October 1, 2022

Old Lyme Planning Commission Approves Nine-Lot, Gated Community at 16 Neck Rd. with 75 ft. Conservation Easement

OLD LYME — At its Special Meeting & Public Hearing on Thursday evening, the Old Lyme Planning Commission approved the proposed subdivision at 16 Neck Rd. with the addition of a 75 ft. Conservation Easement proposed by the developer — Keystone Capital Corporation — on the Connecticut River side of the property that will be maintained in perpetuity. 

Members did not, however, support the Old Lyme Open Space Commission’s request to ask the developer for a $105,010 fee to compensate for the fact that no publicly-accessible open space is included in the plan.

The majority of Planning Commission members accepted that the open space proposed by the developer in the form of the Conservation Easement was adequate.

Commission Chairman Harold Thompson, Members Barbara Gaudio, and Don Willis and Alternate Matt Ward (seated for Rob McCarthy) supported the motion to approve the subdivision. Alternate Jim Lampos (seated for Todd Machnik) voted against the motion.

Lampos had proposed a 500 ft. easement and a reduction in the number of lots.

The land at 16 Neck Rd. is the same area where the HOPE Partnership endeavored to secure approval for a 37-unit Affordable Housing development back in 2018, which became a highly controversial topic in the community.

The new proposal is for a gated community of nine building lots.

Both the OL Open Space Commission and the Connecticut (CT) River Gateway Commission had submitted letters to the Planning Commission regarding the project. Both letters can be viewed in full at the links given immediately above.

Several other individuals had also submitted letters and emails related to the project.

The Open Space Commission’s letter, dated Sept. 6, and signed by its co-chairs Amanda Blair and Evan Griswold, states, “It appears that no open space is indicated on the applicant’s plan and, even if land were set aside, the gated premises to be accessed by private roadway would not afford public access.”

The letter continues, “In accordance with the provisions of C.G.S. § 8-25, when there is not a suitable area within a subdivision and when there are other areas with[in] Town that the Open Space Commission considers more beneficial to be preserved, the Planning Commission may authorize the applicant to pay a fee in lieu of open space of up to 10% of land’s pre-subdivision appraised value.”

The two-page letter proposes that, although, “It is the Planning Commission’s discretion to determine such payment,” the Planning Commission should request the 10 percent fee of the purchase price from the developer, which it states, “… would equal $105,010.”

These monies would then be used by the Open Space Commission to assist in the purchase other open space properties in the town as they arise. The letter explains, “Although we cannot identify the specific parcels, we will report to you that the Open Space Commission is now actively talking to or considering approaching the owners of at least four properties in Town for acquisition.”

Asked about the possibility of the Open Space Commission receiving a fee in lieu of the absence of open space in a building proposal, Griswold responded in a phone conversation with LymeLine that, “This  has happened before,” citing the example of a proposed development on Binney Rd. submitted, “Around three years ago.”

He added, however, that a similar previous request by the Open Space Commission regarding a proposed development on Mile Creek Rd. was declined by the Planning Commission on the basis it was, “A family-oriented subdivision.”

The CT River Gateway Commission four-page letter, dated Sept. 8 and signed by the Deputy Director of the River COG [Council of Governments] Staff, Gateway Commission Torrance Downes, describes the property at 16 Neck Rd. as, “A highly visible riverfront parcel.” 

In summary, the letter says, “The Gateway Commission would recommend [a Conservation] easement be placed along the banks of the Connecticut River at the western end of the property.”

It goes on to request that the Planning Commission should, “… use all of the regulatory tools available in its decision-making process to manage the development of the site – at least with respect to the western hillside of the property facing the Connecticut River.”

The letter continues, “Protection of natural areas including mature tree stands is recommended for consideration of open space designation,” noting, “Retention of an attractive and rural community appearance, which would include the treed hillsides of the Connecticut River, should be “one of the most important criteria used in land use decision making”.”

The letter concludes, “Community Appearance recommendations state visual details including preservation of natural site features and vistas are critical components of the town character Old Lyme is charged with protecting.”

Eastern CT Symphony Hosts ‘Conduct Us’ Event in New London, Tomorrow

On Sunday, try your hand at conducting an orchestra! Photo by Kazua Ota on Unsplash.

NEW LONDON — On Sunday, Oct. 2 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., members of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) will be located at Hygienic Arts waiting to perform — all they need is a conductor!

The general public will have a chance to conduct In the Hall of the Mountain King, Blue Danube WaltzToreador Song from Carmen, Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld, and William Tell Overture (The Lone Ranger Theme.)

An open invitation is offered to step up to the podium and try your hand at conducting the orchestra. The ECSO Music Director and Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada will be there to give guidance and encouragement to volunteer maestros.

Hygienic Art is located at 79 Bank St. in New London. This unique experience is free and open to the public in the outdoor Frank Loomis Palmer Amphitheater.

Pack a lunch or enjoy takeout from the many eateries on Bank Street and come enjoy a wonderful fall afternoon with the ECSO. Families and children are welcome and encouraged.

“Conduct Us” started when the ECSO participated in the international Make Music Day movement, which brings free, community-wide, outdoor musical celebrations to hundreds of cities worldwide.

Founded in 1946 by Norwegian immigrant, Victor Norman, the ECSO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the eastern Connecticut region, including New London, Norwich, Waterford, Groton, Mystic, Old Lyme, and East Lyme.

Recent concerts in Norwich, Willimantic, and Stonington reflect their renewed dedication to serving a broader area.

The ECSO’s mission is to inspire, educate, and connect its communities through live orchestral music.

Visit www.ectsymphony.com for more information and follow ECSO on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) @ectsymphony.

Join a Meadow Walk with CT DEEP Wildlife Biologist in Lyme’s Jewett Preserve, Tomorrow

Pete Picone (center, kneeling) leads a walk in Jewett Preserve in Lyme. File photo by Wendolyn Hill.

LYME — On Sunday, Oct. 2, join Pete Picone, Connecticut DEEP wildlife biologist and native habitat expert, for a tour of the meadow and surrounding shrubland in Jewett Preserve.

The meadow walk, which is co-sponsored by the Lyme Land Trust, Lyme Pollinator Pathway and the Town of Lyme, will start at 1:30 p.m. and last until 3:30 p.m.

Meet at the Jewett Preserve in Lyme, Conn. Park in the lot on McIntosh Rd, about 1/4 mile from the intersection with Rte. 156. 

During the tour,  Picone will make recommendations for nurturing the vegetation that provides habitat for wildlife. Learn about which plants are beneficial for pollinators, and how to manage invasives. His guidance can be applied to enhancing habitat in your own back yard.

