HORT travels

Exploring the horticultural beauty in every adventure.


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A Unique Relationship

Snow and Lichens in Tuscarora State Park PA

Snow and Lichens cover a boulder in Tuscarora State Park, PA

Seems as though spring is taking a bit longer to sprung. As I write this temperatures are dipping into the twenties. Though the tried and true late winter/early spring bloomers are slowly and cautiously making  an appearance there is still barely a sign of green bud or yellow flower around.

This is when I get antsy. Snow is gone, well, almost, snowboards have been packed away and the gardening tools have emerged. But the ground is still frozen and the soggy soil means I can’t even plant my peas yet. What is a plant person to do, sit and twiddle my thumbs until it Spring actually arrives?

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Road Trip! South Haven Michigan

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Lichens on a Michigan Forest  Floor

Lichens (Cladonia spp)on a Michigan Forest Floor

August 26th was Women’s Equality Day.  The articles and news stories highlighting this day and the reason for it got me thinking back to a road trip we took a few years ago. We decided we would head out to Michigan.

When Tree Boy* and I decided we would spend our summer vacation on a Road Trip to Michigan, most people couldn’t understand why we would go to Michigan. We were asked multiple times if we had relatives there, as if that must be a prerequisite for trekking way out there.

To be honest, we had a lofty goal – to kayak in each of the Great Lakes. The way we travel makes some anxious. No plans, no reservations, no place to be at a certain time. We just go and see where we end up. We may investigate a place or two that looks interesting to us, write it down so we don’t forget and if we happen to end up there, well, great! If not, well, that’s okay too.  For us part of the adventure is not knowing what we’ll see or where we’ll end up.  Has this meant sleeping alongside the highway, no access to state parks on busy weekends, sure! Has this meant we stumble upon things we may not have seen during a well-planned, each- minute-perfectly-scheduled-vacation – absolutely!

As we point our van towards Lake Michigan, imagine my surprise as I examine the map – yep, a paper map – difficult to get the big picture on a small screen – and notice a little green mark with the label LH Bailey Museum. There’s only one LH Bailey I know of. The “Father of American Horticulture” Liberty Hyde Bailey. How could a Horticulturist and a Landscape Designer NOT investigate?

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Blueberries

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Many Stages of Blueberry Fruit

Many Stages of Blueberry Fruit

“Girls, can you run outside and pick some blueberries for the pancakes?”

was a question common in our house each June and July Sunday. We would grab a cup and head out to the woods, not the garden, the woods, to pick as many blueberries as the cups would hold, presenting them proudly to mom and dad who were in the kitchen whipping up pancake batter while we stalked the wild berries. If I remember correctly, it was “2 for the cup one for me”, or maybe the other way around. I think about this during a recent visit to western Maine as I squat down to examine small blueberry bushes, with diminutive fruit on them. These are similar to those we harvested beneath the oaks and pines in NJ but are a far cry from the behemoth berries I picked a week ago from a friends farm in Northern NJ.

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