events: open day & claudia west, wildlife-garden workshop, seed saving, mushroom walk

AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER are prime time for garden and nature events, and I’m hosting or involved with several being held at or nearby my Hudson Valley, New York, garden. On the calendar: a garden open day and plant sale plus guest lecturer Claudia West (8/19), and half-day seed-saving workshops with my friends at Turtle Tree Seed (8/26). There is a mushroom walk guided by an expert in adjacent lands (9/2), and in-the-garden workshops with Broken Arrow Nursery’s Andy Brand (9/16), where we’ll focus on gardening for birds, butterflies and more. The details of each, and ticket information:

Sept. 16 Fall ‘Open Day-Plus’

with Broken Arrow Nursery

I WISH I COULD walk every visitor around personally at Garden Conservancy Open Days—and answer every question. But that’s impossible when hundreds of guests stream through for the self-guided walkabouts I’ve been hosting for 20 years (last one of 2017 is on August 19, top of page).

Many visitors have asked me to take it to the next level. Now Andrew Brand of Broken Arrow Nursery—they always do plant sales at my big Open Days—and I are offering a sort of “Open Day-Plus” on September 16: smaller, ticketed, workshop-style events and sales lasting a half-day each, with lots of individual attention.

Space is limited, at each of two sessions per day.

Ticket includes $25 Broken Arrow shopping credit.

The September program (from 9:30-noon, and repeated from 1:30-4 PM):

Baked Treats & Beverages: Fuel up, get acquainted, and tell us what you want to know more about, so we can fine-tune the program and cover it all.

Tour/Meet My Garden: Tour with me, Margaret, focusing on how I made a garden for the birds (60-plus species visit yearly); my maybe-too-crazy obsession with gold foliage; my passion for great groundcovers; the “meadow” I’ve cultivated above the house by observing carefully and mowing differently; and most of all, my intimate relationship with the place that goes way beyond aesthetics.

Workshop/Native Flora and Fauna: Broken Arrow Nursery Manager Andy Brand is expert in many things, but two of his personal passions are native plants, and wildlife. He is founder of the Connecticut state butterfly society, and a keen expert birder, and understands the intricate relationships between the plants we grow and the creatures that visit the garden. He’s also got an eye for improved versions of great natives for our gardens, and we’ll learn their features, use, and tips for successful culture. Why aren’t more people growing these incredible plants?, Andy asks…and watch out: Soon you will be!

Plant-Talk Hangout: We’ll spend the last chunk of our time together just talking, guided by your questions.

Shopping: Shop for plants from 11:45-1 and 3:30-4:45. Tip: Browse the Broken Arrow website (or call 203-288-1026 for advice on landscape-size plants in stock at the in-person retail nursery) to have larger specimens or multiples of something or just specific plants delivered on event day to take home.

past and sold-out events

Aug. 19 Open Day, Claudia West native plant events, plant sale

AS PART OF the Saturday, Aug. 19, Garden Conservancy Open Day and plant sale at Margaret Roach’s Copake Falls, NY, garden, we’re pleased to have sought-after native design expert Claudia West for two events. Come for both and visit the garden before or in between!

  • 10-4 garden open at Margaret Roach’s (no reservation needed)
  • 10-4 plant sale by Broken Arrow at Margaret’s
  • 11 AM Claudia West talk at Church of St. John in the Wilderness, 261 Route 344, Copake Falls
  • 1:30 PM native plant design workshop with Claudia West (registrants will be sent instructions on where to meet in Copake Falls)

11 am lecture

Claudia West on ‘Wild and Neat: Native Plants that Bridge the Gap’

So you think Natives are weedy and messy? Claudia West, co-author with Thomas Rainer of the groundbreaking book “Planting in a Post-Wild World,” debunks this myth and explores the aesthetic value of native plants and their highly attractive cultivars.

Like the book, Claudia’s talk will present a powerful alternative to traditional horticulture—designed plantings that function like naturally occurring plant communities.

You’ll be fascinated by the range of colors and textures found in our native Northeast flora. Numerous design examples and plant combinations demonstrate the beauty, elegance and diversity created through a sense of place, using regionally appropriate native plants in the landscape. We will explore how native species grow in the wild and translate this knowledge into powerful design principles for your landscape. Enjoy and be inspired! (Note: Talk is at Church of St. John in the Wilderness, 261 Route 344, Copake Falls.)

  • Understand the reasons for aesthetic and functional challenges surrounding native planting.
  • Learn design strategies that create more beautiful, lasting plant compositions.
  • Explore numerous wild plants with neat appearance for stunningly beautiful native planting.

