Friday, July 30, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

Last year's lantana plants brought in so many beautiful butterflies that I thought I'd try some again this year.

Almost immediately Cabbage Whites, skippers, swallowtails—and even a clearwing moth—arrived. But . . . then . . . what was that fluttering above the plants? It's a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

Indulge me, please, this is the first hummingbird we've had in our little Princeton Landing garden and it's very exciting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Vandalism

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stop Vandalism

Sunday, July 25, 2010

SOS . . . Save Our Shrubs

June and July have been two of the hottest months on record and long-range forecasts predict above-average temperatures through October. All this heat is putting a terrible strain on our lawns, shrubs and trees. Although Princeton Landing has an irrigation system, it is old and temperamental. And what many of us may not realize is that our system is designed to water only the lawn areas.

This means that our shrubs and trees are in serious danger of dying due to lack of water. The only remedy for this problem is for homeowners to take responsibility for watering their own plantings. This may seem like an imposition, but our landscape is one of Princeton Landing’s most precious assets. The quality of our landscape affects the value of all of our homes. Dead shrubs do not make a good impression. Also, the shrubs and trees are owned by the Association. We pay for their upkeep through our monthly fees. If many plants have to be replaced, our fees will surely go up. None of us wants that. Watering now may save all of us money in the future.

Watering is not as time- consuming nor as difficult as it may seem. You only need to provide about an inch of water in one deep watering at least once each week. However, over the years the Landscape Committee has chosen to plant moisture-demanding plants such as rhododendrons throughout the community. If you have them around your home, they need to be watered more often.

Experts recommend preventing the soil from drying out completely, which will damage most plants. An easy way to check your soil’s dryness is to poke your finger about an inch into the soil around the base of the plant. If the soil feels cool and damp, the plant should be fine. If the soil is dry and crumbly, it’s time to water. It is best to water in the cool of the morning or early evening.

Be sure to water the soil, not the plant. Shrubs and trees should be watered around their drip line, the outer edge of the plant. Plants take up water though their roots, so make sure there is plenty of water in the soil for them to access.

Each of us can do a lot to improve the health and appearance of our landscape. And reaching that goal will benefit us all.
Jon Latimer

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lesson Learned

On a hot day, there's no time for pictures. Eat your ice cream quickly!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nature Guide: Ticks

Ticks are a problem for both people and pets in our area, so it's important to know a little about them. Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases to humans in the United States. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer gives us some information.

"Most people think of ticks as insects, but they are actually arachnids like scorpions, spiders and mites. Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, which they need to survive and reproduce. Because of this, ticks are attracted to humans and their pets. A tick’s bite can transmit a variety of serious diseases, including Lyme disease, tularemia, encephalitis and various kinds of tick fever. Two particularly widespread tick species in our area are the American dog tick and the deer tick.

"The American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, (also known as the wood tick) is one of the most widely distributed ticks in the eastern U.S. Although they are often found on dogs, they will also feed on other mammals such as squirrels, skunks, raccoons and humans. In our area, dog ticks are active from mid-April through mid-August. They are most common along roadsides and paths, and in woodlands and meadows with tall grass or weeds. Pets can bring ticks indoors where they can survive for several days.

"Although the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, (also known as the blacklegged tick) is only about 1/10 of an inch long and difficult to see, they are widely known for transmitting Lyme disease. The deer tick is most often a parasite of White-tailed Deer, which are frequently seen in Princeton Landing. Female ticks attach themselves to a host and drink its blood for several days, slowly swelling in size. After the tick is engorged, she drops off. She spends the winter hidden in leaf litter on the ground. The following spring, she may lay as many as several thousand eggs.

"After a tick egg hatches, the tick passes through three stages as it matures: larvae, nymph and adult. Each stage requires a single meal of blood before the tick can molt into the next form. A tick will attach itself to a different host each time. Ticks are opportunists; they will latch on to any animal that comes near them.

"Ticks have very hard bodies and can be difficult to kill. But in the landscape they can be controlled by relatively simple means. Applying pesticides can greatly reduce the number of ticks in an area. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a single application in early spring can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68–100%. The CDC recommends removing or pruning trees and shrubs, and applying mulch in spring, which serves as a barrier to a tick's encroachment. Mowing grass, cleaning up leaf litter and pine needles, and limiting the extent of groundcover is also advised to reduce the number of ticks. If you find a tick or fear that a tick has bitten a person or a pet, it is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible."

