beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyard

Jenna Harris September 28, 2020 8 No Comments

starting over: page dickey’s new book ‘uprooted,’ on making a new garden

THE WORD “downsizing” was spoken greater than as soon as, when Page Dickey and her husband have been planning a couple of years again to go away their beloved residence and large previous backyard, known as Duck Hill, in Westchester County, New York, for a brand new one.

Well, the brand new piece of land turned out to be larger than the final, and it has fostered in Page an entire new relationship to gardening—particularly, a extra intimate connection to nature and the property’s wild-ish areas.

Starting over, and the surprises alongside the best way, are the topic of Page’s new ebook, known as “Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again” (affiliate hyperlink).

Page Dickey is a well-liked backyard author and creator of quite a few books, together with her latest known as Uprooted. And she was the co-founder of the Garden Conservancy Open Days nationwide garden-visiting program. I welcomed her again to the podcast to listen to about what occurs when a gardener transplants herself–and we touched on subjects from native crops to forcing bulbs in a coldframe.

Read alongside as you take heed to the September 28, 2020 version of my public-radio flash and podcast utilizing the participant beneath. You can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

margaret and web page in zoom occasion oct. 6, + all her occasions

I’M DOING a Zoom occasion with Page Dickey to have a good time the publication of “Uprooted” on Tuesday October 6, 2020, at 7 PM Eastern Time. It’s hosted by our native unbiased bookseller, Oblong Books of Millerton and Rhinebeck, New York. We plan to speak in better depth about our relationship with the wilder components of the backyard and with nature, an essential factor of her new ebook. The event is free; sign up here.

Page can also be doing talks for the New York Botanical Garden October 20 at 1 PM, and Berkshire Botanical Garden October 22 at 6:30, and for The Garden Conservancy November 5 at 2 PM. All her occasions are additionally listed on her website’s event page.

 

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardweb page dickey’s ‘uprooted,’ a narrative of beginning over

 

 

Margaret: So congratulations, Page, one other ebook. [Laughter.]

Page: Thank you. I feel my final.

Margaret: So all the way down to enterprise: the ebook. It begins with an Anton Chekhov quote. It says, “I am in the condition of a transplanted tree, which is hesitating whether to take root or begin to wither.” And it appears to be like love you took root, Page. So inform us a small bit; set the scene about this transition for us.

Page: Well, I feel to start with, and definitely once I didn’t know whether or not I would wither, it was very laborious to go away my previous backyard. I’d been there for 34 years. My husband joined me for the final 14 of them. And it was a spot created through the years, with only a large quantity of affection and keenness. To simply stroll away from that was tough.

But after a lot looking and many panic, once we actually couldn’t discover something immediately, we had determined to maneuver to Northwestern Connecticut. And we discovered a plot of land that took my breath away, as a result of it was filled with fields and woods and wild land, and a view of the Berkshire Hills. It began me on a brand new journey. I feel that’s once I realized I wasn’t going to wither. [Laughter.] [Below, the new house in Connecticut.]

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardMargaret: Oh, we didn’t must irrigate, don’t fear. She’s going to be O.Okay.

So you had been at Duck Hill for these 34 years. And so, you got here to begin once more, and as you mentioned, this piece of property was breathtaking; it took your breath away. But how are you aware the place to start? Because each of us, we have been a lot youthful gardeners, a lot much less skilled gardeners-

Page: I’ll say.

Margaret: …once we started, the place I nonetheless dwell, across the similar time as once you went to Duck Hill—and your work at Duck Hill. We have been experimenting with various things. We have been in a unique stage, as I mentioned, in our expertise. Where did you start? How do you know what to do first, once you acquired to this new place? Do what I imply? What did you say? “Ah, I’ve got to…” Do ?

Page: Yeah. Well, to begin with, there have been remnants of a backyard, a form of cottage-y backyard, within the entrance of the home. Although it crossed my thoughts to only wipe all of it out, however in fact I didn’t. It was principally simply peonies. And so, I knew that I needed to play with that, and that might be my perennial backyard, you would possibly say, or place for perennials and bulbs, a spot we stroll by means of each time we go in and out. It would a enjoyable place to have that form of a backyard.

