Ear to the Ground

From the Publisher: May-June 2017

by janem on May 9, 2017

Debbie Eckerson

Debbie Eckerson

Cathy Monrad

Cathy Monrad

There’s always some glitch or another when we’re getting ready to go to press with the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal. This issue was particularly weird, as our email server was down for at least a week leading up to publication. Twenty years ago, we communicated with our advertisers mostly via phone, fax machine and even the U. S. Mail (woah!), but in 2017, email trouble is real trouble. Thank goodness for text messages and cell phones. And thank goodness for Cathy and Debbie, who always make it work.

If you have interacted with the magazine in any way over the past several years, you have probably met, albeit virtually, Cathy Monrad and/or Debbie Eckerson. Since 2008 Debbie has managed our subscriptions, and she’s the one who puts together our magnificent (if I do say so myself), comprehensive calendar of events. Recently Deb has also taken on the duties of managing editor, and she helps with deliveries, too!

Cathy Monrad joined the team in 2012 as graphic designer, but she is much, much more than that. For one thing, Cathy is incredibly crafty, as you can see by her “Crafty Gardener” column in each issue. She is imaginative, organized, and a tireless worker, and our advertisers love her and what she does with their ads. (She’s also helping with deliveries. And sales. And…and…)

A glance at the masthead will show that there are many
people involved with making the UGJ happen, but Cathy and
Deb put the hard work in every day, and I am very grateful
for everything they do.

—Jane Milliman, Publisher


PS) Shameless plug: If you would like to hang out with these two ladies (and who wouldn’t?) come on our annual Ithaca shopping extravaganza June 3. Details are on page 39 and our website, upstategardenersjournal.com. Sign up now—the trip sells out quickly.


From the Publisher: January-February 2017

by janem on February 3, 2017

Hello and thank you for picking up this copy of our 2017 Directory—it marks the start of our twenty-third year in publication.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been focusing on my new role as editor-in-chief at (585) magazine, Rochester’s best culture and lifestyle publication. If you’re unfamiliar, please pick one up.

I’m also pleased to announce that I’m newly the editor of IRISES, the quarterly bulletin of the American Iris Sociey. If you’re into irises, check it out at ais.org.

More news? The Association for Garden Communicators will have its annual conference right here in Buffalo this summer. Our beloved Cornell Plantations has been renamed Cornell Botanic Gardens. And the Rochester Civic Garden Center has a new executive director, Carrie Remis. We are looking forward to everything that 2017 has in store and continuing to bring you the best in upstate gardening news and information.

Please thank our sponsors for making this annual directory possible.

And thank YOU, again, for reading.



Ear to the Ground: November-December 2016

by Megan Frank on November 4, 2016

As the end of outdoor gardening season nears, I like to plan how I’m going to keep my life “green” during the cold winter months. One of my favorite things to do is bring in herbs to continue enjoying them year round – not to mention the warmth of refreshing mint tea when snowflakes are flying. I recently invested in an A-frame plant stand for a more streamlined setup—best decision I’ve made for indoor growing to date. They come in all different heights and widths, number of shelves, and materials. Do you have a favorite or tried-and-true indoor gardening/growing tip? Are you willing to share it with the rest of the UGJ community? Is there a better way to melt away the cold weather blues than keeping the gardener in us aglow? I sure don’t think so! Send your “secret” tips via email to megan@upstategardenersjournal.com or via our Facebook page.

On another note, it wouldn’t be a holiday season without a few gifts for the gardener ideas. There are many out there, but here are my favorites right now:

Garden Clogs—I know gardeners are very divided on the need for such footwear, but I’m all for them. It’s hard not to smile when you slip your bare foot (my preference) into a brightly colored pair for a day in the garden. Easy to rinse, dry, repeat!

Suet Bird Feeders—For me, birds and gardening go hand in hand. I wouldn’t want to sit on my patio, admiring the fruits of my labor, without the sound of birds chirping in the background. Jane (yes, that Jane) introduced me to suet feeders and I haven’t stopped recommending them to others. Also, they’re a great alternative when traditional feeders aren’t allowed.

The Gardeners Collection by Crabtree & Evelyn—I have enjoyed these products since before I had my own garden—thank you, Mom, for the introduction. I will always use the ultra- moisturizing hand therapy, and you can never go wrong with it either. There are a few new products in the line, with the hand primer topping the list for me. Honestly though, I’m sure any gardener would enjoy them all.

Thank you for another great year for us at Upstate Gardeners’ Journal! We look forward to 2017!



