Home, Lawn & Garden 2013 e_sub

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Home, Lawn & Garden


TOGETHER g a rde n i n g i s a way t o b u i l d h e a lt h, c o m m u n i t y a n d fa m i ly

Contents Gardener profile..........17 Gardening for health ...19 New Paltz’s Garden....20 Garden clubs..............22

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Calendar of events........3 Master Gardener tips ...6 Adaptive reuse...............9 Kids’ gardening............10

9, 2013 2 | May Home Hudson Valley


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May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley


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Events, tours & markets Seasonal Bard Arboretum Walks Bard College, Annandale-

on-Hudson. Join Bard Arboretum Director Amy Parella on the third Thursday of each month from 1-2 p.m. for a leisurely stroll around the campus to explore some of the beautiful trees that make up our landscape. Learn about Bard’s unique specimens and staff favorites. All are welcome. Rain or Shine. Meet at Ludlow, Main Campus. Call if any questions, 845-758-7179 Innisfree Guided Tour. Tyrrel Road, Millbrook.

Scheduled tours will be offered rain or shine on the following Saturdays: May 18, June 15 (Father’s Day weekend), July 20, August 17, September 21, and October 12 (Columbus Day weekend). 2-4 p.m. Fee: $15 office@innisfreegarden.org www.innisfreegarden.org

Open Mother’s Day

given (weather permitting) on the third Sunday of each month during the gardening season: May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15 and October 20 from 1-4 p.m. Visitors should park in the Visitor Center parking lot, and walk down the gravel path from the Mansion to the gardens. No fee. info@ vanderbiltgarden.org, 845-229-6432

Margaretville Garden & Home Fest, Saturday, May

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9, 2013 4 | May Home Hudson Valley workshops, music/plays, kid’s crafts & games, petting zoo, falafel & gelato, outdoor bbq, food trucks galore. Free Admission. Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Master Gardener Plant Sale, Dutchess County Farm

and Home Center, 2715 Rt. 44, Millbrook, May 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ninth Annual Community-Wide Plant Sale, Swap,

and Garden Yard Sale. Saturday, May 18 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Deyo Hall, 18 Broadhead Ave. New Paltz. Drop off plants and sale items between 8 and 9 a.m. for categorizing. Bring identified plants, bulbs, seedlings, seeds, books, tool, houseplants, pots, vases, and all other related items for swap or sale. At 9 a.m., plant swap and sale starts. Wildflower Festival at Catskill Native Nursery.

May 18, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 607 Samsonville Rd., Kerhonkson. Come celebrate native wildflowers, herbalism, gardening, and land preservation. Plants, pottery, and garden art for sale. Rare and limited plant stock. Free talks and workshops. Handicap accessible. Free admission. 845-626-2758 www. catskillnativenursery.com Master Gardner Perennial Division Workshop, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. SUNY Ulster, Stone Ridge. Learn how to successfully divide perennials and go home with some great new plants for your garden. Dress appropriately and bring bags for your divisions. Bring gardening gloves and tools such as pitch forks, spades and trowels. Rain or shine. Fee: $10. Pre-registration required. For info or to register call 845-340-3990 ext. 335 www.cceulster.org Memorial Day Weekend Plant Sale. May 25-27

The Kingston Farmers Market

from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site on Rt. 9 in Hyde Park. Perennial plant divisions from the Vanderbilt Formal Gardens, hanging baskets, Canna lilies, water lilies, tomatoes and other

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June Mohonk Garden Walk & Luncheon, Thursday, June

13. Stroll the beautiful award winning gardens at Mohonk Mountain House. Followed by buffet luncheon and presentation by guest speaker and author, Marie Ianotti. Visit Mohonk Mountain House Online Shandaken Garden Tour, Saturday June 29. Get

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19 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); 24 Main Street, New Paltz www.newpaltzfarmersmarket.com


Ellenville Farmers Market. Sundays starting June 19 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Market and Center streets, Ellenville www.ewcoc.com/ewcocmarkets12428.aspx Rhinebeck Outdoor Farmers Market. Opening

