Backyard Snow Drops

Our Snow Drops are in full bloom in our backyard right now! Here are some photos of how they look. 

Longhouse Reserve Garden Tour

Located in East Hampton Township, Longhouse Reserve covers 16 acres of property. Jack Larsen has owned the property since 1970, and has turned it into a work of wonder. Every inch of this land is covered in gardens, established lawns, sculptures and artwork. Longhouse Reserve is open to the public a few times a year, showcasing all this beautiful art. Pieces include Dale Chihuly’s Cobalt Reeds, An infinity pool entitled Black Mirror by Ray Smith & Association, A cinderblock sculpture called Irregular Progression High #7 by Sol LeWitt and Study in Heightened Perspective by Jack Lenor Larsen. Study in Heightened Perspective was interesting to look at; the garden posts were deliberately shortened in height the farther in to the garden they went, creating an illusion that the path was longer then it actually was. All of the posts were created from recycled materials. Here are some photos from our day at the Reserve. 

Islip Historical Society Garden Walk 2017

On July 15th, the Historical Society of Islip held their annual garden walk. Bob and I had a booth for Keep Islip Clean, where we shared information about the KIC message of anti-littering and gardening/beautification. We also gave away hundreds of plants grown from seed in our little backyard greenhouse. We were able to visit four local gardens which were beautiful and colorful. I couldn’t get enough of those big and beautiful hydrangeas! 

LA Arboretum

I had the chance to visit the Los Angeles County Arboretum in late May. The place was over-run with Peacocks! Showing off and trumpeting loudly. The LA Arboretum is 127 acres and is located just off Route 66, just east of Pasadena.  All of the gardens were beautiful, it was breathtaking to see, even though it was a rainy day. 

Clark Botanic Garden Tour

Clark Botanic Garden is located in North Hempstead, NY. It is 12 acres of lush plant life, rock gardens, and a pond. They even have bees! While walking we found a turtle roaming in the grass, as well as a bunny. The blue hydrangeas were so beautiful to look at! Here are some photos from our visit in late June! 

Eisenhower Park Memorial

On June 24th, Bob and I visited Eisenhower Park Memorial in Nassau County. The memorial was erected in 1947 as a tribute to those who died in World War II. The grounds surrounding the memorial were very beautiful and maintained. We went there to see the synchronized swimming international competition. We had fun watching. 

July 2017 Garden Events

This July there are many gardening events happening around Long Island. Here’s a list of things you can do this month and get outdoors! 

Farmers Markets – There are many farmers markets happening around the Island, click here to read our article on where you can find them! 

Tai Chi & Yoga – Throughout the Spring and Summer, at Old Westbury Gardens. For more information, click here. 

Bayard Cutting Arboretum Guided Tours – Free guided tours around the gardens every Saturday starting at 11AM. For more information, click here.

Talk and Tour at Old Westbury Gardens – Every Sunday and Wednesday throughout July, “Experience Art in the Landscape at Old Westbury Gardens.” For more information, click here.

The Lawn Expert! – Free lawn care advice in person or via email, Tuesdays through the end of October at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton. For more information, click here.

Botanicals with Watercolor and Colored Pencil – Thursday mornings throughout July and August, sponsored by the Peconic Land Trust. Class size is limited ($20/ class.) For more information, click here.

Visit Madoo Garden! – Open every Friday and Saturday from Noon to 4PM through September 15th. For more information, click here.

Seasonal Highlights at BBG – Throughout July, enjoy a free garden wide walk at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. For more information, click here.

Visit Longhouse Reserve – Come visit Longhouse Reserve Gardens in East Hampton on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, click here.

Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies tour at NYBG – Saturdays through August 26th, visit New York Botanical Gardens for a colorful tour watching butterflies, birds and dragonflies in their natural habitats. For more information, click here.

Recycle the Rain – Open to North Hempstead Residents ONLY. For more information, click here.

Learn How to Compost – Open to North Hempstead Residents ONLY. For more information, click here.

CHIHULY – Through October 29th, World-Renowed Sculptor Dale Chihuly will be featured in NYBG. For more information, click here.

LI Dahlia Society – Saturday Mornings through November, LI Dahlia Society volunteers will meet at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. For more information, click here.

