BECAUSE YOUR HEART LIVES HERE
Fields Forest Fungi p. 11 Nature artist's studio p. 20 Apple blossom time p. 30 Sweet Pea fever p. 37 Habitat Gardening p. 43
New! Shop RURAL page 54
RURAL VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 Spring 2017 Cover Image Jen Vandervoort
Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions Visit www.ruralmag.com Copywriting Donna Donabella Carolynn Anctil
Published seasonally by Jen Vandervort/RURAL magazine All Rights Reserved Copyright 2017
Find us on facebook : rural magazine Visit us on instagramÂ @ruralmagazine WWW.RURALMAG.COM BECAUSE YOUR HEART LIVES HERE
SWEET PEA FEVER :: IT'S CATCHING
Â Apple trees in bloom
RURAL Contents P. 54 New! Shop RURAL
P. 07 Enter to win! Build a better P. 11 Veggie Garden Fields Forest Fungi Book. P. 8,18,29,52 Garden photography from Joy O'Connor
P. 27 A flower delicacy
P. 20 Visit Artist Sarah Hammond's studio
P. 04 Editors greeting
P. 05 RURAL Contributors
P. 60 Gatherings
Hello RURAL readers! "Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring? " This beautiful quote from Neltje Blanchan makes me think of days spent in the garden. Sun streaming down among the newly emerging leaves. A new pair of gardening gloves, a bag of potting soil, packs of favorite seeds ready to plant. Spring is here, in all of its glorious colorful beauty.....and not a moment too soon for those of us who have been through a long winter. We've got a wonderful new issue of RURAL for you to enjoy. Make sure to enter for your chance to win a book giveaway. Check out the articles and photography, and don't forget to visit the sites of our contributors. We hope you enjoy your RURAL time, it's great to see you again. Happy Spring!
Jen, and the team at RURAL magazine. Page 04
RURAL magazine Contributors
Jen Vandervoort is the founder of RURAL magazine. She blogs at The Light Laughed.
Donna Donabella retired after 35 years in education. She is now pursuing her dream as a writer/poet.
Photography Credits Joy O'Connor Canadian Garden Joy Valerie Lina www.valerielina.com
Hilary Mank is a Maine gardener and year round salad grower, she blogs at Everlong Gardener
Jessica Allen explores the fields and forests of Pennsylvania with her family and blogs at Cattails and Cobwebs
Kirsten Drickey is a hiker, writer, gardener living the Pacific Northwest. She blogs at Abies.org Page 05
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- Enter to win -
Build a BetterÂ Vegetable Garden
Gardeners searching for ways to improve their veggie gardens will love this treasure. You'll find 30 fresh, fun, and easy DIY projects to help you achieve the garden of your dreams in Joyce Russell's new book Build a better Vegetable Garden. Filled with practical easy to follow directions, supply lists and full color photos by Ben Russell, newbies and avid gardeners will start planning their projects as soon as they open it's pages.
Quarto Press is offering one RURAL reader a chance to win a copy of this book. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your favorite veggie to grow for your chance to win a copy of Build A Better Vegetable Garden. *Entries limited to US, and Canadian residents, one entry per person. Contest closes May 01 2017
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
Fields - Forest - Fungi The unique observations of Jessica Allen
Jessica Allen explores the fields and forests of Pennsylvania with her artist-husband, Michael Allen, and their twelve-year-old son. Through photography, she shares her unique observations of everyday magic and beauty she sees in her world.
"I look closely at everything" When I make a picture I wish to record the moment, not simply make an image that pleases the eye but rather to recall the scent of the earth below me or the bird song heard above me.
"I seek to discover how the subject of my photo connects to its surroundings; my pictures isolate the subject while quietly extolling its relationship to the universe."
