Members of the Garden Club of Irvington began the fall 2015 season with an expert guided tour of Brooklyn Bridge Park by horticultural supervisor Rashid Poulson.
We enjoyed the magnificent views while learning about the park design, plantings, and challenges the staff faces, such as keeping weeds in check during the hot, dry summer.
Rashid, above left, who’s worked at the 85-acre park since 2009, is a graduate of the Million Trees NYC Training Program, a Bloomberg-administration program designed to provide opportunities to inner-city youth. Born and raised in Flatbush, Rashid is one of two supervisors of the horticultural staff. The park itself — in addition to providing a 1.3 mile greenbelt along the East River — has changed New York into a more accessible place for all its citizens, including the kids who play in the fountain sculpture (a temporary exhibit, below, that was being dismantled during our visit) and the teens who play on the the basketball and handball courts and skate and play hockey in the ice rink.
This is a park that even has a book cart and comfortable place to sit and read.
Of course, Garden Club members were most interested in learning about the Park’s seven interconnected ecosystems that provide habitats for wildlife. With the magnificent skyline as a background, we toured paths and viewed woodlands, meadows, marshes and berms, all of which are planted with natives and grown with recycled rainwater and without chemical pesticides.Among the fall plants we enjoyed — several members gathered seeds and small branches for propagating are — were Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina), Mist Flower (Eupatorium coelestinum), Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius), and Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum). Come to our Garden Fair and Plant Sale on the first Sunday in May and you will surely find offspring of the plants pictured below.
… all of which were viewed, of course, with the East River and Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Maureen DePaoli, assistant to the Village of Irvington Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, and GCI past president Barbara Defino provided an overview of the Center’s history and programs and gave a tour of the gardens. IHS Senior/Girl Scout Amy Friendlander spoke about the Center’s educational materials. Like at many of our public events, guests of members were welcome to join us at 170 Mountain Road.
For more information about the O’Hara Nature Center, please visit the Village of Irvington site.