Smart Garden Exhibit – Through January 2018, visit the smart garden exhibit at BBG. For more information, click here.

Thank you to Long Island Garden Events for the original information. To read more,  click here.

Garden Walk – “Secret Gardens of Islip”

On Saturday, July 15th (rain date July 16th) the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet will have their 5th Garden Walk – “Secret Gardens of Islip” – from 12 noon – 4:00 p.m.  Come enjoy a beautiful summer day as 5 friends of the society open their gates for guests to stroll through and enjoy these unique gardens; entertainment by Carols for Causes and light refreshments served at each location.  Tickets can be purchased, in person, starting June 1st, at Caroline’s Flower Shoppe, 341 Main Street, Islip (631) 581-3464, or through Eventbrite, starting May 12th (there will be a small processing fee).  Tickets are $20/adult (no one under 16) pre-purchase and day of tour.  The 2016 Garden Walk was highlighted in Newsday’s “weekend top 10 things to do”.  For more info call, (631) 245-0675.

Click here to purchase tickets from eventbrite. 

To purchase tickets from Caroline’s Flower Shoppe visit:
341 Main Street, Islip – 11751

May 23, 2017

Here are some of the plants that are currently growing around the yard. All of the colors are so beautiful and vibrant. I love how the hanging plants colors all mix together. Look at how large the hosta in the front plant pot grew! The red daisies against the lush green of the leaves is a sight to see. There are many seedlings also growing in the greenhouse. I can’t wait to plant them all! 

State Parks in Your Backyard!

Did you know that out of the 180 state parks in New York, 24 of them are located on Long Island? State Parks are a great way to get out with the family or friends and have a day surrounded by nature and taking in the natural beauty of the great outdoors. How many of these parks have you visited?

Bethpage State Park
99 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, Farmingdale
Fee: $8 per car

Hempstead Lake State Park
Off the Southern State Parkway in West Hempstead
Fee: $8 per car

Jones Beach State Park
2400 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh
Fee: $10 per car during the week, $8 weekends and holidays

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay
Fee: $8 per car

Trail View State Park
Jericho Turnpike (Route 25), 1/4 mile west of Woodbury Road, Woodbury
Fee: No Fee 

Valley Stream State Park
Exit 15A, Southern State Parkway, Valley Stream
Fee: $8 per car

Belmont Lake State Park
Exit 38, Southern State Parkway, North Babylon
Fee: $8 per car

Brentwood State Park
375 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood 
Fee: No Fee

Caleb Smith State Park Reserve
Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown
Fee: No Fee

Camp Hero State Park
1898 Montauk Highway east to the end, Montauk
Fee: $8 per car

Captree State Park
Off Robert Moses Causeway, West Islip Captree Boat Basin
Fee: $8 per car

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
25 Lloyd Harbor Road, West Neck Road north from Huntington Village, Lloyd Neck
Fee: $8 per car

Cold Spring Harbor State Park
Route 25A across from the harbor, Cold Spring Harbor
Fee: No Fee

Connetquot River State Park Preserve
Sunrise Highway, Oakdale
Fee: No Fee

Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park
North End of the Sunken Meadow State Parkway, Kings Park
Fee: $10 per car, $8 weekends and holidays

Heckscher State Park
Southern State Parkway east to south end of Heckscher Parkway, East Islip
Fee: $8 per car

Hither Hills State Park
164 Old Montauk Highway (Route 27), 4 miles west of hamlet of Montauk
Fee: $10 per car

Montauk Downs State Park
50 S. Fairview Avenue, North of Route 27, Montauk
Fee: No Fee

Montauk Point State Park
2000 Montauk Highway, Route 27 East to end, Montauk
Fee: $8 per car

Nissequogue River State Park
799 Saint Johnland Road, Kingspark
Fee: $8 per car 

Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Road, (Route 25), Orient
Fee: $10 per car

Robert Moses State Park
Sagtikos Parkway South to Robert Moses Causeway to western Fire Island
Fee: $10 per car

Shadmoor State Park
900 Montauk Highway, Montauk
Fee: No Fee

Wildwood State Park
790 Hulse Landing Road, north of Sound Avenue, Wading River
Fee: $10 per car

Thank you to Newsday for the original information. You can read more here.


