A Green September to Remember

It’s going to busy month in town this September for those who wish to join in with the EGT to green their lifestyles just a bit.   Three events are running which will help you to do so, the 3rd Annual Through the Garden Gate Tour, the Ewing Fall Spin (being run in collaboration with the Township’s Community Fest celebration), and a new offering from our Environmental Insights Series, our educational series that discuss the critical environmental issues of our time, “Principles of Ecology: What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know.”

Through the Garden Gate Tour

The Ewing Green Team looks forward to welcoming you to our Through the Garden Gate Tour of great gardens in Ewing and its environs.  This year’s tour, will be held the weekend of September 16th and 17th and will give the gardeners a chance to show off their gardens in late summer – a completely different look and one that can be a bit more challenging!  The Tour is a self-guided ticketed event and runs from 10am – 2pm.  Some gardens will be open on Saturday only, while others will be open both days. Buy your ticket ($10) at the Ewing Historic Preservation Society, 27 Federal City Road, which features their kitchen garden.

Come early and celebrate with us as the winners of our first Annual Garden Contest are announced.  Winners will be announced and receive their prizes beginning at 9:30am before the tour begins.

This third garden tour of Ewing is being run in partnership with the West Trenton Garden Club and Ewing Girl Scout Troop 70138 to promote our mutual causes of beautification, sustainability, and youth development. It is our belief that showcasing some of Ewing’s noteworthy gardens is a great way to help us engage more people in beautifying our town. A beautiful town elicits pride among its residents and helps to build community. We believe that it can all begin with one garden at a time.

Date: Sat and Sun, Sept 16th and 17th
Time: 10am – 2pm
Start Up: Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society, 27 Federal City Road
Cost: $10


Ewing Fall Spin

The Ewing Fall Spin, Ewing’s third Bike Tour organized to promote a more bikeable Ewing, will start and end at Campus Town at the College of New Jersey at 8am on Saturday September 23rd. Participants will ride out promptly at 8:30 to complete either an eight mile route for the casual rider or an 18 mile journey for the more experienced rider. Riders will have a police escort.   The Ride registration fee is $20 until September 16th and $25 thereafter. All persons registering by September 16th will receive a T-shirt. Day-of-event registration will begin at 8:00am.  Registration is limited to individuals or teams ages 18 or older.

The theme for this year’s ride is, “Bike Riding for a Healthier You.” September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and all proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society’s Run for Dad event in support of prostate cancer awareness and research.

Date: Saturday, September 23rd
Time: 8:30am – 11am
Location: Campus Town at TCNJ
Cost: $20 by Sept 16th $25 thereafter


Environmental Insights

Everyone thinks that they have a feel for what ecology is but few actually exactly know.  Our newest Environmental Insights presentation, Principles of Ecology: What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know, on Wed., September 27th will give the non-scientists among us a basic, easy to digest explanation of the biology of ecology, what it is and what it is not. We will explore the fundamentals of ecosystems and the relationships of the organism that live in those ecosystems and the importance to mankind.

This is essential to a better understanding of the ecological damage that has been done to nature over the centuries and the continuing acceleration of this process.  We will further explore this issue at our October Green Team meeting and learn how dedicated and heroic efforts are being made to reverse the damage and hopefully eventually learn to live in harmony with nature or suffer the consequences.

This series is being presented by Joseph-Mark Mirabella, retired Central Regional Supervisor for the NJDEP Hazardous Waste Enforcement program.  He is a former Environmental Science Teacher and has taught and lectured on environmental issues at NJ Colleges for the last 35 years.  He is currently Chair of the Ewing Environmental Commission.

Date: Wednesday, September 25th
Time: 6:30pm
Location: ESCC, Community Room, 999 Lower Ferry Road
Cost: Free and open to the public


We finish with a reminder not to forget that our 4th Annual Scarecrow Contest is once again scheduled for this October.   This is your opportunity to demonstrate your recycling smarts and creativity and will ca$h while doing so. The judging and awarding of cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 will be during Ewing’s Trunk or Treat Festival on Saturday, October 28th.  For more information and to register, go to https://ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow-contest/.

