New Bulbs Coming Soon!

We recently just ordered a bunch of new bulbs for the fall and spring season! Some were bought as an anniversary gift to ourselves! For Bob’s koi pond, we purchased 3 water lilies, 1 water lettuce and 1 water hyacinth. The water lilies were bottom of the barrel bulbs, so we are not entirely sure what color they will turn out to be– I think they may turn out to be yellow. For the front garden, we bought 3 French Lavender Grosso. These Lavenders are much bigger than the English variety of Hidcote we usually plant. I am so excited for these to grow. We also purchased 25 Anemone Blanda Blue Star, 175 Crocus Speciosus, 25 Iris Reticulata, 100 Species Crocus Mix and 50 Species Crocus Romance (Chrysanthus.) All the colors are going to be beautiful, and I cannot wait for the fall and spring to see them bloom!

Project Bloom Painting Projects

This Saturday July 25th, from 9:30 to 11:30, we will be finishing the painting projects for Project Bloom. We will be installing the birdhouses Bob built onto metal poles. They will be mounted behind the small birdhouses on stakes which were placed in the “cosmos garden” behind the curly willow fence. We will also be installing the fence/photo board sign facing the playground in the corner by the vegetable garden. We will plant snapdragons in front of it. Check out the photo of Bob V. and Kathy C. posing in front of the sign by the kid’s garden.

With a public garden there can be some unwelcome visitors and the deer have become a real nuisance eating our vegetables. To help with the deer problem we will be hanging blocks painted like seed packets from a wire around the perimeter of the garden. I located some simple drawings of vegetables that could be painted onto the plastic blocks. Bob cut 138 “seed packet” blocks from leftover Trex plastic lumber. I painted 16 really quickly with one brush and a small pallette. Then we outlined in black and added the lettering with a sharpie. We screwed metal straps to the back, and hung them from the wire that Bob had installed on 2×2 posts around the garden fence. We will need to paint about 8 more of each one to fill up around the fencing.

We also made and mounted new signs for the greenhouse, the vegetable garden and the memorial garden. The church volunteers did a great job cleaning up the new Stehling Rose Bed area. We have perennials that will be planted here, alongside the pathway of pavers with daisies on them.

Please come down on Saturday morning and help us finish up these fun projects.

Project Bloom Visitors!

We have lots of people that come and visit the gardens for Project Bloom. We even have some non-human visitors! Here are some photos of deer, and turtles that enjoy our garden. The types of turtles are Red Eared Sliders and Box Turtles. While the deer are nice and cute to look at, they are doing some damage to the garden so we will have to implement ways to keep them away. 

Church Volunteers on July 18th

This past weekend we had many volunteers that came from the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints to volunteer at Project Bloom. They were very helpful, and we loved spending the morning with them! They came with little kids and seniors and we also want to thank our volunteer Bruce who came to help.

Bob built birdhouses out of some scrap lumber and leftover paint. He cut out flowers, bees, butterflies and little birdhouses for the children to paint. It poured with thunder and lightning as soon as they arrived, so we piled into the greenhouse and painted. There were about 3 dozen church members painting, and everything came out so cute and colorful! We are so grateful for their help and they have offered to come back at some point to help again, maybe in September. Keep Islip Clean (KIC) gave us water and granola bars for the volunteers, and also donated cans of paint and brushes for the project.

In the first photo of the stuff piled up on the porch beforehand, you can see two birdhouses made to look like the Islip Train Station and a Barn. They will be mounted in the Kid’s Garden. Bob also built a sign/fence that kids can pose behind that will be installed facing the playground.

Once the rain broke, the church volunteers descended on the weeds in the vegetable garden and did an amazing job. The area along the greenhouse will be planted up as the Stehling Rose Garden. The area behind it, next to the Kid’s Corner has been planted up as a shade garden in honor of Marge O’Connor. We also painted signs for the greenhouse and the garden fence.