April 14th, 2017

Spring is in full effect around the yard, here is some photos of what is growing around the yard! Flowers include Daffodils (both white and yellow), our beautiful Callory Pear Tree, Red Tulips, Lentin Rose, Cowslip Primrose, Mini Grape Hyacinths, our snowdrops are beginning to fade out and powder blue Chionodoxa is coming in nicely. 

Best Hiking Trails on Long Island

Summer is nearly here, which means getting out of the house and having some fun with friends and family in the sun. Want something to do other then go to a beach? How about hiking! It’s something fun that any age can do! Here are the best hiking trails on Long Island (that are family friendly): 

Connetquot River State Park Preserve
4090 Sunrise Hwy., Oakdale (Open Wednesdays – Sundays)
Price: $8 Parking Fee

Sunken Forest National Park
Sayville Terminal, 41 River Rd. (Ferry ride to Sailors Haven, next to park)
Free Guided Tours are available Wednesdays through Sundays
Price: $13 adult ferry fee, $7.50 children younger then 11

Quogue Wildlife Refuge
3 Old Country Rd., East Quogue (Open Sunrise to Sunset Daily)
Stroller friendly
Price: Free

Sagamore Hill
20 Sagamore Hill Rd., Cove Neck (Open Sunrise to Sunset Daily)
Price: Trails are free, Museum $10 for ages 15+

Southhampton Trails
377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton
Price: Trails are free, Guided tours available, Museum $7 ages 12+, $5 ages 3-12

Blydenburgh County Park 
Northern Entrance is located at the end of New Mill Road, Hauppauge (Open Dawn to Dusk Daily)
Price: No Parking Fee on Northern Entrance 

Tackapausha Preserve 
2225 Washington Ave., Seaford (Open Sunrise to Sunset Daily) 
Price: Trails are free, Museum $3 for ages 13+, $2 for ages 5-12 and seniors, free for 4 and younger

Planting Field Arboretum State Historic Park
1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay (9AM-5PM Daily)
Price: $8 per carload

Richard D. Fowler Preserve
Wickapogue Rd., (East of Narrow Lane) Southhampton
Price: Free 

Downs Farm Preserve 
Route 25, Cutchogue (Open Dawn to Dusk Daily)
Stroller Friendly
Price: Free


Thank you to Newsday for the original information, You can read more here.

2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery

Here are some photos from the 2017 Spring Garden and Flower Show at Hick’s Nursery in Westbury, NY. There were so many bright colors and beautiful displays. My favorite display was the “Under the Sea.” The waterfall, and all the hanging jellyfish from the ceiling really captured the feeling of being underwater. All of the flowers were incorporated beautifully, they didn’t seem like an afterthought. 

Best U-Pick Farms on Long Island

Spring is coming- which means warm weather, sun and picking your own fruit as a family. Long Island has the best farms on the east end to pick fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of some of the best.

U-Pick Strawberries

  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Wickham Fruit Farm – 28700 Main Road, Cutchogue (phone: 734-6441)
  • Fox Hollow Farm – 2287 Sound Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-1786)
  • Anderson Farms – 1890 Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead (phone: 727-1129 or 727-2559)
  • Hank Kraszewski – 324 Co Road 39, Southampton Bypass, Southampton (phone: 726-4667)
  • Patty’s Berries and Bunches – 410 Sound Avenue, Mattituck (phone: 655-7996)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)

U-Pick Vegetables

  • F & W Schmitt Farms – 26 Pinelawn Road, Melville (phone: 271-3276)
  • Krupski Farms – Route 25, Peconic (phone: 734-6847)
  • Doug Cooper Farms – Breakwater Road, Mattituck (phone: 298-5195)
  • Lewin Farms – 812 Sound Avenue, Wading River (phone: 929-4327)
  • Fritz Lewin Farms – Corner of Sound and Edwards Avenue, Calverton (phone: 727-3346)
  • Hodun Farms – 4070 Route 25, Calverton (phone: 369-3533)
  • John Condzella – Route 25A, Wading River (phone: 929-5058)
  • Seven Ponds Orchard – 65 Seven Ponds Road, Water Mill (phone: 726-8015)

U-Pick Fruit

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) for the original information. Click here to read more.