1:30-4:30 pm workshop

‘Designing Ecological Plant Communities’

Functional and ecological plantings, such as rain gardens and meadows, are gaining on popularity but also face severe challenges. They often fail to wow the public, offer a low level of ecological functions, and simply don’t survive in low-budget maintenance environments.

Examples of failed projects are plentiful and hurt the image of the native-plant movement. We won’t solve these issues if we continue to compare planting design to painting on canvas and perceive plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a new approach—a plant community-based method that has evolved in the world of ecological science.

Join us as we translate ecological principles of wild plant communities into planting design tools that will help you create better planting. This interactive workshop will introduce you to the science behind stable and lasting plant combinations. You will learn the skill of creating plant communities in hands-on design exercises and practice new techniques in a hypothetical planting project at the end of the workshop. (Note: Registrants will be sent directions where to meet.)

About Claudia West

Claudia West has been ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a famed wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA, working closely with ecological design and restoration professional, offering consultation services from initial project planning stages to adaptive management strategies after project completion. Claudia’s work is centered on the development of stable, layered planting designs and the desire to bring American native plants back into our landscape. With her “Planting in a Post-Wild World” co-author Thomas Rainer and fellow landscape architect Melissa Rainer, she has recently formed a new independent landscape architecture firm, Phyto Studios.

Aug. 26 Seed-Saving Workshops

at Turtle Tree Seed, Copake, NY

HAVE YOU WANTED to save your own seeds, but weren’t sure how to start? Our half-day workshop (choose either the morning or afternoon session at checkout) will include both classroom learning, followed by hands-on doing, putting the principles to work with your expert teachers there to help:

  • An introduction and inspiration by Margaret Roach of AWayToGarden.com
  • A short intro to small-scale seed growing and how to select the best plants for seed by Lia Babitch of Turtle Tree
  • Seed harvesting and cleaning tips by Turtle Tree’s Lisa Millette
  • Storing your seeds sensibly for the best shelf-life and vitality, including how to test seeds for viability by Ian Robb of Turtle Tree

Get plenty of hands-on experience cleaning and preparing different kinds of seeds, including wet- and dry-seeded crops (If this doesn’t mean anything to you yet, don’t worry, we’ll introduce this and other seed-saving essentials to you in the workshop!), harvesting seeds in the gardens and fields, and refreshments, of course.

Each participant will go home with samples of the seeds we work on during the class to start off your own seed collection.

All proceeds from this workshop go to support the important work of Turtle Tree Seed.

About Turtle Tree Seed

Turtle Tree is a small non-profit seed company that sells 100% open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. They are all grown using biodynamic and organic practices both in our seed garden and by other farmers and gardeners who use biodynamic methods. All our seed is non-gmo, non-hybrid, never treated, and grown without the use of chemical inputs. We are part of a Camphill Village in Copake, NY, a life-sharing community which includes people with developmental disabilities. People of all abilities help with growing, cleaning and packing our seeds. Another aspect of our mission is encouraging and educating people who want to grow and save open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.

Sept. 2 Mushroom Walk with John Michelotti (Waitlist Only)

JOIN THIS MUSHROOM WALK and learn with John Michelotti, founder of Catskill Fungi and president of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association, about the ecological functions of fungi, common edibles and medicinal mushrooms, as well as historic uses of fungi and present day innovations of the exceptional Kingdom Fungi. We’ll learn some basic keys to mushroom ID skills as well, as we examine specimens found on our trail.

This walk, co-hosted with the Friends of Taconic State Park, will take place on an exceptional piece of conserved land adjacent to the Park in Copake Falls, New York; registrants will be sent directions to the starting place ahead of time.

About John Michelotti

John Michelotti is a self-described “mushroom guy.” He has studied fungi with some of the top mycologists in the county, and his mission is to spread the information about the benefits that fungi have to offer. John is the President of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association (MHMA), and a member of Connecticut Westchester Mycological (COMA), Pioneer Valley Mycological Association, and North American Mycological Association (NAMA) as well as Amazon Mycorenewal Project researching the utilization of fungi to remediate oil spills in the Amazon Rainforest. John has visited dozens of mushroom farms from small-scale operations to the largest in the country and from New England to the Tropics. He is an adviser of the Mushroom Advisory Panel for Certified Naturally Grown,  developing standards for best practices in mushroom production. He resides in Big Indian, NY, on a family farm, where he cultivates mushrooms for their healthful components, creating health extractions.

Categoriesevents Featured
  1. Lynn Pentecost says:

    I, too have a cat like Jack who walked up on our ten acres as a kitten. Love your idea of foliage plants (mostly) and some pots. My idea exactly! Love your podcasts. Would love to just sit in your garden, but who has time to sit. I too have gardened for about 40 years, in various gardens. (I am 69). Time flies. Always start with a window view! God bless our gardening endeavors!

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