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!  

Greenhouse Seedlings

Here are some photos of the seedlings currently growing at the Greenhouse for Project Bloom. We are starting Tomatoes, Shallots, Mint, Rosemary, Painted Daisies and Hostas that got overwintered at my house. We housed many seedlings for the Greenhouse at our house in our personal greenhouse. This is going to be one successful growing season! 

Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri

On Saturday April 30th, I went to see the Cherry Blossoms and Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It was such a beautiful and sunny day, it was no surprise that I was not the only one who thought to go that day. Most of the trees were at peak bloom at this time. The smell on the air was sweet, and the scenery was breath taking. In the front of the garden, was what I like to refer as the Cherry Blossom Alley. Planted here was large rows of Cherry Blossom trees, that created an alley down the center of grass. Everyone was sat under the trees, taking in the sights and smelling the sweet air. You could faintly hear the Sakura Matsuri festival going on within the garden from the alley. Past the Cherry Blossom Alley, was a pathway that went through giant bushes of Lilac. It was definitely a photo-op spot and I even captured three different shades of Lilac in the same bushel! The pathway led to the heart of the Botanical Garden, where the festival was being held. There was a long piece of grass where pop-up shops selling books, candy, pillows, and kimonos (to name a few) resided. There was music being played over speakers, and there was even performances from J-pop groups and drummers. Everyone was happy to be there, many people were dressed up in cosplay of their favorite Japanese characters and celebrities. It was a fabulous day out in the beautiful weather, and the flowers were such a sight to see!

Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn

Its that beautiful time of the year again, when Cherry Blossoms are in bloom left and right. At the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in Brooklyn, you have the chance to see these magnificent plants

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.28.15 PM right now! On their website, they have the “cherry watch” which is an updated map of their Japanese garden tracking the blooms. The map is broken down into Prebloom, First Bloom, Peak Bloom and Post-Peak Bloom so you know what you will be seeing when you go. There are even pictures of each bloom for each variety!

There are many varietals that are in bloom or will be blooming shortly. The varietals include Prunus ‘Shirotae’, Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’, Prunus ‘Accolade’ and Prunus subhirtella ‘Rosy Cloud’ to name a few.

At the end of the April, there will be a big festival happening to celebrate the Cherry Blossoms. It is called Sakura Matsuri. This year will mark the 35th anniversary of the festival. There will be over 60 events and performances that will celebrate traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. Some events will include Taiko Drumming, Samurai Sword Shows, many J-pop Vocal groups and even a traditional tea ceremony!

You can purchase tickets starting now, you can visit Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Website for more information! Click here.


To see pictures of what it was like when I went, click here! 

Botanical Gardens and Arboretums Around Long Island

When people say summer on Long Island, the first thing that comes to mind is our lovely beaches and parks. However, there is another way you should be spending your time this summer. Throughout Suffolk and Nassau County there are a plethora of Botanical Gardens and Arboretums. Botanical Gardens were created for the public to enjoy collections of numerous plants while also being a space for botanists to study. Arboretums are a collection of trees. Having botanical gardens on Long Island, allows us to enjoy plants from other parts of the county and even from other parts of the world. Here is a list of beautiful Botanical Gardens and Arboretums throughout Suffolk and Nassau County for you to visit this summer. A huge thank you to for the original list, you can read more about each garden here.

Painted Daisy Seedlings

We planted these Painted Daisy seeds last year, and transplanted them into the garden in early fall. I wanted to share these photos of the painted daisy seedlings from this week.

We gave a lot of these perennials out at Project Bloom last year, and now that they are coming up, I want to help prevent them from being accidentally weeded!

The Latin name is Chrysanthemum coccineum. The flowers are great, showy and cheerful. The foliage is feathery and ferny.

Project Bloom Update – Rainwater Garden

Project Bloom started again without a hitch! We have so many new ideas for this upcoming season. One idea that we’ve started working on is our rain garden. What is a rainwater garden? By definition it is “A garden that is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, etc.”