Allen's photo essays have appeared in Home Education Magazine, as well as online at the Brandywine Museum of Art Museum Blog, and Mud Puddles to Meteors. See more online at Cattails & Cobwebs Visit her on Instagram @cattailsandcobwebs. PageÂ 17
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.Â Rainer Maria Rilke
Inside Sarah Hammond's Studio Working from her ground floor suite in Vancouver BC, Sarah Hammond creates art on a huge oak table surrounded by indoor plants. Streaming natural light highlights the view of her small garden with it's visiting raccoons, and squirrels.Â She also works out of a rented studio space on Granville Island creating her prints, and etchings sold in local stores and online. Valerie Lina
"I mostly use imagery, I like to take most of my own photos and draw from these. This year I want to work into bigger pieces. More of a wildlife scene as well as stand alone animals. My smaller pencil sketches take 4-6 hours. Intaglio printing depending on the image takes a day or two to prepare the plate then another day to do the printing. But the goal is to go bigger in scale this year, so this will be more time consuming! I've been working on my pacific northwest series that just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I will also be doing a British wildlife series soon." Page 20
What kind of art do you create? I mostly work with animals and birds, wild nature in a realistic natural beauty. I work a lot with pencil sketches: Intaglio printing which is where I hand etch into a copper plate. Once the image is prepared on the plate, I use this as the master copy and hand print each print using a physical press. My intaglio prints are limited editions, numbered and signed by myself. Letterpress is similar to how old newspapers were printed, these are also limited editions. My artwork is sold as prints, greeting cards, wrapping paper, and for a few special commissions as wallpaper. I'm also trying to be responsible in what I create. I try my best to use paper that is sustainably sourced. Plants and nature inspire me, I want to in my own little way help protect it. It's a small gesture but I believe every little bit helps and I'm working out more ways to support the natural world as I grow my business. PageÂ 21
We asked Sarah, what inspires her work? Nature and growing up on a farm in Nottinghamshire UK (my family still own and work the farm) I was outdoors all the time, the Pacific Northwest, I’ve lived in Vancouver BC for the last four years. I love it here, it's definitely home right now! The mountains, oceans, and forest. It's beautiful. I also love to travel. I recently went to Costa Rica which is only 0.03% of the earth’s surface but contains 6% of the biodiversity of the world it is incredible. I have taken so many photos, and am excited to take some time to sketch into these.
Do you work on your art every day? No, I wish! I still work as a freelancer designing sportswear. I went to university and did a fashion design degree 16 years ago and I have been in that industry ever since. It's only been within the last year that Iâ€™ve started illustrating and printing, and taking my own work seriously as a career. Six years ago, I dabbled with the idea of becoming a taxidermist. I took a two day course with a guy up in Scotland. Please note all animals died of natural causes! But I was fascinated being able to work so close with these wild birds and animals that we donâ€™t usually get the opportunity to see so close-up. I joined the taxidermy guild in the UK and met some insanely talented taxidermists and saw their work. I think the funny thing about it was it was mostly older gentlemen in their 40's -80's. Then slowly as I joined there were a handful of ladies in there 20's mostly for arty backgrounds that had started to dabble in taxidermy. My path didn't take me there but it has given me a sense of attention to detail that I think you can see in my work. PageÂ 24
How does the finished artwork inspire your next piece? Nature is very symbiotic. I like to think that my art is developing like that. One animal or bird leads on to the next.
Valerie Lina PageÂ 25
Sarah Hammond Studio Visit Sarah's website to find out more about her work. sarahhammondstudio.com/ @Email: Hello@sarahhammondstudio.com Instagram: @sarahhammondstudio Facebook Sarah Hammond Studio Photos supplied by : Valerie Lina www.valerielina.com
Pagoda flower Alights over spotted leaf Tiny lanterns glow
A Flower Delicacy
By Donna Donabella
One of the first native wildflowers to pop up, in early spring, are the Trout Lilies or Erythronium americanum. Called a spring ephemeral, they bloom for but a few days or so as the air warms. I love to see these tiny little yellow lanterns spreading out across the, almost bare, meadow landscape. Their liver-spotted leaves give them away before you see their blooms. Look quickly though for they only flourish a short while. A flower delicacy fleeting with time, but like a fine wine, they will be forever burned into your senses….sending you looking for their bright yellow blossoms each spring, even if you can only glimpse them for but a moment. You can read more about this native flower in Donna's garden post. Page 27
I've always felt that having a garden is like having a good and loyal friend.Â C. Z. Guest
By Hilary Mank
Apple Trees In Bloom: A Window To The Past
Around the end of May, you can't help but notice that it's apple blossom time! When you drive through the countryside, you can now see bushels of pink, white and fushia colored blooms. You can make out where there were farms long ago, abandoned orchards or even where volunteer apple trees have been seeded by birds years before. If a few apple trees in bloom are found together, sometimes if you look really close, one can make out where a barn or farmhouse once was. A friend of mine once had the opportunity to walk from one end of town to the other, picking wild, untended apples along the roadway and tasting them all. What an experience! The varied flavors, some sweet, some tart, some in between.