Date: Saturday, October 28th
Time:  judging at 4 p.m.
Location: Ewing Senior and Community Center [ESCC]
Cost: free and open to all Ewing individuals, school groups, families, youth groups, service clubs and business groups

So join us at one or all events – at our Garden Tour to marvel at the efforts of your fellow citizens to beautify our town, for a healthy outing on our Bike Tour while raising money to support prostate cancer awareness and research, and our Environmental Insights program on ecology for a primer on the science of ecology to obtain a better understanding of the ecological damage that has been done to nature over the centuries and why and what we must do to reverse the damage.

Sustainably yours,

The Ewing Green Team

June Tree of the Month – Flowering Dogwood

by  Ann Farnham, LLA

Ewing Township’s Environmental Commission recognizes the beautiful Flowering Dogwood, Cornus Florida, as the Tree of the Month.

This lovely tree, a native to the eastern and central United States, is hardy from USDA zones 5-9 (Ewing is zone 6b), from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Texas.

Among the first trees to bloom in April or May, the Flowering Dogwood becomes covered in greenish-white, bloom-like bracts, four in number, which are usually 3-4” wide.  The bloom period lasts up to two weeks and is followed by clusters of red, berry-like, drupes which turn scarlet in September.  Birds love them.

These trees reach 20-30 feet in height, are beautiful in flower and have outstanding summer and fall foliage.  This species produces brilliant white flowers, but there are varieties ranging from pale pink to warm red.

Flowering Dogwoods do best in acid, well-drained soil, and partial shade, although they will tolerate full sun with appropriate care.  They are, unfortunately, subject to insect and disease problems.  In the Northeast the most widely recognized scourge is a fungus, Anthracnose, which is difficult to control and slowly kills the tree.  Fungicides may be effective.

Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University has developed hybrids of Cornus Florida and Cornus kousa (Japanese dogwood), which are disease resistant and now commercially available.

Some straight species of Flowering Dogwoods which have shown resistance to Anthracnose have been selected and bred and are also now available at nurseries and garden centers.

 The Ewing Environmental Commission (eec@ewingnj.org) welcomes suggestions for the Tree of the Month from all Ewing residents.

May Tree of the Month

by Ann Farnham, LLA

The beautiful Saucer Magnolia, Magnolia soulangiana, blooms in Ewing in April and May.

This small tree or multistemmed large shrub is a hybrid and usually thrives in USDA Hardiness zones 4 – 9 (Ewing is USDA Hardiness Zone 6b). It is a cross between Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliflora, reportedly a hybrid made by one of Napoleon’s retired cavalry officers, Étienne Soulange-Bodin, around 1820 in France.

In the garden it makes a beautiful focal point and is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring along with flowering cherries, redbuds, and the shrub, forsythia.

Saucer Magnolia blooms before its leaves appear in the spring but the flower buds are frequently damaged by frost as they open so early. Having a medium growth rate, a tree may reach a height of 20 to 30’ with a variable spread, pyramidal to rounded in form with low branches; it is also grown as a multi-stemmed shrub. There are dozens of varieties, each with a distinctive size and shape, with flowers which measure up to 4 to 8” across, and colors varying from purple-pink to white.

The best site for a Saucer Magnolia will have an acid, moist, porous and deep soil and full sun to partial shade. It tolerates wind and urban pollution fairly well. The roots need ample room to develop and the tree should be mulched to the drip-line (keep the mulch at least 6” from the trunk). If pruning is necessary, it should be done right after flowering.

There are several pests and diseases which attack Saucer Magnolia but fortunately they are infrequent. The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker woodpeckers seem to favor its bark, and ring the tree with little holes, but the damage is slight.

The Ewing Environmental Commission (eec@ewingnj.org) welcomes suggestions for the Tree of the Month from all Ewing residents.

To calculate the economic and ecological benefits of the trees on your property go to treebenefits.com.