Monthly Archives: September 2013

Thirty Days in September…

GaillardiaThe weather has been nothing short of spectacular — blue sky, golden sun, perfect temperatures. The angle of the light is changing for sure; fall has arrived. Rumors of frost come in from Carolina (“down in the valley”) and from the banks of the Saugatucket in Wakefield –enough frost to scrape off the car windshield. But not here on Kingston Hill. Although the colors are fading a bit and the green leaves are dusty looking, full autumn foliage has not arrived. Just a bit of yellow on the Sassafras and red on the Tupelo. Flowers are still blooming in the garden. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Autumn joy sedumbee on sunflowerasterechinaceae 'cheyenne spirit'anemonesverbena bonariensis



I had the good fortune this weekend to be in a very beautiful place:yawgoo pondyawgoo pondIt looks like Maine, but is actually close to home here in Rhode Island.

There were some fantastic looking mushrooms which popped up after the late afternoon squall on Friday:cortinarius iodescortinarius iodes

I am pretty sure it is Cortinarius iodes, the Viscid Violet Cort (!) Cortinarius iodes forms mycorrhizal associations with deciduous  trees, particularly oaks.

Other plants caught my eye–moss growing among the tree roots like a landscape:


A fuzzy/spiny white caterpillar on the bayberry near the edge of the water:

hickory tussock mothI think it is Lophocampa caryae, the hickory tussock moth. Plenty of hickory around the pond, as well as oak, white pine, and swamp maple.

deer printsDeer left footprints on the sandy edge of the pond, although I did not see them. I heard barred owls in the night, and coyotes.

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”

Out the Window

On the north end of the greenhouses is the Greenhouse Building. I have a desk there in the room we call “The Lab”, even though it’s not really being used as a lab any more. It is full of plants, odds and ends, equipment used for the Plant Propagation class, pictures of plants, and the engraver. It’s my home base.

The window in the lab faces north, toward Flagg Road and the “North Woods”. There’s an arborvitae up against the building, which is full of birds, partly blocking the view. But here’s some of what I can see:lawn behind greenhousebehind greenhouse

trees behind greenhousedriveway behind greenhousee

I just want to let you know that it’s all going to be paved. If you read this post from January, or this one from August, you know that I am not really a “tree hugger”. Sometimes trees need to be cut down — I’ve got no problem with that. But if you read this post from November, you’ll know how I feel about paving open space for no good reason. (The destruction of URI’s Agronomy Research Farm for parking came at a time when the number of small (tiny) farms in RI is actually growing…and here’s a picture of that parking lot at 11:30 AM on Monday September 9. First full week of classes.)

parking lot

Looking Northwest.

parking lot

From Plains Road.

Somebody thinks the area behind the greenhouse is needed for more parking. Between the 30 or so paved acres at the bottom of Kingston Hill and the 10 at the top behind the Fine Arts building, haven’t we done enough damage? Isn’t it time to think about at the very least, a parking garage instead of more asphalt sprawl — or consider the bigger picture of adequate public transportation?

sweet gum tree

Sweet Gum (Liquidamber) behind the Greenhouse Building.

Each day when I turn on my computer and open up URI’s homepage, I see the words “green” and “sustainable”. I’m not buying it.