After being dominant from Georgia to Maine for thousands of years, this “keynote species” of the Catskills in particular had succumbed to Asian blight in the first decades of the twentieth century. (Asian chestnuts were imported because they produce fatter nuts. These brought blight to which the older, squatter Asian species was – and is – immune.)
Almanac Weekly | Nature
It’s a flirtation of wild asters and jewelweed and bawdy goldenrod. The sky is as blue as the Madonna’s robe and the sun is hot, but wake up early the next morning, and dew has dampened that tablecloth you left on the patio table. The cicadas still thrum in late afternoon, but you notice the songbirds are silent. Silent and gone.
If you’ve been walking, hiking, maybe even raking in your backyard, chances are that you’ve taken in that fetid dead-animal aroma that appears to be wafting over the Hudson Valley. The cause? Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, better known as EHD, is a viral disease that is killing local white-tailed deer.
Spring became summer and as case numbers bobbed along, vacation plans withered. But gardens sprung up, as more homeowners took to fixing their landscapes and outdoor spaces. The mindset became, “If we can’t fly away on vacation, how can we bring that getaway feeling to our home?” Front porches received a fresh coat of paint and a hanging basket or two, while backyard living rooms became an alfresco extension of the home, featuring hardscaped patios with comfortable seating made for socially distant conversation, plus cozy firepits, sleek wetbars, and more. Water features, like garden ponds, waterfalls, or even large-scale babbling brooks further established the summer oasis setting.
Everyone’s outdoor spaces are getting a lot more use this year. With the continuing concerns about the pandemic, most of us are staying closer to home. And we learned pretty quickly that four walls can get claustrophobic.
If you’re looking for a themed garden, or staring at some empty pots you bought at a yard sale or a plot of ground that you’ve been meaning to till and plant, why not start with pollinator-friendly native plants?
Many of the ponds and lakes in the Shawangunks, Catskills and Adirondacks were what was known as “dead lakes” in the decades prior to the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act of 1970 which regulated sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The Mohonk Preserve’s Testimonial Gatehouse Trailhead opened today, May 23, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. This announcement came just days after the Mohonk Preserve had reopened the majority of its trails to the public after shutting down during the height of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Reopening on Wednesday, May 20 are: West Trapps, East Trapps Connector, Spring Farm, and Upper Duck Pond trailheads, as well as the Visitor Center. The Coxing Trailhead remains closed. Mountain climbing and bouldering won’t be permitted at this phase and horse trailer parking won’t be allowed due to limited parking (around 50 percent capacity, depending on the lot). Some parts of the preserve, such as Split Rock, won’t be open, but most trails will be, according to Mohonk Preserve Communication Director Gretchen Reed.
It’s almost over. Venus has been dazzling and delighting us for months now, the best apparition of the evening star since 2004. It’s still amazingly bright in the northwest during the first couple of hours after sunset. It’s hard to believe that this will now change so rapidly.