I've been waiting for quite some time to see this new native garden at the NY Botanical Garden come to life. Several years ago, during interviews for a profile of James van Sweden, co-founder of Oehme van Sweden Landscape Architecture (OVSLA) the firm's Sheila Brady showed me the plan for it and explained how it was going to work.
The 3.5 acre garden features a 230-foot-long water feature surrounded by lush wetlands, meadows, and shaded woods filled with nearly 100 thousand native plants.
The garden is the most contemporary at the NYBG, designed by Brady to take advantage of the natural terrain and introduce a number of sustainable elements. The water feature is fed by recycled stormwater captured on site that cascades over stone weirs and is filtered by native aquatic plants. A boardwalk that runs alongside is fashioned from native black locust and other structures and benches were constructed from salvaged, recycled, or sustainably harvested materials.
The garden's curator, Jody Payne, said what makes the garden special is that "it was not only designed to be a beautiful and inspiring garden, but it was also designed to teach our visitors the essential role that plants play in the living ecosystem all around us." The garden features ephemerals in spring such as trillium, bloodroot and lady slipper orchids; meadow grasses in summer; red-stemmed dogwoods and golden birches in fall; and winterberry fruits and the stately architecture of ancient trees in winter.
The Native Plant Garden Symposium (May 3 at 10AM) includes presentations by Dr. Robert Naczi of the NYBG; author and professor Dr. Douglas Tallamy; author and photographer Rick Darke, and the designer of the garden, landscape architect Sheila Brady. For a full list of programs surrounding the opening of the garden, check details here.
And for a video preview of the garden, click here.
A lot of trees were damaged a few years back when landscapers -- unaware of the danger -- used a weed killer called Imprelis®. The weed killer was used in every state except California and New York, and it killed thousands of white pines, Norway spruces and other trees in residential yards and on golf courses across the country. Now, a settlement has been reached to rectify the damage in a class action lawsuit.
Property owners on sites where the chemical was applied directly (as well as owners of adjacent properties) can have their damaged trees removed free of charge and receive cash payments for tree replacements and care.
Lawn care workers who applied the chemical on others' property will receive compensation for the time and expenses they incurred for assessing the damage and assisting customers in the settlement claims process.
And finally, golf courses will receive all the benefits available to homeowners plus $2000 for time and expenses in assessing damage.
The weed killer was manufactured by DuPont and it was thought to be environmentally friendly, which may account for its wide useage. Just goes to show you, folks, go green.
Not everyone likes Mayor Bloomberg's initiative to down-size the big sodas to fight obesity, but I sure like the laws he recently signed to encourage native plant diversity throughout the city.
There are lots of native plants on the High Line, at left, but one of the new laws directs the Parks & Recreation Department to maximize the use of plants that are native to NYC. The mayor said that invasive species cost the city millions annually to eradicate. A new guide listing suitable native plants will be made available to the public, including advice on plant compatibility.
The city is also publishing a manual on storm water resistant plants to help reduce severe flooding in the future. The idea is to plant species that will help capture rainwater to absorb runoff and decrease pollution and flooding.
Now, would that every mayor around the country sponsor similar legislation.
Ninety-seven percent of landscape architects reported that fire elements were much in demand for this year, followed closely by grills, outdoor seating and dining areas, and lighting.
ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville said that in this [still] "uncertain economy, homeowners want to get more enjoyment out of their yards. They want attractive outdoor spaces that are both easy to take care of and sustainable."
Other very popular landscape elements included waterfalls, ornamental pools and splash pools, along with terraces, patios, decks and fencing.
As far as plants are concerned, ASLA reports that more than 90 percent of homeowners want low-maintenance plantings, and there's a slight increase in the preference for organic, food, and vegetable gardens, including orchards and vineyards.
Sustainable gardening elements are also rising in popularity. Homeowners are opting for native or drought-tolerant plants, drip irrigation, permeable paving and a reduction in lawns. That's good news for everyone.
Things don't last forever, and it's no wonder the CEO pulled the plug on the magazine: circulation less than 200,000.
Bonnier Corp, whose predecessor company, World Publications, bought Garden Design in 2000, announced last week that the April issue will be the last one.
Amazingly, Garden Design had only 179 -- repeat -- 179 ad pages in all of 2012. A statement by Bonnier said that "the economic climate, compounded by the significant industry transition to digital, have limited the growth in advertising needed to make this brand viable for our future."
Might it also be that not enough consumers found the editorial content relevant? Given the popularity of gardening and design, there shouldn't be a problem figuring out how to appeal to this significant audience.
The Winter Antiques Show in NYC opens this weekend at the Park Avenue Armory, and there will be some spectacular pieces from Barbara Israel Garden Antiques.
Among the offerings:
An English carved sandstone dog -- 18th century -- The Dog of Alcibiades -- a replica of a 2nd century Roman copy of a Hellenistic bronze. (got that?).
AND ... a pair of carved architectural fragments with bellflowers and rams' heads -- from Campion Hall, a home built in 1906 in Andover, MA, designed by Stephen Codman.
There's also a carved stone bench from the gardens of Arthur Curtiss James, Beacon Hill;a lead cistern, five feet in diameter, with signs of the zodiac on the exterior and marine life motifs on the interior; cast-iron urns from the W. Spence Cork Street Foundry in Dublin, and much more.
photo: georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu -- click to enlarge
The Society of Municipal Arborists has named the Live Oak -- Quercus virginiana -- as the 2013 Urban Tree of the Year.
The official state tree of Georgia, the live oak was selected this year because it's an "excellent specimen," suitable as a street tree, "strongly reminiscent of the Old South," and because it is extremely tolerant of hurricane force winds. Usually accompanied by Spanish moss hanging from its branches, it's also an unusually beautiful tree, and maybe with global warming, we'll one day be able to grow it up here on Cape Cod!
It's current range is zones 8-10, but it does best in warmer locations in those areas. The usual height is about 40-80 feet, with a spread of 60 to 100 feet. It's a fast grower when young -- two to three feet per year -- but its growth rate slows with age. The tree has excellent pest and disease resistance, and it's resistant as well to salt. The current champion live oak is near Louisburg, LA, with a crown spread of 139 feet and a height of 68 feet. Wow!