But I noticed virtually instantly, I didn’t need a backyard love I had at Duck Hill. Duck Hill was filled with hedges and boxwood topiary. It was a collection of rooms, and it was very enclosed. And this new place the place we lived was open to the sky, and open to the fields, and open to the view. I noticed, I didn’t need a hedged-in backyard anymore. I needed one thing that associated to that wildness.

So I feel I knew, just about immediately, that I needed loads of natives on this small backyard. Things love Amsonia and Baptisia, and asters, and so forth.

But then on the similar time, as I used to be interested by what to do about this small backyard, I used to be beginning to discover within the woods. I feel we have now about 11 acres of woods, and I acquired so excited concerning the woods. We have excessive, rocky, limestone dramatic woods on one aspect, and low, wealthy, damp woods on the opposite aspect. I acquired so enthusiastic about this wild land, that hastily we have been the stewards of, that I used to be virtually torn, half fascinated by creating a brand new backyard, half of me simply wanting to begin walks, begin paths within the woods, and begin reducing down the invasives. That was an entire new world that excited me, proper from the start. [Below native columbine in the woods at Page’s.]

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardMargaret: I used to be interested by that, as I used to be studying the brand new ebook, as I used to be studying “Uprooted,” once more how totally different “gardening,” the phrase gardening, what it means as we speak in comparison with once we each started gardening.

Page: That’s so true.

Margaret: Yeah, how we couldn’t wait to get, again then, the brand new collector plant, normally from one other nation, usually Asian or Eurasian. Some rarity. And now, we are able to’t wait to find the newest fungi that’s arising this time of yr, if we get a rain. Or the butterfly chrysalis that’s hanging from one thing. And, as you say, the native crops. It’s such an amazing change in considering, in horticulture, I feel.

Page: Yeah. And Margaret, it has quite a bit to do together with your and my evolution as gardeners. And our age, I feel, and our knowledge, maybe. But it additionally has to do with folks love Doug Tallamy, who got here out with this excellent ebook known as “Bringing Nature Home.” And different folks love Doug Tallamy, who opened our eyes to the entire thought of getting habitats that help birds and butterflies, and what which means. Which in fact, means caring extra for and planting extra native crops.

Margaret: Yeah. For me, apart from Doug’s work, at University of Delaware additionally, I bear in mind once I first examine—and this was fairly quite a lot of years in the past—however the selection trials of native crops by Richard Hawke, at Chicago Botanic Garden, after which, additionally at Mount Cuba Center in Delaware.

Page: I like these trials.

Margaret: Yeah. Where they take all of the cultivars of some native, and do them side-by-side and see which ones-

Page: Exactly. Like the brand new summer time phlox known as… I feel it’s known as ‘Jeana’ that has fairly tiny flowers, however attracts extra butterflies than every other native summer time phlox, which I assumed was so neat. I confess, I instantly went out and purchased it.

Margaret: Me, too. Me, too. You’ve been exploring. Just inform us, so the backyard you… Partly out of a nod to the previous, to the earlier proprietor, and likewise due to the sensible consideration that you would stroll by it every single day, you let that house within the entrance be the perennial backyard. Are there different areas that you simply’re gardening in a extra horticultural means, versus the work that I wish to speak about a small extra, within the woods, so to talk?

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardPage: Yes. Yes. There are few holdovers, you would possibly say, from Duck Hill. One, I like gravel. And now we have now a few gravel terraces that type of lure you out from the doorways into the backyard, or into the land, actually. But in a type of gravel locations, I’m taking part in with issues simply seeding, not essentially native issues. Annuals and bulbs, and crops that love to develop in gravel. Things love ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost,’ that unimaginable Eryngium, and Scabiosa ochroleuca, which is a dancing factor that likes to develop in gravel.

And then, I additionally… a few issues. I nonetheless needed reducing flowers and a spot to develop lettuces. So I did make a small patterned reducing backyard, that will get wild and woolly this time of yr, as a result of plenty of issues seed within the gravel and I simply allow them to flower, love cosmos. So these are actually holdovers or echoes, you would possibly say, of Duck Hill. [Above, verbascum in the gravel at Page’s former garden.]

[My husband] Bosco was craving a greenhouse, as a result of he had one at Duck Hill. Craziness, we constructed a small greenhouse, which is excessive, excessive upkeep. But it’s what he likes greater than something, and it’s his playground.

