Gardener’s Corner

February 2018… Happy Valentine’s Day!
Raspberry Patch in Winter by Carolyn Montgomery

When a sunny warm day appears, it is time to get out to the raspberry patch. I have found that doing this chore when the weather isn’t nice enough to work outdoors very long, is a good use of my time before spring arrives and there is a lot more to do.

I take my pruners, cut down all dead canes and trim live ones back to about two feet. When the new leaves start to sprout they won’t injure the new growth.

For additional tips on caring for raspberries, visit the site Pruning Red Raspberries.

January 2018

The Creation of a Meadow by Donna Pilkington

In June 2017, the Sogkonate Garden Club offered a free public program, ‘The Living Landscape’, by Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke.  Several local organizations and residents donated funds to sponsor the event and some money remained.

With the leftover funds, the club worked with town officials to create a demonstration meadow of grasses and pollinators to be a part of the walking path at the Recreation Center dedicated in the Summer of 2017.  The purpose of this demonstration area is to show the community one way to plant a small area with native plants and to give ideas for plant selections.

In October 2017, Billy Ryan tilled an 11×27 foot rectangle between the walking path and stone wall – near Dundery Brook Trail and the tennis courts.  A donation of black silt cloth was laid down and weighted with stones to smother and heat the vegetation (soil solarization) underneath.  (Readers may wonder what is going on with the unsightly black plastic along the path).
Recently a plant list of 3 grasses and 13 pollinators, native to New England, were selected for their attractiveness to people and sustainability for wildlife. In late spring, the plants will arrive, Billy will till again, the garden club will plant and mulch the new area and hopefully many birds and insects will visit.  Future plans are to have plant markers and an informative sign installed. 

Please pause and notice the demonstration area – count birds, bees and butterflies.   It is something that will evolve over time and change with the seasons.  We welcome your comments.


December 2017
Letter from honorary member and regular contributor Sidney Tynan:

Of Mice and Women.
Now is the time of year when the pretty field mice come in for warmth and stray crumbs. City ladies, newly removed from their snug apartments, are apt to scream at the sight and in rare cases, faint. Suburban women are prepared with an exterminator who comes four times a year to exterminate whatever the current pest may be. Country women prepare traps and remove the little carcasses without a tremor and sometimes even remember to wash their hands.
One of my Little Compton readers asked me about the unusual number of dead trees we are seeing.

So I called our Tree Warden, Jason Burchard (he is also the proprietor of Sakonnet Tree Inc.) who took the time to report as follows. In the seventeen years he has been working with trees he has never seen anything like what we are seeing now.
Three consecutive years of drought followed by the winter moth, then the Gypsy moth are mostly responsible. But also, and this will please all of those who think our non parasitic lichen is responsible; it is – in a small way. As it slowly covers branches, trees who loose their bark slowly get their growth buds smothered. Loose barked trees shed their bark and the lichens. (I didn’t know trees breathed). Trees that are already dying do get covered. We seem to have more fluffy lichen masses than other towns and I have read it because we have such clean air. So maybe not all of our questions about lichens are answered.                                                                                     

Soon you will notice that the afternoons are getting lighter, accompanied of course by colder temperatures, but it is supposed to be a mild winter. We shall see.
And soon I hope you will have the chance to be with distant friends and family. If you are with your children or grands, remind them that their “thank you” letters need to be written, not tweeted.


Recommended reading for the Fall of 2017: The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate–Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben. This bestseller was reviewed in the New York Times and is available through Ocean State Libraries or your favorite bookstore.

Looking for other good readings? In December 2011, Dominique Browning published a list of books about gardening in the New York Times book review section called: Reliable sources for Gardeners