Monarch Chrysalis and Hummingbird Hawk Moth

This was in Connecticut at my son’s home. Unfortunately, it disappeared before he could put it in a jar.

Photo was taken in mid-September 2017. It was on the deck railing.

The next [two] pictures were taken this summer while I was cleaning out the mugho pines.

Submitted by Fay Danielsen

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MOSS MANSION MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

The Moss Mansion was home to members of the prominent Billings family for eighty years. Many changes have come to the property since its development in 1903, and it is as glorious as ever in the new millennium thanks to skilled and generous Master Gardeners.

Among the many features are ten gardens, several ‘vintage’ cottonwoods, an elderly Russian Olive, two giant spruces, a variety of crabapple, ash and other smaller trees, expansive lawn areas and a large cedar hedge. The patio and pavilion area at the back of the property features modern brick walks and patios, stone and wood benches, overflowing flower pots in season and a large pergola festooned with Virginia Creeper. You can find lilac bushes, hydrangeas, roses, and a glorious maple that flames red-orange in the fall.

Each spring, summer and fall smiling teams of Master Gardeners gather to carefully prune, plant, feed, and clean every corner of the property under the direction of current Staff Groundskeeper Linda Brewer and long-time Board of Directors Representative Stacey Jacobs. Donations from local businesses and other generous donors keep the garden shed on site well-stocked and the beds bright with color and texture. Thousands of visitors from near and far enjoy leisurely strolls, excellent photo opportunities, and unique weddings and other events among the vibrant, healthy trees and flowers – all thanks to Yellowstone County Master Gardeners!

With the huge variety of trees, perennials, and annuals to care for our board and staff is blessed and honored to have had the knowledgeable guidance and assistance of the Montana State University Extension and Yellowstone County Master Gardeners for years since the house became a museum. Without the support of Master Gardeners, the Billings Preservation Society would not be able to maintain the house and grounds. Since 1986 millions of dollars have gone into the preservation and operation of the stately mansion, and all of those dollars come from tours, fundraisers, events and rentals, small one-time grants, and generous donors. No permanent federal or state funds are available to operate or preserve the museum, and there are no private partners who provide permanent funding.

Learn more about the Moss Mansion, our mission, and other volunteer and educational opportunities on a tour or at mossmansion.com and on Facebook.

Submitted by Corinna Sinclair

 

Moss Mansion Christmas Party

On December 4th, the Yellowstone County Master Gardeners had the best Christmas Party ever, with 70 in attendance. The Moss Mansion was beautiful with the “Montana Christmas” themed Christmas trees decorated in each room.

Special thanks to Sharon W. for putting together the upstairs hors d’oeuvre(and Chris S. for hosting), scrumptious dinner of prime rib, ham, turkey, baked potatoes, green beans, salad, veggies, wine and a delicious selection of cheesecakes for dessert.

The present exchange turned out to be a bit of a challenge as our usual large, upstairs room was occupied, but adjustments were made. We made our circle of about 30, around downstairs tables, and with a new ‘left and right game’ the presents found their recipients.

A huge shout out to Teresa and Russ B., Duane and Tyler W., Levi R., Swann M., Heather V. and Shane F. for all your helping hands. Thanks to you the evening’s coordination, set up and clean up went much faster. You all rock!!!

Winter’s Garden

I must go into the garden again

to find the limestone and clay

Be waiting by the morning rise

amongst its sleepy decay

but I need no garden to soothe

nor right as would be believed

I need no foot on buried steel

Nor flowers or such conceived

I must paint a canvas filled

with ochre, orange and green

My brush may still hard fabric

As I imagine what I had seen

Or my colours could be dark water

like the rivers of Arcadian deep

Careless what my mind perceives

what it sows or what it reaps

I might write sad tearful verse

words might as hammers fall

Roar and blow like creaking bellows

in the dark of my minds thrall

Or I could sit and watch a while

raise my head close my eyes

Beautiful words nature has spoken

and wonders in earth and sky

Copyright © Declan Molloy | Year Posted 2015

 

GARDENING IN THE 18TH CENTURY

It’s mid-June and the spring planting rush is over. Thank heavens for all of the resources we have at our fingertips—from nurseries, seed catalogs, the library, and the internet to our own Master Gardeners’ private cache and network.

Such a plethora begs the question of how people got their gardening information before the modern advantages we all enjoy.

Plants and information moved much more slowly but I think you might be surprised at the variety available to people living in a four-mile-an-hour world in which most people seldom left their counties. Here are three examples.