Here are some photos from Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center in Nassau, Bahamas. I visited on December 5th, 2016. Most of the zoo exhibits were closed for restoration, due to hurricane Matthew which passed through 2 months prior.

Thanksgiving 2016

This Thanksgiving, Bob and I took a walk at the Arboretum; we walked the Greenbelt Trail. Look at this cool tree we came upon! Later that day Bob made a centerpiece from flowers he found in our yard. Our friend Margie also sent us a photo of a similar idea for a centerpiece that she made from flowers in her yard. 

Great Garden Award – Rotary Park

Nancy Angermaier received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for The Common Ground at Rotary Park in Sayville in 2016. All of the flowers were very bright and colorful. Flowers that were growing included Zinnias, Marigolds, Snapdragons and Alyssum. The flowers were in beds surrounding a large circular patio, where there was benches as well.

Great Garden Award – Slocum Elementary

Justina Rote of Edith L. Slocum Elementary School received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for two garden courtyards and an accompanying educational program at the school. It is so lovely seeing gardening being implemented into after school activities. It gives children something constructive to do while being outside, and it’s fun! There was even homemade steeping stone that the children made, in the underbrush. How cute! 

Great Garden Award – North Great River Civic Association

Sue Pellegrino and Neil Finnin of North Great River Civic Association received two Great Garden Awards from Project Bloom for two locations in Central Islip. One is a large traffic island on Windsor Place and a separate location near Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. Here is the photos for Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. This garden was very patriotic themed.

Great Garden Award – North Great River Civic Association

Sue Pellegrino and Neil Finnin of North Great River Civic Association received two Great Garden Awards from Project Bloom for two locations in Central Islip. One is a large traffic island on Windsor Place and a separate location near Maple Place and Sportsmen Street. Here is the photos for Windsor Place. The bed was very patriotic themed. 

Great Garden Award – Northeast Neighborhood Committee

Doris Davidson and the volunteers of the Northeast Neighborhood Committee have received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for the community garden at Fulton Street and Commercial Boulevard in Brentwood. The bed was lush and tended to nicely. Some of the flowers planted in the garden were Black Eyed Susans, Zinnias and large hostas. 

Great Garden Award – Jacob Clock

Eagle Scout Jacob Clock has received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for the plantings he did at the American Legion Hall in Islip. His garden was beautiful and carefully tended to. In the center of the garden was a plaque in memoriam to past american legion members. Some of the flowers planted include Marigolds, Zinnias and coleus. 

Project Bloom Greenhouse Update

We had a Project Bloom tree-planting photo-op at the greenhouse on 9/1616, and Trish Bergin and Alexis Weik came. When they saw the bad condition of the greenhouse, they mentioned that there might be an opportunity to get funding for greenhouse repairs or restoration from another source. In a follow up email, Trish asked if there was any quotes available. We contacted the vendor who supplies Greenhouse products and asked them to give a quote. He came out that day. The following day, I went out and saw the greenhouse restoration project over at Meadow Edge at the West Sayville Maritime Museum. It was amazing!!! I called and got the name of the company that did that job, and they came out and met with me and Bob this week. We are waiting for a final labor quote which we will present to a contact at the Parks Department. This is the PDF file with historic and current photos of the greenhouse and examples of other options.

We had a few ideas for the greenhouse:

The first plan would be to remove the old glass from the greenhouse, and install a new metal framework with polycarbonate panels to replace the glass. Photos of similar polycarbonate greenhouses are included in the attached pdf file of photos. This would make use of the existing natural gas heater, which is still in good shape, and the existing brick foundation.

Another option would be to turn the existing greenhouse into a Butterfly & Pollinator House / Environmental Educational Center and build a new polycarbonate greenhouse adjacent to the old one. This would further our goal of creating a teaching garden, and the new greenhouse could be ADA compliant.

A third option would be a complete renovation similar to the amazing work done on the antique greenhouse restoration at the Sayville Maritime Museum/Meadow Edge. 

Our goal was just to keep the Project Bloom operation going next year since a full-blown restoration was likely too expensive. With the polycarbonate option or the option of putting a Butterfly House screen on the old frame, it would not prevent a full restoration in the future. 


