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Home & Garden

Working Gardeners Club Celebrates 90th Year PDF Print Email

By Eloise Morgan, Member, Working Gardeners

Jun. 3, 2015:  Bronxville's oldest garden club, the Working Gardeners, celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founding with a garden and mansion tour and lunch at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY, on Saturday, May 23. 

Founded in 1925 by Bronxville resident Louise Beebe Wilder, a still well-respected gardener and author long after her death, the club meets monthly, except in the summer, to learn from speakers on various horticultural and gardening topics. An annual tour of a regional garden marks the spring meeting. 

Fifteen club members and guests, pictured above, toured the Boscobel gardens, which were created in the 1960s in the Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical styles to complement the 1804 Federal-style mansion on the grounds. 

Boscobel's landscape features an alley of giant maples, an apple orchard, an herb garden, a formal rose garden, brick walks, and weeping cherry trees. The beautiful setting includes views of the Hudson River, Constitution Marsh, and West Point. 

Pictured here:  Working Gardeners members at Boscobel. 

Photo by N. Bower

Blue Atlas Cedar Tree Gifted to Village by Almstead Tree Company PDF Print Email

By Marie Jensen, Vice President, Bronxville Beautification Council

May 20, 2015:  In honor of National Arbor Day (April 24), the Bronxville Beautification Council (BBC) received a special gift from the Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Company--a blue Atlas cedar (cedrus atlantica glauca).

The tree was planted on the southwest bank of Bronxville's railroad underpass. It replaces two diseased trees that were safety hazards, an old sycamore maple and its younger companion.   

The five-year-old blue Atlas cedar will grow to be an 80-foot specimen tree, providing additional beauty to the village underpass area. Over the years, working with the BBC, Almstead has donated many hours of pruning for beautification purposes in the Bronxville business district.

Pictured here:  Gary Reetz, president of the BBC, and Mike Marks, managing arborist for Almstead.

Photo courtesy Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Company

Spring Cleaning Takes Place at Bronxville Nature Preserve PDF Print Email

By Nancy Vittorini, Member, Steering Committee, The Nature Preserve

May 20, 2015:  Despite cloudy skies and a few raindrops, a group of nature lovers--better said, Nature Preserve lovers--arrived bright and early on Saturday morning, May 16, ready to spruce up a treasured parcel of land at the corner of Archer and Crawford roads.

Once a leaf dump, this green space has been gradually transformed into a natural sanctuary for indigenous plants, trees, and wildlife. It is also intended for those humans whose lives are a little wild and who are in need of some peace and quiet!

Old and young alike pitched in for the spring cleanup, which was coordinated by Joe Saad, leader of the preserve's steering committee.

Alannah Quinn, Lindsey Mascia, Sofia Read, and Elena Read, young ladies from Eastchester Girl Scout Troop #2512 led by Jennifer Read, attacked the perimeter of the preserve and energetically filled a number of bags with debris that had accumulated over the long, cold winter.

In the meantime, John Morris, aided by Carlo Vittorini, trimmed hedges, while Declan Considine, a sophomore at Holy Cross, shoveled to re-set posts that had been upended by a recent car accident. He also planted a fir to complete a symmetrical design lining the path between Archer and Ridgecroft roads.

Gary Reetz, new chairman of the Bronxville Beautification Council and longtime Nature Preserve supporter, put his horticultural know-how to work on various tasks throughout the property, assisted by Brian Redican and Bill Fredericks, treasurer of The Nature Preserve's steering committee.

Nature Preserve visionaries Vicki and Si Ford were on hand to hack away at stubborn vines (that would eventually strangle trees) and review the work of the nursery Nature's Cradle in Olivia's Butterfly Garden--named for the former Eastchester councilwoman--at the corner of the property.

The old adage "many hands make light work" ruled the day, and within a few hours, The Nature Preserve appeared neat and trimmed and ready to delight the residents of Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe.

Pictured here:  Participants in the annual Nature Preserve spring cleanup.  

Photo courtesy Nancy Vittorini, Member, Steering Committee, The Nature Preserve

Gung Hoe Gardener: Making Mulch PDF Print Email

By Neely Bower

May 6, 2015:  There are many materials that can be used for mulch. My favorite source of mulch is my tree company, which will deliver a large pile of tree chips for free.

However, there are a few problems with this method. The chips are larger and take longer to break down, you have to clean out branches and debris from them, and they could carry disease if you don't get them from a reputable arborist. One year I put the free chips in a garden bed that was on a slight hill, and after a big rain storm they all floated off the bed into the grass. So be careful where you put them; they are perfect for pathways, not garden beds. Contrary to what some people believe, these chips do not take nutrients away from the soil.

The most popular mulch comes from a bag; I prefer shredded to chunk. However, you can use newspaper, cardboard, or leaf mold. If you really want to kill something, put down a thick layer of newspaper (front section of the New York Times), wet thoroughly with a hose, and cover it with bagged mulch--guaranteed to kill what is underneath.

Mulch is used for moisture retention, weed control, and beauty. You can put it down anytime of the year, but it's best before plants have emerged and growing is best. That means we are a little late here in Bronxville. No problem--you just have to work around the new growth and put it down no more than two to three inches deep. Make sure not to put the mulch too close to the base of a plant; the roots need air to breathe.

Promise me you will never use dyed mulch on your yard, especially red. (I checked those bags and they do not tell you what is in the dye.) Have you ever seen red soil except in Sedona, Arizona, or the Grand Canyon?

Pictured here:  Lovely cushions of phlox incorrectly mulched.

Photo by N. Bower

Fabulous Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden through April 19 PDF Print Email

Written by Staff


Mar. 4, 2015: Just a ten-minute drive from Bronxville, the fabulous annual orchid show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at The New York Botanical Garden opened on February 28 and runs through April 19.

This year the theme is chandeliers. As stated on the botanical garden's website: "A spectacle of orchid species beckons the eye upward during this year's Orchid Show, a breathtaking presentation spotlighting the aerial beauty of this iconic flower through hanging baskets, colorful living columns, and the centerpiece: a huge star-shaped chandelier overflowing with hundreds of plants." 

For more information, visit and start planning your day.

Photo by A. Warner

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