Registration is required at openspace@townlyme.org.    

Old Lyme’s PGN Library to Host Bulb, Plant Swap Today

OLD LYME — Today, Saturday, Oct. 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library hosts its first Annual Community Plant & Bulb Swap.

Fall is the perfect time to divide your perennials and bulbs, so pot or bag the ones you have to swap and then label them. But note that you do not need to have plants to swap to participate.

A Master Gardener will be available to answer questions

It is requested that no invasive plants are brought to swap.

This event, which is co-sponsored by Duck River Garden Club of Old Lyme, will be held rain or shine either on the Library Lawn or in the Community Room as the weather dictates.

Old Lyme’s Planning Commission Meets Today to Discuss, Possibly Approve Neck Rd. Subdivision; Open Space Issues Raised

~ Gated Community of Nine Lots Proposed on Same Site as 2018 Controversial Proposal for 37 Affordable Housing Units  REVISED PLAN INCLUDING CONSERVATION EASEMENT NOW SUBMITTED

~ Old Lyme Open Space Commission Asks Planning Commission to Request $105K Fee From Developer due to Absence of Open Space in Plan, Monies to be Used Towards Purchase Of Other Open Space in Town

~ CT River Gateway Commission Requests Planning Commission to Require Conservation Easement be Placed Along Banks of CT River at Western Property End

OLD LYME — UPDATE 9/29 11:09am: During a phone call this morning, Old Lyme Land Use Coordinator Eric Knapp informed us that Keystone Capital Corporation has now submitted a revised site plan for 16 Neck Rd., which includes a Conservation Easement as requested by the Connecticut River Gateway Commission (see article below.)

He noted that Section 5.9.9 of Old Lyme’s Subdivision Regulations regarding ‘Fee-in-lieu of Open Space’ state: In lieu of the above requirements to provide land for open space purposes, the Commission may authorize the subdivider to pay a fee to the Town, or provide a combination of land and fee, in accordance with the provisions of Section 8-25 of the Connecticut General Statutes.

A question for the Planning Commission at this evening’s meeting will now be whether the revised site plan including the Conservation Easement will satisfy the requirement for Open Space or whether some combination of land and fee (as cited in the Regulations above) will be pursued.

OLD LYME — UPDATED 9/28 at 11:59pm: The Old Lyme (OL) Planning Commission will hold a Special Meeting/Public Hearing tomorrow evening, Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. in Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, there are only two items on the agenda and since it is a Special Meeting, no changes or addition to the agenda can be made.

The first agenda item is the continuation of the Public Hearing regarding the application by Keystone Capital Corporation for the resubdivision of 16 Neck Rd. into nine lots.

The second item, assuming the Public Hearing is closed, is for members of the board to discuss and then possibly vote on the proposal.

The land at 16 Neck Rd. is the same area where the HOPE Partnership endeavored to secure approval for a 37-unit Affordable Housing development back in 2018, which became a highly controversial topic in the community.

The new proposal is for a gated community of nine building lots.

Both the OL Open Space Commission and the Connecticut (CT) River Gateway Commission have submitted letters to the Planning Commission regarding the project. Both letters can be viewed in full at the links given above.

Several other individuals have also submitted letters and emails related to the project.

According to minutes of the last meeting of the Planning Commission held Sept. 8, Commission Chairman Harold Thompson, “Stated it was unfortunate that some of the comments were only received in the last two days, which does not provide the applicant adequate time to address these issues.”

The minutes further note, “Thompson apologized and stated it should not take the commission two months to receive responses from the reviewing agencies.” In light of the situation, he proposed the Public Hearing should be continued until Sept. 29, which was agreed by Commission members.

The Open Space Commission’s letter, dated Sept. 6 and signed by its co-chairs Amanda Blair and Evan Griswold, states, “It appears that no open space is indicated on the applicant’s plan and, even if land were set aside, the gated premises to be accessed by private roadway would not afford public access.”

The letter continues, “In accordance with the provisions of C.G.S. § 8-25, when there is not a suitable area within a subdivision and when there are other areas with[in] Town that the Open Space Commission considers more beneficial to be preserved, the Planning Commission may authorize the applicant to pay a fee in lieu of open space of up to 10% of land’s pre-subdivision appraised value.”

The two-page letter proposes that, although, “It is the Planning Commission’s discretion to determine such payment,” the Planning Commission should request the 10 percent fee of the purchase price from the developer, which it states, “… would equal $105,010.”

These monies would then be used by the Open Space Commission to assist in the purchase other open space properties in the town as they arise. The letter explains, “Although we cannot identify the specific parcels, we will report to you that the Open Space Commission is now actively talking to or considering approaching the owners of at least four properties in Town for acquisition.”

Asked about the possibility of the Open Space Commission receiving a fee in lieu of the absence of open space in a building proposal, Griswold responded in a phone conversation with LymeLine that, “This  has happened before,” citing the example of a proposed development on Binney Rd. submitted, “Around three years ago.”

He added, however, that a similar previous request by the Open Space Commission regarding a proposed development on Mile Creek Rd. was declined by the Planning Commission on the basis it was, “A family-oriented subdivision.”

The CT River Gateway Commission four-page letter, dated Sept. 8 and signed by the Deputy Director of the River COG [Council of Governments] Staff, Gateway Commission Torrance Downes, describes the property at 16 Neck Rd. as, “A highly visible riverfront parcel.” 

In summary, the letter says, “The Gateway Commission would recommend [a Conservation] easement be placed along the banks of the Connecticut River at the western end of the property.”

It goes on to request that the Planning Commission should, “… use all of the regulatory tools available in its decision-making process to manage the development of the site – at least with respect to the western hillside of the property facing the Connecticut River.”

The letter continues, “Protection of natural areas including mature tree stands is recommended for consideration of open space designation,” noting, “Retention of an attractive and rural community appearance, which would include the treed hillsides of the Connecticut River, should be “one of the most important criteria used in land use decision making”.”

The letter concludes, “Community Appearance recommendations state visual details including preservation of natural site features and vistas are critical components of the town character Old Lyme is charged with protecting.”

Members of the community can address either or both of these issues during the Public Hearing or submit letters or emails to the Old Lyme Land Use Department prior to the meeting.

Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Celebrates Donations Totaling Over One Ton This Season

A small selection of a recent day’s harvest from the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden.

Second Annual LOLFSG Open House Slated for Saturday, Sept. 24, All Welcome

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) celebrated a milestone this week!