At Project Bloom, there is a very large parking lot. When it rains, a lot of run-off from that parking lot goes right into the lake, including oil from cars and garbage. We are trying to help clean out the rainwater before it reaches the lake using underground filtration provided by plants. We are turning some old platform steps that were becoming dangerous to walk on into the new rain garden. In each step tier we will plant grasses and other plants that can handle a lot of water at once, and also can withstand being dry for a long period of time. This will slow down the flow of rainwater and allow the water to be naturally clean before it goes into the lake.

We have a student from Suffolk County Community College interested in doing part of their internship with us by working on turning these steps into a raingarden. She is attending the school for Environmental Science, and we can’t wait for her help!

Here are some photos of the beginning of the new garden area.

Spring Blooms – March 17, 2016

This week is all about the crocus in bloom, but there are other things popping up in the garden too. Flowers include Snowdrops, Daffodils, Vinca Vine, Crocus, Reticulated Iris, Tulips, Day Lilies, Lily of the Valley and Lenten Rose. The Reticulated Iris is such a deep royal purple, its just lovely to look at. 

Adventures in the East End

While out in the East End, we visited some farms, Lavender By The Bay, Catapano Goat Farm, Custer Institute Observatory  and Garden of Eve. The Lavender Farm has been on Long Island for the past 15 years, and is still thriving. With 17-acres of farm land and 20 varieties of Lavender, the cultivation yields over 50,000 plants. They offer many products from dried lavender and body soaps, to lavender for tea! The Garden of Eve is an organic farm that is set on helping the community eat well through their CSA program. It is a colorful and fantastic place. I would definitely go back to each farm and suggest you visit soon!

Canoeing in the Connetquot River

We went canoeing on the Connetquot River here on Long Island this past weekend, we went with another couple and had such a lovley time. We saw schools of fishes under the water, baby ducks, and a baby swan! It was very peaceful. The coastline along the river was super pretty, and it is definitely something I would do again. Canoeing is a great workout for the arm muscles too! 

Ladew Topiary Gardens

This past week we had the chance to visit Ladew Topiary Gardens in Maryland. Harvey Ladew was an avid traveler, artist, and fox hunter. He purchased the 200+ acre farm from the Scarff family in 1929, due to its closeness to the Hartford Hunt Club. When the land was purchased, the buildings on site were in shambles and only contained a few lilac bushes. It was renovated in 1930, and was reopened to the public in 1971.  There are many topiaries, including a hunting scene featuring men on horseback and dogs chasing a fox, swans swimming on waves near an outdoor fountain, a camel, and numerous shapes and sculptures. There is an antique aquarium in the center of a garden and even a special card room in a small building. It is a magnificent place, and I would recommend seeing it in person.

Longwood Greenhouse

Here are some photos from the greenhouse at Longwood Gardens. It was just as spacious and beautiful as the garden grounds. The greenhouse is 4-acres and is a splendid space for peace and relaxation. One of the highlights from the room is the hydrangea balls hanging from the ceiling. You can see photos of the garden grounds here.

Longwood Gardens

We recently just visited Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. This garden has a lot of history behind it, such as it’s founder Pierre S. DuPont’s reasoning for purchasing it. The original park was a small area and was to be torn down, DuPont stepped in and created an entire lush garden around it. It was a very beautiful place, and was also very photogenic. While we were there, they were renovating a piece of the garden– hence the dirt pit in some of the photos. The renovation was for the Fountain Garden. The aim is to protect and preserve the history of the gardens and it’s founder Pierre S. DuPont.   Here are some photos of the garden, it is a magnificent place. We also visited the greenhouse that was on the property (see more here.)

Cherry Trees in Bloom in D.C.

These photos were taken last weekend on April 10th by my friend Gail Griffin. She writes “I lucked out this year and hit the cherry blossoms at the exact hour of peak (the National Park Service really does time this!) It was just gorgeous… weather wasn’t great so no blue sky but beautiful flowers. Today all the little and pink and white petals are carpeting the ground. As I’m sure you know they don’t last long but they sure are gorgeous. People describe them as marshmallows on branches.”


