Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Phyllostegia hispida - Endangered Species

Phyllostegia hispida, a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, growing
in the Nature Conservancy's Kamakou Preserve in Molokai.

The Obama Administration has listed its first endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Phyllostegia hispida, a plant native to the island of Molokai in the Hawaiian archipelago, was thought to be all but extinct. From 1910 to 1996, only 10 individuals were recorded, but in recent years they have died. Only 238 plants of this species exist today.

Since 2007, 24 wild plants have been discovered, and over 100 individuals propagated from cuttings have been outplanted in the Kamakou Preserve. It is found only in wet forests at elevations of 2,300–4,200 feet (700–1,300 m) on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. This green vine's loosely spreading branches often form a large mass.

"Now that this rare plant species is protected by both federal and state laws, it is our hope that it will come to the forefront of public attention along with Hawaii's other numerous endangered plants," said Patrick Leonard, field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. *

*For the complete article on this history making event, visit the Environment News Service.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tovah Martin - The New Terrarium

Tovah Martin, one of America's favorite gardeners, recently came to speak at The HSNY Library. She was promoting her newest book, The New Terrarium, and gave a wonderful
visual presentation on the world of gardens under glass. If you live in the city but want to be close to nature, are confined to an office all week or need the soothing touch of the natural world...a terrarium is the perfect solution.

Plants have been growing under glass since the early 1800's. The British garden writer J.C. Loudon, in his 1822 classic Encyclopedia of Gardening, urged the garden world to make use of these 'hand-glasses' as an 'essential tool of gardening'. The same holds true today, when encased in glass plants thrive with almost no help from the outside world. It's amazing how a terrarium can transform even the smallest corner of your space, by giving it a burst of vibrant green life.

Tovah also gave a hands-on demonstration of how easy it is to transform even the simplest of things, like a glass pitcher, into a lively and whimsical indoor garden. Her book is written with clear and simple step-by-step instructions and inspiring photographs to guide you along the way.

A Wardian case with a deep base simplifies planting directly in the case.

This ode to spring under glass includes white wood hyacinth (right) and lily-of-valley with glory-of-the-snow (left).
Come join us at The Horticultural Society of New York on June 13, 2009, for a workshop with Tovah Martin on how to build your own wonderful garden under glass. Check our website, hsny.org, as the date draws near for more information on Tovah's workshop.
*The New Terrarium, Tovah Martin
Photographs by Kindra Clineff

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Green Screen at The HSNY

If you haven't visited The HSNY at our new location in midtown Manhattan, you must put it on your 'to do list' as a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. Our Library boasts an extensive collection on gardens and gardening that includes fascinating horticultural magazines to inform and inspire gardeners, would-be gardeners and anyone interested in plants. The contemporary art Gallery, which is open to the public, combines an innovative curatorial strategy with a unique gallery space to showcase emerging and established contemporary artists in all media who create plant-based art, supported by a series of film screenings and other engaging events.

Along with all this, we have custom designed and built a green screen which adorns the south facing windows in our office. This 'screen' is filled with many wonderful varieties of Cacti, Succulents, Ferns, Begonias, Peperomia, and even Euphorbia. There is a wide range of shapes, textures and colors that are represented in the foliage of our plant selections, along with varied bloom times, to make the display last year round.

If you are an apartment dweller in New York, you are well aware of how limited space is. The green screen is a perfect solution for introducing live plant material into your environment. This screen can actually help conserve energy by providing a layer of insulation, and even act as soundproofing. Plus these plants will grow and fill in the window creating a privacy screen.

I suggest you stop in and see for yourself what a unique and useful addition this green screen has become in our loft space.