Built in the early 1900’s, the greenhouse at Brookwood Hall was part of the original South Shore Estate. When the mansion was used as an orphanage in the 1940s – 1960s, children would help in the gardens, as seen in the photo below.


This photo was dated to 1953 from the East Islip Historical Society.

In the next photo you can see a hedge-lined driveway leading to the carriage house at Brookwood Hall. In the background, the greenhouse sits in front of the fields with overhead irrigation.


Restored in 1993, the first Project Bloom Season was in 1994, with 6000 plants being distributed throughout Islip.
Brookwood Hall Greenhouse has been at the heart of our community gardening program ever since.


Due to lack of maintenance, the greenhouse is falling apart. It has not been painted since the 1993 restoration.  This past year has been the worst with broken panes and rotted wood. Because of the bad framing structure, glass panes have been falling out. This past June, the top roof panel which was loose in April, had finally collapsed into the gardens.



This is what the top roof pane looked like before it fell into the vegetable garden.

The caulk is so worn and weak, that when the wind blows, panels of glass are just blown out.  This photo below was taken on September 21st, 2016. It shows a different roof panel about to come off the building.


Due to the missing panes of glass, one of our gardeners (aged 89) had to makeshift repair with a panel of styrofoam and an office chair for support. This was used to block freezing air from killing our seedlings this spring. This pane of glass is still missing 9 months later.


Thank you to all the volunteers who took seedlings and planted gardens in Islip. Here is a small but beautiful spot.


We are hoping for a replacement greenhouse, and this is what we are being quoted for by one vendor. This example shows the building installed at ground level.


We recently visited the greenhouse at Meadow Edge in Sayville. Their greenhouse was just totally restored. Here are before and after photos of the restoration. This is what we dream of for Project Bloom, but small steps first!






To see more photos of the Project Bloom Greenhouse, click the link below to view the complete pdf file.


Cover Crops

By now, you have started to overwinter some of your favorite plants. With your garden bare, it is the time to plant cover crops. What are cover crops you ask? These are plants used to help protect and renew your soil. Cover crops can:

  • Suppress weeds
  • Protect soil from rain or runoff
  • Improve soil aggregate stability
  • Reduce surface crusting
  • Add active organic matter to the soil
  • Breaking hardpan
  • Fixing the nitrogen levels
  • Scavenging soil nitrogen
  • Suppressing soil diseases and pests

Most plants can be used as cover crops, the most popular being Legumes and grasses (including cereals.) More and more people are gaining interest in using brassicas (such as rape, mustard, and forage radish) and continued interest in others, such as buckwheat.

Thank you to Cornell Cooperative Extension  and SARE for the original information. You can read about Cornell more here, and SARE here.


We recently took a trip up to Redhook. We walked along ‘Poet’s Walk’ which was next to the Hudson River. At the top of the walk, there is an Overlook House that you can see Kingston Bridge from.

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Intercostal Cleanup at Knapps Lake

Photos attached of our day on Knapps Lake at Brookwood Hall for the Intercostal cleanup.
I filled out the “Citizen Scientist” sheets and sent them in the provided envelope so our debris could be counted as part of a global coastal cleanup inventory.

We found stuff we couldn’t get out of the lake:

  • A picnic table floating upside down in middle of lake
  • Construction lumber near Union Blvd. culvert.
  • A Rolling desk chair
  • Cabinet door
  • 4 Tires
  • Full sized garbage can
  • Large amount of landscape fabric at shoreline of new esplanade.

We should probably go back. We weren’t able to cover a lot of ground, because the lake is so shallow in some areas, it was hard to navigate. We only did the area north of the fishing dock, along the east side.

Project Bloom Update 8/3/16

There are many flowers in full bloom right now at Project Bloom The flowers that are growing include white, light and dark pink Cosmos, Black Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflowers, Yellow Coreopsis, blue and white Delphiniums, Red Canna Lillies, Pink Hibiscus, Large and cherry tomatoes. Everything is so vibrant and beautiful. August is the perfect time for viewing flowers! 