Following a much-needed rain event, mid-week volunteers harvested kale, tomatoes, string beans, peppers, eggplants, and more.  In doing so, the garden reached a total donation threshold of more than 2000 pounds of produce in its first growing season.

The LOLFSG President Jim Ward commented, “This incredible accomplishment is due to the dedication of volunteers and community support.”

Ward noted that the realistic LOLFSG goal for the 2023 season is to double production and is already looking forward to a “Two-Ton Tuesday.”

To celebrate the successful inaugural growing season and to learn more about the garden, all are invited to visit the 2nd Annual LOLFSG Open House on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the garden from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The garden is located at Town Woods Park behind the Field House and playground.

FRA Announces $65.2 Million Grant for New CT River Bridge Between Old Lyme, Old Saybrook

This photo shows the Amtrak bascule bridge between Old Lyme, Conn. (to the left) and Old Saybrook, Conn. (to the right) in the open position. This image by Denimadept is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Second $20M FRA Grant Supports Phase 1 (Two of Seven) of CT DOT’s Plan to Replace Power Substations Along New Haven Line

HARTFORD, CT/OLD LYME – On Aug. 18, Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut’s Congressional delegation announced that Connecticut has been awarded two grants totaling more than $85.2 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for major infrastructure improvement projects on the Northeast Corridor.

The funds will be used for two significant capital projects that improve safety and reliability along the Connecticut-owned New Haven Line and the Amtrak-owned Shore Line East, ensuring no disruptions occur along the Northeast Corridor. They are being awarded under the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program.

The first grant, in the amount of $65.2 million, will support the replacement of the existing Amtrak-owned Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme with a modern and resilient new moveable bridge.

The project will improve safety, reliability, and trip time. Maximum speeds will increase from 45 miles per hour on the current span up to 70 miles per hour. The increase to 70 mph afforded by a more modern miter rail design will be a marked improvement: however, speed restrictions on the curves on either side of the Connecticut River Bridge will still be required but will be optimized to achieve maximum impact.

The existing 115-year-old Connecticut River Bridge poses a significant risk of long-term disruption to the Northeast Corridor due to its age and condition. The bridge was opened in 1907 and is the oldest rolling lift bascule span bridge between New Haven, Conn. and Boston, Mass.

The bridge spans the Connecticut River 3.4 miles north of the mouth of the Long Island Sound. It serves the Northeast Corridor main line and is used by Amtrak’s intercity service, Shore Line East (SLE) commuter rail service, and freight operators. Approximately 38 Amtrak trains, 12 CTDOT (SLE) trains, and six Providence and Worcester Railroad trains travel across the bridge each weekday, a total of 56 trains per day.

The bridge has a movable span that is raised up to allow boats to pass. The Connecticut River Bridge fails to open and close properly, which has led to cascading delays to rail and maritime traffic. Due to its age and deteriorated condition, the operational reliability of the existing bridge is at high risk.

The new bridge will be built along a new southern alignment, with an offset of 52 ft. from the centerline of the existing bridge to the centerline of the new bridge.

The replacement bridge will maintain the two-track configuration and existing channel location and provide a moveable span with additional vertical clearance for maritime traffic. Delays from bridge openings will be significantly reduced, and Amtrak will realize maintenance savings from the new structure.

This grant marks the second Federal-State Partnership program contribution toward the project since an additional $65.2 million was awarded in fiscal year 2020. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak will provide a 38 percent match of the grant.

The second grant, in the amount of $20 million, will support phase one of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s overall plan to replace the seven power substations along the New Haven Line, beginning with the replacement of the first two.

These substations have not been repaired or renovated since the 1980s.

The upgraded substations will be more reliable, more energy efficient, and less costly to maintain. The aging power infrastructure poses a significant risk of rail service disruption, and maintaining the assets is essential to ensuring reliable train service for passengers.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont commented, “We all know how critical the Northeast Corridor is for job creation, economic growth, and environmentally friendly transportation. Our administration has a vision for faster, more reliable, and greener public transportation, and we are doing everything possible to make that vision a reality. Thanks to these grants, that reality is moving one step closer.”

In a joint statement, the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said, “The Northeast Corridor is one of the busiest rail lines in North America, with more than 144,000 commuters using the New Haven Line and Shore Line East daily to travel to work or visit family.”

The statement continues, ” This critical Federal Railroad Administration funding will provide desperately needed improvements to the New Haven Line and Shore Line East, paving the way for more reliable and faster public transportation. This important investment in Connecticut upgrades the power supply and removes a major chokepoint along Shore Line East by replacing the outmoded, deteriorating Connecticut River Bridge.”

Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti noted, “We appreciate the Federal Railroad Administration’s ongoing support of Connecticut’s rail infrastructure, which will help improve safety and reliability along the Northeast Corridor.”

Dennis Newman, executive vice president of strategy, planning and accessibility for Amtrak, stated, “Amtrak is grateful to the Federal Railroad Administration for awarding two grants totaling more than $85.2 million to fund critical infrastructure projects on the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut – the New Haven Line Power Program and Connecticut River Bridge.”

He added, “The funding from these grants will help modernize the infrastructure in the state and improve the reliability of both commuter and intercity train services to provide a better travel experience for Connecticut residents and visitors.”

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued Aug. 18, from the Office of CT Gov. Ned Lamont, and information published on the Amtrak.com website about the Connecticut River Bridge.

Rochelle Davis Named Lyme Land Trust ‘Volunteer of the Year’

Lyme Land Trust Environmental Director Sue Cope (left) and Lyme Land Trust Executive Director Kristina White (right) of the Lyme Land Trust present Rochelle Davis with the 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award. Photo by Dan Hulseberg.

LYME — Rochelle Davis, volunteer steward of the Grassy Hill Preserve, was awarded the Lyme Land Trust ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award at the organization’s annual meeting.

During the last two years, Davis worked to improve habitat in the Grassy Hill Preserve Meadow to promote biodiversity. She has transformed a field filled with invasive plants to one populated by native plants that support a variety of pollinators and wildlife.

Davis single-handedly removed dense thickets of invasive plants, including autumn olive trees and multiflora bushes. 

At home, she propagates native plants from seeds to replant in the Preserve.

Davis shares detailed reports via the app “iNaturalist,” where she started a “Grassy Hill Preserve” virtual project to digitally catalogue the species in the preserve. The project can be accessed by anyone who visits the iNaturalist website or has the app on their device.

Over 130 flora and fauna observations have been documented to date.

She regularly walks the preserve and actively manages what is growing, at all times going above and beyond what is asked of a steward. 

