Today we visited Carolyn Summers on her property near the Neversink Reservoir. Carolyn has turned what was originally a dairy farm into an extensive arboretum for native plants. She showed us a thousand fascinating things in a tour that ranged a meadow of milkweed and monarchs to a threatened hemlock forest (her hemlocks have just recently been exposed to the wooly agelid, an insect pest that has been decimating hemlock stands since the 1950s).
A few highlights included three ten-year-old American chestnuts not yet affected by the chestnut blight (the most I’ve seen in one place, I believe!) and some gorgeous native orchids that she recently discovered growing in a former cattle pasture behind her home. We also got some great audio from Carolyn about why encouraging native planting is such an important ecological principle, whether it’s across large areas or just in a single gardener’s backyard.