William Faris, a silversmith, clockmaker and avid gardener, lived in Annapolis, MD across from the state capitol from 1728-1804. Because of his prime location, he had contact with everyone from local slaves to the governor and he discussed gardening and traded seeds with anyone he could. He was, in fact, the hub of a very democratic gardening network. In addition, because Annapolis was an international port, Faris had early information of which ships arrived from where and what plants, seeds and people they carried. He had access to seeds and plants from around the world. Luckily for us, Faris kept a careful diary of his gardening, including sketches of his garden layout and the plants he and his slave cultivated. You can read more about Faris in Gardens and Gardening in the Chesapeake, 1700-1805 (Baltimore, 1998) by Barbara Wells Sarudy.
Also, read her excellent blog about all things gardening in early America at this link:
https://americangardenhistory.blogspot.com.

Charles Carroll, Barrister, lived in Annapolis at the same time as William Faris and surely knew him. As a young man, Carroll decided to build a country house on the Patapsco River, in what is now Baltimore, on land he owned and on which was an
iron mine. A wealthy bachelor, Carroll planned a showpiece plantation, Mount Clare, that included an extensive orchard, a kitchen garden and a greenhouse (in which he and his wife later grew pineapples.) If he got seeds from William Faris, he did not make note of it. Rather, many of the varieties of fruit trees and vegetables he grew at Mt. Clare came directly from England. It was a slow process but Carroll wanted to do everything according to the latest standards of the time. The process began when Carroll shipped iron from his mine to London. He sent with the captain a very long shopping list of all the fruit trees, vegetable seeds and latest gardening manual he wanted the captain to bring with him on his return to Maryland. Dozens of varieties were available to him. Three months later when the captain arrived in London, he handed the list over to Carroll’s agent in London who did the shopping and delivered the plants, seeds and book to the ship. That may have taken several months. It was at least a three-month journey back to Mt. Clare and the condition of the plants depended completely on the diligence of the captain in seeing that they were watered and protected from the sea weather. Many of the plants must have survived the trip because the grounds of Mount Clare were well-known once they were established. For pictures of Mount Clare, see 
http://www.mountclare.org/.


John Bartram (1699-1777), a Philadelphia Quaker and botanist, traveled up and down the eastern colonies collecting native American plant species in the early part of the eighteenth century. He took them back to Philadelphia and established a plant nursery. In addition, he began to collect seeds, plants and knowledge from correspondents, many of whom were in England. Bartram’s Garden became the first plant nursery in the colonies and had customers from the colonies as well as England. In 1765, King George III named Bartram his “Royal Botanist”. Bartram’s son, William, also a naturalist and plant explorer, ran the family nursery after his father’s passing. After 1810, John Bartram’s granddaughter, Ann Bartram Carr and her husband, Robert, took over and expanded the gardens. At one point, they offered 1400 native species and over 1000
exotic plants to their customers. The gardens closed for business in 1850. Luckily for us, though, the gardens were preserved, first privately and now as a public historic site. You can learn more about Bartram’s Gardens at
https://bartramsgarden.org/about/history/horticulture/.

To my knowledge, no one has made a comparison of the species and varieties available to early Americans and those available to us today. I suspect that they would find that while we enjoy a wide number of genera native to many parts of the globe we have
lost what people in the past had—a smaller number of genera and a larger number of species and varieties. It gives one pause.


Submitted by Trudy Eden

Montana’s Biggest Trees Registry

The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation keeps records on the largest trees in the state. These trees have been cataloged as the largest representatives of their particular species discovered so far. From looking at past registries, it appears that most of these record trees are located in the northwestern part of the state.

However, many species of Montana trees have not yet been nominated and there is a special category for urban trees. There is no funding to support this program; its success is mostly dependent on the volunteer efforts.

Forms and technical directions on how to measure a tree for nomination can be found on-line http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/forestry/forestry-assistance/montana-big-trees-program

Biggest trees 3 2017

http://billingsgazette.com/ eedition/page-a/ page_64df6c88-bfb5-519c -a021-742ebfb67aeb.html

 

 

Maybe like me, this will perk your interest in becoming a “Big Tree Hunter”. Is there a “specimen big tree” in your yard or neighborhood? Or, will one of us find a tree to nominate in one of our outdoor adventures across the state?

(By the way, if you really get into this, there is also a national big tree registry. http:// http://www.americanforests.org/bigtree )

An excellent reference book on trees: Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.

Submitted by Elaine Allard