-- Louise Polli
For months we've been telling you about the new place to be at Landis - the beautifully renovated Meeting House.
Looking up at the Meeting House Even the view has had a facelift, inside and out, with glass everywhere and a spacious deck that beckons you outside. There's not a bad seat in the house either, as many music lovers discovered during our "Live at Landis" concert series. And for at least two couples and their guests this summer, love was in the Meeting House, or the air, or all over Landis.
Weddings are not new to Landis.
Fred Breglia, our executive director, and his wife, Arboretum gardener Erin Breglia, were married at the Great Oak. Enthusiastic runners Ed and Roxanne Gillen took to the hills, literally, as they became husband and wife at the Arboretum they had grown to love.
But this summer's couples had the opportunity to choose the Meeting House to celebrate their marriage. The building has retained the rustic charm that is so much a part of Landis, but with "amenities." And the price of a wedding at Landis, view included, is still one of the Capital region's best bargains.
If you are planning a wedding, any celebratory event, or even a business meeting or retreat, please consider the Landis Arboretum. Additional information is available on our website (www.landisarboretum.org
) or by phoning (518) 875-6935. Personal consultations are strongly encouraged. We can customize your arrangements and work cooperatively with you on the details so important to the success of your event.
We haven't booked a snowshoe wedding yet, but who knows what the future holds?
A SERIES ABOUT THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PLANTS AT THE ARBORETUM-- Nolan Marciniec
Louis Suarato is a man who is taken by the wonders of nature, be they light-years away or right in his backyard.
Lou relocated to the Capital District in 1995, leaving behind a Wall Street career. Working in financial services in the Albany area in the late '90s and attending Russell Sage, he needed a few science credits to complete a degree in business administration. His childhood interest in the stars led him to take an astronomy course with Dr. George Tucker, whom Lou credits with opening his eyes to the wonders of the natural world.
His passion for astronomy only increased when his sister gave him a subscription to SLOOH
, an astronomy website that allows subscribers to use the site's professional telescopes to view celestial events. Lou went on to be the developmental director for another astronomy website, Astronomy FM. He considered the service so valuable that under a blue moon on a bitterly cold New Year's Eve in Saratoga Springs, Lou and his wife, Ann Marie, held a bake sale to raise money for the website.
Lou bought his first "real" telescope in 2009. In conjunction with the Dudley Observatory, he set it up at SPAC during the Philadelphia Orchestra's performance of Gustav Holtz's "The Planets." More than 300 concertgoers lined up to look at the planet Jupiter. To prepare for the Saratoga event, he attended the Albany Area Amateur Astronomer's Public Star Party at the Landis Arboretum. He arrived early, hiking some of the trails, and marveled at the views of the Schoharie Valley.
One of Lou's favorite Landis night skyscapes
He continued to attend the star parties at Landis as a member of AAAA. The association encourages its members to give back to the Arboretum, and Lou became a volunteer at plant sales, his wife at the bake sales. His commitment was such that, when Anne Donnelly, then interim director, approached him about joining the Board, he agreed, taking office in 2011.
At this point, Lou has retired from financial services to focus his attention on non-profit organizations that advocate the preservation of the natural world. He served for two years on the Board of the Dudley Observatory. He currently serves not only on the Arboretum's Board, but also the Board of the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy.
There are many "cosmic" moments in the dark skies of Landis that Lou treasures: showing his sister from the NYC region the Milky Way; last year's Geminids, at which he counted 75 meteorites in a two-hour period; and a Perseids shower to the accompaniment of a chorus of coyotes.
Lou's other avocation is photography - often stunning photos of celestial events, but also photos celebrating the beauty of nature closer to home, frequently taken at Landis. Lou's photos can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos.lsuarto/
Shared on social media sites, Lou's photos have been very popular, but he believes that they are no substitute for the real thing. "A lot of people don't have access to the outdoors . . . The Arboretum is a great place to experience nature. Right now, I'm looking at a hummingbird in the roses," he said during our interview. "I didn't have to work at that." More than 500 people have "liked" our Facebook page; Lou would like them to visit in person. "But not too many people," he added. "The peacefulness is nice too."
But he would encourage people to attend a Star Party. Or to hike the trails. Or to attend a plant sale. Or to volunteer. "Every time you volunteer, you help people appreciate nature," he said. And nature, both far away or close at hand, calls out to be noticed, protected, and cherished.