Saugerties Secret Gardens Tour. Saturday, July

13, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Seven wonderful gardens in unique, secret spots. Spend a day viewing nature’s beauty, while getting ideas for your own garden. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Boys & Girls Club with a portion going to the Ulster County SPCA . Torrential rain date is July 14. For more information call 845-246-0710. Tickets are limited and are only $20, through July 11 at Smith Hardware, 227 Main St., Saugerties and Herzog’s Supply, Kingston Plaza, Schwenk Drive, Kingston. Or send name, address and email address with a check payable to Boys & Girls Club (must be received by July 6th) to: Secret Gardens Tour. P. O. Box 32. Malden, NY 12453. Butterfly Garden Tour, Sunday, July 15 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m. Maraleen Manos-Jones offers tours of her Butterfly Gardens in Shokan, New York. The guided garden walks take about an hour and include a walk in a labyrinth. It is followed by Maraleen sharing stories with an illustrated talk of Butterfly Stories, Myths & Garden Tips. Garden teas and home-made butterfly cookies will be served. Suggested Donation: $10. For reservations 845-6578073 or mmjbutterfly@hvc.rr.com.

Farmers Markets Highland Farmers Market Wednesdays starting on

June 22 (3-7 p.m.); Route 9W and Haviland Rd., Highland Contact: 845-691-2144; www.townoflloyd.com Woodstock Farm Festival Wednesdays starting on

June 1 (3 p.m. until dusk); 6 Maple Lane, Woodstock www.woodstockfarmfestival.com Town of Plattekill Farmers Market Thursdays start-

ing June 30 (3-7 p.m.); Town Hall, 1915 Rt. 44/55, Modena www.town.plattekill.ny.us Gardiner Greenmarket Fridays starting June 6 (3

p.m. until dusk); Gardiner Library, 133 Farmer’s Turnpike, Gardiner www.gardinerlibrary.org Kingston Farmers Market Open: Saturday’s starting

Memorial Day weekend (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.); Wall Street between John and North Front streets, Kingston www.kingstonfarmersmarket.org Saugerties Farmers Market Saturdays starting Me-

morial Day Weekend (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.); 115 Main Street, Saugerties. www.saugertiesmarket.com Heart of the Hudson Valley Saturdays starting June

18 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Cluett-Schantz Park, 1801-1805 Rt. 9W, Milton www.hhvfarmersmarket.com Rosendale Farmers Market Open: Sunday’s start-

ing June 5 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Rosendale Community Center, 1055 Rt. 32. www.rosendalefarmersmarket.com New Paltz Farmers Market. Sundays starting June



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Top tips from the Master Gardeners Sharyn Flanagan


aster Gardeners are trained volunteers who receive research-based instruction on horticulture from Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and share that knowledge with the public through a variety of activities. Volunteers commit to giving at least 100 hours of their time to the program over a two-year period and remain a Master Gardener by giving at least 25 hours of volunteer time per year after that. A new class of Master Gardeners is trained every other year, and those who continue on in the program are required to obtain continuing education annually to keep up on the latest developments in horticulture. Here are some of the group’s top tips.

1. Use water-wise practices “Put the right plant in the right place” is Alloway’s advice for those who want to grow plants that need a lot of moisture but don’t want to spend a lot of time working in their garden. Group plants that need more water together and place them closer to your house, so that you don’t have to drag the garden hose or bucket of water very far, she says. The drought tolerant plants (a list of which are available from the Master Gardeners) can be placed farther away and get watered less often. Plants with the same watering requirements need to be grouped together. Alloway says some of the plants on the drought tolerant list get called into question by home gardeners who have had experiences with something like echinacea, which they felt they needed to water frequently. Alloway says



A pH testing kit from Cornell Cooperative Extension

with that plant in particular, if it’s in a garden that you water frequently, it becomes dependent upon that, and its roots don’t grow as deep. “So it will wilt, and you water it and it perks back up, but if that plant is treated as a drought-tolerant plant and not given excessive water to begin with, it’ll develop

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deeper roots.” Water plants in the morning — watering plants at the end of the day leaves excess moisture on the plants and invites funguses. A thick layer of mulch (two to three inches deep) will also keep the moisture in the ground for a longer period of time as well as being a good weed preventative.