Rochelle Davis won the Lyme Land Trust’s 2021 People’s Vision Award in the ‘Imagining Lyme’ contest with this photo ‘Mushroom in a Forest, Beebe Preserve.’ The photo was chosen by the public out of all submissions.

Davis has also actively participated in the Lyme Land Trust project Imagining Lyme – A Visual Exploration of Lyme’s Preserves since its inception two years ago. She has been awarded for several photos of distinction and won the 2021 People’s Vision Award – chosen annually by the public out of all the submissions, with her photo Mushroom in a Forest, Beebe Preserve.

During the award presentation, Sue Cope, Lyme Land Trust Environmental Director, said, “ The power and example of what one dedicated human can do in a year for one preserve has been staggering and we are so incredibly grateful for Rochelle’s time and effort.” 

 

Old Lyme Land Trust Builds, Installs Four New Benches on Different OL Preserves

OLD LYME — On July 16, the Old Lyme Land Trust (OLLT) hosted a well-attended Bench Building Workshop. The supply of 2″ x 4” pressure-treated planks required for the project was all precut by OLLT steward Ted Freeman.

This, combined with the simple design of the seats and seat backs. made the workshop a matter of just drilling and driving screws to construct the benches.

Among the 15 volunteers, who attended the event, there were several younger boys eager to help.

The older folks patiently helped teach them how to drill and drive a screw, and pretty soon all four benches were built.

Trying out the bench at the Belton Copp Preserve!

The week of July 17-24 marked the placement of the first three benches at OLLT Preserves.

The first was delivered by boat to the Lohmann-Buck-Twining Preserve at the far end of the Blue Trail and offers a beautiful view down the Lieutenant River.

The second bench went to the Belton Copp Preserve and overlooks the sunset views towards Black Hall River.

The third bench is located at the Griswold Preserve alongside the mill dam and fish ladder (see photo below.)

 

The fourth bench was installed the following week at Watch Rock Preserve overlooking the Back River, where egrets and osprey are often seen across the water (see photo below.)

Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for June, ‘The Time of Perfect Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

June is, ‘The Time of Perfect, Young Summer’ (Gertrude Jekyll)

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

We have had a few cool nights recently, which are just wonderful and allow one to sleep with the windows open.  I cannot remember the last time we had a real spring such as we are experiencing this year, with plenty of gentle rain. This beneficial rain is wonderful for all the spring plant growth and such a pleasure to see.

I am so in awe of the miracle of Mother Nature; the symbiotic relationship between plants and all of God’s creatures.

As I looked out of my window from my old home a few years ago,  I could see the buds opening on my 30-foot-long stand of Peonies, which had been planted by the original homeowner in the early 1900s. That sight brought to mind one of the symbiotic relationships, the friendly partnership between ants and peonies.

I am often asked, “Maureen, should I worry about ants on my peonies?” The answer is, “That’s not a problem, lots of ants on the peonies just demonstrate that you have healthy plants with big buds producing more nectar, which therefore, in turn, attract the ants.”

Peonies:

A stand of peonies is always stunning.

Make sure Peonies get plenty of water and after blooming, apply a light application of composted manure and check the soils PH which should be between 6.5 and 7.0.  It is hard to ruin a good peony border but you can err in the fertilizing process, so go easy on the organic aged manure.

Following the bloom, do not cut the peonies down until November, after the first frost. Now, in early June, I pinched off the side buds on my large stand of peonies, this ensures big blooms on the rest of the plant.

Ants:

On the subject of ants; if you see them “let them live,” because often their presence indicates that we have aphids around and ants feed off aphids; very useful creatures.

Another useful creature in wars against pests is the lowly toad. I suggest putting some toad houses in and around your border.  You may purchase toad houses from the garden center if you so desire. Or you can do as I do which is to use an old clay pot that is cracked and make sure that the crack is two to three inches wide for the door so the toad can enter. Also put a small saucer as a floor under the pot with some rocks, which you keep damp, so that your friendly bad bug eater has his or her ideal home environment.

Mulch:

Mulch your gardens this month when the ground has warmed up to 55 degrees.  When mulching, take care mulching around trees. Apply the mulch at least six inches from the base of the trunk, any closer can promote rot and disease in the tree itself. Any trees that are mulched too deeply near the trunk invite mice and other rodents to come in order to nest and gnaw on the trunk.

Your garden can be mulched to a depth of between two and three inches.  I prefer fine dark brown hardwood mulch but please do not use dyed red mulch, keep the garden natural, not looking like a Disney theme park.

Roses:

June is the month when Roses begin to bloom.  I prefer David Austin roses, I find these roses are the most -trouble free Roses and offer so much reward being repeat bloomers with wonderful fragrances.

Some of my favorites are:

  • ‘A Shropshire Lad,’ a soft peachy pink
  • ‘Abraham Darby,’ with blooms showing a blend of apricot and yellow
  • ‘Fair Bianca,’ a pure white
  • ‘Heritage,’ a soft clear pink

And my favorite ‘Evelyn’, which has giant apricot flowers in a saucer shape and the fragrance is second to none with a luscious fruity tone, reminding me of fresh peaches and apricots.

Feed your roses with composted manure, keeping the manure and mulch about six inches away from the base of the rose, then adding a few more inches of manure once a month until mid-August, at that time stop feeding for the roses to gently move into a slow dormancy.

Japanese beetles are very attracted to roses therefore, any Japanese beetle traps should be placed far away from your borders on the perimeter of the property.

A tip for keeping cut roses fresh: cut the roses in the early morning and cut just above a five-leaf cluster and place stems in a container of lukewarm water. Inside the house, recut the stems to produce a one-and-a-half inch angular cut, under warm running water, then place cut roses in a vase filled with warm water.

Do not remove the thorns on cut roses. I have found that removing the thorns, reduces their indoor life by as much as three days.

Hydrangeas:

Blue hydrangeas. Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash.

These need plenty of water, (in the fields where they were found growing close to water and classified as a wetland plant before they were introduced into our gardens), also apply aged manure around the Hydrangeas, have them spaced at least four feet apart for good ventilation, which will help to prevent mildew and plant them in full sun. If you have blue Hydrangea macrophylla and want a more vibrant shade of blue, add some peat moss on top of the manure, the peat is acidic and will produce a lovely shade of blue.

Wisteria:

Regular pruning through spring and summer is the main factor to help this arrogant vine to flower; by that I mean prune several times during the season. Prune every two weeks at least six inches on each stem.

Clematis wilt:

If you have this problem with clematis, you will notice it early because the shoots wilt and die. This disease is impossible to cure, as it is soil borne, so it is not possible to plant another clematis of that species in that area of the garden.

