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Gung Hoe Gardener: Plants that Didn't Make It Through the Winter PDF Print Email

May 7, 2014:  My guess is that you have been in the garden this week deadheading the daffodils and enjoying the new spring color. Don't be surprised if you find a few plants that did not make it through this winter.

Hydrangea macrophylla, the cultivar with large blue or pink flowers, is a shrub that has been damaged by this winter but not killed. You will see new growth at the base of the shrub but almost nothing on the branches.

If there is any green, cut back to that point; if not, remove the entire branch. Make sure to prune evenly, and don't leave a few stems sticking up--remove them to match the others.

We will see, but I don't think there will be any blooms on hydrangea macrophylla this year.

There are many shrubs with brown leaves that have been burned by the cold. Just remove these.

I hope your loss is minimal; nature has a way of throwing us a curveball every once in a while.

Pictured here:  Hydrangea plant that may not survive this year.

Photo by N. Bower

Gung Hoe Gardener: What's a Garden to Do with All this Snow? PDF Print Email

Jan. 29, 2014:  What's a garden to do in a winter like this? Not to worry. Most of our landscape plants are hardy in Bronxville, and we take it for granted that they are fine. A cold, dry winter can be devastating, but with all the snow we are having, our gardens are happy. Snow is a natural insulator or mulch, much like a blanket.

Snow is an excellent mulch for our plants, but it can also weigh down their branches. Take time to knock the snow off your shrubs, but be careful; in this cold the branches can break. I suggest doing this in the afternoon sun and using a light broom.

Rhododendrons in our area are having a tough time this year. Even in the winter they need water, and we have had freezing temperatures for longer than usual. On top of this, our past summer and fall were dry.

Make a mental note to mulch your rhododendrons and other shrubs with leaves next fall. Beg your gardeners to leave the leaves under them; it's free. You can also purchase pine bark mulch, which is more attractive but hard to find in the nurseries that time of year.

Pictured here:  Bronxville in winter.

By N. Bower

Neely Bower on Three Gardening Organizations Serving Bronxville PDF Print Email

Nov. 27, 2013:  Recently I attended a meeting, as a committee member, of the Bronxville Beautification Council, known to many as the BBC. This committee has done wonders for the Bronxville downtown area. Every year it solicits the 10708 area for funds to do its work.

Not only does it plant the triangles in the roadways with annuals every year, but it does many capital improvements. The area around the underpass has been totally done with BBC funds and the help of a very talented volunteer, Mary Rose Nihlen. The list goes on.

I am also a co-president of another gardening organization in Bronxville, Boulder Ledge Garden Club. This year we have been focusing on a four-year project to rejuvenate Bicentennial Park. This is the small park at the corner of Pondfield Road and Meadow Avenue. As a club we do not solicit funds from the community; our funds come from dues and special fundraisers. To help us reach this goal, we sent out a special fundraising brochure this spring.

There is another worthy cause at the corner of Crawford and Archer Roads, or the end of Dusenberry Road. The Nature Preserve of Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe is a beautifully kept open space with paths, benches, and a butterfly garden named after Vicki Ford. This group presently sends the community a fundraising letter every two years to support the maintenance of the park.

It has come to my attention that the community of Bronxville may be a little confused. These fundraising letters arrive in your mail and you may feel that if you have given to one, you do not have to give to any of the others. Any donation is the giver's decision, but in this case it is hard to know to whom to give.

Each organization has its own goal. We are all involved with a common interest, the Village of Bronxville. However, each organization needs to raise its own funds to maintain the properties that it represents.

When you receive a solicitation in the mail from one of these organizations and would like to know more, please contact:

Bicentennial Park: Neely Bower, CLOAKING

Nature Preserve of Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe: Nancy Vittorini, CLOAKING

Bronxville Beautification Council: George McKinnis, CLOAKING

Pictured here (rotating): The Nature Preserve, a triangle garden planted by the BBC, and Bicentennial Park.

Photos by N. Bower

Ardis Wood (Schmidt) Elected to Scenic America Board of Directors PDF Print Email


Oct. 9, 2013:  Former Bronxville Planning Board member Ardis Wood (Schmidt), now of Savannah, Georgia, has been elected to the board of directors of Scenic America, the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America.

Based in Washington, DC, the group carries out its mission with the help of 41 state and local affiliates spread throughout the country. "We are thrilled that Ardis has joined our board of directors," said Ronald Lee Fleming, board chair. "Our organization will be well served by her passion for beauty in public spaces and her strong belief in the importance of community character." 

Wood is a longtime proponent of beauty in civic spaces. She created the Victorian Lady Tours and Talks and for 20 years has dressed in period attire while showing off Savannah to visitors in the "hostess city of the South." "I've been fortunate enough to have a tour of Savannah from Ardis," said Mary Tracy, president of Scenic America. "Her knowledge of the city’s history and culture is astounding, and she shares it with such style and grace. We will benefit greatly from having her passion and skills on our board of directors.”

Wood is also on the board of Scenic Georgia, an affiliate of Scenic America, and has served as president of Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent Neighborhood Association, Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent Garden Club, Savannah's lighting task force, and the Victory Drive Plan overlay.

Ardis served on the planning board for seven years in Bronxville, where she was also a founding member of its beautification council, and was presented with an American Legion award and a village proclamation for community service.

Scenic America is the only national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America's roadways, communities, and countryside. For more information, contact Max Ashburn, Scenic America communications director, at 202-463-1294 or CLOAKING

Pictured here:  Ardis Wood (Schmidt).

Photo courtesy Max Ashburn, Communications Director, Scenic America

Gung Hoe Gardener: Time to Clean Out the Garden and Plant Bulbs PDF Print Email


Sep. 25, 2013:  September is a quiet time in the garden. You should be cleaning up plants that are finished for the season. Daylilies and hostas are the first that come to mind. 

With the dry, hot weather we have had this summer, many plants are unsightly. Use your fingers to comb through the daylilies and remove the dead leaves; in some cases there will not be much of the plant remaining--this is ok.  If your hostas are turning brown, remove the dead leaves and the flower stem or cut them down and clean up the area.

Now that this is done, pull out your bulb catalogues. I recommend John Scheepers, which can also be found online. You can plant your bulbs anytime through the end of November, as long as the ground does not freeze. 

Be creative this year. Daffodils are tried and true, but you may already have enough of these. Try alliums or Leucojum for a change. I stay away from tulips because they usually bloom only the first year, they are smaller the second year, and then they peter out and stop blooming. Deer, squirrels, and bunnies also love tulips.

When planting your bulbs, refer to the instructions that come with them for depth, and plant them in groups.  Never plant bulbs individually. Dig a hole that will accommodate five or six bulbs, not touching, add a little bone meal, cover, and wait for a surprise in the spring.

Photo by N. Bower

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