Blog :: 05-2016

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find posts about can't miss properties, local events, and more! Here at Maple and Main Realty we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the Northampton area. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us

Taking Care of Spring Bulbs

When spring sprung this year, I actually went online to research when and how to prune, fertilize, sod and care for the many plants in our garden. I was encouraged because last year when I followed instructions about how to care for my (dying) rose bush, I was actually able to bring it back from the dead and coax a bunch of flowers from it! This year, my garden has been growing well. Our bulbs seem to have gotten a late start, but they are hanging around for longer than usual. It's exciting to see them come up, and to think about what and where we will add new ones in the fall.

As a fledgling gardener (I can hardly call myself a gardener, to be honest), I was excited to read this piece in today's Daily Hampshire Gazette, about aftercare for spring bulbs. The article concludes with a list of interesting plant-related events happening in the Northampton area this month.

And, speaking of plant-related events in the Pioneer Valley! Don't miss the Asparagus Festival this Saturday, June 4th from 10-6 at the Hadley Town Common!

Here is today's article from the Gazette:

Mickey Rathbun: Aftercare for Spring Bulbs

The lovely season of spring-blooming bulbs has come to a close in my garden, leaving straggling drifts of lanky foliage. It’s easy to forget the weeks of delight the bulbs provided now that they’ve passed.

But resist the urge to cut back the foliage, even though it’s unsightly. The remaining leaves serve a vital function to the plant by restoring energy to the bulb by producing carbohydrates through photosynthesis. Without this, the bulb will not have the necessary nourishment to produce flowers the following year.

Leave the foliage until it turns yellow and dies back, a process that can take six weeks or longer. Some fastidious gardeners try to improve the leaves’ appearance by tying them or braiding them together, but this decreases the leaves’ ability to photosynthesize. So save yourself the bother and leave them alone.

If the dying foliage is making an eyesore in a visible part of the garden, you can hide it by strategic planting of annuals. Bulbs of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are deep enough below the surface that you can put in annuals without disturbing them.

You can also interplant bulbs with perennials like hosta and epimedium that leaf out as the bulbs are recharging.


To maximize the bulbs’ ability to send out next year’s blooms, it’s a good idea to snip flowers as soon as they have wilted. This prevents the bulbs from wasting energy on producing seed. Leave as much stalk as possible to promote photosynthesis. With spent hyacinths, run your hand along the stalk to remove the dead flowers instead of cutting the whole stalk.

If you want smaller bulbs such as scilla, muscari and galanthus to spread by self-seeding, don’t deadhead them. (Who has the time and patience to deadhead these plants, anyway?)

When you are finally able to get rid of the dreary yellow remains, cut them close to the ground. Don’t pull them out or you will risk damaging the bulb. After all you’ve done to nurture the bulb, you don’t want that to happen!

The bulbs don’t need to be watered unless you have an unusually dry spell. In the fall, apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 10-15-10. Those numbers indicate the levels of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium in the fertilizer.

Do not use a high-nitrogen fertilizer (the first number); nitrogen stimulates vegetative growth, which you don’t want at that time of year. A few inches of compost is also a welcome addition.

Every few years you might want to divide your bulbs if you notice that the flowers are getting smaller and the stalks shorter. Wait till the foliage has died, then carefully dig out the bulbs. You will find that the original bulb has multiplied into many smaller ones. You can replant these right away or you can clean them off and dry them and set them aside in a single layer in a cool, dry, airy space and wait until fall to plant them.

After a long, cold winter, spring bulbs are an invaluable lift to our spirits. It’s worth taking care of them now so they’ll be back the next year, when we’ll be aching again for colorful new life in the garden.

FRAGRANT PLANTS THAT DELIGHT
We focus so much attention on the visual appearance of plants. But what about their scents? Join noted plantsman Andy Brand at Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge on June 4 from 1 to 3 p.m., for an exploration of ornamental woody plants and perennials that offer more than just visual appeal to our gardens.

The plants highlighted in this lecture have exceptional fragrances that warrant a special place in the garden where they can be fully enjoyed — near an entryway, alongside a terrace or deck, or along a woodland path.

Participants will learn how to make their gardens feasts for all of the senses.

For over two decades, Brand has been nursery manager for Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, Connecticut, known for its rare and unusual woody plants. He is the former president of the American Rhododendron Society, past president of the Connecticut Butterfly Association, past President of Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA), and received the Young Nursery Professional Award from the New England Nursery Association.

He is an amateur naturalist with a strong interest in native plants and attracting wildlife to yards.

The fee for members is $15; nonmembers, $20

WILDFLOWERS ON THEHOLYOKE RANGE
Woodland wildflowers are everywhere, but so often we don’t really see them. Gain a better appreciation of spring wildflowers by taking a guided tour of wildflowers at the base of the Holyoke Range on June 4 from 9 until 11 a.m. The Kestrel Trust has organized the tour, to be led by Karen Searcy, University of Massachusetts professor and botanist. RSVP for meeting location to: office@kestreltrust.org.

TOVAH MARTIN IN GREENFIELD
Celebrated garden writer Tovah Martin will give a lecture and workshop on making terrariums at the Brandt House, 29 Highland Ave. in Greenfield on June 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Greenfield Garden Club.

