Monday, June 28, 2010

Workshops at the Hort...

Not everyone has the room for a big edible garden, but even if you're limited to a lone container, you can still enjoy a summer's worth of homegrown produce. This past week, the Horticultural Society of New York hosted a Vegetable Container Garden Workshop. Starting with a lecture, we discussed what vegetables, herbs, flowers, and other plants grow well together, as companion plants. Included in the workshop were the basics of container gardening including soil mixes, plant and container choices, fertilizing and general plant care.

Container gardening is an easy and low-maintenance way to satisfy that garden urge. A dull patio area can be brightened by the addition of baskets with cascading tomatoes or a colorful herb mix. Planter boxes with trellises filled with beans and peas can be used to create a cool shady place on an apartment balcony. Container gardening presents opportunities for many innovative ideas.

Here are some photos from the workshop...

Please check out our website for all the exciting lectures and workshops the Horticultural Society of New York is offering this summer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Plant Picks

Rosa 'Caldwell Pink'

This everblooming rose is becoming one of the most popular with landscape designers. Its double, lilac-pink flowers form clusters that can be seen at a distance, and the compact bush fills out nicely with a minimum of pruning and maintenance. It is not very particular about soil conditions, but prefers a sunny open space. Some rosarians have suggested that this is the old China rose, ‘Pink Pet’, but we feel that it shows traces of Wichuraiana or Multiflora heritage and fits more naturally in the Polyantha class. The study name comes from a neighboring town, Caldwell, Texas, where this rose was found. *

Common Name: Caldwell Pink

Classification: Polyantha

Rating: N/A

Year Introduced/ Discovered: Found, no date known

Color: Lilac Pink

Average Dimensions: 3' - 4' x 3' - 4'

Number of Petals: Double- 50

Exposure: Full sun

Spacing: 3'

Fertilizing: Fertilize in spring just before new growth begins.

Cold Hardiness: Hardy in zones 6 - 9

Water Use: Keep moist until completely established. Average water needed during growing season

Resistance to Disease: Very Resistant and Healthy

Fragrance No

Foliage: Medium green, foliage turns red in fall.

Growth: Compact, rounded

Bloom: Repeat, blooms in clusters from late spring - frost.

History: From a small nursery in Caldwell, Texas. Thought to be the rose, 'Pink Pet'

Fall color of Rosa 'Caldwell Pink'

*Information from the Antique Rose Emporium

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bryant Park Word for Word Series...

Green Acres, Green Gardens
A Panel Discussion in Bryant Park

George Pisegna, Director of Horticulture, HSNY and Maureen Hackett, Director of Horticulture, Bryant Park

I had the privilege of being asked to speak at the Word for Word Series at Bryant Park on June 2. Peter Kukielski, Curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at The New York Botanical Garden, and myself led a panel discussion on the ins and outs of gardening in an urban environment. The afternoon was hosted by Maureen Hackett, Director of Horticulture at Bryant Park. Topics discussed were soil conditions, shade gardening, plant choices, and alternates to chemical fertilization and weed/pest control. The discussion, of course, included roses. Peter has just authored his first book, Sustainable Rose Garden: Exploring 21st Century Environmental Rose Gardening, and was a wealth of knowledge on all that is roses.

Peter Kukielski, Curator Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, NYBG and George Pisegna

The Bryant Park Reading Room offers custom-designed carts for an extensive and eclectic selection of books, periodicals and newspapers; readings and programs at lunchtime, after work and for kids; movable furniture to create a more intimate environment; and kid-sized carts and furniture for children to use. The programming, publications, and environment of the Reading Room are available to everyone for free, without any need of cards or identification.

Peter Kukielski, George Pisegna, Susie Sigel and Paul Romero of Bryant Park, and Katherine Powis, HSNY

For more information and the summer schedule check out their website at

Thursday, June 3, 2010

From the Reading Room...

Summer Reading from The Barbara A. Margolis Library

For the novice...
Compost Stew: An A-Z Recipe for the Earth By Mary Siddals (juvenile book)

Paradise under Glass: An Amateur Creates a Conservatory Garden by Ruth Kassinger
This is a memoir by a non-gardener who creates a verdant, private sanctuary for herself. She includes a brief history of glass houses based non her research for the project that consumed and rewarded her. The author was recently interviewed in the New York Times.

Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening
by Annie Spiegelman

For the urban naturalist...
Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide by Peter Del Tredici
(Save the date! Peter will be speaking at the Hort on Nov 1)

Need a crash course in urban weeds? This is it! The author, a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, takes a hard look at the tough plants that thrive in our cities. His solid descriptions and color photos will help you identify these green survivors, and his inclusion of their cultural significance may get you thinking differently. The dandelion, for example, is listed in Joselyn's New England's Rarities from 1672. An early visitor to Central Park, completed in 1878, describes the lawn studded with dandelions as "green lakes reflecting a heaven sown with stars." Today's homeowners see stars too, but that's because they spend millions trying to eradicate the tenacious plant.

For foodies...

Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, 2nd ed. by Fritz Haeg

Public Produce by Darrin Nordahl

Both books address the private/public initiatives to bring food production to cities in the 21st century. Haeg champions the warriors in the trenches; Nordahl examines the broader issues.

For rose lovers...

The Sustainable Rose Garden
Though we all love them, roses have a reputation for being fussy and requiring toxic garden practices. This booklet published by The Manhattan Rose Society explores a more environmental approach. A revised and expanded edition will be available in September, but until then let the experts introduce you to 21st century rose growing.

For travelers, romantics and dreamers...

The Garden Visitors Companion by Louisa Jones
The author, ,who has lived in France for over 30 years, has written several books on gardens, each like this one beautifully illustrated. In this novel guide, she uses ten different types of gardens to help visitors develop an informed approach providing questions to consider and suggestions for things to look for and think about.

Ninfa: The Most Romantic Garden in the World
by Charles Quest-Ritson

Paradise of Exiles: The Anglo-American Gardens of Florence by Katie Campbell
(The author will present an illustrated lecture at the Hort on June 10)

Sissinghurst, An Unfinished History: The Quest to Restore a Working Farm at Vita Sackville-West's Legendary Garden by Adam Nicolson

Article by Katherine Powis, HSNY Librarian