In Memoriam: Peter S. Kidd

Long-time NHLA members will be saddened to learn of the death of Peter Straw Kidd, also known as Igbear and Dr. Blossom. Peter died in Amarillo, Texas on June 12, 2020, after having recently celebrated his 73rd birthday with close family members on June 5 at his residence in Canyon, Texas.

Peter was born in 1947 to R. Richard Kidd and Joan Straw Kidd in Springfield, Illinois. At the age of four, his family, including Martha and James Richard, followed his father’s career as a corporate executive, moving to New Canaan, Connecticut, a commuter town to New York City. It was in New Canaan that Peter came to know life-long friends Gregory Raymond, Hiland M. Hall, and Tim Lovitt.

Excelling as a football player in high school and being nimble of mind, Peter went on to study International Affairs and Political Science at Columbia University in New York. By junior year, Peter realized he had no spiritual equals on campus, deciding to abscond on a Yugoslavian freighter to Morocco, where he joined Hall, Raymond, and Lovitt in Tangier, living through events narrated in his novel, The Moroccan Grail. Peter spent three years in Morocco, working with British historian and occultist Trevor Ravenscroft to rewrite the history of French king, Charlemagne. It was during the writing of this history that Peter met Michel Angela Petersen, Ravenscroft’s daughter, a union that lasted long enough to give birth to daughter Sophia Grace.

Some years later, Peter Kidd married Edna Marie Doucet, with whom he raised three children, Alexander Straw, Matthew Doucet and Ella Kidd, along with Sophia, in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Peter worked for himself, building Landscapes by Peter Kidd, a successful professional practice based upon his love of beauty in design and attention to nature’s cycles of death and rebirth.
Not long after his children grew up and moved out of the house, he moved to Texas to live with his love and life partner, writer Linda Rowland Stone.

Peter was one of the founders of NHLA and became President in 1986. From 1982-84 he was the editor of the NHLA Newsletter and continued as a frequent contributor through 2015.

Peter wrote fiction, reviews, and plays, as well as poetry. Novels include three books: The Raven, The Moroccan Grail, and Murder in Manchester, all to be published posthumously. Two large volumes of poetry include The Human Condition, upcoming 2021, and Bums Rush, a tribute to San Francisco poet, Bob Kaufman. Peter started Igneus Press in 1990, which has published approximately 50 books of poetry and plays.

Peter is survived by his life partner, Linda Stone, and her three children, whom he loved as his own: Philip Brec Stone, Stacy Deon Tucker, and Sarah Alyson Stone; his sons Alexander and Matthew, daughters Sophia and Ella; and sister, Martha Kidd-Cyr.

On Landscape Design
— by Peter Kidd

Leon’s right
at most, an index card is needed, for estimates
in terms of script
an idea one can’t remember
isn’t an idea worth reproducing
on an even larger scale …
and yet, the paradox
the prophet’s cool breath
the letter of the law
a concept
and I, too, dabble
sketch and draw maps
to treasures
wishing I had increased vision …


Hellstrip Gardening? Hellyes!

by Cris Blackstone, NHCLP

Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise Between the Sidewalk and the Curb by Evelyn J. Hadden, (Timber Press) is a problem-solver of a book. With solutions offered through site visits to these garden areas from San Francisco, Idaho, North Carolina, and many destinations punctuating the US, this book will certainly trigger your imagination to consider these types of areas you may be dealing with. For margins between driveways, to small islands in parking lots, this book can help you think of the situations in more than strictly the defined “hellstrips” in urban areas between the sidewalk and street.

Hellstrip Gardening by Evelyn J. Hadden

The book poses the question, “Why does curbside landscape matter,” and continues to answer itself, “. . . to create pleasant, walkable neighborhoods.” Doug Tallamy, in his research and newest book, Nature’s Best Hope, also cites the raw number of acres of lost land in these so-called hellstrips, and under power lines and other places overlooked and neglected, as being rich with opportunities to plant for our pollinators, to help preserve our food sources! Which ever way you want to look at it, aesthetic or practical, this is a book that is rich with Joshua McCollough’s photos to help you imagine your takeaway from the book.

Organized in a particularly easy-to-use manner, I highly recommend this for an enticing read as well as a handy, beneficial reference book. The first section is by geography, gardens across the states were selected and featured with brief descriptions and with particular problems identified and solved. Then, segments in the book include: Challenges to Address, including water challenges, tree challenges, vehicle challenges, and so on. The important thing to notice that Hadden continually adheres to is that those are only “challenges” and not barriers! There are clearly outlined solutions to the challenges and recommendations you can readily learn from or modify for your particular situational challenge.

Other sections include plant recommendations for specific types of hellstrips and sun/water/shade/drought considerations as well as ultimate plant form and size considerations referred to at various points during the hellstrip travels.

