Do I Throw in the Trowel?

Puddock Hill Journal #14: Multiple Invaders Challenge the Backyard Steward Yesterday evening I went out with the string trimmer and found discouragement. There are so many ways to look at nature. We can take in the lay of the land to understand its underlying geological formations, for example, or we can dig a small hole […]

No Mo’ Mow?

Puddock Hill Journal #13: When No Mow May Bleeds Into July, Further Possibilities Await Imagine a science fiction movie with the following plot. You live a peaceful, pastoral life, comfortable in your surroundings and with plenty of food. But once in a while a giant, spinning, fast-moving blade arrives unexpectedly over the horizon. If you […]

Invasives Are NOT People Too

Puddock Hill Journal #12: What’s so bad about invasive trees, anyway? Earlier this spring, Pam and I went on a horticultural walking tour of a nearby town. The woman leading the tour was knowledgeable, but went off course when someone asked a question about invasive trees. No trees are bad, she said. They are just […]

Honor Your Dead Things

Puddock Hill Journal #11: From Death, Life In a well-balanced ecosystem, the dead things are nearly as important as the living. By dead, I don’t mean the seemingly inert geological components, although those are significant, too. I mean once-living things that have expired: animals and plants, of course, but also at times their component parts. […]

Join Nature’s War of Attrition

Puddock Hill Journal #10: Battling Invasives While Helping Natives The plants in every ecosystem are constantly at war, and it’s a war of attrition. I find it helpful to consider this simple observation when figuring out how best to battle invasive species and promote natives. Nothing in nature is static. Until about 800 million years […]

The Angels’ Share

Puddock Hill Journal #9: Nature Takes Its Toll A small natural tragedy befell us this week at Puddock Hill. While string trimming around newly planted trees on the big pond slope, the guys discovered that a pair of four-foot-tall dogwoods had been severed at their trunks two inches off the ground. We planted these trees […]

Good Fences Make Good Natives

Puddock Hill Journal #8: Deer Fences and Consequences A couple months ago, I came across an article published by the Yale School of the Environment on “How the Boom in Fences Is Harming Wildlife.” While the article focused mostly on expansive fences disrupting large landscapes such as the desert at our southern border, the Mongolian […]

A Judicious War on Invasives

Puddock Hill Journal #7: Backyard Stewardship Is a Group Effort Life is a group effort. I am reminded of that fact whenever I cast my gaze around Puddock Hill. This time of year, when I sit writing on the front porch on sunny afternoons I see painted turtles gathered by the dozen to bask on […]

For Peat’s Sake

Puddock Hill Journal – Entry #6: Top 3 Reasons to Avoid Peat Moss Sometimes backyard stewardship requires us to consider the impacts our decisions have beyond our immediate environs and even beyond our region. The common soil amendment peat moss presents one such case. As part of an extensive patio renovation, we recently built some […]

A Garden in Service to Nature

Puddock Hill Journal – Entry #5: A Modern Ethic for Backyard Gardens Sometimes I think everything you need to know about humanity is contained in the phrase “ecosystem services.” This is the term of art we humans invented to describe how a given biome—a forest, a wetland, a meadow, etc.—contributes something of benefit to…well, to […]