Our Garden Update 8/3/16

Here is a few photographs of what is growing in our garden. Last season we planted black beans, and only got around 16 to grow. But this year, we got at least 40! I was so thrilled! Look how the contrast of the black beans against the blue bowl made it seem white in the picture, how strange! We also planted a Lemon Cucumber. In every sense of the word, it is a cucumber- it just looks like a lemon. There was no difference in taste. 

‘Birds and the Bees’ Project Bloom Report

Expansion of Children's Garden

A team from the KPMG accounting firm, celebrating the company’s 50th Anniversary through community service at the new Project Bloom children’s garden. They were planting in the pumpkin/watermelon bed.

Project Bloom Garden Project

A children’s garden and pollinator garden created by Project Bloom volunteers will expand and thrive thanks to a recent $500 grant designed to support community “greenspace” development. Project Bloom, a community beautification program, was one of approximately 100 organizations across the U.S. chosen for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s GRO1000 initiative encouraging garden builds. It is part of a broader initiative designed to create 1,000 gardens and greenspaces throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe for the Company’s 150th anniversary in 2018.

Keep Islip Clean (KIC) and the Islip Parks Department launched Project Bloom 23 years ago under the direction of volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program. Volunteers still meet each spring at the circa 1920 greenhouse on the grounds of Brookwood Hall in East Islip. Volunteer gardeners grow and supply about 30 local KIC volunteer groups with over 6,000 free plants that are used to beautify public spaces throughout the Town of Islip.

The GRO1000 grant will help expand a newly renovated community vegetable garden to include 100 square feet for a children’s “Victory Garden,” a new pumpkin/watermelon patch and a new berry bed with a bird bath. The flower beds surrounding the children’s garden have been filled with plants to attract pollinators.

In addition to the children’s garden, other improvements include replanting an existing meadow bed as a 200 square foot pollinator garden. Ultimately, these special plants will be distributed to Project Bloom groups with the goal of establishing 30 more pollinator gardens. Informational signs installed in the gardens will educate the public about the role these types of plants play in maintaining a healthy environment by supporting the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators.

The last several years have seen an ambitious expansion of Project Bloom under the stewardship of Master Gardener Kathy VanDyke and her husband, Bob. With their knowledgeable direction, scores of volunteers have donated many hours to create a new landscape for the benefit of the public.

“We were thrilled to receive the grant from Scotts to support our garden projects at Project Bloom,” said Kathy. “As a volunteer organization with very limited funding, this grant award will go a long way towards establishing new gardens and creating educational signs.”

The public is invited to visit the gardens located on the Brookwood Hall property at 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. For more information about volunteering, call Keep Islip Clean at 631-224-2627.


Glover Farm

Here are some photos from when we visited Glover Farm! Jim Glover was kind to give the Master Gardeners a private tour. Jim is the guy in the center of the photo, wearing the straw hat. They have 23 acres on their nursery grounds in Cutchogue. They grow out of the ordinary varieties, and the gardeners were excited to be able to shop there. Jim is also focusing on growing natives for our Long Island area. I was smitten with this colorful sedum.

Catapano Goat Farm

Here is a couple of photographs from Catapano Goat Farm in Peconic. It’s so much fun watching goats get milked! They line right up and it only takes a minute or two for each one to be done. It’s funny to see them line up outside the barn. They know when it’s 4 pm!!

Project Bloom Vegetable Garden Update 7/20/16

Heres what’s going on in the vegetable garden at Project Bloom right now! We have pumpkins starting to flower, and watermelons starting to grow. There is also vines of tomatoes, peas and rainbow swiss chard growing. Everything is coming in so nicely and lush. This is going to be a great season in the vegetable garden.

Project Bloom Memorial Garden

Look at the Memorial Garden at Project Bloom! A new fence made from Curly Willow and Cyprus Branches has been put up in front of the Memorial Garden. There are also some flowers growing inside the Memorial Garden. They include Carpet of Snow Alyssum, Red Rocket Snapdragons, Shasta Daisies, Coleus, Evening Primrose and Liriope. 

Project Bloom Pollinator Bed

Heres whats going on right now at Project Bloom in the Pollinator Bed. Many flowers are in full bloom, including Moroccan Sun Rudbeckia, Milkweed (which is the only plant Monarch butterflies will lay eggs on,) Bee Balm, Red Geraniums, Forsythia Hedge, Spiderwort, Blue Star Amsonia, Sensation Cosmos, Violet Queen Alyssum, Painters Pallette Gallardia, Lancelet Coreopsis, Red Oxalis, Bright Lights Cosmos and Cappuccino Rudbeckia. 