Okay, wake me up! I'm about to have an 'Anne of Green Gables' moment here! There's just something so special and reminiscent about apple blossoms in bloom. Maybe it's because I grew up with a small orchard on our property. I can recall around a dozen trees of all different varieties. Many possibly planted in the 1800's. A few 'Yellow Transparent,' crab apples for the most gorgeous jelly that you can imagine, an old storage type and a few red apples that we were never quite sure of. My mother started making pies in August and she kept making them until the apples were gone.
Each flowering tree had a slightly different color to the blooms. Bundles of blooming branches were brought into the house for countless parties and showers over the years. They would always fill the house with heavenly scents that would make us sneeze! Back when potatoes were grown in the fields next to the orchards, we had virtually pest free apples. It only took a few years after the farmers stopped growing potatoes for us to figure out why the apples used to perform so well. The overspray from pesticides used drifted into our orchard. These days, we Page 31 have a good crop every few years.
Apparently, I'm not the only one out there that swoons over old apple trees. I have recently found an article, 'How to Make Abandoned Orchard Apple Pie'. What a romantic tale of making pie from found apples. I've been mixing apples from here and there in my pies for a long time. Some from the U-pick orchard, some from the farm up the road.
Many people buy property with apple trees of unknown parentage. So much history can be found in knowing what kind of apples you have. Some kinds are good for cider, some are excellent keepers and many are best used fresh. Renovating older apple trees can be quite an undertaking. If you can acquire the skills, it can be well worth the hard work. Many of these trees can become productive once more. Every year, MOFGA, Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, holds The Great Maine Apple Day. Usually, held in the fall, they hold workshops and talks about all things apple. Samples of rare, heirloom apples are there for the tasting. There is cider making, artwork, vendors and a team of apple identifiers. Do you have a tree of unknown parentage? They may be able to tell you what kind of apple tree that you have and maybe it's history.
This time of year, the earth is bursting with life. Lawns are growing too fast and the dandelions are blowing their seeds everywhere. Plant life is growing like a teenager with a growth spurt. For now, just savor the apple blossoms. I probably won't have time to dance at dusk through an orchard in bloom, but I can dream! Their glory is so fleeting. But, there will be other flowers to come. Take a look around your area. You may find some abandoned trees that you can get apples from next fall. For now, this is the end of our brief look into the past. Thanks for going back in time with me!
Hilary Mank is a Maine gardener and year round salad grower. She encourages others to garden and helps them along the way. Many of her friends call her the 'Salad Green Queen'. To read more of her reflection and ramblings, check out her blog Everlongardener. http://www.everlongardener.com You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for daily garden and landscape photos to inspire you on your gardening journey! Page 34
A comely sight indeed it is to see, a world of blossoms on a apple tree. John Bunyan
Sweet pea fever
By Jen Vandervoort
Every spring we gardeners eagerly scan seed catalogs for old favorites and new varieties sending off orders with anticipation of upcoming garden beauty. One of the most eagerly awaited seeds for me are sweet peas. With their exquisite scent, vibrant green tendrils and lush beautiful flowers every garden should have some. They're tolerant of cold spring soil while energetically loving the cool weather of late spring into early summer.
Depending upon your level of summer heat, with a bit of shade and some care they manage to last far into the summer. They're not just a beautiful cut flower but are widely known for their intense fragrance that ranges from intoxicating to delicately sweet. Some varieties have a musky undertone that will almost make you swoonÂ during aÂ wander through the garden while admiringÂ the flowers. Sweet Peas are available in colors ranging from the purest white to the deepest dark maroon and also come in various shades of blue, pinks, purples, oranges and reds. These spectacular plants discovered in 1699 in Italy have since then remained a favorite with both experienced and beginner gardeners. Extremely popular during the Victorian era with many new varieties showing up during the 1700's to early 1900's.