However, you can plant the Viticella clematis selection; these are vigorous, free flowering blooms and are not susceptible to wilt.  Some good choices in this variety are Blue Belle, Etoile Violette, both are purple and Huldine, which is white,

Container Gardens:

Unexpected objects can make interesting plant containers. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

If you have room for one pot, you have room for a number; placed close together in different shapes and sizes, they can create your own miniature garden.

Apart from regular pots, the most unexpected objects make interesting containers. A friend, who cut down trees this past winter, left the stumps and hollowed them out to make containers, one large and two smaller stumps together, an interesting combo.

At the same time look in your basement, shed or barn to see if you have an old wheelbarrow, even if it has a wheel missing it will present an unusual angle as a planter.

Or you may come across a large, chipped ceramic jar (I, in fact, have an old two foot tall ceramic vinegar container, replete with a hole where the vinegar tap was inserted, ideal for drainage), which will look great on my newly-painted blue bench next to my red milk shed.

Lawn Care:

Do not forget to add organic grub control through July, so that you keep down the mole infestation; remember no grubs, less food for the moles.

Powdery Mildew:

Keep an eye open for powdery mildew, especially after a rain when humidity returns. In a sprayer, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, one tablespoon of vegetable or horticultural oil in a gallon of water and spray the mildew.

Hydrangeas and Summer phlox are particularly prone to be affected by this problem. I recommend Phlox Miss Lingard or Phlox David, white ones of the species, which are the most mildew resistant. Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is also affected by the mildew; the one I have found to be the most resistant is “Cambridge Scarlet”.

Do be careful when introducing Monarda into the garden; this plant, like Purple Loosestrife and Evening Primrose, is extremely invasive and can take over your entire border.

Still with invasive plants, if you plant mint, plant it only in containers, otherwise mint will spread throughout your borders.

I hope these tips are useful to you in this busy time of year in the garden. Stretch, hydrate and enjoy the burgeoning promise of your garden and I’ll see you next month.

If you would like some more gardening advice, contact my son Ian at LandscapesbByIan.com. I am sure you would enjoy speaking with him as he is full of knowledge since, as the saying goes, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Celebrates Its First Anniversary

The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden in June 2022. Photos by Sheila McTigue-Ward.

Growing.  Caring.  Sharing. 

OLD LYME — American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey offered a tasty kernel of wisdom when he noted, “Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”

The good intentions of the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) began in earnest one year ago when volunteers convened at Town Woods Park during the first weekend of June 2021 to build a garden.

A flurry of ‘firsts’ soon followed – first trench, first fence, first raised beds – and one year later, the LOLFSG is on the verge of its first harvest!  The garden now boasts more than 30 in-ground rows and six raised beds.  Planted crops include peas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kale, squash and more.

The ‘someone’ or more aptly, ‘someones” expending effort to cultivate the LOLFSG’s goals are the intrepid volunteers who dig trenches, haul mulch, erect fencing, plant seeds, water, weed and more.

LOLFSG is a nonprofit organization fully run by volunteers and without their concerted and ongoing efforts, the goal to support access to healthy food and reduce food insecurity by growing produce and donating it to local food pantries and kitchens would not be possible.

As the garden expands, the need for volunteers also grows.  The LOLFSG invites individuals of all ages to participate, including supervised children.   Teens interested in earning community service hours are also encouraged to volunteer.

Workdays are Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.   No gardening experience is necessary and tools/equipment are provided, including toddler-sized varieties.  Come when you can and leave when you must … every hour of work advances the mission of the garden.

An email is sent prior to each work session to identify tasks for the upcoming work session.

To join the volunteer mailing list, contact amelia.malsbury@gmail.com.

Updates and additional information and photos are available through Facebook, Instagram or https://www.lolfoodsharegarden.org/.

This was the garden in June 2021.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations and kudos to all involved in this remarkable project, especially Jim Ward, who both conceived the idea and has subsequently led the project from its inception.

‘Tour de Lyme’ Takes Place Today, Benefits Lyme Land Trust; Registration Still Possible

And away they go … the 8th annual Tour de Lyme will take place Sunday, June 5.

LYME — After a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth annual Tour de Lyme is happening again on Sunday, June 5.

This is a change to the original May date announced in order to support the local farmer, who leases the Ashlawn Farm fields. This change will enable the fields, where cars are parked for the Tour de Lyme, to be hayed prior to the event.

For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone – riders, sponsorsand volunteers – will enjoy a post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, beer and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the always popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead. There will also be Tour de Lyme shirts for sale.

For complete information and online registration, visit www.tourdelyme.org

Ready to ride!

It is not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying length and degree of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE, the name says it all, is 60 miles – a real workout;
  • The CLASSIC, shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge;
  • The VALLEY Rides  pleasant easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY  at just 8 miles designed for riding with children.

There are also two mountain bike options;

  • the RIDER’S TEST a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts
  • a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by The Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Connecticut. During those years, the Lyme rural community has shown that a small population can have a big impact and protect more than 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise – open to all.

Money raised from the Tour de Lyme will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the Land Trust preserves while protecting and maintaining what has already been conserved for generations to come.

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – registration and donations are tax deductible.

Town of Lyme Awarded Sustainable CT Certification, One of Only Four Towns in State to Achieve Prestigious Bronze Level

LYME, CT – On Wednesday, June 1, the Town of Lyme announced that is one of four Connecticut municipalities to be recognized this spring for achieving Sustainable CT certification. Lyme met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious bronze-level certification.  

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive. The organization announced its 2022 spring certified communities this week.  

In learning of the award, Lyme First Selectman Steven Mattson said, “I would like to thank the hard-working team of volunteers on our Sustainable Committee, as well as the volunteers on our boards and commissions, elected officials and Town staff who made this accomplishment possible. The award is further proof that Lyme is a great place to live.” 

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, the Town of Lyme demonstrated significant achievements with 18 actions in 12 sustainable impact areas. The Town was awarded points for its:-

  • Emphasis of the importance of open space
  • Adoptions of an equity resolution and an affordable housing plan
  • Expanded communications with residents
  • Active promotion of resources for:
    > maintaining dark skies
    > fighting invasive plant species
    > buying local
    >linking residents to area social services and public transportation.  

Programs of note that were launched as part of the Town’s efforts to receive certification include the Lyme Pollinator Pathway and Lymes’ Creative Arts.

More information on all of these activities can be found at this link

Lyme Sustainable Committee Chair Gavin Lodge said, “Being designated as a Sustainable CT municipality is a great honor and reflects a true team effort on the part of many volunteers, boards and commissions.”

