Monday, August 31, 2015

Cumberland County Photo Tour of Private Wildlife Gardens South Jersey #GardenCuizine #gardenchat #getoutside

Cumberland County Photo Tour 
of Private Wildlife Gardens
August 2015
with Pat Sutton, naturalist 
and wildlife garden educator

Photos alone can not capture the beauty of nature. Getting outdoors remains the best way to experience the smells and sights of pollinators in action and to learn about where our food comes from, native plants, birds, insects and the importance of preserving open spaces and caring for our precious environment. 

Watch for additional photos that will be added during the next few weeks 

Happy Gardening!
photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

@NWF Gardening for Pollinators #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Gardening for Pollinators
private garden #1
Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting new friends and touring wildlife-friendly, private home gardens in South Jersey, sponsored by Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River. 
Our Cumberland County tour of private wildlife gardens began in the parking lot at the base of the Maurice River Bridge. Tall marsh grasses lined the river. The shining bright sun felt hot. When we arrived, our tour guide, Pat Sutton, was there to greet us.

Being an experienced naturalist and wildlife garden educator, Pat provided the group information on Gardening for Pollinators. She also gave us an informative itinerary with directions and information written by each gardener about their wildlife garden habitats.
Harry and I arrived early, giving us time to meet Pat and browse through a few select gardening books. The eager group of about 25 Master Gardeners and garden enthusiasts carpooled to each garden. First we traveled to Leesburg then on to Port Norris and Bridgeton, ending at a breath-taking riverside garden in Millville, NJ.  
At Janet's garden in Leesburg, hummingbirds and butterflies were everywhere. Surrounding her pool, instead of grass, were garden walks bordered by flowers that included masses of red salvias - more than any of the other gardens we visited. No wonder she gets so many hummingbirds!

Other blooms included: Tropical Milkweed, Agastache, Coral Honeysuckle, Joe Pye weed, Echinacea, Rudbeckia tribola and Verbena bonariensis. In early spring, she scattered 4+ large packets of mixed zinnia seeds that grew into a beautiful patch of colorful flowers that attract many pollinators. 
Along the fence was another butterfly magnet: bright orange Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) growing over 5-feet tall. An easy-to-grow annual that you can start from seeds as early as February, according to Janet. We only have one Tithonia growing in our garden, thanks to a gardening friend (thanks Linda!!). Seeds can be harvested and saved for next year. 
yum yum milkweed!
In a garden bed near a rain barrel against the house many hungry monarch butterfly caterpillars were devouring the foliage of milkweed, the only plant they can eat. We also let milkweed grow wild in our yard just for monarchs.

We had a hard time pulling ourselves away from every garden, so much so that we ran over our time schedule and missed PEEK Preserve, Natural Lands Trust garden. Seriously, we could have spent an entire day at each location. We visited 6 gardens, all focused on gardening for pollinators and NOT using pesticides.

We've done garden seed swaps in the past, but never a tour of more than one garden at a time. My head is still spinning with all the new garden ideas and contact information! Special thanks to Pat, CU, and all the gardening hosts and hostesses who shared their gardens and expertise with us.  

I'll be making a few continuing blog posts about more NJ wildlife gardens; including, Barn Studio of Art. Check back for added photos and related posts.

Happy Gardening! 
Related Links
How to Create a Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden by Pat Sutton 
Recommended Nectar Plants by Pat Sutton 
Garden for Wildlife

Blog post and photos Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 28, 2015

@RutgersNJAES @birdsblooms @Garden4Wildlife @pollinators Cumberland County SJ #gardenchat #GardenCuizine

Stay tuned for photos and video featuring wildlife friendly private gardens in Cumberland County. Our tour guide will be NJ native plant expert, naturalist, birder and book author - Pat Sutton. According to Pat's blog, many of the private home gardens were planted with wildlife in mind, designed to attract butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and other birds, as well as insect pollinators. And, to enjoy wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains we need important pollinators!

Hummingbirds pollinate wildflowers as they move flower to flower. Late August into September is peak hummingbird migration time. We'll be pointing our cameras towards the birds and blooms and promise to zoom in on ruby-throated hummers as they visit their favorite nectar plants.

This South Jersey Cumberland County Wildlife tour was planned for Master Gardeners by Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River (CU)
Related Links
Pat and Clay Sutton 
Hummingbird Garden Nectar Plants by Patricia Sutton
Rutgers Master Gardeners Program
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Today in Our Garden @birdsblooms #NJ #gardenchat Growing food teaches us not to waste food or water

Today in Our Garden
Use it or lose it!
Food Appreciation
Our gardens exhaust us during August. Now is about the time every season when we slack off in the fight against fast growing weeds and make time to enjoy the birds and blooms. We also start collecting seeds for next years plantings and are busy canning and preserving in the kitchen.