So, sure. And then I planted fruit bushes as a result of we used to have a small orchard, and I like orchards. I like rows of bushes. I like grids of bushes. In one spot the place there have been already some previous pears and an previous apple, we simply went with that, and put in some fruit bushes.

Margaret: So there are some components of horticulture/agriculture.

Page: No query.

Margaret: Yeah. And so, then within the woods, are there some discoveries? I imply, you mentioned taking out invasives and that’s a lifelong process, in fact. But are there some crops, did you uncover some issues in there that you-

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardPage: Oh my goodness, sure. Well, to begin with, any person known as it the Marble Valley. We’re close to the Housatonic River, and the soil right here, the rock formation, could be very alkaline. It’s a calcareous soil. So there’s wildflowers within the woods I had by no means seen earlier than. I imply, they weren’t simply Jack-in-the-pulpits and trilliums, there have been issues love Desmodium and Packera obovata, which is a small groundcover, which is the one plant—the leaves are the one foliage that the larvae of the endangered northern metalmark butterfly love to eat. All the butterfly specialists get very excited on the thought that we have now all this Packera obovata. It solely grows in limestone, rocky locations.

All sorts of discoveries love that. And then within the low woods, at one level it opens as much as what seems to be a fen, which is a calcareous wetland, which is wealthy in native crops. And there, I see issues that I develop in my backyard, of their native habitat. All sorts of Joe-pye weeds, and the swamp milkweed known as Asclepias incarnata, and vervain. It’s simply so thrilling to see these items of their native habitat. And in fact, asters, New England asters. Yes, I imply, eye-opening new discoveries, and that’s been the joys.

Margaret: Here we’re, many years into gardening. [Laughter.] And right here we’re, once more, we began out as plant collector-y type of folks, the newest rarity was the factor, and extra designed plant mixtures. And right here now we each are, strolling across the fringe of the locations that we dwell, noting range and being astonished.

I do know precisely the place the small treasures are in areas the place I’ve stopped mowing, up on the fringe of the property, lately. Places I used to mow all the best way as much as the fence-line, means up the hill. It appeared loopy to maintain doing it, and I’d see what occurred. The different day, I used to be simply up there for one thing, and alongside one fringe of the fence is the big-leaf aster. I feel it’s macrophyllus. It’s not that it’s a uncommon plant or something, however Page, how did it get there? I’ve been subduing it for 30 years.

Page: It’s simply so thrilling to see these items in nature, and also you had nothing to do with it. I simply discover it such a thrill. I’ve a small ebook now. I’ve at all times been a author down-er, and I’ve this small ebook and it’s simply divided into the entrance area, the again area, the excessive woods, the low woods, the fen. And then I write down each time I see a brand new native plant in there, as a result of it’s only a enjoyable report.

Same factor with me, Margaret. I’ve been letting an increasing number of grass go to meadow. Who wants all that grass? Our grass is horrible, anyway. It’s not a carpet of… Anyway. And all this small bluestem has appeared. Every yr, there’s extra of it. Every yr there’s extra bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, and it’s so thrilling. I can’t let you know.

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardMargaret: It is humorous, isn’t it? I am going round, marching round love a loopy particular person, seeing all of the oak seedlings [above, one at Page’s]. And that’s one other factor, you say oak, however there’s so many alternative ones. [Laughter.]

Page: Exactly. We have simply so many oak seedlings right here, and we don’t have a deer fence. I imply, I want we did. But we have now 17 acres and it’s simply not within the finances. Anyway, I am going round each couple of weeks and spray all these oak seedlings with Deer Defeat, which is simply this natural horrible smelly stuff, which appears to assist maintain the deer away. And once I see an oak tree that actually has loads of sky above it, so I do know it may develop and get large, we put a small wire fence round it. It’s very thrilling to see.

Margaret: You’re defending your infants. [Laughter.]

Page: Protecting our infants, yeah.

Margaret: As a counterpoint, you say within the ebook… A counterpoint to the wilder locations which have actually gained your coronary heart over, at this new property. Which, I assume, it has a reputation, too. The Church House, sure?

Page: Well, it was a church, sure.

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyardMargaret: I see. You say within the ebook, “After compost heaps, cold frames were one of the features I wanted most when making the new garden.” And there’s this October ritual, a well timed ritual, that you simply speak about—having to have the proper chilly frames to have the ability to drive bulbs. An quaint backyard interest, that folks did much more years in the past than they do now. Just inform us a small bit concerning the chilly frames, for a pair minutes.