What’s In Bloom for Early July

There are many plants blooming in our yard right now. We also had a visit from a woodpecker that flew into our back door, he took some time after impact to collect his bearings on the back steps. The large flowering quince from the corner of the yard was chopped down, it made room for many small plants and now we can see the street from that side of the yard! And we also found a nest in the Dwarf Alberta Spruce in the center of the front yard, there was 5 tiny eggs inside. Some of the plants in bloom are Asiatic Lilies, Black Eyed Susans, Blue eyed Mist and Thyme in the pathway.

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.

How to make a Simple and Easy Yellow Jacket Trap

While it is true that yellow jacket are a beneficial insect in the environment. They are doing nothing beneficial while swarming around your sweet drinks and barbeque food. Yes- you can spray pesticides and numerous repellants but that gets into the ground water and cant be around children and pets. It causes more problems than solving them. So here is a simple, and easy way to trap those pests without hurting the environment or your family.

Here is what you need:

  • A large plastic bottle (2-liter preferiably)
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 banana peel
  • Roughly about 4 cups of water
  • Razor blade/ knife

How to make the trap:

  1. Pour a half-cup of water into the 2-liter bottle. Add the 1/4 cup of sugar and shake until dissolved.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar and shake until combined.
  3. Add the banana peel (decaying fruit attracts yellow jackets)
  4. Cut a 3/4-inch hole in the top half of the bottle.
  5. Place the bottle near the hive, or in an area away from where you hang outside.

Thank you to Rodale’s Organic Life for the original information, you can read more here.

Kitchen Scraps, in your Garden?

Every day, we throw out all kinds of food scraps that we think are garbage. While many of these scraps are considered useless, they can in fact be put directly into your gardens! Non-Composters unite for these nifty tips to recycle kitchen scraps!


  • Use the empty shells as a place to start your seedlings! Once the seedlings become large enough to plant in the ground, gently crack the eggshell and place the entire egg into the ground.
  • Crushing eggshells can be used as a fertilizer in your garden. The eggshells add calcium to the soil, creating a strong place for plants to grow.
  • Eggshells can also be used as a pest deterrent. If there is a slug problem in your garden, crushed eggshells can do the trick. By creating a ring of crushed eggshells around your garden that is 1/4-inch thick and 2-inches wide, slugs and snails will be discouraged.

Coffee Grounds

  • Just as Eggshells can be used to keep away slugs and sails, so can coffee grounds. However, coffee grounds can be also used as mulch to keep away cats, rabbits and squirrels.
  • For a less-smelly option, coffee grounds can be worked into the soil. They are welcome around onions, lettuce, corn, and other nitrogen loving plants.
  • If putting the grounds directly into or onto the soil doesn’t sound like you, by adding the grounds to water and watering the garden with that it also adds nitrogen.

Banana Peels

  • Banana peels can be used to create a trap for yellow jackets, you can read more about that here.
  • By burying small pieces of banana around your plants, it will deter aphids. However by small, you have to have tiny pieces, if you plant the whole peel you will attract larger pests.
  • By adding banana peels to water (just like the coffee grounds) you will be able to water your plants with nutrient full water.

Orange Peels

  • Scattering small pieces of orange peel around the garden, will keep cats away, and also small aphids and ants. To keep the smaller pests away, use grated peel or shredded peel.
  • Dried orange peels can be used as a fire starter, and create an aromatic atmosphere.
  • By rubbing the peels directly to the skin, it can be used as a mosquito repellant. \

Thank you Lindsay-Jean Hard from for the original information. You can read more here.

Project Bloom Gardens Late June

Here are some before and after photos at the Project Bloom Community Garden. It is coming along beautifully, and I am so proud of our progress. We also received a brand new sign for the garden from KIC! There are many plants in bloom at the moment as well. Check out how pretty the roses along the Greenhouse wall are! 

How to keep Squirrels out of your Garden

The warm weather brings new plant life, blue skies, gardening and squirrels. Squirrels are a gardeners number one enemy, sure they look cute and scurry from here to there, but they do serious damage to gardens. They eat freshly planted seeds, uproot bulbs, eat partially grown fruit and knock off the tops of flowers. Here are some tips to keep the unwanted pests from chewing up your hard work.

