Philipstown Gardens: News & Notes

NASA News, Fracking Update, No Woodchucks & I ♥ Birds 

By Barbara Hobens

Q.  I find planting charts unreliable and just add what the nursery has out.  Do you really believe the climate is warming?
A.  Actually I like trial and error too, especially if it is a variety I love such as a fragrant passionflower or pink hibiscus. Of course, they are annuals here.  But yes, we are warming up. Don’t take my word on it, here’s a bit of doomsday from NASA on biodiversity reduction and adverse affects on Earth’s water, energy, carbon and other element cycles.

Q.  What is the newest on fracking?
A.  New York State Senator Greg Ball is doing an in-depth presentation on Thursday Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Peekskill Coffee House, 101 Division St.

Preparation to keep critters out of your garden

Q.  So, how do I keep those ground hogs out of the garden?
 A.  Not only them, but here is the solution for any digging critter, such as moles and voles. Yes, a chipmunk or squirrel can climb up a garden fence to steal a tomato, but if you put out a bluebird nesting box nearby, they will do the patrolling (actually more like dive bombing) for you.

For a care-free raised bed vegetable and herb garden, choose a place where the sun shines on it for eight hours or more. Clear the ground of obvious rocks, grass, or weeds and level it. Roll out sturdy rectangular galvanized mesh on the ground and set your raised bed on top.

Staple gun it to the inside of the wood. That’s right, pretend you’re trying to dig in and make sure it is all secure. Attach wood poles to secure your deer fence. For the hungry herds around here, I’d go up 10 feet.

Q. The winter hasn’t been very harsh, should I be feeding the birds?
A.  Absolutely. Even Congress proclaimed February as the toughest month for birds to find food. To learn more about it, log on to the National Bird-Feeding Society.

Sandy Freeman

In Memorium
A year ago yesterday, a friend passed on who touched my life and the hearts of many. Sandy Freeman loved nature, tending her gardens, and feeding the birds. She will always be whispering in my ear to keep bird feeders full and baths clean and to appreciate their song and beauty.

Hobens is a property evaluator, garden designer and consultant, lectures on wildlife gardening and White-tailed deer, and wrote the how-& where-to garden book: Garden Your City. Check out Hudson Highlands Garden Design for posts specific to our climate and soil to enjoy, learn from, and share.