In particular, Lodge thanked the 11 volunteers, who serve on the Sustainable Committee:

  • Sue Cope
  • Sarah Crisp
  • Diana Fiske
  • Liz Frankel
  • Carleen Gerber
  • Wendy Hill
  • Carol House
  • John Kiker
  • David Lahm
  • Jim Miller
  • Alan Sheiness
  • Cynthia Willauer. 

The Town needed at least 200 points to achieve bronze certification and received 275 points. Lodge said the next step would be looking at taking Lyme to silver certification, the highest current level of certification available. 

Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact  program. One-hundred twenty-nine municipalities have registered for the program.

Collectively, 64 municipalities have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certification lasts for 3 years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.  

“Congratulations to our newest Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Lynn  Stoddard, executive director of the program. “They join a growing number of certified  towns and cities that are demonstrating municipal practices that make our communities  more inclusive, healthy, connected and strong.”  

The program includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection,  social equity and long-term resilience. It includes an action roadmap and support tools  that are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial  justice and respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. 

Sustainable CT is independently funded with strong support from its three founding  funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund and the Smart  Seed Fund.

Additional support is provided by the Community Foundation of Eastern  Connecticut, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County Community  Foundation, Main Street Community Foundation and other sponsors. 

The Town of Lyme and all 2022-certified communities will be recognized later this year at Sustainable CT’s annual certification awards ceremony and celebration scheduled to be held in November.

For more information about Sustainable CT, contact Sustainable  CT Communications Manager Jim Hunt at 860-259-4732 or jamesh@sustainablect.org

Op-Ed: Author Responds to Issues Raised by Town of Old Lyme Property on Buttonball Rd., Requests Absence of Acrimony

Old Lyme municipal property located at 36-1 Buttonball Road has been the subject of considerable discussion in news publications and on social media.  

By way of disclosure, I am the Old Lyme Open Space Commission secretary, but I write strictly as a private citizen who has volunteered to help preserve the town’s natural resources and scenic charm.

Two issues have been raised regarding this property – that the Open Space Commission has “hidden” the land from the public, and that the Commission is opposed to public access to it.

Regarding the first – in the roughly five years that I’ve served on the Commission, I do not remember this property ever being the subject of a discussion. 

As the principal author of the town’s approved 2020 Open Space Plan, I was aware that a definitive inventory of town-owned open space was lacking. Thus, the plan reads: 

“The Town of Old Lyme owns 936 acres of open space land in six sizable open space areas accessible for hiking and public access, and two other areas [Lords Woods and Eklund Pond].

NOTE: This total does not include various parcels of town open space owned by fee within subdivisions. When added, that land will increase the above town total.”

Any property omissions in the Plan or on Open Space webpages have not been intentional. They are rather a result of record-keeping issues.  As an example, at a recent Town Meeting, property at 18-2 Short Hills Road, Old Lyme was accepted as “open space.” It’s my understanding that the deed to this parcel identifies it as “town property” without reference to open space. This example is not meant to criticize the town land use office but is offered instead as an illustration of how an open space inventory can become complicated, particularly going back decades with land records. 

The adage “squeaky wheels get grease” bears mentioning as well.  As with many of the town’s boards and commissions, members of Open Space are all volunteers, we often serve on multiple agencies, and time is exhausted meeting basic stewardship demands, pursuing new acquisitions, and addressing various issues that arise, such as a pending, time sensitive request under current review to allow equestrian use on trails. Unlike regulatory agencies, Open Space has no town staff to assist in its work. 

Research into land records has unfortunately languished due to a continuing need to address more immediate demands. 

I commend Harbor Management for its work in seeking public access to our waterways, particularly as someone who personally enjoys kayaking. 

Regardless of the past history of 36-1 Buttonball Road, Harbor Management’s highlighting of the property has brought it into new focus.

The jurisdiction of particular agencies over the land is a legal question to be determined. It does appear, however, that a predecessor of the current Commission actively obtained this property on the town’s behalf. That said, my hope is that various town agencies can work together cooperatively on this property.

The second point to address is allegations that Open Space is “fighting” to keep the public from this property.  

The Commission has a charter that the town’s citizens approved in a Town Meeting vote, and which is now an ordinance (underlining added):

“Supervise and manage acquired open space lands for passive recreational use by the public, protect and preserve the natural resources and wildlife contained therein and develop appropriate standards and limitations for the use of parcels of land acquired pursuant to the provisions of this article to assure their continued use as open space.” § 20-56 D.

At issue is whether public access over salt marsh to a creek that runs into the Black Hall River is advisable. Years ago, the Conservation Commission addressed that exact issue and for its own reasons declined to pursue that access. 

In revisiting the property today, the First Selectman asked Open Space to seek an objective, expert review on whether salt marsh or wildlife might be impacted by river access at the site. The Commission is doing just that and has agreed to share information with Harbor Management and Inland Wetlands. Pursuant to a request from the town’s chief executive and in line with its mandate, it’s a charge the Commission needs to follow. The process will be transparent, and any finding will be public. 

A concomitant issue is a condition that was attached to the town’s acquisition of the property from the State of Connecticut that requires its use for river access. It has been argued that absent that specific use, the property may be reclaimed by the state. Thus, such access, as asserted, seems to be the controlling concern, so it is first being addressed. 

At the same time, some have suggested the property would be suitable for viewing the Black Hall River and the surrounding marshes. The area is populated by an array of wildlife, including nearby active osprey nests, and often seen egrets, great blue herons, eagles, and various other species. 

36-1 Buttonball Road would make a wonderful viewing area for town residents to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and to observe wildlife. I would fully support that use, and I suspect my fellow Commission members would as well.

During the entire time I’ve served, Open Space has been committed to promoting public access to the town conserved property. In fact, a good portion of my volunteer time has been spent drafting public messages to just that effect. Last evening, the Commission, with the Old Lyme Land Trust and the Old Lyme Inn, sponsored a “hikers’ happy hour” on Champlain South to encourage visitation.

An unfortunate by-product of the 36-1 Buttonball Road discussion has been the denigration of the Open Space Commission co-chairs.  

Amanda Blair has devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer time to the town on behalf of open space. She personally shepherded a detailed and complex purchase of the McCulloch farm to closing, and the subsequent necessary amendments to its conservation easement, to allow public access to this beautiful property.

Evan Griswold has served the town for decades, including on Open Space from its origin. He is one of the most dedicated conservationists I know and always has the best interests of nature and the town in mind. Contrary to public comments, Mr. Griswold, as the commission lead in view of Mrs. Blair’s recusal, is not against public access to 36-1 Buttonball Road. He is rather doing what the commission’s charter requires and what the First Selectman has requested – attempting to prudently balance the interaction between people and nature. 

