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Heading outdoors this coming week in the Valley

Friday, August 28, 2015

∎   Skinner State Park — Free programs at the park, off Rte. 47, Hadley: SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS: Summit House tours, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. THURSDAYS: Fitness Hike, 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. (meet at Halfway Parking Area); Geology for Kids Ages 9-13, 3 p.m. (meet in Summit Picnic Area). $5 car fee on weekends. 586-0350. ∎  Mount Holyoke Range State Park — Free programs meeting at the Notch …

Springing ahead to bulbs

Friday, August 28, 2015

It’s almost the end of August and despite the hot, muggy weather, fall is just around the corner. That means it is time for gardeners to plan for spring flowers. If you don’t plant bulbs this fall, you won’t have crocuses, daffodils or tulips in your garden for 2016. They have to be …


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A writer’s refuge: At The Mount in Lenox, Edith Wharton’s gardens have been restored to their early 20th-century splendor

Friday, August 21, 2015

Picnics on the lawn, drives along country lanes, evenings spent with intellectual friends — and gardens — were what Edith Wharton desired when she built her country retreat, The Mount, in Lenox a century ago. She was fed …

The Mount: The particulars

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Mount, at 2 Plunkett St. in Lenox, was the home of Edith Wharton, novelist and first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was built in 1902; Wharton lived there until 1911. The Mount is owned by Edith Wharton Restoration Inc., a non-profit cultural organization. …

Get Growing: Out with the old, in with the new

Friday, August 21, 2015

Every spring I plant pansies in two big blue ceramic pots. They used to sit on the granite front steps of my old farmhouse in South Amherst. Now they brighten the entrance to the garages at my condo. …

Garden renegades: Three fresh ideas for front yards

Thursday, August 13, 2015

For decades, the perfectly mowed lawn has endured as an American pursuit. But today, a growing number of homeowners are rethinking this default landscape feature in the neighborhoods of America’s heartland as they downsize or replace these grassy …

Get Growing: Strolling an allee, a memorable experience

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Have you ever heard of a lime walk? I’m not referring to a stroll through tropical gardens of the Caribbean but to a European landscape tradition. In England linden trees are called lime trees (don’t ask me why). …

Happy to be ‘haphazard’: Meredith Michaels’ Amherst gardens are an impressive profusion of colorful flowers and robust vegetables

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The garden created in South Amherst by Meredith Michaels and her husband, Lee Bowie, over the past eight years is the epitome of the successful country garden, reflecting its pastoral surroundings of pastures, swamps and orchards. Michaels is …

Get Growing: Learning the Latin pays off

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Most gardeners only know plants by their common names like marigold or black-eyed Susan. But frankly this can get you in lots of trouble. It pays to take time to learn the Latin binomial names that are more …

Get Growing: Seed saving reemerging

Friday, July 31, 2015

It’s harvest time in vegetable garden. These days, home gardeners are harvesting not only for food but for seeds to sow next year. Seed saving is a burgeoning hobby. Our grandparents assumed they would save seeds from their …

Brownie troop gets backstage pass at Morgan show

Saturday, July 25, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Members of Girl Scout Brownie Troop 12960 got a backstage look Saturday at what it takes to mount a major equestrian event by spending time in the stables of the Morgan Horse Show in Northampton. …

Building tiny garden houses: Fairy fantasy feeds campers’ imaginations

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fairies have long captured the imagination of children and adults. Who can forget James M. Barrie’s evocative words in “Peter Pan”: “Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe in fairies. If you believe, clap your …