Project Bloom Children’s Garden

Heres whats going on at Project Bloom right now in the Children’s Garden. Pumpkins and the Sugar Baby Watermelons are flowering and growing nicely. Zinnia and Brazzleberries are growing, all of the strawberries that grew were eaten by animals. The beans are starting to climb up the arbor we had built, and cosmos are beginning to bloom as well. 

Project Bloom Fence Perimeter Bed

Heres whats going on at Project Bloom right now in the Fence Perimeter Bed. Flowers that are growing include pink and red Hollyhocks, Gallardia, Helianthus, purple Coneflower, Zinnias, Snapdragons, Marigolds, Coreopsis, Daylillies, Double Hollyhocks, pink Cosmos, purple Alyssum and red Canna Lillies. We also put up a photo board for children to take pictures in. How fun! 

What’s in Bloom, July 7th 2016

There are many flowers blooming in our yard right now. The flowers growing include beautiful Pink Geraniums, yellow and orange Marigolds, Portulaca, Petunia, Small Polka Dot Plant, Coleus, Euphorbia, Hostas, Creeping Jenny, Knockout Rose, Tomato Plant, Rainbow Swiss Chard, White Asiatic Lilies and Day Lilies. All the colors and scents are so amazing. I just love the summer! 

Joan’s Daylilies

A group of Project Bloom Gardeners toured Joan Turano’s beautiful home garden. Here are some photos of her amazing Day Lilies! All of the lilies were in full bloom, and were bright and boisterous. My favorite Day Lilies are the type that are two toned, and fade from one color into the next. Like the pale yellow fading into royal purple towards the bottom of the gallery. 

Joan’s Garden

A group of Project Bloom Gardeners toured Joan Turano’s beautiful home garden full of Day lilies, Hostas and Hydrangeas. All the flowers were bright and gorgeous. I loved the color on all of the blooms. Her entire yard was super lush, and full of greenery. All gardeners should strive to have their yards look like Joan’s. The purple hydrangeas were my favorite to look at. 

Project Bloom Update 7/5/16

Everything is looking great at our Project Bloom garden at Brookwood Hall. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the vegetable gardens are full of produce. Here’s what’s growing in the Project Bloom Gardens right now! What’s growing includes Strawberries, Brazzle Berries, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Shallots, Dill, Nasturtium, Sage, Lavender, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Chives, Pumpkins, Sugar Baby Watermelons, Sunflowers, Peas, Tomatoes, Beans, Coreopsis, Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Cannas, Hosta, Double Pleat Columbine, Dianthus, Delphinium, Dwarf Iris and Coneflower. 


Look at the beautiful Hollyhocks that are in bloom at Project Bloom! Thank you to Maria G. for the seeds! These hollyhocks are biennials, so we planted these seeds last spring. They were worth the wait!! The colors are so vibrant, and the flowers are beautiful. They are planted in the corner of the garden by the greenhouse. We grew two types of Double Hollyhocks and one type of Single. 

Trip to Orient Point

Yesterday, Bob and I took a drive out to Orient Point for Independence Day this past weekend. We visited Catapano Dairy Farm (to see the goats of course) and the Glass Greenhouse. The greenhouse was beautiful, and all the flowers were gorgeous. We stopped at a farm stand and bought peaches, they were so fresh and simply amazing!! Here are some photos from that trip. 

New Elevated Park in NYC

This past week, a new elevated park opened in New York City. It is called Liberty Park, and opened at the World Trade Center. It has a twenty five foot high vertical garden and also contains a sapling from a tree that grew outside of Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. The park is located above Liberty Street on the World Trade Center site, it is a smaller scale version of the iconic High Line with a beautiful view of the Freedom Tower. The park contains a three hundred and thirty six foot long vertical garden which is coined as a “living wall.” The wall is built with eight hundred and twenty six panels filled with 22,356 plants of six different varieties. The park is home to the American Response Statue which pays tribute to 9/11 responders.