Page: Well, we had chilly frames at Duck Hill. Years, and years, and years, and years in the past, I used to sow seeds of perennials in trays. And have them, over the winter, within the chilly frames. Just the best way Louise Beebe Wilder instructed me to do in certainly one of her great books. But for the final… I don’t know, 30 years, I’d guess, I’ve used the chilly frames to drive bulbs. I order bulbs, all kinds of bulbs, however plenty of totally different Narcissus, daffodils, and crocuses and Scilla and all kinds of issues love that.

In October, I pot them up in good clay pots. And then I sink them into… We now use shavings as a result of we simply purchase shavings at Agway. And I sink them in shavings, within the chilly frames. I’ve watered them. We shut down the chilly frames, after which wait, normally about 14 weeks. And then I begin pulling them out and bringing them indoors. It is so enjoyable. It’s simply this deal with.

Just watching these small irises, or daffodils, or crocuses, or hyacinths come into bloom in your home.

I used to throw them away after they have been spent, till I married Bosco. He, being a refugee, doesn’t throw something away. And so he mentioned, “No, no, no, we’re going to plant them.” So now, we plant them. The daffodils, we plant beneath the apple bushes. I sneak the opposite bulbs in, among the many perennials. And by gum, they maintain flowering. They flower the following yr and the yr after that.

You don’t must have a chilly body to do this. You can use an additional fridge. You can put pots of bulbs, in case you have an out of doors hatch to your cellar, you are able to do it on a type of steps. You can do it in a styrofoam field, in your storage, for those who can maintain them from freezing. You simply don’t need the pots to freeze.

But our chilly frames are Three ft excessive within the again, a couple of foot excessive within the entrance. They’re Three by 3, picket, with a heavy plexiglass prime. I even have three of them, so I’ve 9 ft of chilly frames. Used to have 6 ft. And that works rather well. We used to make use of glass. We used to make use of previous storm home windows, issues love that. But the plexiglass is far simpler and it doesn’t break. It’s a lot lighter.

Margaret: Well, I’m very jealous. I’m completely jealous, Page, of your bulb-forcing equipment, so to talk. We’re out of time, however I needed to say how a lot I’ve been having fun with the ebook. I’m trying ahead to our dialog collectively for Oblong Books, which I feel goes to be a small bit concerning the wild areas, in additional depth. So thanks a lot for becoming a member of us as we speak.

enter to win a replica of ‘uprooted’

starting over page dickeys new book ‘uprooted on making a - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyard

I’LL BUY A COPY of Page Dickey’s newest ebook, “Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again,” for one fortunate reader. All you need to do to enter is remark within the field on the very backside of the web page, answering this query:

Are you gardening in your first backyard, or have you ever, love Page Dickey, ever been uprooted? Do inform. (This is my second backyard, however I’ve been right here greater than 30 years; the primary was a 5-year effort once I was first studying to backyard, earlier than I had my very own place.)

No reply, or feeling shy? Just say one thing love “Count me in” and I’ll, however a reply is even higher. I’ll choose a random winner after entries shut at midnight Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Good luck to all.

(Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

margaret and web page in zoom occasion oct. 6, + all her occasions

I’M DOING a Zoom occasion with Page Dickey to have a good time the publication of “Uprooted” on Tuesday October 6, 2020, at 7 PM Eastern Time. It’s hosted by our native unbiased bookseller, Oblong Books of Millerton and Rhinebeck, New York. We plan to speak in better depth about our relationship with the wilder components of the backyard and with nature, an essential factor of her new ebook. The event is free; sign up here.

Page can also be doing talks for the New York Botanical Garden October 20 at 1 PM, and Berkshire Botanical Garden October 22 at 6:30, and for The Garden Conservancy November 5 at 2 PM. All her occasions are additionally listed on her website’s event page.

choose the podcast model of the flash?

lessons in ecology from mount auburn cemetery with david barnett - beginning over: web page dickey’s new ebook ‘uprooted,’ on making a brand new backyard

MY WEEKLY public-radio flash, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper within the UK, started its 11th yr in March 2020. In 2016, the flash gained three silver medals for excellence from the Garden Writers Association. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station within the nation. Listen domestically within the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the September 28, 2020 flash utilizing the participant close to the highest of this transcript. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).

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