As we think about all there is to do... food is ripening at a rapid rate. Use it or lose it!
  • Picking and preparing fresh, organic, homegrown foods gives us a total appreciation for our food and our environment.
Vegetable gardening also makes me wonder: Would people eat less if they grew and prepared their own food? We know scientific studies show that people do eat more fruits and veggies when they garden, but would they eat less overall?
Heirloom tomatoes are ripening faster than we can pick them! Favorites include Chocolate Cherry tomatoes (shown). Harry cooked our first homegrown San Marzano tomatoes and made 5 quarts of pasta sauce so far with more tomatoes cooking down now. We freeze the quarts.

As gardening cooks, we want to savor and not waste what we plant and harvest. Cooking down a stockpot full of homegrown, ripe, plum tomatoes (with added basil, garlic and onion) made us realize that it sure takes a lot of tomatoes to make just one quart of sauce.
Garden space needed for growing onions has made us appreciate the abundance of onions always available at the market. We picked our first Ailsa Craig onions yesterday. Most green tops died back and the onions easily pulled up from the soil.

We probably should have picked the onions sooner. And, we weren't sure what to do about the dirt on them? We rinsed the dirt off. The onions are now air drying on a table outside. As you can see, their shape is teardrop and not large and round. 

The fun of gardening includes learning from other gardeners. Stay tuned for updates on how to grow bigger and better onions. If you already know - please share.
One of our best years! Mom even helped pick the grapes off the stems. We picked 13.5 lbs. from one, established red grapevine, which made 12 pints of organic grape jelly.

Cow Peas
Cool beans: Fagiolo Nano Dolico -dall'occho: Italian black-eyed peas climbed up into our tomato vines this year - another garden first for us. I didn't realize they climbed. The pods hang like green beans and can be eaten green or left on the plants to brown. I've been picking them as they turn brown and plan to make Hoppin John with homegrown black-eyed peas for good luck in the New Year. 

To release the peas, rub your finger along the pod edge. If the bean is dry enough, the edge will split like a zipper and the beans can easily be dumped out.

Acorn Squash
Look what I found this morning! We have acorn squash growing from rotten squash rejects that were tossed in the beds last Fall.

Happy and Healthy Gardening! 

Related Links
Backyard Gardening, Grow Your Own Food, Improve Your Health
GardenCuizine Recipe Baked Nutty Acorn Squash

Blog post and photos Copyright(C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August is Kids Eat Right Month™ #KidsEatRightMonth #GardenCuizine #KERMonth

August is Kids Eat Right Month™
Shop Smart
Cook Healthy
Eat Right
Keep your kids healthy by focusing on healthy eating, smart shopping and fun physical activity. Be a positive role model. Limit candy, sugary foods and drinks; avoid excess fats and calories to prevent and reduce obesity.
Related Links

Monday, August 3, 2015

Adirondack Mountain Hiking @ADKmtnclub #ADK #Adirondacks @LetsMove

Adirondack Mountain Hiking
New York's Adirondack Mountain hikes will reward you with one of the best cardio workouts you'll ever experience! This year we met friends for a warm up on Mt. Jo, which was a great family hike. Elevation: 2,876 feet; 700 foot ascent; 1.3 miles. We enjoyed the beautiful view of Heart Lake and Algonquin and Wright peaks. 

Driving to get to the ADK Loj we passed beautiful wild flower meadows with milkweed.
On the way back to our car we stopped by a small garden plot to learn more about native wildlife and plants in the Adirondack region.
The next day we decided to climb Noonmark Mountain. Elevation: 3,556 feet; ascent 2,575 feet; 2.5 miles each way. It happened to be one of the hottest days of the summer in the Adirondacks. We packed a lunch and plenty of water to stay hydrated. 
The short distance gave us the impression that Noonmark would be a fairly easy hike. WRONG! It was a steep, challenging climb. We had a few vistas that we hoped were the summit, only to find out we had more to go to get to the top. Several people passed us that didn't make it to the summit, but we kept on hiking. After a few scrambles over rocks we finally made it. No one else was at the top but us. We had a fabulous 360 deg. view of the Adirondack Great Range. 
Related Links
Hiking Mt. Jo 
Noonmark Mountain
My unedited iphone Video of Noonmark 360 view from summit
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.