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2. Test soil pH Frank Almquist of Kingston has been a Master Gardener for about 12 years. He advises home gardeners to find out what the pH level of their soil is before they start a garden. “We’re in a region where the soil has a tendency to be acidic, and most plants don’t like the pH to be more than maybe a half point either side of neutral,� he says. “We offer soil testing down at the [CCE] office and we’ll test a sample for $3 and tell you how much lime or sulfur you need to add to the soil to amend it.� Before you start a garden, he says, you should really know what you’re going to plant and what pH you have for the plants. “Not too many plants like to have a pH above seven or seven and a half, and blueberries you need a pH between five and six; they like an acidic soil. Vegetable gardens like to have a pH between six and seven,� Almquist says. “And it takes a while for the pH to change; it’s not like a

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chemistry experiment where you can watch the pH change; it takes a few months. It has to be bonded into an organic form that the plants can digest.� 3. Plan-ahead plant choices People always want to know what the easiest plants are that need the least maintenance, says Alloway, but a gardener has to be realistic. “Plants are living

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9, 2013 8 | May Home Hudson Valley can make the garden fit the time that you do have. 4. Use native plants & avoid invasive species The Master Gardners are very emphatic about not using things on the invasive species list. “People like things like Japanese Barberry, because it’s deer resistant, but it’s extremely invasive and creates a thicket in the woods so thick you can’t walk through it, and it crowds out the native plants that are a good host for the beneficial insects, butterflies and birds that we want to attract to our gardens,” said Alloway. 5. Add compost to your soil every year Almquist notes that many people confuse compost with fertilizer, but it’s really a soil enhancer that makes the soil easier to work. It’s also a good source for the bacteria in the soil, he says. “Basically your garden soil is three components: sand, silt (all the organic material) and clay. The organic matter is what you want to have at least up in the 50 percent range.” 6. Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer “It’s probably heresy,” says Almquist, “but once a year, in the beginning of the spring you want to use a 10-10-10 commercial grade fertilizer to get your garden started. It gets the chemicals down around the root system rapidly where the plant can digest them. The organic fertilizers that people like to use, including me, need to have the soil bacteria active in order for that material to be absorbed into the plants.” 7. Swap plants to obtain the basics Marge Bonner of Kerhonksen has been a Master Gardener for about 13 years. She recommends that people go to plant swaps or trade plants with friends to build up a garden with the basics. “If you go to

The waterwise garden at SUNY Ulster shows how to combine plants with similar water needs

a store and buy everything,” she says, “it starts getting very expensive. Save your buying for the special plants that are more unusual.” Plant swaps will usually have a lot of good everyday plants available, says Bonner, and gardeners can learn to divide the plants they already have to extend their garden, too. The Master Gardeners hold a plant swap every year on the first Saturday in June (this year’s event will

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be on Saturday, June 1 at CCE’s office at 232 Plaza Rd. in Kingston). 8. Develop patience “Remember that when you’re planting, there’s the three-year rule,” says Bonner: “Sleep, creep and leap.” Sometimes a plant doesn’t look like it’s doing much in its first year and people will think it’s not doing well. “Then in its second year it starts to get a little bit better, you get into the ‘creep’ part of it, and then the third year is when the plant really gets established and it bursts forward; that’s the leap.” Patience is an important part of being a gardener, Bonner says, and if you’re in doubt about a plant in its first year, just give it two more. 9. Deer deterrents Master Gardener Cheryl Alloway recommends planting ornamental grasses as a deterrent to deer. “There are very few things that are totally deer-resistant,” she says, “but ornamental grasses are a go-to plant for me because the deer don’t touch them at all.” If you want something in your garden that you know the deer is going to go after, plant ornamental grasses like maiden grasses or fountain grasses near it and the deer will not want to walk through that area, she says. Alloway also recommends applying a good deer-repellent spray to your garden on a regular schedule (write it on your calendar and stick to it, she says). “For the last three years I’ve used a locally-produced, all-natural product from Red Hook called Deer Defeat, and I’m just really impressed with how well it works. I used to rotate through a lot of different products, changing up to keep the deer confused, but I keep going back to this because it works so well.” It has a strong garlic odor that will diminish within a day, she says, but the product will continue working even through heavy rain for about a month. ●