Thank you to NBC New York for the original information and photos. You can read more here.


Oldest White Oak in the Country

In the quiet town of Basking Ridge NJ, lives a town that is united by the love of one tree. White Oak to be specific. This tree has been part of U.S. history since the beginning, when George Washington decided to picnic in its shade. It also had the honor of having General Jean Baptist de Rochambeau and allied French troops march past it en route to the Battle of Yorktown VA. There is also thirty five Revolutionary War Veterans buried beneath its branches. This tree has been a part of history way before Basking Ridge was even a town!


This tall and strong tree has withstood through six hundred years of storms and droughts. The cause of death for this landmark is unknown. According to the church that was built next to this
massive white oak, it is one hundred feet tall with a spread of one hundred and fifty six feet and a circumference of twenty feet! When the tree didn’t green for the spring last month, experts were consulted. They tested the soil, the roots and even checked for beetles and disease. An ecologist from Rutgers University inspected the tree in mid-June and declared it to be “in a spiral of decline.” The Basking Ridge Church have used cables to support the heavy limbs, and have also pruned it is a specific way so the limbs grow up rather then out. (This protects them from becoming too heavy.) Dave Culver of the Religious Society of Friends (Salem,) says that one limb weighs approximately six thousand pounds! He is also quoted saying “We found that old trees that survive do end up dropping limbs and become smaller so they can support themselves.” The town puts the fallen branches to good use however. When branches fell in 1999, limbs were offered to local artisans to create lovely creations from the wood.

With no timeline of when the white oak will officially die, residents are preparing themselves for the worst. Many talk about the tree’s death as if talking about a family member. “It’s knowing when to let go.” said Pastor Dennis Jones from Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. Below is a segment CBS News NY ran about the tree.

Thank you to CBS News NY for the video. Thank you to Marie Scaefer, from for the original information. You can read more here.

Islip Historical Society Garden Walk 2016

This weekend on June 25th at noon, the Islip Historical Society will be hosting a garden walk. You can either purchase tickets online or at Caroline’s Flower Shoppe on Main Street (between 11AM and 1PM.) Once you have purchased your ticket(s) you must redeem your Garden Walk Booklet at Caroline’s to know where the gardens are located. Tickets are $15, and are non-refundable. The rain date is set to be June 26th from 12PM-4PM. Project Bloom will have a booth set up at one of the gardens with loads of free plants grown for the garden visitors. Stop in and say hi!

You can buy tickets here!

To see pictures from last year, you can visit Islip Historical Society’s Facebook page! Click here!

KPMG Volunteers

KPMG Accounting celebrated their 50th anniversary by donating time to our Project Bloom garden. It was a gorgeous day out, and they did a tremendous amount of work. We really appreciate their efforts! They dug out a new herb garden for us, added compost and brick edge to the newly created garden, created a new pumpkin patch by cutting into the old grass, pulled weeds, and planted many new seeds! 

Planting Fields

On Tuesday June 21st, we attended the Summer Twilight Tour at Planting Fields Arboretum. It was hosted by LINLA (Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association.) We were taken on a tour of the gardens, with Vincent Simone as our tour guide. After the walk through the beautiful gardens, we were treated to a light dinner and learned how Vincent and his staff are improving the gardens and their own practices to become more sustainable. It was a great way to spend the Summer Solstice with an incredible tour and spend time among fellow garden lovers.

May Blooms 2016

Here are the spring bulbs and perennials growing around our yard for the month of May. Flowers include Johnny Jump Up’s, Yellow Tulips, Red Double Tulips, Flowering Quince, Thyme (in our Thyme Pathway), Callery Pear Tree, Daffodils, Purple Tulips, Weeping Cherry Tree, Orange Frittalaria, Japanese Andromeda, Creeping Phlox and Bleeding Hearts. All the colors are so nice to look at.

Shrubs around the Yard

Here are some beautiful photos of the assorted shrubs and plants growing in our yard at the moment. Plants growing include Service Berry, Pussy Willow, Spice Bush, Lenten Rose, Mohican Viburnum, Leather Leaf Viburnum, Plum Tree, Forsythia (I just love the color!), Pieris Andromeda, Spirea, Eastern Red Bud and our Magnolia Flower is starting to bloom as well!