Landis means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It is the old growth forest and the collections of trees. It is the events and classes held throughout the year. It is also possibly the best venue to hear the greatest music in the area - in one of the most attractive settings. To sum up: Landis is a renaissance man's dream.
Landis founder Fred Lape was himself a renaissance man. He was a writer, a linguist, a botanist, and a musician. Lape had a love affair with the arts. He welcomed artists to what was then his home and is now the Farmhouse.
And today? Arboreta were originally established to showcase groupings of plants in a museum-like setting. Although this is still true today, the trend is for arboreta to diversify their offerings in order to attract more people and, of course, more revenue. This trend has enabled Landis not only to survive hard economic times but also to thrive.
After a long hard day of planning and planting at what would become the Arboretum, Lape was known for playing the piano for friends and neighbors, often at the local "honky-tonks." He was also a serious musician, and fellow musicians played chamber works in the Farmhouse.
Today, these musical events are held in the newly renovated Meeting House, thanks to an Arts and Entertainment Committee headed by Sam and Noel Bates and Jim Paley and his wife, Wendy Kass. This double-couple powerhouse has been instrumental in bringing contemporary musicians and groups to Landis.
In addition to the "Live at Landis" music series, the renovated Meeting House has been the site for several weddings and conferences. Next year's plans include reclaiming the Meeting House pond, landscaping, and adding a gazebo. Landis also hopes to expand its work force beyond the formidable group of Arboretum volunteers in order to maintain our existing collections and buildings - and to add new trails to our current 8-mile system.
Always a site for inspiration, Landis, rooted in the past, continues to grow into the future.
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Now that the cold season is on its way, it's an opportune time to make an immune-boosting tincture using Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower. This tincture is not a cure, but rather a support for the immune system at the onset of the cold and flu season.
You will have the best success by digging out an established plant - at least three years old - that has already begun the dying back process. The natural cycle of dying back indicates that the nutrient and medicinal benefits are gathering in the plant's root system.
Under warm running water, rinse the soil off the roots. Make sure that all the nooks and crannies are clean.
Chop the roots into small pieces.
Fill a sterile glass jar halfway with chopped Echinacea root. Then fill the jar with 100-proof (or higher) vodka. Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top.
Seal the jar and place it in a dark place. Shake the jar every day for about four weeks. Use a clean cheesecloth and strain the liquid.
Take one teaspoon a day for no longer than two weeks. You may resume the dosage after two weeks.
-- Erin Breglia, Landis Gardener
Autumn is perhaps my favorite time in the garden, especially in the Arboretum's VanLoveland Perennial Garden. The heat of the day is less aggressive, and there seems to be more time to appreciate the blooms of Anemone 'Honorine Jobert,' or the asters or the colchicums. Monarch butterflies frequently pass through en route to winter in Mexico, pausing to feast on the nectar of late-blooming perennials, fluttering their wings. Sun and clouds seem balanced, as do wind and rain and, of course, the colors of the palette of changing leaves at our Arboretum are captivating.
In fall, the perennial beds show signs of "dying back," turning yellow from green as nutrients are pulled down into the plants' root systems for storage over the winter. Eventually, the leaves will turn a crispy brown and die. All of this plant material can safely be cut back at the yellowing stage, but make sure to leave about 4 to 6 inches of "live growth" above the ground. Any weeds or leaves in the crown of the plant should be removed in order to prevent rotting.
This time of year gives gardeners an opportunity to really get ahead on weeding the garden. Weeds become less vigorous and much easier to control. Pull as many weeds as you can, so when spring and summer come, you can enjoy your garden blooms without weeds to distract you! Using a trowel or similar tool to dig out the weed with its roots intact is the best way to eradiate it. If the soil is too dense and the roots keep breaking off, you need to add compost and amend it in layers. I like to add a layer of basic compost and then cover that completely with straw. By next spring, the soil will be noticeably easier to work and will have more aeration and drainage.
Many gardeners like to put leaves in their gardens and let them break down over the winter. Instead, I would encourage you to put your leaves in the compost pile and allow them to break down first:this is a safer gardening practice. Compost piles heat up naturally and "cook" most pathogens in the plant material. Leaves and plant materials for roses, peonies, and tomatoes should be thrown out rather than composted because their diseases are readily reintroduced - and can spread to other plants in your garden.
Fall is also an opportunity to plant bulbs. My husband is fond of tossing the bulbs and planting them wherever they land, creating a naturalistic effect. Of course, we always forget where we plant them. When they come up in the spring, we welcome both their beauty and their unexpectedness.