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New lease on life Three ways to turn disaster into gardening success Ashley Drewes


hen recent hurricanes devastated the area, many homes and ecosystems were left permanently altered. Some residents saw opportunities in the aftermath to re-purpose something discarded. When disaster strikes, don’t panic! Instead, use these creative tricks to recycle something beautiful and practical in your garden this season. Natural objects make great planters Any hollow object, with drainage holes, could be a planter. Natural materials blend seamlessly into garden-scapes and make eco-friendly homes for plants, as opposed to synthetic materials that may be toxic to the environment. In the wake of Hurricane Irene, Partition Street residents Deborah Peterson and Thomas Dunn happened upon a piece of hollowed out driftwood on the Saugerties Lighthouse trail. They immediately recognized its unique shape was ideal for their backyard garden, and they soon found many herbs and flowers with which to fill it. They’ve used their driftwood planter for two seasons now, and are glad they chose to pick up their unique memento instead of leaving it behind on the shore. “It’s the perfect size and shape for a planter, and looks great in our backyard,” said Peterson. “Plus, it’s nice to come out here to pick something fresh to spruce up a salad, and also have these lovely flowers to look at.” Build something new A lot can be done in the garden with discarded wood, bricks and metal – sturdy materials that can weather harsh outdoor conditions and also gently cradle new life blossoming within a garden’s confines. John Livermore, resident of Lighthouse Drive and proprietor of the Stone Pony Deli, discovered that wood beams from his mother Stella Livermore’s home (also on Lighthouse Drive) could be re-purposed after that house was damaged by hurricane flooding. Last fall, Hurricane Sandy flooded the 50-yearold home for the first time in the house’s history — remarkable considering its proximity to the Esopus Creek and Hudson River. The house needed to be deconstructed and restored – at which point the family saw an opportunity to do some needed updating. Several 35-year-old custom-cut beams were removed. It was then that John saw a golden opportunity to fulfill his wife Katie’s vision of raised garden beds. He enlisted the manpower of Saugerties-based B. Hansen Construction to carry out the project. For John, the benefits were manifold. This spring, his family will have a vibrant garden to enjoy. But,

The circle of life (clockwise from top-left): using old clothing for planters, using natural materials for planters, building beds with discarded materials photos by ashley drewes

just as importantly, John says he was proud to find another way to keep the memory of his late father, Walter Livermore, alive. “Family history and local, Saugerties history is very important to me,” says John. Turn clothing disasters inside out Have some old garments in disrepair? Or shoes in good condition, but just out of style? Consider turning your old kicks into a new home for plants. All that’s needed is a trip to the local hardware store and a little ingenuity. Local home furnishings guru Bill Yosh sells his own version of shoe-vases – actually, cowboy boot vase – at his novelties boutique Rock Star Rodeo on Partition Street. His secret? Yosh rests a foam cup inside an old boot. Then, using a water-resistant spray sealant, he adheres the cup to the boot. The sealant also effectively seals any pores that could allow for water to leak out. Bill says you can use any style boot for the project,

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but an ornate leather cowboy boot adds a special flare to home décor. Additionally, the sides of cowboy boots are stiff and high-standing, and won’t fold in and crush delicate flowers. Boot vases are best left indoors during inclement weather, but make a perfect addition to any sun-room plant arrangement or indoor garden. ●

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Ready, set, grow! Projects and destinations for the whole family Erica Chase-Salerno