Here are some signs that squirrels have been scurrying in your garden:

  • Shallow digging spots in beds, The holes should be about gold ball or smaller sized holes. Newly planted seed beds are popular amongst the furry rascals.
  • Bite marks and missing fruit. Favorite fruits and vegetables of squirrels include but are not limited to beans, squash, cucumber, tomatoes, eggplants and strawberries.
  • Dug up containers. If you have large planters that have been dug into, it’s a likely assumption a squirrel has been burying nuts and looking for seeds.
  • Flowers that are partially eaten are also a snatch for squirrels. They are fond to Daisy blooms, and also others like Daffodils. Missing petals and partially eaten center disk’s are a clue to a squirrel invasion.

There are many ways to help repel, or keep squirrels out of your garden. Here are some things you can do to control those pesky rodents.

  • Remove what attracts them. Fallen fruit, nuts and seeds can lure squirrels into your yard. Clean up the fallen plants and also clean beneath bird feeders and trees. Also make sure that trash can lids are secure, so you don’t have anything going through your personals in the hunt for food.
  • Repel them. There are many products online that can help cope with your squirrel problem. You can buy various sprays including capsaicin (what puts the hot in hot peppers), vinegar, essential oils like peppermint– even animal urines such as tiger and wolf!
  • You could also scare them. By training your pet to chase squirrels or just letting them run around in the yard it should frighten the pesky critters. You can also use randomized sprinkler systems or hang up aluminum pie tins to make noise.
  • By putting up chicken wire or fences, exclude the squirrels from even entering the garden. You can even put up a cage around the garden!
  • Protect any open soil from the digging of squirrels by covering it with cloth or chicken wire. You can also protect your plants by also wrapping them in chicken wire.
  • While many gardeners think that an effective method is to use squirrel traps, it is not the best idea. While its true you can just release them after catching in an open area, in many parts of the country they are considered a game species. Which means that trapping them alive, can get you into big trouble with your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife or Game (So check with them first!)

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

What’s Growing in our Containers

Here’s currently what is in bloom in our myriad of planters and containers. We are growing Rosemary Begonia, Hypoestis, Clivia, Orchids, Assorted Annuals, Snake Plant, Jenny Salvia, Dusty Miller, Marigold, Petunia, Dianthus, Coleus and Rubber Tree Plants.  The large blue pots were refurbished, we painted them over in blue house paint to make them look as good as new! 

New Dianthus

Take a look at all the new Dianthus growing in our garden at the moment! Dianthus is so pretty and small. Varieties we are growing include Raspberry Parfait and Clove Scented. Raspberry Parfait is definitely one of my favorite strains, the pink against the white is so vibrant and brings a breath of fresh air to any garden.  

Our Ferns

Ferns are a great way to get foliage coverage around the yard. Here are the some varieties of ferns that are growing in our yard. Varieties include Lady, Ostrich and Japanese Painted. The green color is so bright and eye-catching. Ferns are a beautiful foliage to grow in the garden and around the yard, everyone should have some!   

Our New Beds

Here are some photos of the newly planted beds that are in our garden. Hopefully they stay like they are before the squirrels get to them! We have planted Lilac, Gerber Daisies, Lobelia, Hypoestis, Balloon Flower, Coleus, Dianthus, Dobule Petunias, Rosie O’Day Alyssum, Snapdragons, Pulmonaria, and Primrose. We have pulled out the large Threadleaf Cyprus in the front yard to make room as well. 

Aftermath of our Squirrels

Here are some photos of what the squirrels that live by us are doing. They keep chewing up some of our plants and the fruits we are growing in our garden! So far, we have lost some strawberries, one of our sweet potatoes, and some bulbs. Squirrels are the worst during the Spring. Curse these pests! 

