Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Invite the Natives to Return to Your Garden

Posted in gardening, sustainability, useful information tagged , , , , , , at 7:58 pm by Elaine Petrowski

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The native plants, that is.

” Invite nature and beauty into your landscape with native plants. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Fall Native Plant Sale is filled with a premier selection of over 200 species of nursery-propagated native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, vines and ferns native to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delaware Valley Region. The Fall Native Plant Sale will be held at the Visitor Center area of the Preserve on Saturdays and Sundays, September 12 and 13, and September 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.”

Natives, which here in the Northeast include azalea, viburnum, redbud, holly, river birch, dogwood, clethera, bearberry, pasture roses, honeysuckle, clematis, iris, bee balm, cardinal flower, black-eyed Susans and many, many more:

  1. are beautiful.
  2. survive on available water, once they are established.
  3. don’t usually run rampant.
  4. invite indigenous wildlife to your yard.
  5. nurture  the native birds, butterflies, moths and bees.

Talk about sustainability.

FYI: Bowman’s Hill runs this fundraiser twice a year, to support their efforts at education and propagation.  So if you live in the area, plan a trip for this weekend or next.

Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

Sunny and indomitable, Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

If you don’t live nearby, why not look up native plant sources for your area?  Here are a few I found:

Agrecol in the Midwest, sells $2 packets of native flowers and grasses.

There’s a big list of suppliers for a big state like Texas native plants.

Michigan natives abound.

Don’t be shy. Leave a note (see “comments”) or email a photo to write4@att.net  about a favorite native that grows in your garden. If you don’t have a garden, just tell us about a favorite native from your home state or country.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Last FREE Weekend at National Parks This Summer

Posted in fun, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , , , , at 10:30 am by Elaine Petrowski

Looking for something family and budget-friendly to do this weekend? National Parks across the nation are  once again offering FREE  admission on August 15 and 16. This is your last chance to take advantage of the fee-free weekend program this summer.

“The entrance fees being waived at the 147 sites that usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25.( The 244 other parks do not charge entrance fees.) The waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.”

For full story click HERE.

Look for a park HERE.  If you drill down on this page, you can find specials that save even more money at some of the parks.

Amtrak makes the point that some of the parks ( in NYC, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Arlington, VA) are even accessible by train.  Click here for a list of the parks you can reach via train.

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Morristown National Park

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Posted in fun, Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , at 5:45 am by Elaine Petrowski

by LIz Noffsinger from www.freedigitalimages.com

by LIz Noffsinger from http://www.freedigitalimages.com

Here’s a link to a terrific little video with some gorgeous photos of our country. ( It opens with a shot of  the Arizona Memorial, in Pearl Harbor, near Honolulu, HI, which is as solemn, moving, eerie and haunting a place as you will ever visit. Just seeing the photo produces a lump in my throat.)

The background music is “America, The Beautiful”, which, if I had my way, would be our national anthem.

Though I’m not sure how it sits with Native Americans — when you read all the words, and not just the verses we sang in school — I’d much rather we’d be known around the world for “amber waves of grain, purple mountain’s majesty, fruited plains and brotherhood, (though just plain personhood would be nice to acknowledge. But that’s yet another post!)  then for “rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air.”

On the 4th, we’ll be waving at friends who are marching in the parade here in Ridgewood, NJ and then reconnecting with other dear old friends at the July 4 bash they’ve hosted for more than thirty years.

And, there’s no RAIN in the forecast. Perfect.

What are YOU doing for the 4th? (Leave a comment, below so I know someone’s out there.)

Enjoy the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

National Parks are FREE This Weekend 6/20 and 6/21

Posted in fun, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , at 3:22 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Just in time to celebrate the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, and in an effort to provide an affordable getaway for families, the National Park Service is offering fee-free access to

See the wild ponies that roam Assateague Island for FREE this weekend.

See the wild ponies that roam Assateague Island for FREE this weekend.

parks across the nation,  from Hyde Park and Sagamore Hill in the New York area, to Assateague Island in Maryland, Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) in Baltimore,  Big Bend in Texas, and Shenandoah, about 75 miles from DC. And even more than that:

“The entrance fees being waived at the 147 sites that usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25. The 244 other parks do not charge entrance fees. The waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.”

This is the first of three fee-free weekends this summer. The others are July 18-19 and August 15-16.

For full story click HERE.

Hey, who can complain about that?

Look for a park HERE.  If you drill down on this page, you can find specials that save even more money at some of the parks.

Do come back and comment if you go.

Let’s see… how long does it take to get to … and where did I put those watercolors?