Another bulb-planting tip is one that I've been implementing at Landis. I plant a circle of the same flowering bulb at the end of the mulch ring around a tree. Then, in front of it, a second ring of a smaller flower. For example, a ring of yellow daffodils with a ring of miniature purple hyacinth in front of it. Planting one color per variety doubles the effect.
If you avoid planting bulbs because animals dig them up, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the surface of the ground. Any spicy pepper seems to work: I've tried Cajun rub and Mexican seasoning too. Just make sure you can see it on the surface and reapply it right after it rains!
Invest the time in your garden during this most lovely time of year, and it'll pay dividends in the spring!
-- Lee Lattimer
Autumn begins, and our thoughts turn to getting the snow blower serviced or sharpening the skates. High on many people's list is cleaning the bird feeder and laying up supplies. Much joy can be had by watching birds at the feeder in winter. As you benefit the birds, you benefit yourself.
To get started, a simple feeder is all that is required. You can make one yourself using odds and ends, or buy one ready-made. Tubular feeders are popular, as they conserve seed, handle most types of weather, and come in small versions for thistle and larger ones for sunflower seeds or seed mix. Clear plastic feeders make it easy to determine when refilling is necessary. Whichever feeder you use, proper placement of the feeder is vital. To keep squirrels and chipmunks away, place the feeder on a metal pole at least 6 feet away from any trees or buildings. Try greasing the pole with petroleum jelly if the little critters still get at it. Inspect and clean the feeders often.
Choosing which type of feed to use depends on which types of birds you wish to attract. Thistle (also known as niger) seed attracts smaller birds such as goldfinches. It is, however, relatively expensive. Black oil sunflower seeds attract more species, and most can crack them open. If you use these seeds in quantity, you'll note large husk piles under the feeder in the spring. Clean up the piles and dispose of them in the garbage instead of your compost since they contain a substance that inhibits plant growth. Seed mix ingredients vary, but most contain some combination of millet, canary seed, rape seed, and sorghum. Read the ingredients before buying and avoid bags that contain such items asgolden millet, red millet, and flax. These seeds are used as fillers, and most birds shun them. Suet cakes are easily found in stores (or make your own) and add the nutritional value of the solid fat. Cracked corn is popular with the birds, but use it in small amounts during wet weather as it spoils easily. Since birds don't have teeth, grit aids digestion. Occasionally mix small amounts of coarse sand or crushed oyster shells into the feed for this purpose.
Once you have selected the feeder and seed type, hopefully you will soon notice results. If not, to attract birds to a new feeder, get their attention by putting out pieces of white bread. Don't use bread continually, however, since it's not as nutritious. Once you begin, be sure to keep the feeder filled throughout the winter season. Of course you could continue year round, but if you do stop, be sure to wait until 2 or 3 weeks after the usual time of the last snowfall.
Enjoy your new hobby. Perhaps keep a journal of what species are seen and when. But remember your primary purpose for setting up the feeder - it's for the birds!
The day was perfect, the crowd was great, the results are in! Click here
to download them! Click here
to view some race photos on our Flickr page (we'll post more as they come in). Click below for a short race video.
Autumn is the perfect time for planting, and the Arboretum's Fall Plant, Book, and Bake Sale offers, as always, a wide assortment of out-of-the-ordinary trees, shrubs, and perennials - as well as an impressive selection of books and baked goods.
Again this year, the plant sale begins with a Members-Only Pick of the Pots (POPs) sale on Friday - this year, from 4 pm to 7 pm (we noticed last year that you can't write tickets in the dark, and it is DARK by 8 o'clock in the fall!) If you are not yet a member, don't worry! We can help you join at the gate.
This year, we're adding some special events on Saturday, September 14
, to celebrate the harvest. Space is limited, so register early! INTRODUCTION TO WINEMAKING 11 am - 12:30 pm
Instructor: Ed Radle
Location: Meeting House
Members: $5 / person. Non-members: $10 / person.
This workshop will discuss converting sugars into alcohol, the various sources of these sugars, and the parameters that the home vintner can manipulate to make a beverage to his or her liking. Some of the joy and, alas, some of the challenge of making wine from many types of base stocks - grapes, plums, apples, rhubarb, honey, etc. - is to grow or produce your own. Emphasis in this class will be on making wine from grapes, although the options for fermentation also include beer, liquor, some cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and vinegar for those (hopefully, rare) batches of wine that don't meet your standards.