A popular variety from the 1730's,Â offered by Florabunda Seeds in Ontario is Painted Lady, Lathyrus odoratus. Sporting highly fragrant deep pink blossoms fading into the softest white bicolor petals with fresh lime green tinged leaves. Its long stems make it a popular cutting flower, growing 5 - 6 feet tall it loves to live against a fence or rambling over a trellis.
Fragrance and beauty The deeply fragrant and darker tones of Lathyrus odoratus, Grandiflora 'Black Knight' with its almost iridescent violet and maroon bicolor blossoms, were first introduced in 1898. They would make a spectacular contrast if grown to intertwineÂ among a tall white sweet pea such as White Ensign which was developed in England in 1901.
Gardeners who love bright flowers will adore the crimson tones of King Edward Vll. While Queen Alexandra's deep scarlet might mingle royally with Unwin's Stripe mix to create a garden display fit for any castle.Â Page 40
Seeding and Germination Sweet peas are tough plants that will tolerate the cool soil of early spring when light frost is still possible. Start indoors or sow directly into an area that has been amended with compost and well-rotted manure. Most of the varieties will need something to cling to...a rough fence, trellis, or netting will do just fine for them. After the seeds germinate, carefully transfer them into small peat pots to develop a stronger root system before planting outside, or plant approx 4 inches deep directly into a prepared bed. Planting them a bit deeper gives a better root system but it will take longer for them to show above the soil....be patient, it's worth it. Add mulch as the seedlings grow, or hoe up soil around the base to keep their roots cool during summer heat. Or plant low growing annuals at the base of your sweet peas to shade the roots, creeping zinnia, baby blue eyes, sweet alyssum or clary sage are great plants to try and are in the Florabunda catalogue. The trick to keeping your sweet peas flowering all season is to deadhead them just before the spent flower turns into a seed pod. Frequent picking will encourage your flowers put out the best blossoms for as long as possible, and keep your vases full.
Sweet Pea germination tips;
While there are many ways of germinating sweet peas, I've found that simply laying the seeds in between layers of constantly damp paper towels on a plate until they germinate has given me the highest yield. Some gardeners recommend nicking the seed before hand or soaking them overnight. And don't forget the mulch, or try underplanting with some Clary sage, creeping zinnia, or sweet alyssum you can find those seeds for sale inside the Floribunda Seeds catalogue. Seed packets kindly supplied by Florabunda Seeds. www.florabundaseeds.com
Habitat Gardening: Nature in your Backyard
Written by Kirsten Drickey
This past winter, I looked out my back window to see a flock of varied thrushes browsing through the last few apples from our tree. Downy woodpeckers, Northern flickers, dark-eyed juncos, and various kinds of wrens frequent our yard, while flocks of black-capped chickadees make their boisterous way around the neighborhood. Even raptors, such as kestrels, merlins, red-tailed hawks, and the occasional bald eagle, cruise through the neighborhood. On a recent warm day, honeybees and native pollinators were busily gathering pollen, while squirrels taunted my dogs from the top of the fence. All of this happens in the middle of a small-ish yard smack-dab on a fairly busy street, right in the middle of town. PageÂ 43
Over the last century, trends toward urbanization have meant less and less land for wildlife. The Audubon Society estimates that the continental United States has lost over 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl in the last 100 years. Each piece we take for ourselves fragments wildlife habitat, making it harder for the species around us to find food, rear their young, and perform their own ecological roles. All of this means that itâ€™s more important than ever to ease some of the pressure on wildlife by creating gardens that offer food and shelter to birds, insects, and other creatures. Habitat gardening is one way to carve out room for wildlife in our humandominated modern landscapes. Although the definition of habitat gardening can vary, in general the concept refers to creating garden environments that mimic the functions of natural ecosystems. What we do in our individual gardens really does make a difference to wildlife, from giving migrating songbirds a safe haven on their journey to ensuring that native pollinators have the food they need to keep their populations healthy. Our gardens can provide a crucial link between wilderness areas and an increasingly urbanized environment. All of this helps knit habitat fragments together in ways that benefit wildlife. Here are some ideas for getting started. 1. Study wild ecosystems. Just imagine: There are whole forests and prairies out there, with nary a gardener in sight. And yet, they manage to reproduce themselves and maintain balance from one generation to the next. Wherever you live, examine the ecosystems around you. Which plants do well? Which insects, birds, reptiles, or other creatures abound? What are their roles? How much water is available and at what times of the year? Which food sources are available in the spring? Late summer? Fall and winter? PageÂ 44