Inside the Greenhouse

The 2015 Project Bloom Greenhouse Season is off to a good start. We have over 6000 plants started already. Bob built us new riser shelves for the Northeast and Southeast corners to give us more real estate for flats. So far we have Alyssum, Zinnia, Lupines, Coreopsis, Coleus and Sunflowers starting. We hope to cover the Project Bloom gardens with flowers this year! 

Community Vegetable Garden Renovation

The Grounds of Brookwood Hall, used to be the home of a historic orphanage. Now the grounds are used for many things, including the Project Bloom community garden beds. The beds are hard to get to with equipment like wheelbarrows, so many of them have become overgrown and full of weeds. Our plan is to  re-divide the beds and renovate the space to beautify the area.

Disney's Epcot Flower Show 2015

Disney’s Epcot Flower Show 2015 Part II

Here are some close up shots of the flowers in Epcot. All the displays were eye catching and were such a welcome sight after the long NY winter. I would highly recommend seeing this show if ever given the chance. I loved seeing all the intricate landscape designs made with the different colored flowers. Who would have thought that a picture of flowers made from flowers would look so immaculate! 

Disney's Epcot Flower Show 2015

Disney’s Epcot Flower Show 2015

Every spring for the last 5 years, my sisters and I meet up with a trip to Walt Disney World. This year we were lucky to be going the same time as the Epcot Flower Showcase. Epcot was lush with beautiful flowers and topiary’s of the famous characters.  This year the showcase was being held from March 4th until May 17th. At Epcot they have concerts, games for children, informational meetings, even food and drink that is based on the showcase!  Here are some wide shots of the beautiful displays and some favorite characters of mine.

Botanicals below Bryant Park

Botanicals below Bryant Park

Bright mandalas made from local flora, A picturesque scene of springtime, Vibrant patterns that catch the eye. Bryant Park is known for it’s beautiful scenery and large selections of flowers used. But all these beautiful Mandalas created by Portia Munson, are not located in Bryant Park. They are located beneath it! Portia began to create the flowered images in 2002, while reminiscing in her garden of her trips in Asia. But how did Portia manage to get every detail perfectly? “To make these mandala images, I use a scanner like a large-format camera,” said Munson. “I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time and represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.” Munson’s work is presented in lightbox panels in the station’s mezzanine and on the windows of a nearby unused space at the 42nd St/6th Avenue street exit. The mandalas are really a thing of beauty, if given the chance everyone should see them! You will not be disappointed!

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Rock Design at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Staten Island Garden Tour and Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Established in 1945 by Jacques Marchais, the gardens have been transformed to resemble a tibetan monastery. The buildings in the garden represent the first Himalayan style architecture that was built in the United States. It was also the first Museum that was solely devoted to Tibetan Art. The surrounding landscape contains a fish pond, meditation cells, and many of Marchais original plantings.

Commack Train Layout

This is an impressive example of a privately owned large scale outdoor garden railroad. It contains horticultural and architectural elements. Adjacent to the railroad is a Koi pond and waterfall. There are also Bonsai plantings throughout the garden. All of this is inside someone’s backyard in Cormack! The attention to detail was unlike anything i’ve ever seen before.

Bellingrath Gardens, AL

Opened in 1932, Bellingrath Gardens is located in Theodore, Alabama. When first opened, Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath wanted to keep the gardens as a free activity– so there was no charge to get in. There was an overwhelming response to the gardens, so in 1934 the gardens were opened year round. Today the gardens are still ever so popular, acting as a host to weddings, birthdays and special events.

Brentwood Rotary Club Bed

The Triangle shaped plot of land located at Candlewood and Commack Road in Brentwood is where the Brentwood Rotary Club planted their flowers. It is a small bed, with sunflowers, allysum, and zinnias. Unfortunately, this was the only picture we were able to capture with the sun receding so quickly. However, the flowers were beautiful and tended to nicely. 