If you’d like to participate in the workshop, bring a glass terrarium and adornments. All other materials will be provided.

The lecture and workshop is $50; lecture only: $25.

For information and tickets, contact Jean Wall at 773-9069, or jeanwall1313@gmail.com.

SUNDERLAND CHURCH PLANT SALE
The Sunderland Congregational Church is having its annual plant and bake sale on June 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The sale will include annuals, perennials, and some small trees and bushes. The sale is to benefit the church, located at the corner of Routes 47 and 116. There will be parking at the rear of the church buildings.

Mickey Rathbun can be reached at foxglover8@gmail.com.
 

 

Big Changes Afoot at the Dog Park in Northampton!

It's a sad turn of events for the thousands of Northampton dog owners who rely on the "dog park" as an open space to their dogs to run and play. The following article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette suggests that if the new, more stringent plan for the Smith Farm Fields is approved by the state, dog owners would be required to keep their dogs on a leash at all times while using the property for recreational purposes.

As a Northampton citizen who lives near the "dog park" and uses it almost daily to get my dog the exercise she needs, I am disheartened by this news. Luckily, we live in the beautiful Pioneer Valley, where there are numerous other conservation areas with lovely hikes to enjoy. Still, the convenience of having this wonderful resource in the heart of our city has been such a plus. As any dog owner with an energetic, but friendly dog, can tell you -- an on leash walk just doesn't compare to being able to run free and play with other dogs. The joy they experience is infectious, and in turn brings joy to those of us who consider them a part of our families. It has helped me broaden my community as well.

Smith School trustees back leashed dogs at ‘dog park’

By STEPHANIE MURRAY
StephMurr_Jour

Daily Hampshire Gazette

NORTHAMPTON — Dog owners visiting Smith Farm Fields, popularly referred to as the “dog park,” would be required to keep their pets on leashes if the state approves the recommendation by the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School board of trustees.


Tuesday evening’s vote prompted some 30 people, many of whom spoke in favor of allowing dogs to continue roaming freely, to leave the meeting abruptly.

A revised land-use plan, which includes the policy requiring dogs to remain leashed, now goes to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, the agency that regulates the use of the property.

The 282-acre wooded property off Burts Pit Road is owned by the state, leased by the city and run by the school. For years, people have used it for activities currently not permitted under the state law governing the land, including dog walking.

A previous plan put forth by the board of trustees would have allowed “passive recreation,” including off-leash dog walking, to continue, according to Superintendent Jeffrey Peterson.

“It allowed virtually everything to happen,” Peterson said. “It was denied by the state” in October 2015 because it lacked structure.

The board of trustees presented its new, stricter plan Tuesday night.

According to Chairman Michael T. Cahillane, the land-use plan was drafted with the best interests of the school in mind, but it was not meant to upset community members who use the land for recreational purposes.

“This is not cast in stone, but we have to start somewhere,” said Cahillane, “Tonight is the start of a process.”

Changes in policy
The new plan states that organized groups holding events on the grounds, such as the Smith College cross country team, must submit a request form as they do when using other school facilities.

A no-trespassing order will be established to give the school “recourse” if an individual maintains unacceptable behavior, the plan states.

Dogs must be leashed and “under full control of their owner,” according to the plan. The plan predicts “recurring dog issues” will be reduced by leashes. The article was amended to add that dog owners must remove all dog waste from the grounds.

“Most dog owners still allow their animals to run off leash and although some owners have organized a committee to help clean up after their animals, clearly most owners do not,” the plan states.

Signs will be maintained throughout the property to educate the public on the school’s policies, and the school will maintain “best management practices” to show the public the primary purpose of the land is to educate students.

“In the past Smith Vocational had admittedly reduced its farming activity which gave large sections of the property the (appearance) that it had been abandoned,” the plan states. “SVAHS is now again managing the entire property.”

The plan also gives the school the authority to close the parking lot in “emergency situations” after consulting with the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, the mayor’s office and the Northampton Police Department.

An article regarding police enforcement was removed from the plan at the suggestion of Mayor David J. Narkewicz. He explained the suggested “weekly drive through” by Northampton Police and the city’s animal control department was “not legally feasible” because police cannot enforce school policies.

Police can, however, intervene in the event of a dog bite, a lost dog, or trespassing.

Community divided
The meeting was attended by approximately 50 people. About a dozen community members spoke for and against allowing dogs to roam off-leash at Smith Farm Fields.

John Schieffelin, 79, told the audience that walking his dog Dulce without a leash keeps them both healthy and happy. They visit the park six or seven days a week, he said, and Dulce “has a ball” playing with fellow dogs.

“We have this woodsy, open, natural place … This is a jewel in our city,” Schieffelin said.

Other speakers echoed Schieffelin, saying walking a dog off-leash is good exercise because the dogs do not “stop and sniff” as frequently and dogs can socialize more naturally without a leash. Many added that visiting the property regularly has fostered friendships among fellow dog owners and community members.

But free-roaming dogs pose a problem for others, such as Sue Grant, who runs a weekly race at Smith Farm Fields on Tuesday evenings.

“Fewer and fewer people are courageous enough to run on their own,” Grant said.

According to Grant, dogs jump on runners and discourage them from using the park. She said a leash law should be posted and enforced to keep dogs under control.