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” -Robert Brault A wild edible to get to know: dandelion Milk witch. Lion’s tooth. Puffball. Wet-a-bed. No matter what you call a dandelion, it’s a pretty amazing plant. It’s the plant I’ve chosen to connect with this season. Perhaps you’d like to choose one for yourself? I got the idea from Halyna Shepko of Shawangunk Ridge Farm. I marveled at her vast knowledge of a plant we came across at the playground, and she made it seem possible that I could know things like that, too. She suggested the practice of becoming familiar with one particular plant each year; being curious about it. We can do this by: observing other places where we encounter it, exploring its herbal and culinary possibilities, reflecting on what we experience when we engage with it, identifying its larger role in nature with other plants and animals, and discovering references to it in historical lore. Some of us might even intuit a spiritual connection with the plant. This year, I’ve chosen the dandelion because it feels like an easy start for a beginner: it’s so widely abundant, and I actually knew the name of it without looking it up. I understand many people strive to rid their lawns of dandelion, but as Almanac Weekly garden columnist Lee Reich says, “Easier than eradicating dandelion might be to change your perception of it.” I’ve heard that dandelions are nutritious, from roots to leaves to bud to flower. At our house, I’ve only gotten as far as eating the petals from the flower: we like to sprinkle the yellow petals on top of our meals and drinks as garnish; and blowing the dried seeds, what our daughter calls Wish Flowers. I’ve appreciated the chance to engage my kids in this dandelion adventure because they love picking them anyway, and now we have so many more things to do with them than just put them in a glass on the kitchen table. I’m so interested in seeing where this goes, and I’d love to hear how this sharing may have inspired your own plant journeying this year.

Dandelions: not just for wishing anymore

low voices, being careful not to step on, tug on, or climb on garden elements. I mention this because these are not child-oriented gardens, but they are gardens that I think are so astoundingly beautiful that children and youth should be exposed to them. Please be mindful, and have fun.