Ear to the Ground: September-October 2016

by Megan Frank on September 12, 2016

Last year, I asked our readers to send me some of their home remedies for stink bug control. I was shocked to see just how many people have issues with stink bugs taking up residence where we’d rather they not – or at least that’s the general consensus. As temperatures start to dip, the little critters will begin their search for a warm cushy place to hibernate. Here are some natural ways to keep them from calling your house their own:

Hot pepper spray - Hot peppers kill the stink bugs, when sprayed on them. Make a hot pepper solution by diluting the peppers in water. Spray this solution onto the stink bug, it will burn the exterior of the bug and kill it immediately.

Damp towel – Soak a towel in water and remove the excess water. Now hang the damp towel in the garden. In the morning, you will find it full of stink bugs. Put the towel in soapy water and pour the water in the drain.

Garlic – Garlic has a strong odor and can drive away stink bugs, and many other insects. To make a solution, mix four tablespoons of dry garlic powder in two cups of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it in the garden, near the entrance of your house and other places from where the bugs can enter. Repeat again after every three days, until the bugs disappear.

Mint – To make a solution, mix 2 teaspoons of freshly crushed mint leaves or 10 drops of liquid mint into 2 cups of water. Spray the solution in all the places, where you may find stink bugs.

Always keep the bushes and weeds in your garden trimmed, so the bugs don’t have a place to lay their eggs. Turning lights off at night help to keep them away as they are attracted to light. Hopefully we’ll all see a decline in the population – at least in our homes!

Until next time,


Ear to the Ground: July-August 2016

by Megan Frank on July 8, 2016

This is my favorite time of year: garden fresh produce direct from my backyard! There’s nothing like a homegrown tomato picked fresh and eaten immediately – hopefully mine will be ready soon. Just yesterday the first of my cucumbers were ready to harvest, it felt like my birthday and Christmas rolled all into one. I can imagine others feel as giddy as I about their gardens, and would love to share their plot. My hope is to share garden pictures (sent by you) with our social media community. They don’t have to be anything unusual or out of this world—some of the best ideas are the simplest and can manifest into something you’ve never thought on your own. Let’s latch onto the trend (thank you, Kathy Kepler) and inspire each other through social media posts of our creations!

Please send your garden pictures to megan@upstategardenersjournal.com.


Ear to the Ground: May-June 2016

by cathym on May 18, 2016


Maria Walczak

With this issue, it’s hard not to get nostalgic as our loyal, faithful, wonderful western New York sales representative Maria Walczak begins her journey—quite possibly the best one yet—to retirement. Maria grew the UGJ’s presence in the western New York region from the bottom up. We can’t find the words to adequately thank her for the hard work and dedication she has given to the magazine.

But don’t worry—if you join us on our annual Odyssey to Ithaca tour, you’ll at least get to see her once a year! Maria will continue to be a staple there, and at PLANT WNY’s Plantasia show each spring in Hamburg. We will miss her dearly, but know she will check in regularly—and keep in touch with the friends she has made along the way, too.


Kirstin Lincoln

On a related note, we would like to welcome Kirstin Lincoln, our new western New York sales representative. Kirstin comes to us with more than 20 years of sales experience. She is a lifelong resident of western New York, devoted wife, and mother of two daughters (plus a golden retriever, Mason). Please welcome Kirstin to the UGJ family!


Ear to the Ground: November-December 2014

by janem on November 24, 2014

Lockwood’s Garden Center Celebrates 100th Anniversary

In 1914, Harry Lord Lockwood started farming and selling wholesale vegetables and flowers on 25 acres in Hamburg. Greenhouses were added, and a retail store, until Lockwood’s Garden Center evolved into the family-run destination it is today. The official anniversary is November 1, but the celebration will continue until December 24, when the business closes for the season. For more: weknowplants.com; 716/649-4684.

NYS Nursery & Landscape Association Awards Top Annual Honors at State Fair

The New York State Nursery and Landscape Association (NYSNLA) presented its highest annual awards on August 21, opening day of the New York State Fair. The association named Kim Schichtel its Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional (CNLP) of the Year, awarded the George L. Good Gold Medal of Horticulture to Steven Perry, and inducted Michael Grimm of Lafayette into the NSYNLA Hall of Fame.

Schichtel works for Murray Brothers in Orchard Park, Perry is assistant principal of Agriculture at John Bowne High School in Flushing, and Grimm owns Michael Grimm Services, a landscaping company serving Central New York.

NYSNLA Honorees Grimm, Schichtel, aand Perry

Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension to Relocate

On January 12, Monroe County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension will vacate its Rochester digs and move to a renovated farm house in Seneca Park (at 2449 St Paul Boulevard) near the zoo. No one wants to see CCE leave 249 Highland Ave., but the truth is that the responsibilities of and the funding for Extension have been dwindling for years, and their current facility is underused and in need of expensive maintenance. Rumor has it that once the building is razed, the county hopes to erect a pavilion in its place to rent out for events, but neighbors aren’t so sure about that—should be an interesting one to watch.


