your checkbook or report me to the Federal Trade Commission? Well, scientists are demonstrating that compost - the dark, earthy stuff that results when wet and dry vegetative materials "cook" into a whole greater than the sum of their parts - solves a multitude of horticultural problems, while also saving time, money, and effort.
October 14, 2005 |
Native plants have become increasingly popular as more gardeners try to create sustainable landscapes that attract birds or butterflies. But knowing which plants are native, or finding them among the thousands at large garden centers, can be a challenge. And few nursery workers have time to point the natives out one by one. Steve Castorani, co-owner of North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, Chester County, hopes a new program giving native plants their own brand name will change that.
July 15, 2005 |
When Mark Fallon and Maani Waldor married at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern last month, they gave new meaning to the idea of putting down roots together. The tables at their wedding reception were decorated with live native plants arranged into miniature woodland gardens. Votive candles nestled in moss flickered like fireflies. "It was like having a little enchanted forest on the table," says Fallon, 32, who is senior naturalist at the Briar Bush Nature Center in Abington and an enthusiastic advocate for native plants, which provide food and shelter for wildlife.
April 22, 2005 |
Bobbi Cowley prepared a feast fit for a tiny visitor a few days ago at her garden in Wayne. She suspended a red feeder full of sugar-water solution at one side of her back door, and a hanging basket filled with red-flowering annuals at the other. If he arrives on schedule, her guest, a ruby-throated hummingbird that considers Cowley's backyard his turf, will be whirring around her door tomorrow. For the last two years, he has returned from his winter sojourn precisely on April 23. Of course, Cowley doesn't know if it's the same bird each year, since any hummingbird would make a beeline for the color red. But she likes to think it is. He's just one of many birds that flock to her garden during the year.
June 4, 2004 |
When Toby Rabold suffered incapacitating repetitive-strain problems affecting her hands and arms, not only was her career in jeopardy, but so was her love affair with gardening. Rabold has been crazy about gardening most of her life, and an active gardener for a quarter-century. Back in 1980, she and her husband, David, bought an old barn on a swath of land in Coopersburg, Lehigh County, with the idea of turning it into their dream home. "I had two acres and a creek to play with," says Rabold, who gradually established sun and shade gardens, a garden filled with hostas, another of roses, and a water garden.
February 28, 2004 |
Scientists battling a host of foreign invaders are producing weapons of miniature destruction in a lab outside Trenton. Call it biological warfare on a bug-size scale. The invaders are plants and insects that are chewing up crops, deforesting forests, and squeezing out native species. The weapons are foreigners, too - parasitic bugs that are being bred by the millions at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's Beneficial Insect Lab, only one of three such facilities run by a state in the nation.
December 7, 2003 |
An outdoor garden might seem an unlikely place in which to spend a winter's day, but many pleasures await the visitor willing to brave the cold, says Miles Arnott, executive director of Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. The trails are blissfully unpopulated, the sky is a special shade of blue, and the absence of leaves reveals the bones, or the "architecture," of the woodland, as Arnott put it one recent morning during a walk around the preserve. If the seed pods are still hanging on the crotalaria sagitallis, also known as the American Rattlebox, their distinctive shaking sound can be heard in the wind, he said.
June 5, 2003 |
It's the end of spring planting season, and homeowners have been busy landscaping with the usual assortment of Asian yew bushes, Japanese maples and exotic azaleas. It's enough to make Jim Plyler cringe. Plyler owns a nursery in Chester County that sells only plants native to the eastern United States. To Plyler, whose thick hands and fingers seem made for turning earth with a shovel, it makes no sense to put something in the ground unless it belongs. "Why put this crazy assemblage of plants together that doesn't relate to here?"
April 22, 2003 |
One day, Sinclair Adam wants to see golf courses buffered by alfalfa and landscaped lawns full of phlox. Adam, an adjunct professor at Temple University Ambler, is trying to figure out which plants suck up pollution from groundwater. In particular, he's focusing on nitrogen, which comes by ground in fertilizers and by air as acid rain. Nitrogen is an essential element. Everyone needs it; but too much nitrogen in groundwater can cause cancer, and Adam hopes plants can help protect people.