In its various property negotiations and purchases and in its stewardship of town land, the Open Space Commission has strived to respectfully conduct town business. Let us all proceed courteously and without acrimony.

Take a Champlain South Hike and/or Join ‘Hiker’s Happy Hour’ at Old Lyme Inn, THIS AFTERNOON

OLD LYME — The second Hikers’ Happy Hour of 2022, sponsored by the Open Space Commission, the Old Lyme Land Trust, and the Old Lyme Inn, will be held THIS AFTERNOON on Wednesday, June 1.  

A guided walk will leave at 4:15 p.m. from the Meetinghouse Lane entrance to Champlain South Open Space. A portion of the walk will follow an old 17th and 18th century roadway, where tracks from iron-wheeled carts are still visible in bedrock. 

After the hike, a friendly happy hour at the Old Lyme Inn will follow from 5 to 7 p.m.  Even if you do not hike, you’re still welcome at the Inn for Happy Hour!

Hikers should wear comfortable walking shoes and bring insect repellent.

In the event of rain, meet at the Old Lyme Inn for Happy Hour instead of the trailhead.

Information on the Champlain South Open Space and its trails may be found at: https://www.oldlyme-ct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3616/f/uploads/olos_champlainsouth9.14.2020.pdf

Letter to the Editor: Keep the Vision of Public Access to Public Land Alive in Old Lyme

To the Editor:

The Republican Party has a long history of protecting one of our nation’s most precious resources – the beauty of our natural environment. President Theodore Roosevelt, known as “The Conservation President”, established the United States Forest Service and during his administration preserved over 230 million acres of public land  to be kept in its natural state and to be enjoyed by the public. President Johnson spearheaded the Clean Water Act during his administration and President Nixon followed up with the Clean Air Act during his tenure. Our party is also proud to have worked with our Democrat friends to keep America beautiful.

Why do we live in Old Lyme? One of the top answers is because it is the most beautiful rural small town along the Connecticut coastline. We are second to none with a landscape bounded by the Long Island Sound, rivers, wooded hills and filled with a very biodiverse ecology. The question that needs to be asked is, “How do we protect this beauty and still enjoy it with all our senses?”

Recently, there have been several news stories about a parcel of town owned property located at 36-1 Buttonball Road. It was deeded to the town with a restriction that it shall be used by the public for waterfront access. A representative from CT DEEP indicated that if the town went forward with that plan and an environmental impact study were to be done, then it would be very probable that DEEP would permit some minimal development to access the water based on an on-site observation. There would be room to park a vehicle and then access the water by way of a minimally impacting boardwalk to launch a kayak or to just enjoy the salt marsh ecology.

We support and encourage the town to pursue the wishes of this property’s donor to allow the public to have waterfront access. Furthermore, we stress the importance of responsible stewardship for these generous gifts. Proper stewardship will demonstrate that we value and will protect a donor’s wishes; and, it will encourage future donors to gift parcels of land for the public benefit knowing that their gift’s purpose will be honored.

We do understand that this parcel falls within jurisdictional aspects of several town authorities and so we encourage a post haste resolution of this jurisdictional issue so that the town may expeditiously move forward with a DEEP application for an environmental impact study.

It has been well over a century since President Theodore Roosevelt made it a national vision to protect and enjoy nature. Let’s continue to keep this vision alive in Old Lyme!

Robert A. Nixon,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

Gardening Tips for April from ‘The English Lady,’ a ‘Month of Activity’

Dandelions are one of the prettier weeds to announce the arrival of spring. But do not forget that the young foliage of dandelions is great in salads,  and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach! Photo by Viridi Green on Unsplash.

Those April showers that come our way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
And when it’s raining, let’s not forget,
It isn’t raining rain at all, its raining violets

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Lady.”

April is the month of activity in the garden, and our old nemesis, weeds are beginning to rear their heads, so we need to extract the little devils before they take hold and are difficult to remove.

Having said that, I must point out the benefits of many weeds. Nettles are food for butterflies, clover extracts nitrogen from the air and fixes it in the soil, and oil from jewel weed soothes poison ivy rash. The young foliage of dandelions is great in salads, healthy and containing many nutrients, and when the foliage is cooked, it tastes like spinach.  I also do not want to forget our songbirds and other wildlife, who depend on weed seeds as a food source.

Weed removal – weeds must be pulled gently so the weed and roots do not break apart for, if this happens, thousands of weed seeds will reseed and you will find yourself with an endless cycle of unnecessary weeding. When careful weeding has been accomplished, apply an organic weed pre-emergent, with a corn gluten base by Bradfield organics. This will keep weeds at bay for about six weeks.

Plant bare root roses at the end of April. Photo by Bailey Chenevey on Unsplash.

ROSES, ROOTS & MORE

Plant bare root roses at the end of April and container roses in mid-May.

Then in the middle of May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees, add manure with a fine bark mulch about one foot from the base of the rose. Check my March tips to refresh yourself on pruning roses.

Be careful clearing winter debris from around rhododendrons, mountain laurel and azaleas; these evergreens have shallow roots and you do not want the roots being exposed.

If the winter weather did indeed erode soil around some roots, add a few inches of soil to cover the exposed roots and at the same time resettle the plant in place. Then in the middle of May apply manure and fine bark mulch as well as some peat, which adds much needed acidity to evergreens.

Plant gladioli corms at two-week intervals in late April. Planting in two week intervals ensures you will get a succession of bloom. Plant the corms eight inches down; this extra depth helps keep the heavy blooms erect.

The Red Lily beetle will soon begin to appear, therefore I suggest applying organic Neem oil on the Lilies when they are about four inches above ground, which helps prevent and deal with the beetle problem.

SOIL SOLARIZATION

This is an effective way to control many soil- borne problems, specifically the tomato blight that causes fruit rot. Covering the soil with clear plastic at the end of April, for one to two months can generate high enough temperatures in the top six to 12 inches of soil to kill pests, nematodes, weed seeds and many disease organisms like the tomato blight.

This process has proved invaluable for home gardeners and the beneficial effects last for several seasons.

To solarize, dig a trench several inches deep around the bed, and spread a thin, clear plastic film (1-4 mils) over the bed.  Press the plastic into close contact with the soil and seal the edges by filling the trench with soil.  Leave the plastic on the soil until you are ready to plant tomatoes or other vegetables in about a month to six weeks.