A Master Gardener with a background in both chemical engineering and marine biology, Ed has been making beer and wine and other fermented foods for nearly fifty years. PUTTING FOOD BY: THE ABC's OF CANNING1 - 2:30 p.m.
Instructor: Colleen Rasmussen
Location: Meeting House
Members: $5 / person; Non-members: $10 / person.
Canning food is a time-tested way of preserving your harvest. Learn to can foods without any special equipment. We'll discuss how to select and prepare food for canning, how to properly fill jars and fit lids, and how to process foods safely and with delicious results. We'll also learn how to cool and store canned foods. Add some decorative touches, and what could make a better holiday gift?
Colleen Rasmussen is a certified Viniyoga instructor who operates Simply Yoga in Gloversville. She sits on the Health and Nutrition Committee for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery counties. This workshop is one element of her popular series on food preservation at Mohawk Harvest Food Co-operative.HERBAL FIRST AID KIT: WINTER HERBS3 - 4:30 pm
Instructor: Barbara Neznek
Location: Meeting House
Members: $5 / person; Non-members: $10 / person.
This workshop will instruct participants in the uses of native herbs to keep the immune system healthy and treat wintertime ailments such as colds, flu, and sore throats. The discussion will focus on the use and preservation of native herbs found at the Arboretum, dependent on what is growing at the time. We will make elderberry syrup and the participants will take a bottle home.
Barbara Neznek, the founder of Willow Tree Wisdom, is a master herbalist and a shamanic practitioner who uses herbs she has grown to treat clients who suffer from either physical or spiritual disease. She holds a BA in psychology. REGISTRATION:
To register, call 518-875-6935
with your credit card handy, or register online at www.landisarboretum.org
using PayPal (small processing fee). Need more information? Email us at email@example.com
or phone (518) 875-6935
A new photo contest session begins September 1, and there is still time to submit a photo for the June 1 - August 31 period. We know that many of you are hiding your photographic talents under a bushel - we see you at the Arb, capturing wonderful images of creatures, trees, flowers - all the things that make Landis special. We started this contest for two reasons. First, we wanted to recognize the talent of our visitors, and second, we wanted to encourage sharing of the images you capture.
When you submit your photographs to the contest,we'll post them on our Flickr page; we'll also use them in our Newsletter, and to promote the Arb in various ways.
There will be winners in each session of the contest who will receive prizes, as well. So, stop being so shy - show us what you've done. We would love to see, and we know others would as well!
First Session Winner by Ernst Hipp
First Session Runner Up by Lee Lattimer
1. Photo must be taken at the Arb during one of the contest date ranges:
- June 1 - August 31,
- September 1 - November 30, or
- December 1 - April 30)
2. One submission per photographer for each date range.
3. All are eligible except members of the judging panel. Photographers younger than 18 must submit in collaboration with a parent or guardian.
4. All photos must be submitted digitally in jpeg RGB format (file size approximately 500 Kb to 1 Mb) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you are unsure of how to determine file size and format or make a digital submission, please contact us for assistance!
5. The email submission must include:
a.) name, address, email address, phone number at which you can be reached, and if under 18, photographer's age and parent's name and contact information
b.) date and the location within the Arboretum where the photo was taken; and if desired, a 50 word or less description (optional).
6. The panel of judges will select first, second, and third place winners in each date range. Winning entries will be published with your byline on our website, Facebook and Flickr pages, and for promotion, publicity, fundraising, and other purposes.
7. First place winners in each contest date range will receive two tickets to an upcoming Landis Event: Rite of Spring or Wine Tasting. Winners will be recognized at the event.
8. Winners will be expected to provide their original larger files on CD, for printing. Photographers agree to let the Arboretum use both their photograph(s) and their name in Arboretum publications (print and online). Entrants also retain rights to their photos.
Questions regarding the photo contest should be sent to : email@example.com
The quarterly Landis Arboretum Newsletter publishes articles of interest of its members. These articles typically deal with horticulture, the environment, events, and Arboretum volunteers, but we have also, on occasion, published creative writing and reviews of relevant books or films.
Articles should be no more than 500- 750 words in length and submitted by email as a Word document to Communication Committee Chair Nolan Marciniec (firstname.lastname@example.org
It's important for writers to know that their manuscripts will be edited for length and clarity. Writers will see an edited version and will be able to respond to those changes. We do not pay for submissions.
If selected, articles will appear in the newsletter, as part of a Constant Contact mailing, or on our website or Facebook page.