Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My Tiger lily is blooming and I think I passed my herbaceous ID test tonight. Three classes down and four to go. Plus I saw this lovely butterfly this afternoon, possibly the Pipevine Swallowtail and got to see cool photos of insects courtesy of Uli. Good times, as my visiting brother-in-law would say.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

If you plant it, they will come

Red Admiral Butterfly

A big theme in the horticultural classes at Brooklyn Botanic and in bee gardening or butterfly gardening in general is that the plants are in control. If you plant the right things and try to maintain or promote healthy soil, the plants and the soil themselves will attract the beneficials, be it mycorrhizal fungi or bacteria or insects. At Floyd Bennett, after some thirty-odd years of community gardening, hopefully more organically-minded than not, we have no lack of butterflies, which is nice. The lightning bugs seem to dig the place too, or maybe they just have a thing for oregano.


Gardening isn't about cycling, but for me the two are intertwined. If not for rides to the Rockaways, I wouldn't be gardening at Floyd Bennett and if not for rides giving me the dose of outside I seem to need to stay marginally sane, I probably wouldn't still be in Brooklyn. One of the best pieces of advice I've read about setting achievable goals and celebrating milestones, both big and small, was in a cycling book. I hit 27000 miles on my odometer this weekend. It's a milestone. This picture is to celebrate the moment.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Herbaceous ID class photos take two

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' flowers...don't let it go to seed unless you really like weeding

Agastache rupestris (it's in the mint family--square stems)

Athryium niponicum 'Pictum'

Adiantum pedatum

Humulus lupulus (leaves) Hops vine

Pachysandra alleghany (ground cover, native to east coast North America)

Asarum splendens (Chinese Wild Ginger)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tiger Lily Girl

This Tiger Lily, donated by Caleb Leech to replace the Casa Blanca that bit the dust before planting, is getting ready to pop in my box at the children's garden. Every time I say Tiger Lily, I think of that Luna song, Tiger lily girl....I bet this will be blooming when I am back at Brooklyn Botanic on Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


seed pods dangling in the Japanese Garden. Thanks to Nancy pointing out one of the seedpods lying on the ground, I'll always remember this plant is in the legume (fabaceae) family. It's sweet when something is easy to remember.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Caucasian Wingnut

One of New York City's designated Great Trees, the Caucasian Wingnut at Brooklyn Botanic is doing it's thing right now...dangling it's catkins. The New York City Tree book actually calls it one of the grandest trees of the city and to see it, with it's wingnuts and it's massive girth, is to know why. It's a monster of a tree.

Blooming now at Floyd Bennett

The Butterfly bushes started blooming and so did my echinacea (coneflower).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Dad's hydrangeas surrounding his cross for Uncle Frank.

Lou harvested the first zuchinni from his Papa's plant and it went straight on the grill with some onions and garlic. Joe and I brought peas and carrots that we harvested just yesterday and lettuce too and we ate and ate and it was good. Of course there was sausage too. It's not grilling at Dad's if there isn't any italian sausage.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Medicinal Plant/Noxious Weed ID by Joe

Cirsium arvense (Canada Thistle)...found by Joe while he was doing laps in Prospect Park. Not the typical what's-blooming-now bouquet by Joe, but this one is wearing a handwritten label, which is nice. Canada Thistle, incidentally, isn't from Canada at all. It's from Europe. And people think botanical names are tough. According to Peterson's Field Guide of Eastern/Central Medicinal plants, this thistle (heh) was used by Native Americans as a bowel tonic and dewormer. If I run into any worm problems in the future, I guess I know where to go to harvest it. According to the USDA plant database, it's listed as a noxious weed in most states, but not New York.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some more Herbaceous ID class plants

Opunta humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear) in bloom.

Begonia grandis (Hardy Begonia) leaves.

Acanthus hungaricus (Bear's Breeches) lovely backside.

Callirhoe involucrata (Poppy mallow)

Walking Native Flora with Rikky

I have to admit I got a little overly excited when I saw the lilies (Lilium Canadense pictured and Lilium philadelphicum) blooming in the Native Flora garden yesterday. But there's so much more to see too. There are roses, and milkweeds and butterfly weed (asclepias). Native Flora is so lush with growth right now.

Rhododendron maximum just opening up and in flower.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For my nephew

My red potatoes put up these beautiful purple flowers, which means new potatoes are forming underground. If they aren't ready to harvest while Aaron is visiting in the next four weeks, (and I think we will be able to get some even if they are still a little small) at least he will be able to harvest these carrots. Auntie's plot is always chock full of bugs, so he will not be disappointed. I've already seen some lightning bugs riding home from the garden.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Verbena bonariensis

Just beginning to bloom in my plot at Floyd Bennett. I hope this one is on the Herbaceous ID test. I might not know how to spell it, but it would be pretty sad if I couldn't ID something growing in my own garden. I like this plant because it's known to freely set seed, so I may have some seedlings next year to give away. One of the great joys of gardening I've learned is having some loot to pass on. It's nerdy, but true. It's a great joy to just give someone a cucumber you've grown.

The Catalpa of Plumb Beach

Blooming right off the bike path...and peas and beets harvested for Sunday night dinner.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What's in the what's-blooming-today bouquet (for Jen)

A pretty sweet-smelling bouquet, as Jen, a gal who stops to smell the Linden flowers will tell you. Today's blooming bouquet would probably thrill the bees at the BeeDay party...lavender and Linden tree flowers.

In bloom and outside now in Brooklyn.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Working in the new Herb Garden

Spent the day planting chamomile in the new Herb Garden. A great way to spend the day because I love this new garden. I think it's great that the herb garden is bigger and that vegetables and fruit trees are being grown at the Botanic Garden. It's really nice to see vegetables and herbs laid out beautifully like precious plants, which they are of course, so you really get a chance to appreciate how beautiful they are. The kales and cabbages are pretty stunning. Plus there's a pineapple, which reminds me of beautiful times in Hawai'i. I think BBG was right on in expanding this garden and incorporating so many vegetables and fruit trees and the people visiting it really seem to appreciate it.

Garden update

Joe's yarrow is beginning to bloom. More buds on miniature roses. Potato beetle egg check went well and so far all eggs crushed and no larvae to report (cross fingers). Lettuce and Chard harvested and chilling comfortably now in the fridge. Peas almost harvestable. Potatoes are flowering. My Verbena is starting to bloom and the mosquitoes are biting. Two garlics lost to rot. It was a good evening.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Herbaceous ID flower sightings today

Lichnis coronaria (Rose Campion) sighted near Avenue T in Brooklyn and Borage officinalis on the corner of Washington & Sterling. Not quite as exciting as stalking the wild asparagus, but still.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fancy plants

Cornus kousa 'Gold Star'

Calathia bachemiana (Brazilian)

From the variegated leaves of the Cornus kousa and Calathia bachemania with their leaf-within-a-leaf patterns, to the fancy Zinnia in Susan's Asteraceae box at the children garden and on to the far out, day-glo pinks and oranges in the desert and tropical pavillions, it was a fancy plant day at BBG for me. And the Goldenrain, Lindens and native Catalpas are blooming. Not bad for a rainy day. Doing a little exploring definitely beats mulching all day.

Euphorbia milii dwarf red form (aptly named Crown of Thorns)

Aphelandra sinclairiana (Costa Rica, Panama, Nicauragua)

Adenium obesum (and that's not supposed to be an insult)

Clerodendrum speciosissimum (Verbena family, Java)

Pavonia multiflora (Brazil)