This kind of observation will help you determine which kinds of plants are suited to your climate and how birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals interact with them. It will also help you figure out how to offer food and shelter throughout four seasons. Nature has spent quite a bit of time figuring out what works, so borrow from that in choosing plants for your garden. Observing nature’s patterns can also help you focus your efforts. No one’s out raking fallen leaves or clearing brush in the forest, for example, yet life continues there. Because our gardens aren’t wild ecosystems, we choose to do things like pull weeds and manage brush piles, but we can observe how these elements get recycled in nature and take cues about how to focus our energies.
2. Foster biodiversity. How healthy would you be if you ate only bananas for a month, then broccoli for the next month, then maybe skipped a month before moving on to beans? Yet that’s exactly how we expect our pollinators and other wildlife to make do. Whether it’s the large-scale plots of the same crop--monocultures--or our individual lawns, we quite naturally plant and harvest according to what works for us. Evidence suggests, though, that increasing biodiversity within a given area actually increases the overall abundance of an ecosystem. (This is, of course, one of the guiding principles behind permaculture.) What this means for home gardeners is thinking more about what wildlife needs from their habitats. As it turns out, they need roughly the same things that we do: food, water, and shelter. Increasing the total number of plant species increases the odds that birds, small mammals, and beneficial insects will find what they need to survive throughout the year. For birds, think in terms of layers of plants at different heights, from creeping groundcovers to tall trees--and everything in between. Different species will be attracted to different habitats, with smaller birds appreciating a nearby shrub to take quick cover and larger predators enjoying snags as a vantage point from which to survey the terrain. (More on creating snags--or “wildlife trees”--from Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden.) Species-appropriate nesting boxes and a water source will also encourage avian visitors. Think too in terms of providing food throughout all seasons, whether from rose hips left on the bush, seedheads from plants such as coneflower left to overwinter, or early-blooming spring bulbs such as snowdrops and crocuses. Page 46
3. Reduce your lawn. Lawns get a bad rap in certain gardening circles, I know. This is, in part, because in North America lawns suck up a lot of water and other resources without providing much in return for wildlife. Although lawns do have their uses, reducing the overall expanse taken up by lawn is an easy way to increase biodiversity and put your garden to work for wildlife--and for you. In her book Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy argues that putting all that lawn space to work is as beneficial for people as it is for wildlife. She advocates filling our yards with plants that provide food and beauty for humans while simultaneously allowing wildlife to flourish. Even if you have no interest in growing your own food, dedicating more space to plants that produce seeds, nuts, berries, or nectar to feed wildlife will in turn create a more dynamic ecosystem within your yard.
4. Incorporate native plants where appropriate. Native plants are great for habitat gardening because they co-evolved with insects, birds, and other elements of a local ecosystem. These creatures know how to extract food from native plants, and predator and prey have worked out a healthy balance over many generations. Because they’re adapted to a specific region, native plants generally require less maintenance in the long run. This includes water, as well as time- and resourceintensive practices such as mowing or frequent herbicide or pesticide applications and the use of synthetic fertilizers. Learning about native plants and their traditional uses offers insights into human history and our interactions with the environment, whether historical or contemporary. It’s possible, though, to get too wrapped up in arguments about what counts as a true “native” plant. Page 47
Permaculture expert Toby Hemenway notes in his guide for home-scale permaculture, Gaia’s Garden, that “It is only our limited time frame that creates the whole ‘natives versus exotics’ controversy.” He advocates thinking “ecologically,” by developing our understanding of how ecosystems operate and the roles each element plays within them. For Hemenway, the goal is to “create landscapes that behave much like those in nature but tinker with them just a bit to increase their yield for people while preserving native habitat.” Rather than a rigid insistence on all natives, all the time, make choices that seek balance. As you’re planning your garden, think about the role you want a given plant to play and then research native plants--or their close relatives--to see if they would work in your scheme.