Abrew Street and Brook Avenue Garden

One of the stops on the Project Bloom tour was located at the corner of Abrew Street and Brook Avenue in Bay Shore. The flowers that were planted here were hostas, zinnias, strawflowers and marigolds. All the flowers were bright and looked like they were tended to accordingly. The flowers were planted between the Hostas, so when they were in full bloom they looked as if they were coming from the Hostas themselves! 



Pronto of Long Island Blooms

Pronto of Long Island is a charitable organization in Brentwood. When we first arrived we thought there was not much to look at except for a little bed along the street. When we took a closer look, we saw that along the wall of the building was another garden. Tall zinnias and sunflowers along the whole side of the building really brightened up that space. So cheerful!


Northeast Elementary Beds

One of the schools that received plants from Project Bloom, was Northeast Elementary School in Brentwood. They received marigolds, and zinnias. There was a lot of weeds, but it was still nice to see. It’s always refreshing when a school implements a gardening program into after school activities. It gives kids something fun to do while being outside. 



West Islip Beautification Society Beds at West Islip Marina

West Islip Beautification Society planted flowers from project bloom. Their bed is located at Reflection Park at West Islip Marina (past Our Lady of Consolation), located next to the playground. They received portulaca, and marigolds. They have great beds with daylilies and hostas, and also had impressive geranium planters. The geraniums grown inside the planters were red, white and blue- how patriotic! 





All American Auto Project Bloom

All American Auto Bed

All American Auto in West Islip has beautified their front area with strawflowers and zinnias. Directly under the business sign, was large pink strawflowers and bright marigolds. There was also large Hostas, that were in full bloom with tall purple flowers. The bright flowers looked so nice against the green of the bushes and the grass. 

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane

Bayshore Lions Club Project Bloom

Bay Shore Lion’s Club Lighthouse bed

Located at Lighthouse Island on Fifth Avenue, in Bay Shore is Bay Shore’s Lions Club’s bed. They have nice daisies and Russian sage. There is a lot of allysum, some zinnias, strawflowers, and cosmos. All of their flowers looked very healthy, and made the lighthouse look spectacular. There was a plethora of daisies, that looked like waves of yellow under the lighthouse. 

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane


East Islip Yacht Sales Project Bloom

East Islip Yacht Sales Beds

East Islip Yacht Sales had a small planter box by the flagpole in between Park and Ocean in Bay Shore. There was also another bed at Seaborn Marina on Ocean Ave, just north of the Bay Shore ferries, underneath the sign. The flowers really stand out at the marina under the sign amongst all the greenery.

Photo Credit: Joanna Kane


East Islip Community Watch Bed

East Islip Community Watch received flowers from Project Bloom for the growing season. Some flowers that were planted in this bed are tall strawflowers, foxglove, deep purple coleus, alyssum, beautiful swiss chard, and ageratum. The Swiss Chard was very impressive. There was so much lush greenery in this bed, it was astounding. They showcased the flowers from us very well. 

Islip High School KIC Club Project Bloom

Islip High School KIC Club Beds

Islip High School’s KIC (Keep Islip Clean) Club planted flowers inside the school’s courtyard, and also outside the front of the school. In the courtyard, the students planted some basil, zinnias, and foxglove. In the front of the school was some Giant Red Celosia. The high school’s KIC Club did such a wonderful job, that it made it onto the “Top Garden’s Tour” that Project Bloom had for it’s members in August. Well done Islip High School KIC Club!

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane

Northeast Neighborhood Watch Project Bloom

Northeast Neighborhood Watch Gardens

One bed that we visited was by the Northeast Neighborhood Watch. They had such a large area, and did a great job using it to their advantage. Although some of the plants were not ours, they had some fantastic sunflowers, and some fun whimsical touches. The Northeast Neighborhood Watch did such a wonderful job, that they were included on the Project Bloom “Top Garden’s Tour” in August.