When the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, manure all the borders with composted manure in bags from the garden center or aged manure from the bottom of the farmer’s pile and mulch with a fine brown hardwood mulch.

In the vegetable garden, after preparation and planting, and when it is time to mulch, do so with manure which will not ‘cap’ — this means that it does not form a crust like other mulches so that air and water can get through to the roots of the plants where it is needed.      

If you did not apply an organic grub control on the grass in March, apply now to keep the grubs down and cut down on the mole population.    

The soil is the most important component of the growing business; compost, organic manure and peat amend the soil to rebuild its structure. The ratio to use is one part compost to three parts manure and apply peat to the planting mix in the ratio of one part peat to three parts manure when planting evergreens. And as mentioned above, peat adds the acidity which evergreens need.

Good soil structure is extremely important in the garden. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Good soil structure assists with drainage, prevents compaction, and the rich nutrients that is the result as these amendments break down and encourage the soil animals beneath the surface to work at full capacity.

In a light soil such as sand, humus — which is the combination of manure — mulch and carbon from the atmosphere bind the sand particles together and, in heavy soil such as clay, keep the clay particles separate to make room for air and drainage.  

Growing conditions in April are very favorable for new plant-root development and it is the ideal time to transplant evergreen shrubs and new evergreens. Put the organic manure and peat with the topsoil in the planting hole in the ratios. Then give the roots a workout before planting to release them. In this way, the roots are opened up and will reach into the surrounding soil for nutrients and water. Also, they will not dry out in the heat of summer.    

Many years ago, when I moved into my farmhouse on the shoreline, I discovered that my soil was sandy, which is good for drainage but sadly lacking in nutrients. I began adding a few inches of manure to all planted borders in April, July and October and today when I put a spade in the ground to check the color of the soil in spring, it is ‘black gold.’  

Gloves should be worn using manure which contains bacteria. The bacteria is great for the plants and the soil but not good for your health.  These products tend to be slow acting; gradually making the nutrients available to the plant and the rewards are infinite.

Organic fertilizers like manure are applied in spring around mid May when the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees and when the plant has about six inches of growth; this allows for the nutrients to become active at the time when plant growth is happening quickly. 

A beautiful spring sight is always, ‘A host of golden daffodils.’ Photo by Sarah Mitchell-Baker on Unsplash.

Daffodils are blooming and what a lovely sight to see. When the daffodil bloom has past, do not cut the leaves from any of your spring flowering bulbs, the leaves send down energy into the bulbs to store for next season’s bloom. 

April is the time to tackle a new lawn or patch seed, use only good quality seed and organic fertilizers.   

Do not be lulled into complacency with a few back-to-back warm days; we can still get a frost and I caution you not to plant annuals until Memorial weekend. 

Do not cultivate around the perennials in the borders until mid May.

Do not panic if you were not able to get the April tasks done until May — your garden will wait for you and the constancy that is Mother Nature will continue to keep your patch of earth flourishing. 

Enjoy the pleasure of being outdoors in warmer temperatures, inhaling the pungency of awakening soil and experience the connection with Mother Nature. Do not overdo it; warm up the body before the garden labor and stay well hydrated with lots of water. We are inexorably entwined with the earth and know that even the smallest gesture of a garden has positive rewards and the effects are positive not only on you but our planet. 

I will return with more gardening tips in May when you are out in the garden in force.

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Requests Trail-Walkers Pay Special Attention While Lords Meadow Construction is Ongoing

In the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is asking that visitors use only this parking area at 33-1 Lords Meadow when accessing the Lay-Allen Preserve or the McCulloch Family Open Space. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission owns a small parking area and connecting trail at 33-1 Lord’s Meadow that provides hiking access to the Old Lyme Land Trust’s Lay-Allen Preserve

Hikers interested in a longer walk can also access the McCulloch Family Open Space via this trail and the Land Trust Preserve.

There is active construction in the neighborhood underway on several nearby building lots.

The Open Space Commission asks that visitors only use the designated parking area in the interest of public safety and out of respect for private landowners. 

Visitors are also requested not to block the adjacent private driveway.

Entry Now Open to Diana Atwood Johnson Photo Contest Hosted by CT Open Space

A Great Egret photographed by Diana Atwood Johnson in Orlando, Fla. The DAJ OSWA Photo Contest, which is now open for entries, is named after Atwood Johnson, who was an Old Lyme resident for many years prior to her passing in 2018.

OLD LYME —Launched in 2016, the Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) annual photo contest was re-named in 2017 in honor of the late Diana Atwood Johnson, who stepped down as the Chair of Connecticut’s State Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board, after having served in that position for 19 years.

The contest is intended to provide a venue for amateur photographers to celebrate Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP)’s Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program (OSWA) and the Urban Green and Community Gardens Grant Program (UGCG), display their work, and provide the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) and DEEP with new materials for their publications and communications.

The renamed 2022 DAJ OSWA Photo Contest is now open for entries.  

Photographs taken on properties purchased using OSWA grant funds are eligible. The Old Lyme Land Trust(OLLT) holds three properties thanks to this program. They are listed below and the name in parentheses is how the property is referenced in the OSWA database.

The properties are:

  • Lay Preserve (“Lay Property”)
  • Hatchett’s Hill Preserve (“Eylandco Inc. Property”)
  • A portion of the Upper Three Mile River Preserve (“106 Four Mile River Road”)

The deadline for submissions is May 3, 2022.

For more information and details of how to submit entries, visit the CLCC Announcement of DAJ OSWA Photo Contest .

The OLLT also welcomes receiving photographs taken on any of the Trust’s preserves, some of which will be selected to be featured on the OLLT website’s photo gallery. Send photos to OLLandTrust@gmail.com. This is an open invitation and there is no deadline.

Old Lyme Harbor Commission Accepting Online Applications for 2022 Moorings in Town Waters

Photo by Sereja Ris on Unsplash.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Harbor Commission is now accepting applications for 2022 moorings in Town waters.

This year marks a transition to a web-based system, replacing the legacy paper forms. In addition to streamlining the operation,  process improvements include the option to pay electronically. The cost is $40 for the annual permit, and Proof of Tackle Compliance provided by a qualified Inspector is required.

Beginning in May, the Harbor Master will commence routine checks of the mooring fields of the Local Waters.

Boaters are reminded that moorings without valid permits and/or those that do not comply with the Old Lyme Harbor Ordinance standards for placement or identification may be removed from service without notice, and the associated removal and storage costs will be the owner’s responsibility.

Additional information is available at 2022 Mooring Permit.

Any questions regarding the process can be sent via e-mail to Tom Meyer at HMCMoorings@oldlyme-ct.gov