What’s In Bloom Early June 2015

Here’s currently what is in bloom in our garden. There are many plants including: Columbine, Snapdragons, Rhododendron, Lupine, Tree Peonies, Geum, Blueberries, Thyme, Strawberries, Spiderwort, Rose Campion, Snigle Mock Orange Shrubs, Foxglove, Lavender, Kousa Dogwood Tree, Irises, Houttania, Hens and Chicks, Euonymous Lilac, Painted Daisies, Double Mock Orange, Knockout Rose, Our Vegetable Garden, Marigolds, Gerber Daisies, Dusty Millar Hosta, Blue Mist Hydrangea Shrub, Snowmound Spirea and Azalea. 

Project Bloom Update Late May 2015

These photos were taken on May 20th at Project Bloom’s gardens at Brookwood Hall, in East Islip. The vegetable beds are nearly completed and most are planted for the season. We’ve added a Kid’s Garden and a fun fence from reclaimed wood. Once the vegetable garden is done, our focus will be the memorial garden. We will continue to meet throughout the summer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 9:30 to plant perennials and to maintain our new garden beds.

Mosquito Prevention and Control

It’s that time of the year again, yes the warm weather is great especially at night. But with warm weather and long summer days comes our number one flying enemy– mosquitos. Mosquitos can be harmless and just leave itchy bites, but can also carry West Nile Virus which can be deadly. There are many ways to handle the control and prevention of mosquitos by just a few simple steps.

1. Eliminate any standing water that shouldn’t be there (i.e. puddles, unused plastic pools, wet tires.)

2. Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week to eliminate larvae from growing.

3. Be careful when irrigating gardens and lawns, be cautious of using too much water.

4. If there are ditches near your home that contain stagnate water for longer than a week, report it to a Public Health office or Mosquito Control Center.

5. You can always purchase a trap like a bug zapper, to help with the control of adult mosquitos.

6. Reduce the number of spots where mosquitos can live such as weeds, tall grasses and vegetation. You can reduce these by cutting the lawn more often and putting down an herbicide for weeds or by pulling them out.

7. As a last resort you can always use pesticides, however the bugs can become immune to them after time. Also they can get into ground water and vegetation you grow which can be harmful.

8. Bug spray, Citronella candles, Oscillating fans, Tiki torches, amd even Listerine mouthwash can help keep them away when sitting outside as well.

You can read more about prevention of mosquitos and learn more information here. 

May 7th, 2015

Beautiful flowers are in bloom in our yard at the moment! We have many different types of flowers including English Daisy (Bellis), Our Spring Bed which has Betty Boo Dwarf Iris, Inky Dink Iris, Double Cowslip Primrose, Basket of Gold which is a perennial allysum, Spice Bush Vibernum, Tulips, Daffodils and Creeping Phlox. In our Mailbox Bed we have hostas. In our yard we also have Asiatic Lilies, Tulips, Iris, more Daffodils, Chierianthus (Wallflowers), Foxglove (from last year seedlings), a cool variety of daffodil which is white with an orange center, and we also have Chinese Dunce Caps (Orostachys iwarenge.)

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.)

Blue and Gold Spring Bed

This bed located in our backyard, right by the back door where I can see these bulbs all the time.. Some of the flowers include Cowslip Primrose, Basket of Gold Allysum, Powder Blue Mini Hyacinths (Valerie Finnis) Muscari, and dwarf iris. I love how the colors look next to each other. So cheerful this time of year.

Our Bleeding Hearts

Here is a collection of photos of our Bleeding Heart plants from this season. I love the bright pink color at the top of the flower. I think they are so pretty and quaint. Bleeding hearts are such a great plant to have around the garden for pops of color, there is also varietals that come in white. 

What’s in bloom for May

Take a look at what’s growing in our yard at the moment. All the colors are so beautiful and vibrant. The flowers blooming this month include Johnny Jump Ups, Yellow Tulips, Red Double Tulips, Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles), A pathway made of Thyme, A Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Callery Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana), Purple Tulips, Weeping Cherry Tree, Orange frittalaria, Japanese Andromeda (pieris) and Creeping Phlox. I said it last month, and I will say it again– this is by far my favorite time of the year!