Ear to the Ground: From the Publisher

by janem on September 6, 2014

newJanepiciiGoing through the editorial content of this issue, I realized with some dismay that it skews rather heavily toward the Rochester area. This is coincidence, not intentional. We serve the areas surrounding Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester, and want stories from all across the region. We welcome your suggestions—email me at jane@janemilliman.com or Debbie at deb@upstategardenersjournal.com, or call 585-733-8979.

We are always looking for new distribution points, too. Drop us a line!
JaneSig copy


Ear to the Ground (July-August 2014)

by janem on July 1, 2014

newJanepiciiHello, all! Summer is here. Time to kick back and enjoy your gardens—and everyone else’s. Be sure to scour our calendar for more garden walks, tours, and events than you can shake a stick at. Then head out for some inspiration. Don’t forget your camera!

JaneSig copyJaneSig copyJaneSig copy—Jane

New York State Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Designed to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread by engaging citizens in a wide range of activities encouraging them to take action, NYS Invasive Species Week is July 6 – 12, 2014. We’re doing our part by running an article on Japanese knotweed in this issue. Activities are listed by region: nyis.info/blog.

New Forestry Blog

The New York State Urban Forestry Council has a blog called TAKING ROOT, which should be of interest to all who love trees: nysufctakingroot.wordpress.com. Some recent topics include:
• Historic “Great Trees” of NYC Cloned and Returned
• Oaks for Alkaline Soils, Scoop-and-Dump, and other Research at the Urban Hort Institute
• Phenology, Urban Forestry, and Nature’s Notebook
The editor is Michelle Sutton, a regular contributor to these pages. Also, you can subscribe to the Council’s monthly e-newsletter; by sending an email to takingrooteditor@gmail.com.

Process to Restore Martin House Landscape Underway

Bayer Landscape Architecture of Honeoye Falls has been contracted by the Martin House Restoration Corporation to create the Cultural Landscape Report for the Martin House Complex, with the help of Charles Birnbaum, founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, DC.

Mark Bayer, founder and principal of Bayer Landscape Architecture, said, “The importance of the garden at the Martin House Complex is evident, not only in Wright’s layout for the buildings and grounds, but by the mere fact that Darwin Martin’s vision for his estate included space and infrastructure for the gardener right alongside his home and that of his sister. The gardener’s cottage, the greenhouse – these constructions became important to the Martins as they settled into their lives along Jewett Parkway. They signify the value the Martin family placed on the designed landscape and its maintenance.”

Find more details at darwinmartinhouse.org.


Ear to the Ground November-December 2013

by janem on November 13, 2013


Rich Finzer’s article on invasive woody species in the last issue caused quite a stir. One reader questioned whether Mr. Finzer was really talking about Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia, or if he meant autumn olive, E. umbellata. Below, another reader disagrees with two native plants being lumped in with invasive aliens. Keep those letters coming. We love them!


Dear Ms. Milliman,

I have just read the article “Invasive Species” in the September-October 2013 issue. Clearly it was written by someone who manages his land with some environmentally unsound practices, as noted by the interjected editorial comments. One can only imagine how much compaction of the soil and carbon emissions Mr. Finzer has contributed with his pickup truck. He does have some valid points about the invasiveness of alien species and how they have filled the niches of native plants that provide habitat for wildlife. However, while he initially seems to promote biodiversity, he does not discuss replacing these alien species with competitive native plants.

I am bewildered that on his eighty-acre farm, he cannot tolerate the native staghorn sumac, an attractive succession shrub or tree, that provides nourishment for many birds in the dead of winter when few other food sources are available. According to [native plants expert] William Cullina, sumacs are the larval host food of the red-banded hairstreak butterfly. I could not find any references online or in books that state that rabbits consume the fruit and are the primary dispersers of the seeds. Sumacs retain their fuzzy, red fruit throughout winter at the tips of their branches, making them accessible only to birds and climbing mammals. Rabbits mainly gnaw on the bark and nibble off young shoots, so they may actually help curb the spread of sumacs. Mr. Finzer describes the wild grape as a “bane of landowners everywhere” and I do not agree. It too, is a native that is a natural source of food for wildlife and can be controlled without the need for complete eradication. Without the hardy, robust rootstocks of Vitis riparia and other native grapes, viniculture might not be possible in North America.

In my opinion, these two native species should not be lumped into the same category as Japanese honeysuckle, Russian olive, multiflora rose, and giant hogweed. It appears that Mr. Finzer has based his article largely on personal experiences and less on scientific research. I hope that in the future, your publication will improve its refereeing and the content of the information presented to the public.


Judy Bigelow, M.S., D.V.M., Master Gardener CCE Monroe County