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane


Cherokee Street School Garden Club Project Bloom

Cherokee Street School Garden Club Bed

Cherokee Street School Garden Club planted flowers in their front courtyard at the school with a large bed in the middle. They grew marigolds, and had a single coleus plant sitting in the shade. It’s such a great thing to see when schools have a garden club implemented into after school activities. It gives the kids something fun to do while being outside.

The Common Ground Project Bloom

The Common Ground Garden

The Common Grounds in Sayville planted strawflowers, allysum, and marigolds. But these beautiful beds were mostly perennial flowers, not grown in our greenhouse. All the flowers were tall and vibrant and gave The Common Grounds such a tranquil feeling. Their pink strawflowers grew strong and tall, they were so pretty to look at. The pink color almost seemed fake.

Oakdale Improvement Blooms

Oakdale Improvement Bed

Along Montauk Highway, the Oakdale Improvement team planted a beautiful bed. Located underneath the sign for Norman DeMott Park, across from the Oakdale train station, the group planted Project Bloom’s flowers. The team planted bright portulaca, mixing them in with white alyssum. The color contrast was great, having small pops of color amongst all the greenery.

Central Islip Civic Council Project Bloom

Central Islip Civic Council Gardens

Central Islip Civic Council was one of the groups that received flowers and plants from Project Bloom. They had maintained an organic farm with a large flower bed. They grew a large bush of starlight zinnias and had beautiful coneflowers. The swiss chard was very impressive. This garden was beautiful and interesting enough to make it onto the “Top Garden Tour” that Project Bloom members took in August.

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane

East Islip Community Cleanup Project Bloom

East Islip Community Cleanup Bed

One of the groups that received plants from Project Bloom, was the East Islip Community Cleanup. They planted their flowers beneath the town entrance sign, across from the East Islip Public Library. They received strawflowers and portulaca. The strawflowers grew so nicely! They were tall, and had a deep red color. East Islip Community Watch did so well with their bed that they were included on the “Top Garden Tour” in August.

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane

North Great River Civic Association Project Bloom

North Great River Civic Association Beds

The beds that were planted by the North Great River Civic Association were very impressive. They planted at two separate locations, and both were equally beautiful. The first bed was a small shade garden that was well kept. It was planted with coleus and alyssum. The second bed was large and full of our marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos and allysum. When we went on our garden tour, these well-maintained beds were most definitely on the list. All members of Project Bloom were very pleased with the North Great River Civic Association. Well done!

Photo Credits: Joanna Kane

Islip Beach Project Bloom

Planters at Islip Beach

The planters at Islip Town Beach were full of bright flowers and made the boardwalk look cheerful. Their large potted plants overflowed with an abundance of Allysum, ageratum, and Marigolds. There was also shrubs planted by the restaurant. All of these photos were taken at night after having dinner at the Sunset restaurant at the beach (would highly recommend!) 

Daffodil Bulbs from White Flower Farms

Daffodil Bulbs from White Flower Farms

We received Daffodil bulb donations from White Flower Farms for the Keep Islip Clean group named Project Bloom. White Flower Farms is a Torrington Connecticut nursery, that offers a wide variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs, bulbs, and houseplants shipped throughout the United States. We received a bag of 100 bulbs, (that seemed like 200 when we planted them!) All the bulbs were planted along the fence.

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway in Ireland is one of the natural wonders in the Northern Ireland. It was created by volcanic activity, and when basalt intruded the volcanic plateau. The basalt pillars that came up from the ground are all hexagon shaped and the highest reaches 39 feet. There are identical pillar sites across the sea, from the same lava field. There is a legend that surrounds the basalt plateau. The mythology is that it was put up so two giants could cross the ocean to fight. The legend also says that the basalt was meant to be a bridge but one giant was scared so he broke the middle.

