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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

James Lettiere: Two Artists Now Showing in Chelsea PDF Print Email

Written by James Lettiere, Investment Banker and Art Specialist

Editor's note:  With this article we introduce a new columnist, James Lettiere. Mr. Lettiere will be writing on the New York City art scene. A Bronxville resident, he is semi-retired from the financial industry and has worked for The Drawing Center in Manhattan. Most important, he enjoys frequenting art exhibits and galleries throughout the city.   

Sep. 17, 2014:  Art and avarice are constantly butting heads in Chelsea. However, it is possible to observe all that is uplifting about art among the numerous exhibits and galleries.

On my way to see the current Mark di Suvero exhibit at Paula Cooper's Gallery at 534 West 21st Street (until October 22), I happened upon a terrific example of the work of Nancy Rubins down the street at the Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st. 

Ms. Rubins's work is new to me, but I think it and di Suvero's perfectly encapsulate the current environment in Chelsea since the unveiling of the High Line.

The structure of the High Line is profoundly industrial and it is represented well by di Suvero's expansive 22-foot sculpture, Luney Breakout, composed entirely of weathered, rusting steel. Hard-edged I-beams support curved lengths of metal that unfurl into the sky.

At the other edge of the spectrum of what we see along the High Line, Ms. Rubins's pieces incorporate pastel-colored playground figures like the animals one sees on carousels and other circus configurations, but they are enclosed like hay bales by aluminum wire.

Demonstrating the opposites of monumental sculpture and the intimacy of everyday objects, the assemblages are similar to the large crowds of people moving along the length of the High Line. Their colorful everyday clothing, like animated clouds, up against the harsh background of the High Line's rusted steel.

Mark di Suvero's work can be seen at the Whitney Museum's permanent collection as well as the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. He lives and works in New York.

Nancy Rubins was born in Texas and achieved her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and her MFA at the University of California, Davis.

Pictured here (rotating):  Artwork by Nancy Rubins and Mark di Suvero.

Photos by James Lettiere

Bronxville Farmers' Market Has Another New Vendor--Pie Lady & Son PDF Print Email

Written by Mary Liz Mulligan, Market Manager, Bronxville Farmers' Market

Sep. 17, 2014: Another vendor new to the Bronxville Farmers' Market (BFM) this season is Pie Lady & Son.

When you slice into an apple pie from the Pie Lady & Son, you might get a quick burst of nostalgia you weren't expecting. It brings back memories of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Pie Lady & Son is literally a mom-and-son operation. Originally selling homemade pies and baked goods from their home's back porch in Upper Nyack, they are continuing the same homemade baking tradition that the Pie Lady (aka "Mom" to Wil Tyler, now the owner, baker, and master of all) opened in 1996.

A sign on the corner telephone pole led customers directly to their door, and little by little Wil's mom became known as the "Pie Lady of Nyack." Success proved to be too much for her to handle alone, and after several years, Mom closed the shop and moved to upstate New York. Then two years ago she and Wil started working together to resurrect the pie business. Wil manages the business, but Mom is still in charge of the baking. Along with staff, Wil does get his hands into the pie dough, too, but always following Mom's recipes and instructions!    

Current baked goods are all created on-site with the same basic ingredients that generations before used to make the perfect pie--unbleached flour, cane sugar, sweet butter, a bit of salt, and plenty of fresh fruit--this token American dessert has a delightfully flaky crust over sweet and sticky warm apples. A variety of pies, using the fresh fruit that is currently in season, is available in seven- or ten-inch sizes.

Pie Lady & Son recently opened its small retail shop in Nyack and is currently in four farmers' markets and has a tremendous, faithful following. When checking our Facebook page, there is most likely a fan posting raves about Pie Lady & Son and how happy they are that it is now part of the BFM family.

It doesn't get more American than this!

Pictured here: The Pie Lady and her son, Wil.

Photo courtesy Wil Tyler

Over 250 People See 10 Beautiful Gardens on Annual Garden Tour by Bronxville Beautification Council; See Photos PDF Print Email

Jun. 18, 2014:  Was it the beautiful sunny day? Could it be that people were motivated to attend by a desire to see the Bronxville Post Office grounds get planted? Was it the lure of a trolley ride? Or was it simply the desire to spend a Sunday afternoon strolling through ten hidden gardens in Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe, followed by a wine-and-cheese social?

We can't be sure, but the stars were aligned, and more than 250 people attended the Bronxville Beautification Council (BBC) garden tour and purchased hundreds of raffle tickets. This year's record turnout generated more than sufficient funds to completely refurbish the grounds at the Bronxville Post Office and to cover the cost of the irrigation so that the property will be nearly self-sustaining.

As with all funds the BBC raises, the proceeds will also go toward the hanging baskets throughout the village and the plantings in the traffic circles and at the train station, just to mention a few of the ongoing BBC projects. A huge thank you goes to all who attended and to all of those who helped make it the most successful tour to date.

In case you missed the tour, included were a vegetable garden, a rock garden, a master rosarian's garden, and a garden reminiscent of a walk in the Adirondacks. There were highly manicured grounds and waterfalls. There was even a private playground that included a chef's garden. There were gardens that made you feel as if you had escaped to the country and those that demonstrated how to fully utilize every inch of your property to create a private sanctuary all your own.

The following families graciously opened their gardens to the public this year: the Colemans; the Foresters; the Jensens; the McBrides; the McVeys; the Reyes-Guerras; the Schaefers; the Seminaras; the Shah-Zions; and the Speropouloses.

The closing party was hosted at the home of Vicki and Si Ford, with food generously donated by the Odyssey Diner, wine by Topps Wine and Liquor, and flowers by Mrs. Morgan's.

Many of the local merchants donated raffle prizes, including Angelina's Restaurant, Annie Rose Nail Salon, Barbara Whitworth, Bronxville Jewelers, Bronxville Wellness Sanctuary, Haiku, Mano a Mano, Martine's Bakery, Provisions for Pets, Pure Barre, Slave to the Grind, and the Westchester Italian Cultural Center.

Other merchants sold tickets to the tour, including Antiques and Consignments, Kensington Paper, the Odyssey Diner, Mrs. Morgan's, Tryforos and Pernice, Savanna at Home, The Silk Road, and Womrath Bookshop.

Additional thanks go to the Village of Tuckahoe's Mayor Steve Ecklond and to Frank DiMarko for donating the use of Tuckahoe's trolley, to the trolley driver, Mr. Norman, for his wonderful sense of humor, and to Linda Doherty Laird, Eastchester town clerk, who helped to coordinate with organizers of Eastchester's 350th anniversary.

A huge thanks to the entire BBC for its support, most notably James Sutton, who does so many things it is impossible to enumerate and to Hershell George and his daughter Katie for designing the beautiful fliers, to Cathy Rodriguez for being my co-chair, and to the entire garden tour committee: Linda Cioffi, Marie Jensen, Anne Lemberger, Maggie Monahan, and Johanna Redpath. Very special thanks are due to Bob Persico, owner of Persico Landscaping and Irrigation, LLC, for his expertise and invaluable advice.

To see photos of the garden tour, click here: Bronxville Beautification Council Garden Tour 2014.

Pictured here (L to R):  Co-chair Meg Sunier, Maggie Monahan, and co-chair Cathy Rodriguez, organizers of this year's Bronxville Beautification Council garden tour. 

Photo by A. Warner

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