Our Flowering Quince

Here’s a few photos of the flowering quince on the corner of our property. It was here when we bought the house, and has been growing ever since! I think it’s got to be at least 75 years old, maybe as old as 90. It’s a painful plant however, from its long sharp thorns. Also it does not produce the quince fruit, it just flowers– which isn’t a bad thing! I have hacked it down many times, but it always come back with a vengence.

Our Daffodil Beds for April

Here are the beds in the front and on the side of the house that contain our beautiful Daffodils. We have so many Daffodils that our yard is a sea of yellow in the springtime. The only downside to having so many of these flowers, is fighting off the squirrels from stealing our bulbs.

What’s in bloom for late April

Here’s what is blooming in our yard during late April. I love this time of the year– every day something new is coming up from the ground! Some of the flowers blooming include Daffodils, Flowering Quince, Yellow Epimedium, White Rock Cress, Small Spirea, Coral Bells (Heuchera) and Creeping Sedum, Bleeding Hearts, Forsytheia and Vinca Vine. The Bleeding Hearts are so cute! 

Crocus Flowers

Our Crocus flowers were in full bloom on Monday (April 13th) , and now they’re starting to fade. Here are a few closeups of them while they were in their prime. Crocus are awesome plants to have, because they come back every year and the colors are bright and beautiful no matter what strain of plant you are growing. 

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.”


Vegetable Bed Cleanup Progress

We are still hoping to complete this Vegetable garden cleanup by Earth Day, so that the gardeners can get started planting vegetables. Bob and Ed Quinn have been making great progress in the community Garden. The two of them have been working alone to clear out the old wood and debris in the beds. They are trying to get it in better shape before the KIC junior commissioners come for the clean up day on Sunday April 19th. We are so happy to have these high school students adopt our spot for their community volunteer effort this spring. Two of the largest beds have been rebuilt and placed into their new positions. We are still searching for cedar to rebuild the remaining 25 beds if anyone knows of a source….



Lilacs are a favorite of mine. I love the way they smell, the way they look, I love everything about them. We have 5 different varieties of lilacs in our yard. They include Sensation lilacs, Primrose lilacs, Giant White lilacs, Josee lilac, and the Big Standard lilac. I was amazed that all of these different varieties were in bloom at the same time. All these photos were taken on the same day: May 16, 2014.

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! 

Spirea Hedgerow and Curb

We installed some 6×6 timbers to act as a curb for the gravel roadway and planted a run of Bridal wreath spires. The wood was donated by one of Project Bloom’s members, Steve. Thank you Steve!   Along the curb we will plant a line of Spirea hedges. Project Bloom Renovation is in full effect, and we can’t wait for the end result! It will be a great community space for gardening! 


Compost Area Cleanup

KIC arranged to have compost and wood chips delivered to the site for use by the community vegetable gardeners. The area was full of tall weeds, but we were able to clear a large area for the delivery and we are very happy to have our first load of compost to start the season. Later, we will try and hide the area from view a little by planting a beautiful Forsythia hedge in front of the pile.


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.


From Snowfall to Snowdrops

All the snow that we had this season finally melted to reveal beautiful mounds of snowdrops under the hickory tree. It was refreshing seeing these small plants pop up after all the snow we had. Large clumps of sweet smelling flowers peaking through the underbrush was a great way to end the long, cold winter. 

first day of spring

Spring has sprung!

The first day of Spring has arrived with a blast of snow, and with it took (hopefully) the last of winter! It snowed all morning and a bit of the afternoon, but once the sun came out it all cleared up quickly. We can finally see the snowdrops and crocus blooming though the last of the snow.

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.

Peanut Plant Seedlings

Peanut Plant Seedlings

Bob has been growing Peanuts the last few years from some seeds we got while away on vacation. I started them very early this year! Bob bought two peanut seeds on a trip back home from Georgia, that was a few years ago. Every year we manage to get maybe 2 or three little peanuts from these plants and keep growing them! 


