Wanted: Useful Plants for Lathrop Landscaping
By Barbara Walvoord
At Lathrop, new plants are always being installed and old plants replaced. Imagine that you are interviewing new plant candidates for your garden or other landscaped areas around you.
Today’s candidates include two alien plants that evolved in Asia but are currently found on both campuses (burning bush [Euonymus alata] and daylily (Hemerocallis ‘stella d’oro’] and two native plants that evolved in New England and are currently planted by a few residents in their cottage gardens (native highbush blueberry [Vaccinium corymbusum] and native butterfly weed [Asclepius tuberosa], a member of the milkweed family).
Interviewer: Do you look beautiful, and can you be kept looking neat? All plants: YES!
Interviewer: Do you need lots of water, herbicides, and fertilizer? All plants: Nope, not a lot.
Interviewer: Birds, bees, and butterflies are in decline. How can you help them? Continue reading Wanted: Useful Plants for Lathrop Landscaping
Seeds are for sale now at our local stores. Our community gardeners are planning their spinach, beans, peas, tomatoes, and squash. We’re part of a very old farming tradition. The old barbed wire on our land, as well as an old manure spreader abandoned in an east campus field, reminds us that European colonists farmed our Lathrop land for several centuries.
But in fact, agriculture on Lathrop land goes back even farther. Early European settlers tended to see the land they found as a wilderness, because it did not look like the farms they left behind in Europe. But they were wrong. The land they found in the Connecticut Valley was actually an extensive and well-regulated agricultural system that provided the basis of the diet of the native American tribes who lived here.
European settlers did not see the native American farms because women did the farming, and because the fields looked messy to European eyes. English settlers assumed that only men farmed, and that the work of men was much more important, so they were blind to the fact that an Indian woman might be working up to 2 acres, raising 25-60 bushels of corn. Farming contributed up to three-fourths of total calories consumed. Continue reading Farming Lathrop Land: A Long History