Timber Press has nailed it again, identifying this book and author as beneficial to the Green Industry, gardeners, land stewards, and people interested in sustainability and rejuvenation of garden trends and ideas. Evelyn Hadden’s website is content rich and gives a terrific introduction to this talented woman. An author of several books, radio show host, and songwriter, she is multifaceted and a well-respected speaker at garden conferences and symposia as well as performer of blues style songs! She offers, through her lifestyle, a strong reminder that we should all enjoy what we can through ecological garden and landscape practices, and then, enjoy what we can through creative outlets such as music and arts. Whether performing or as an audience member, keep that work/life balance and let your creative energy flow through your most tedious client tasks – then stay healthy and chillax! Get hold of Hellstrip and see how you can help make a big difference!

Yes, There IS an APP for THAT!

by Cris Blackstone, NHCLP

Here to stay, our smart phones are no longer the contentious item in the field, truck, or office. When we may have heard, “No phones allowed on the jobsite,” we now might be hearing, “What does your APP say that is, anyway?” Sure, there is a place for rules about cell phone use with employees. There are serious safety concerns about being distracted by phone use, time wasted with phone use, and even how it looks to a client to see crew members continually glancing at a screen, but consider the many, many beneficial uses of cell phones at work before you snap out a quick “not allowed.”

From plant identification, insect ID, diseased leaf ID, or up-to-date weather conditions, there are useful APPs in all price ranges, and for all sorts of terms of use. Be careful of the APPs that are free, for a limited time, then roll over to a cost per month or annual fee. Be aware that some APPs have a free version and also offer a version at a cost, and determine if you get exactly the level of information you need with the free version or if that annual cost upgrade might serve you better.

Once you get the comfort level needed with an APP, chances are you will investigate more and even recommend more APPs to your colleagues and crew. Be considerate, however, and manage your expectations of crew members downloading APPs on their own phones for company use. That should be an individual decision and not a requirement. Showing the benefits and uses of a cell phone APP to a crew member might net you the result you want, but you can’t show any favoritism to employees who choose to use their own phones for work-related APP downloads and work day use.

Plant ID apps, disease ID characteristics and insect ID APPs are three to consider first. Bear in mind, not much can truly replace person-to-person expertise, so don’t overlook the services offered through our own UNH Cooperative Extension service for these types of questions, since they are working from the very local information and very local solutions that may be best suited for your situation. But, general ID questions and solutions are available, reliable, and instantaneous, through:

LEAFSNAP – put a piece of paper (for a plain white background) in back of foliage from a flower, tree or shrub, and get an answer IF it’s a plant located here in the Northeast. This won’t work when we can travel again and you are in a tropical paradise and want to ID a particular bromeliad, but for here, and now, this is a convenient go-to APP for quick identification and some info on habitat, culture, care, and propagation, for example.

PICTURE THIS is a great example of an APP with levels of participation. It could be great to start with the limited, free version and see if that gives you the accuracy you are looking for. It not only offers quick plant ID info, but will give info on possible growing conditions, or diagnose some simple, straightforward problematic situations.

PICTURE INSECT is it’s related APP, and excellent for field ID, since it contains extensive info on insects in all stages of their lifespan and how they look at different stages. Be cautious of some insect ID apps that may be limited in the photos they need to identify specimens you send photos of.

For help with design and planning a garden or landscape work, consider the following:
iSCAPE – this APP will take a digital photo of your site and then you plug in various plants to see how they will look with a bit of maturity added to the plant profiles – before you buy any material or install anything at all.

PERENNIAL MATCH will help with those difficult conversations when a customer would like to see all their favorites in their front garden, but you realize those plants require very different soil, light, water, or space needs. This APP will let you plug in types of plants you are looking for and return what is compatible with what, with similar characteristics.

Citizen Science projects are effective, when monitored and checked for accuracy, as they are through:
iNaturalist takes your photo, question, or note and adds to the growing database of plants, problems, and pests, and shares that information. The data there is helpful to research projects worldwide, and to help conservation organizations check for large trends worldwide or in a specific region. Plants you might submit for identification are ID’ed through the huge data base, but you may get an answer with general genus or family if there isn’t enough data in the photo (poor lighting, other features in photo) for the artificial intelligence can’t get enough info from your photo.

A good plant or insect ID APP may offer you several selections, and from those, you can use your knowledge to whittle out wrong suggestions, based on what you know of your location, for instance.
Take the time to explore these, or any one of hundreds of APPs available, to use in the field, or for training employees. Have some fun as you see what works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I just took a photo, of Warren Buffet, from my mouse pad stylized cartoon drawing of him as part of the Geico advertisement on the mouse pad. It took just moments for the APP to return the result, Colorado Potato Beetle, based on the limited distinctive features match-up from the photo to the templates in the vast data base.

And, remember, there’s nothing like an excellent working relationship with your suppliers, garden centers, and professionals who are supplying pesticide, herbicide, and organic products to help with identification and remedies of things you find at your job sites. Those are the people who know you, know the area, and know what they have seen and heard from others in the field. But, there is no reason not to scout for info available with the resources software developers have to create helpful and intriguing APPs! The interaction with a smartphone or tablet also can encourage some of your crew to be diligent and want to learn more as they see more front line to your clients and jobsites. Encourage all the uses you can from many sources as you investigate and grow reliant on. APPs are here to stay.