5. Make peace with insects and other, ahem, uninvited guests. To state the obvious, habitat gardening is going to attract wildlife. Sometimes that wildlife is in the form of animals we like, such as songbirds or honeybees, in my case. At other times, that wildlife is deer browsing your new plants. Or skunks breaking into a beehive. Or aphids devouring a rose garden. In these cases, the solution might be in the form of active management, such as fences, traps, or other solutions (this blog post outlines some ideas). Sometimes, though, the solution is in changing our perspective. Insects, in particular, could benefit from an image makeover. As the master gardeners at GrowJourney observe, a garden without insects is a garden without food. Working with insects, rather than against them, will increase productivity and improve the overall health of our gardens. And yet, we spend millions of dollars annually to kill them, taking out beneficial insects along with the “pests.” Insects, as ecologist Doug Tallamy points out, are a crucial link in many ecosystems. They have developed strategies for getting past a plant’s chemical defenses. The insects then become an energy source for other predators; according to Tallamy, “spiders, reptiles and amphibians, rodents, [and] 96% of all terrestrial birds” get food from insects. Rather than declare chemical warfare on the insect world, practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a strategy that focuses practices such biological controls and habitat modification in the long run.
Yes, you’re going to lose some plants. But by fostering biodiversity and increasing soil health, you’ll nudge your garden toward a stronger, more balanced ecosystem that can better fend off sudden population increases that leave a particular type of plant isolated and defenseless. 6. Connect to others. This whole habitat gardening thing is all about seeing how the small pieces connect with the bigger picture. So why not connect your garden to people and organizations working on similar solutions? Register your yard with an organization such as the National Wildlife Foundation’s Garden for Wildlife program or map your yard through the Habitat Network’s citizen science project, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nature Conservancy. These organizations provide valuable resources and guidance to home gardeners, and in the case of Habitat Network, you’re contributing to citizen science projects that help scientists figure out exactly how our home gardens support wildlife. 7) Fall in love. And perhaps most importantly, develop a sense of wonder. John Marzluff, professor and bird expert, lays out his Ten Commandments of Subirdia, guidelines for living with nature in our modern world. Number ten-and one of the most important--is to “enjoy and bond with nature, wherever you live.” By engaging with nature, we build respect and love for the plants and animals that surround us, which helps us to protect and preserve nature.
Habitat gardening, in its many forms, is about connecting to the natural world and building stronger connections among humans and the wildlife we share the planet with. It’s a recognition that we are part of the ecosystems that sustain us, and it offers the gifts of close observation and--if we’re lucky--participation in that web of life. Resources: Margaret Roach (Blog: A Way to Garden) Doug Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home Lori Weidenhammer, Victory Gardens for Bees National Wildlife Foundation’s Garden for Wildlife program The Nature Conservancy
The Audubon Society Rosalind Creasy, Edible Landscaping Barbara Eisenstein (Blog: Weeding Wild Suburbia) Habitat Network (the Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) Toby Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture John Marzluff, Welcome to Subirdia
Kirsten Drickey is a hiker, writer, gardener, and all-around biophiliac living in the Pacific Northwest. She blogs at Abies.org Find her @daily_prairie on Instagram. Page 51
Joy O' Connor
My extravagance is my garden - it's the first thing I look at every morning when I wake up. It gives me so much pleasure. Ina Garten
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GatheringsÂ We hope that you enjoyed this issue of RURAL magazine, we'd love to hear from you. Reach us via email firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ Or maybe you'd like to drop by and visit us on IG, where we share the beauty of our rural world. To keep up to date on all things RURAL, be sure to "like" our FB page. Not yet a free subscriber to RURAL magazine Click here to sign up.