Basement Crocus

At the end of December, I bought some bulbs that were too great a deal to miss. Unfortunately the ground froze for good right after that. So I stuck them in pots on the floor in the basement. Once they started to pop up, they got moved to the basement window. Here are pictures of the Crocus bulbs blooming in our basement. Look at how cheerful it looks in front of the mounds of snow in the backyard!

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Red Finch Egg

Red Finch Egg

Normal sized egg for this finch is small, but this egg was extra tiny. I had to photograph it on a dime to show just how small and perfect this one was.

Red Finch Egg

Brookwood Hall Cleanup

Brookwood Hall Park Cleanup & Gardening Day!

This year on April 22nd, Keep Islip Clean (KIC) and Project Bloom Master Gardeners are hosting a cleanup at Brookwood Hall Park! Everyone is welcome, from Scout groups to local gardeners! It is from 9AM until 5PM, everyone should meet at Brookwood Hall on Irish Lane and Montauk Highway in East Islip. For more information call the Islip Arts Council at 631-224-5420 or KIC at 631-224-2627.

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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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Silver Trowel Award

I was very honored to receive the silver trowel award from the Long Island Master Gardeners at our last monthly meeting. I was really surprised and touched by the recognition. 




Which Plants Attract Butterflies

Here is a helpful list of plants that attract butterflies. Plant these in your garden or yard to have a front row seat to view some of the animal kingdom’s most beautiful insects!

Butterfly Bush Butterfly Bush (Buddleia selections)

Butterfly Bush is an Annual shrub that features flowers in shades of blue, purple and white. Grown in the summer, this plant will attract butterflies all season long. At full growth, this plant can be 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide depending on type. For best results, plant in full sun with moist and well drained soil. This plant flourishes in zones between 5 and 9.


PhloxPhlox (Phlox paniculata)

Phlox is a Perennial flower that has beautiful bunches of red, pink, lavender, salmon, or white blooms. Grown in the summer, this plant has a light scent that pleases not only our noses but also the hungry butterflies. At full growth, this plant can be 4 feet tall and 1 foot wide. For best results, plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant grows best between zones 4 and 8.


Anise HyssopAnise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise Hyssop is a Perennial flower that is a beautiful shade of  purple that is great for cutting. Grown in the late summer, this plant is super heat and drought tolerant, and also avoided by deer and rabbits! At full growth, this plant can reach 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. For best results, plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant is successful between zones 4 and 10.


Butterfly WeedButterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Weed is a Perennial flower that has bright orange flowers that are highly attractive to butterflies. Grown in the summer, this plant helps sustain the life cycle of Monarch butterflies. At full growth this plant can be 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide. For best results, plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant flourishes between zones 4 and 9.


AsterAster (Aster selections)

Aster is a Perennial flower that blooms in shades of blue, purple, pink, red and white and also resembles the Daisy flower. Grown in the fall, the blossoms supply nectar for fall butterflies including Pearl Crescent Caterpillars. At full growth, this plant can reach 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. For best results plant in full sun with moist, well drained soil. This plant grows best between zones 3 and 8.


Purple ConeflowerPurple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Purple Coneflower is a Perennial that blooms bright purple flowers. Grown in the summer, this plant is very heat and drought tolerant. Many types of butterflies enjoy the nectar during the summer heat. At full growth, it can reach 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. For best results plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant grows best between zones 3 and 9.



SalviaSalvia (Salvia ‘May Night’)

Salvia is a Perennial flower, unless bloomed in colder regions. Typically grown in the summer, Salvia blooms in many colors and sizes. Colors include: blue, purple, red, orange, and pink. At full growth, Salvia can reach 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide. For best results plant in full sun with moist, well drained soil. This plant flourishes in zones between 4 and 9.



LantanaLantana (Lantana)

Lantana is also a Perennial flower unless grown in colder regions. Grown in the summer, Lantana blooms in shades of lavender, pink, orange, yellow, cream, and white. This plant is ideal for borders or placed in beds. At full growth, Lantana can be 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. For best results plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant grows best in zone 10.