Top Garden Tour Project Bloom

Project Bloom’s Top Gardens Tour

In August of 2014 the team of Project Bloom got together and caravaned around Islip Hamlet to look at some of the best garden beds we had seen all season. These beds are maintained by KIC volunteers, and were planted with the flowers grown by us earlier in the year.

The first stop on the tour was to the Welcome sign to East Islip, near the library. Here, the East Islip Community Cleanup planted our plants and beautified beneath the town sign. See more pictures here!

IMG_4952Next, we headed north to Central Islip, to visit the North Great River Civic Association. This group had two beds, both of which were equally impressive and gorgeous. A small shady bed off Connetquot Avenue, and a large impressive triangle at the North end of Connetquot Ave. See more pictures here!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next bed that Project Bloom visited was planted by the Central Islip Civic Council. They had maintained an organic farm, and had large and vivid bushels of flowers.All of the flowers planted by the Central Islip Civic Council came out very nice. They were very enjoyable to see fully grown. See more pictures here!

The next stop for the caravan, was to see the bed planted by the northeast Neighborhood watch. They had planted a huge bed, that was very nice. See more pictures here!

IMG_5045The next garden we looked at was from the Islip High School KIC (Keep Islip Clean) Club. They had planted some of our flowers in front of the school and also within the school courtyard. See more pictures here!

The final stop on the caravan tour was to see the East Islip Community Watch bed. Their bed was small, but had a lot in it. They had strawflowers, foxglove, big coleus plants, allysum and ageratum. See more pictures here!

Photo Credit: Joanna Kane

Disney Epcot Flower Show 2014

The Epcot Flower show never fails to impress me. All the vibrant colors and showcases– just magnificent. The showcase has many things surrounding the flowers, from viewing the topiaries built with hundreds of flowers, to having food and drink inspired by the flowers as well. It is something I will without a doubt go back to.

Vanderbilt Museum

We visited the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport some time ago. The dioramas inside of the garden was interesting. The gardens were also equally beautiful and lovely to look at. I especially loved the amazing shell museum. I bet a lot of people don’t know about this place, and think it’s just the planetarium. I love the overlook that looks out onto the water- breathtaking. 

Florida Keys

When we visited the Florida Keys, it was like being in a tropical paradise. Kathy swam with dolphins on Islamorada, we stayed on San Marco and Key West. I loved the pelicans, and all the exotic plant life. All the tropical warm weather plants were large and fabulous. We also saw loads of butterflies, in many varieties at a garden in Key West.

Old Westbury

The Gardens at Old Westbury are stunning. It is like stepping back in time, or being transported into the garden of a wealthy nobleman. The ponds and pathways are designed with elegance. The walled gardens and statuary are wonderful and the house is amazing too. Everyone on Long Island should visit the Gardens at Old Westbury.


Maine is a beautiful part of the country. The lakes and coastline were beautiful, it looked surreal, like a painting at some places. We stayed in Arcadia National Park, and ate lobster every night, and blueberries for breakfast and dessert every day. Arcadia National Park is so beautiful, all of the coastlines were beautiful, and the mountain peaks were amazing to stand on and look down. 


Around Ireland

When Bob and I visited Ireland, it was an unforgettable trip. Everything was super lush and beautiful in early September. We started our tour south of Dublin, then turned north to Northern Ireland and the Devil’s causeway, then over to Kylemore Abbey, and south to Galway and then onto Bantry Bay. We crossed along the south before flying back out of Dublin 9 days later. The people were warm and kind, the food was delicious (especially the cheese!) and the gardens and scenery was wonderful. Wish I could go back…


When the house on the Powerscourt property was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the grounds were also rebuilt and remodeled. The desire was to create a wider landscape, and boy was that accomplished! There are hundreds of trees and flowers. There are many gardens within the property, including an Italian garden, a Japanese garden, A Tower Valley and even a Pet Cemetery! We came here straight from the airport when we landed in Dublin. There’s a cute cafe on the grounds for lunch.