Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Treasure Arrives in the Library

Not long ago a small, carefully wrapped package was sent to the library. A hand-written note accompanied the special gift – a pocket-sized album of pressed flower collages from the Holy Land. The donor acknowledged his appreciation for the society’s library.

The album has a wooden cover with detailed, decorative color engraving surrounding Hebrew letters and the word Jerusalem. Captions on each page are printed in Hebrew, French, German and English. A little online research reveals that the album’s cover is olivewood and that the album was likely published circa 1904. In fact many such albums were produced to cater to visitors to the area.

This little treasure will be displayed in the fall at the annual show of The American Society of Botanical Artists.

Katherine Powis, HSNY Librarian

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LaLee's Kin: The Legacy Of Cotton

Green Screen Film Series presented
Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton
The Academy Award-nominated Film by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson
and Albert Maysles, Director of Gimme Shelter & Grey Gardens

About the Film:
LaLee's Kin explores the legacy of generations of African-Americans who toiled in the cotton industry in the Mississippi Delta — a hardscrabble life of poverty and virtual illiteracy. LaLee Wallace, a former cotton picker retired on disability, is a great-grandmother struggling to support and encourage her family, while Reggie Barnes, a crusading superintendent, strives to save the failing West Tallahatchie school system from takeover by the state. LaLee's Kin adheres to the rigorous and sober-minded Maysles tradition of presenting things as they are without editorializing.

About the Filmmaker:
Albert Maysles is an award-winning documentarian and a Guggenheim fellow. Along with his brother David, he brought us the cult classics Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1976). The Maysles have also worked extensively with celebrated artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whose monumental environmental projects were documented in Academy Award-nominated Christo's Valley Curtain (1974), Running Fence (1978), Islands (1986), Christo in Paris (1990), and Umbrellas(1995).

In addition to being nominated for an Academy Award in 2001, LaLee's Kin received the Sundance Film Festival 2001 Cinematography Award for Documentaries and the DuPont Columbia Gold Baton Award in 2004.

Visit our website,, and check out our monthly film screenings

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Celebration of World Water Day

HSNY would like share an update of our East Harlem Water Conservation Project

As a follow-up to HSNY’s Election Day water training with 23 teachers, our Apple Seed program challenged each PS 57 classroom teacher to compete for the “water saver” award by creating a dynamic lesson on one of the following topics:
1. Understanding our complex New York City water system
2.Identifying everyday ways to conserve clean tap water
3. Discovering rainwater harvesting and its importance in water conservation. HSNY would like to announce the winners of the competition:

The First Place Water Saver Award was presented to Ms. Montanez and her Kindergarten Class 112. Ms. Montanez describes her project: In class we have been learning about the water cycle and water conservation. We discussed the importance of conserving water. The students wrote and drew pictures of the things they do at home and at school to conserve water. Each child wrote a book and read it to the class.

The books are written in both Spanish and English and each page is illustrated. To connect the project with the core curriculum, the students wrote stories in sequential order (first, then, last) and then created their books in the computer.

Another Water Saver Award went to Ms. Shealy and her Kindergarten Class 126. Ms. Shealy’s class connected the water cycle to their scientific study of the seasons. They stressed the importance of water all living things and created gorgeous colorful images of water as rain, for drinking, for swimming in and for life.

Another Water Saver Award went to Ms. Nelson and her Second Grade Class 232.
Class 232 discussed how useful and necessary water was while creating our PAST, how much we need and use it NOW and how we will need it in the FUTURE. Then they asked ”What if there were no water left on Earth? What would like be like? What couldn’t we do? The students created a scene with water and a scene without water, and compiled their work to create a class pop-up book.

HSNY’s Apple Seed program would like to thank the Catskill Watershed Corporation for its generous support of this project. For more information about our complex New York City drinking water system, please visit their website at http:/

To learn more about the PS 57 Water Conservation Project and the Garden of Dreams, please visit our Wed June 25, 2008 blog entry

Article by Pam Ito

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Plant Picks

Cornus mas, Cornelian cherry dogwood

One of the first signs that spring is near are the soft yellow blooms of the Cornus mas. This handsome woody brings color back into a rather bleak landscape with its flowers that appear before the plant develops leaves. If your garden does not have a Cornelian cherry dogwood, this is the year to think about introducing a tree that heralds the transition from winter to spring.

Doris Page Winter Garden at Glendale Gardens, JHG 2009

Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Habit: Deciduous
Height: 20-30'
Width: 15-20'
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial shade
Bloom Time/Color: Late Winter/Early Spring; yellow
Foliage: Grown for Foliage; Burgundy/Dark
Fruit: Bright red 'cherries' in mid Summer
Comments: Flaking bark, tough adaptable shrub to small tree,
fruits attract birds, no serious insect or disease problems,
spreads by suckers

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Hort Library Book Club

Join the Hort Society Library Book Club! We meet monthly to discuss exciting books and authors.
Here is a list of what we have read so far.

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Framer by Novella Carpenter
Carpenter, a former student of Michael Pollen, has written an appropriately gritty memoir about urban farming which includes raising chickens, rabbits and pigs on a small lot in an Oakland, California ghetto. She takes obvious pride in dispatching and eating her critters.

The Natural History of Selborne by Gilbert White
Still in print, this natural history classic from 1793 has gone through many editions over the years. White, who kept meticulous records of his observations of nature, was familiar with the works of his contemporary Linnaeus ans seems to have informed Darwin's findings on earthworms.

Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food
by Wendell Berry
These insightful essays speak to the current interest in reconnecting with our food. Since the 1970's the poet/farmer Berry has championed the agrarian farm that is "well-integrated into the natural systems that support it" and railing against factory farms.

Next up on Tuesday, March 16th at 6pm is the humorous classic from 1929 by the Czech author/playwright:
The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek, illustrated by Josef Capek
It's short, sweet and charming, and will have you itching to get back in the garden.

Katherine Powis, Librarian