PentasPentas (Pentas)

Pentas is an annual flower that dawns star shaped blooms in colors of pink, red and white. Grown typically in the summer, this plant holds up to drought very well and loves hot conditions. At full growth, Pentas can reach up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. For best results plant in full sun with well drained soil. This plant flourishes in zones 10 and 11.



PassionflowerPassionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passionflower is an exotic vine flower that will give your garden a look of tropicana. Passionflower blooms in vibrant shades of purples and lavenders. Grown as both annual and perennial blooms, passionflower is grown in the summer. At full growth, Passionflower can climb 10 feet. This plant flourishes inn zones between 6 and 9.



Mexican SunflowerMexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotunifolia)

Mexican Sunflower is an annual flower grown in the summer. Blooming in vibrant oranges, this plant is sure to give your garden a lovely pop of color. At full growth, this flower can reach up to 6 feet tall and 1 foot wide. This plant grows best in warm regions.




South American VerbenaSouth American Verbena (Verbena bonariensis)

South American Verbena is a Perennial plant unless grown in colder regions. Verbena is a flower that is perfect for cuttings, each time you cut it, more flowers grow back. Verbena blooms in in lavender purple blooms and grows best in summer. At full growth, Verbena can reach 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It grows best in zones between 7 and 10.



ZinniaZinnia (Zinnia)

Zinnias are Perennial flowers that come in a variety of colors. Grown in the summer, Zinnias are the perfect addition to any garden. At full growth, these boisterous flowers can reach 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Zinnias can be grown almost anywhere where there is heat.



Joe Pye WeedJoe Pye Weed (Eupatorium)  

Joe Pye Weed, is not what you think it is. While sounding like something you should pick instead of plant in your garden, Joe Pye Weed is a suprisingly refreshing look for your fall garden. Dusty pink flowers, can grow up to 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This Perennial flower grows best in zones between 3 and 9.



Black Eyed SusanBlack Eyed Susan (Rudeckia)

Black Eyed Susan, is a tough Perennial flower that grows in the late summer. With bright yellow petals and a dark center, Black Eyed Susans are a great addition to any garden or bouquet. At full growth, these flowers can reach up to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. They grow best in zones between 4 and 9.



FennelFennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a plant not just for eating. Fennel can add a great contrast and texture to any garden. Many swallowtail butterflies lay eggs on Fennel plants in the fall. Fennel is a perennial plant unless in cooler areas. Fennel can reach up to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This plant flourishes in zones between 4 and 9.



CoreopsisCoreopsis (Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’)

Coreopsis is a bright Perennial flower that grows in the summer. These flowers are great to look at due to the bright yellow flowers against the dark green foliage underneath. At full growth these plants can reach 18 inches tall and wide. These flowers bloom best between zones 3 and 8.


Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for the original information and photographs. You can read more here.

Black Plants for October

Once the month of October arrives, it is time to get festive. Cozy Sweaters, Hot Drinks, and Halloween! Carved Pumpkins sitting on the porch, and ghosts hanging in the window. Your yard would be incomplete without a little decoration in the garden also. Here is a list of black plants to give your garden a pop- or lack of a pop of color.


Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) – This grass does well when planted in full sun or part shade. It grows roughly a foot tall and wide, and is great for ground coverage.






Coral bells (Heuchera ‘Obsidian’) – This plant can tolerate full sun and part shade. For the best results plant in a sunny area with some afternoon shade. It grows about 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.




Orange and black pansies (Viola x wittrockiana)
– This plant does well in full sun to partial shade. It will bloom in the fall and then once again in the spring. It grows to about 6 to 8 inches with about the same size spread.







Black snakeroot (Cimicifuga ramosa ‘James Compton’) -This plant grows best in full sun for the deepest color. It grows to about 3 feet tall with a spread of 2 feet. It’s flowers will bloom in autumn.




aeonium_arboreum_zwartkop_lgBlack rose (Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’) – This plant thrives in full sun to partial shade. It can grow up to 10 inches tall and wide in the shape of a rosette.






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.