Photos: American dog tick by James Gathany, CDC
Deer tick by Scott Bauer, USDA ARS

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Under the watchful eye of property manager Pattie Araujo, Brickman removed overgrown trees outside the Parcel 1 condominiums. This followed the earlier removal of unsightly stone groundcover.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Le 14 Juillet

Photo by Yann Caradec

If you can't be there, click here to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Magic of Poilâne

Tomorrow is Bastille Day. To get in the spirit, watch this lovely and poignant video, "The Art of Baking Bread." It shows the late Lionel Poilâne of the legendary French bakery Poilâne being interviewed by award-winning cookbook author and food writer extraordinare Dorie Greenspan. Emmy award-winning producer David Turecamo made this piece in the summer of 2002 for CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

Sadly, in October 2002, not long after this video was shot, Lionel Poilâne and his wife Irena died in a helicopter crash. Their daughter Apollonia, a graduate of Harvard University, runs Poilâne today.

For the intrepid bakers in Princeton Landing, you can find the recipe for Lionel Poilâne's famous butter cookies, Punitions®, or Punishment Cookies, in Dorie's book Paris Sweets or on her blog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Hey, Boo"

"Hey, Boo," I said.

"Mr. Arthur, honey," said Atticus, gently correcting me. "Jean Louise, this is Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you."

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, the masterpiece by Harper Lee. Her brilliant character study of the young narrator, Scout Finch, epitomized what a bold and confident girl could be in a time when Barbies and baby dolls ruled.

Cheers to Miss Harper Lee and to Scout girls everywhere!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Parcel 6 Evening Sky — 8:16 pm

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nature Guide: Poison Ivy . . . One Year Later

A year ago we reported that the decision not to use chemical weed control here in Princeton Landing was likely to lead to problems, especially with poison ivy. Although the decision was reversed this year, the damage has already been done.
Poison ivy is a tenacious plant. Once established, it spreads both above and beneath the ground. And it can only be removed either by repeated treatments with herbicides or by pulling it out by hand, which is never entirely successful.
The lack of chemical weed control last year allowed our poison ivy to flourish and gave it a considerable head start against any attempt at control. This problem was made worse this year by the length of time it took to reinstitute the application of a pre-emergent pesticide. By the time application began, many weeds, including poison ivy, had already emerged, rendering the herbicide almost useless.
This is not the fault of Brickman, our landscaping company, or Signature, our management company. It is the fault of our Landscape Committee and its leadership’s lack of knowledge and unwillingness to listen to expert advice. These errors in judgment will not only end up costing all of us more money, they may even cause harm to those who come into contact with the poison ivy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fourth of July at Morven

On Sunday, July 4, from noon to 3 pm, Morven Museum & Garden will host a patriotic event for the entire family. Children and adults can sign the Declaration of Independence and participate in colonial life activities. Learn about the signers and patriots who had close ties to Morven. There will be patriotic music and a "Happy Birthday, America" cake. Admission is free.

The museum occupies the house called Morven, the former New Jersey Governor's Mansion and 18th century home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Free parking is available on site. For other parking options in the area, visit Morven is located at 55 Stockton Street in Princeton. Click here for directions.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

W.S. Merwin Named Poet Laureate

Today the Library of Congress announced that W.S. Merwin will be the 2010–2011 U.S. poet laureate. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award recipient is our nation's 17th poet laureate and succeeds Kay Ryan.

Born in New York City, William Stanley Merwin grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. He attended Princeton and studied with R. P. Blackmur and John Berryman. Mr. Merwin is quoted by the Poetry Foundation as saying that "it was not until I had received a scholarship and gone away to the university that I began to read poetry steadily and try incessantly, and with abiding desperation, to write it."

W. S. Merwin, who is 82, has lived in Hawaii since 1976. He moved there to study Zen Buddhism and eventually settled on the island of Maui, where he began to restore the forest surrounding his home, a former pineapple plantation on the northeast coast.