25 Years of Conserving and Beautifying Central Park

CentralPark
Sara Cedar Miller, photographer and historian of the Central Park Conservancy gave a visual presentation on the 25-year renaissance of Central Park, illustrated with her magnificent photographs.

Co-presented by The Garden Club of Irvington and the Irvington Historical Society, this event included a book signing and reception.

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Filed under Garden History and Design, Irvington Garden Club Events, Nature Photography

A Rose Grows in Harlem

Stephen Scanniello is the 2013 recipient of the GCA Jane Righter Rose Medal.  His latest book, A Rose By Any Other Name, was the seed for the Heritage Rose District of NY City, an all-volunteer project that has grown to include more than 1,500 rose bushes planted throughout Harlem in 35 different gardens. He works with children and adults throughout Harlem bringing back roses that grew in Manhattan when the only inhabitants were Native Americans. Stephen spoke about the Heritage Rose District of NYC and his other rose preservation projects.

Scanniello

Guests and the public were invited to join us for his talk at the Irvington Public Library.

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“Candy in the Garden” with Kent Russell

Celebrity gardener Kent Russell recently educated and entertained Garden Club members with ideas and inspiration to create eye-catching drama in any garden setting.

Abutilon

Here, he demonstrates the long-blooming qualities of Abuliton “Biltmore Ball Garden.”

“The perfect garden has a little bit of everything in it,” Kent said. He served up his “Candy in the Garden” presentation with verve and humor and illustrated his points and anecdotes with a wide assortment of live plant materials (available for sale afterwards). He re-introduced Garden Club members to fancy-leaved geraniums, including “Vancouver Centennial” and “Crystal Palace.” Don’t water them—and pinch for beautiful new growth, he admonished. “Geraniums hate moisture!” And he got everyone to fall in love with Abuliton, a type of flowering maple, especially “Biltmore Ball Garden.” He advised, “Treat it as an annual, out on the patio or porch. It blooms all summer and it’s easy to make cuttings. Then bring it in at it will flower all winter on a sunny windowsill.”

Kent was “The Garden Guru” on PBS and is listed as a preferred speaker by the Garden Club of America. “I was born with a silver trowel in his hand,” he says, beginning his life in horticulture at his family’s nursery, Russell Gardens, in Bucks County, PA, where he is still based. Kent designs gardens and container plantings for clients throughout the East Coast.

The program, at the Irvington Public Library, was free and open to the public.

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Using Natives in Your Garden

Famed landscape designer Larry Weaner gave Garden Club members and guests an important presentation on gardening with native plants of the Northeast. Here are some of the the main points of his illustrated talk that may be helpful in planting your garden:

Plant Communities

A plant community with Liatris spicata (blazingstar) and Veronicastrum virginicum (Culver’s root). If plants grow together in nature, they most likely will be good companions in a garden.

• HABITAT: Look at plants, how they grow, and “who” they grow with.

• The same plant combinations that grow successfully in the wild can be planted successfully in a garden with the same temperature, water and soil conditions.

• Match each plant to its ideal habitat. For example, as shown in the photo below, perennial lupines typically grow at the forest edge in well-drained, sandy soil with slightly acidic pH. Scatter seeds of Lupinus perennis in the spring in a partly-shaded spot that has well-drained, sandy, slightly acidic soil, and within two years you may have a beautifully flowering stand.

Wild Lupine0010

A naturally occurring stand of Lupinus perennis (perennial lupine)

Disturbance 1

A naturally occurring stand of Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)

• DISTURBANCE: Many seeds lie dormant, and when an event happens, like a fallen tree branch, it creates a disturbance that causes the seeds to germinate.

• Scatter seeds after disturbing an area to encourage growth. Monitor area for weed growth, most intensively during the establishment phase.

Disturbance 2

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower) in the garden with Phlox paniculata ‘David’ (summer phlox), Amsonia tabernaemontana (blue star flower), and Heuchera villosa var. macrorhiza ‘Autumn Bride’ (hairy alumnroot)

• SUCCESSION: Use shorter-lived plants (you may start from seed) as “place holders” until longer-lived perennials develop.

• Choose plants that grow and mature at different time frames.

• Use plants that spread seed and roots to fill gaps naturally.

• Structure your garden in layers (tall, medium and low) as they would grow in a woodland setting or meadow.

• Use logs and stumps in the garden as a habitat for plants and wildlife.

Natural Design

“Natural Design”: a planned meadow with Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) and
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan)

• “Meadows” can get weedy if not properly managed. But once established and if managed appropriately, a meadow’s dense vegetative growth can inhibit weed seed germination. Weed to favor desired species and discourage undesirables, especially during the critical establishment phase.

• Cut weeds instead of pulling. Pulling disturbs the soil, encouraging more weeds.  If you must pull, plant in the gap. To get rid of vines or larger weeds, cut and paint with a herbicide rather than digging.

Competition 2

A border of natives: Aspclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed), Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Liatris spicata (blazingstar), Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ (switchgrass), and Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant), Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi (bearberry), Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood), and Rhus aromatica ‘Gro lo’ (fragrant sumac).

• If you consider views and vantage points — like viewing the garden from a distance looking up to the house — and plant using natives imitating the patterns of plant communities in nature, the results could be as rewarding as the two properties above.

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Workshops Part of GCI Continuing Horticultural Educaion

Every year, the GCI Horticulture Committee holds a series of hands-on workshops that help our members propagate and grow the most suitable plants, often natives, for their gardens and our region. Many of the plants are sold at our annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale at Lyndhurst on the first Saturday in May.

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“One of the Ten Gardens Not to Be Missed this Summer”

“And now at last we have a chance to catch our breath, and really stop and smell the roses at the annual Rose Day at Lyndhurst, home to one of our very favorite rose gardens in the whole Hudson Valley,” wrote Bill Cary in an article in The Journal News last Friday, in which he named the Rose Garden at Lyndhurst “one of the ten gardens not to be missed this summer.”

Sunday was an almost-perfect early summer day, and a record crowd of hundreds of people enjoyed an afternoon of observing, learning about, and photographing roses while they listened to live chamber and choral music, sipped punch, munched on cookies, and just relaxed. Rose experts from the Garden Club explained the finer points of planting, caring for and pruning many varieties of roses.

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The Rose Garden, tended by members of the Garden Club, is on the grounds of Lyndhurst, a 67-acre National Trust for Historic Preservation property  on the Hudson River. It is open to the public, free of charge, daily from dawn to dusk. Rose Day is an annual event, the first Sunday in June.

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Annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale a GCI Tradition

What should I plant in the shade? Does this plant like to be wet or dry? Should I let it grow or pinch it back? Will the deer eat it? Every year, on the Saturday before Mothers Day, Garden Club members help guests to our Garden Fair and Plant Sale at the Lyndhurst Greenhouses choose plants and provide tips on care that, we hope, will contribute to the success and beauty of many gardens in the area. An added bonus: the daylilies, coleus and hostas that are unsold are donated to Lyndhurst to enhance the plantings at this National Trust property.

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Filed under Horticulture, Irvington Garden Club Events, Plant Sale, Rivertowns Westchester NY, Tarrytown NY