before. If you’re looking for some guidance about what you’re looking at, use your cell phone to dial into the audio tour line. The space is a long rectangle with a grassy lawn center surrounded by plants and flowers along the perimeter. My daughter loved examining the blooms. My son thought it was cool to walk ahead Read Erica Chase-Salerno’s Beatrix Farrand Garden, of me, exit the garden through Kids’ Almanac column each Bellefield, Hyde Park another door, then re-enter the One of my favorite books growgarden and sneak up on me from week in Ulster Publishing’s ing up was The Secret Garden by behind. Bellefield is so close you Almanac Weekly Frances Hodgson Burnett. Now can combine your garden with I’m grown with a family of my a visit to the FDR Historic Site. Also close is an iced mint chocoown, the idea of discovering a spelate chip coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts next door. I cial, hidden garden still thrills me. So I was pretty love that I can do errands with the kids along Rt. 9, excited to come across a garden I had never heard then take a quick garden stop as part of our outing. of right in Hyde Park whose entries are actual doors, Any day can improve with a visit to a walled secret one on each of the three walls (the fourth wall is congarden, right? You might not even need the coffee. nected directly to the mansion). I introduce to you the Beatrix Farrand Garden. This restored garden is Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield is located at named after its designer, one of the most influential 4097 Albany Post Rd. in Hyde Park. For more inThree Hudson Valley gardens to landscape architects in the United States, a female formation, call (845) 229-9115 extension 2023 or pioneer in her field, and a niece of Edith Wharton. visit www.beatrixfarrandgarden.org. visit with the family and why It’s one of her few remaining gardens. You’ve never heard of Bellefield either, right? But I’m sure you Innisfree Garden in Millbrook There are two types of people in the Hudson Valley: how wonderful is it to walk through a know exactly where it is! It shares the same property those who think Innisfree Garden is awesome, and garden with children? Kids notice everything: a as the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic shimmering beetle, the heart shape of a leaf, the Site. You know that yellow mansion you see from the those who have not yet visited Innisfree Garden. rustling of beech leaves, the scent of a magnolia. road as you drive by? The garden abuts that house. If you retain nothing else from what I write here, To me, part of the joy of spring and summer in the As you enter the FDR site, you just turn left into the remember this: Go To Innisfree. Got kids? Take Hudson Valley is simply spending time in beautiful parking lot for the mansion instead of driving to the them to Innisfree. Got company coming in from gardens, and coming across a flower, a water element, back where you park for the FDR site. There are signs out of town? Bring them to nearby La Puerta Azul for lunch, then go to Innisfree. Wish you took picor an artful arrangement of plants and stones that I to direct you to Bellefield. After you park, walk down want to replicate in my own yard. the lane in front of the mansion, and there it is — a tures that actually look good? No problem, take I have three area gardens to recommend to you wall with a mysterious, inviting door. There’s no your camera to Innisfree. I can practically guarantee and your family. Stroll through and take them in admission charge to the garden, and it’s open daily you that absolutely anything you point and shoot at will result in a gorgeous photo. There’s a reason for with all your senses. Keep in mind, these places are from 7 a.m. until sunset. I’m a pretty low maintenance that: the entire space consists of small space cupnot parks - there’s a garden culture to respect, such gardener — as in I have lots of hostas — and many of as walking through the spaces, not running, using these blooms are varieties our family has never seen garden “rooms” that relate to each other: small-scale individually, but large-scale as a whole. Innisfree is “a distinctly American stroll garden.” Its 185 acres features a path that takes you around a large glacial lake, through rolling hills, beautiful trees, rustic rock formations, and peaceful water elements. The couple that owned this land, Walter and Marion Beck, worked with landscape architect Lester Collins to create the public garden and study center that it is today. My kids love that it feels natural at Innisfree, and there just happens to be something interesting to look at every several steps. The walking bridge and the fountain mist are their favorite parts. Innisfree 198 Abeel Street, Kingston, NY (two blocks west of The Strand) Open: 8am - 5pm Mon-Sat | Phone 845 845-338-6191 338 is now open for the season through Oct. 20. Hours

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May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley and admission rates are Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $4 for ages four and up; and weekends and holidays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $5 for ages four and up. Innisfree Garden is located at 362 Tyrrel Rd. in Millbrook. For more information, call (845) 677-8000 or visit www.innisfreegarden.org. Stonecrop Garden in Cold Spring I had heard of Stonecrop Garden for years and finally visited with the kids. It is absolutely fantastic. First of all, in case you didn’t know, Stonecrop is not a reference to rock formations, it is a type of plant. We began our walk at the entrance pavilion, where we saw posters for announcements, information, and pictures of the resident snake, Blackie. We walked along a path that passed by a gorgeous pond, complete with huge bullfrog tadpoles, adult bullfrogs and koi. We meandered our way through the conservatory, a glass house filled with plants, with little porch lookouts over the pond. As we gazed around each room, I may or may not have made a joke about accusing Miss Scarlet with the wrench. We found ourselves at the office reception area where I paid my admission and we received a map of the garden along with a list of flowers in bloom that week. I was informed by the staff that Stonecrop Garden specifically does not promote or tailor its experience to children, although kids under 12 are admitted free. I imagine they are concerned about noise levels, respect for the plant life, and safety issues around the ponds, so just be extra mindful with

your children of any age. Stonecrop is fairly compact, and it took me a while to understand the distances we were walking with their locations on the map. We had such a good time looking at the flowers, navigating the narrow greenhouse, strolling along the bamboo path, sitting in the gazebo next to the giant monkey sculpture, crossing the awesome stone bridge, and looking in all of the ponds for Blackie. We

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didn’t find any snakes, but we spotted some sunning turtles and the biggest bullfrogs any of us had ever seen. Benches are thoughtfully placed throughout the garden. Of the three gardens I mention here, this one is my kids’ favorite. They loved the size, the variety of scenery, and the up close glimpses of wildlife. They also greatly enjoyed our stop for ice cream at Moo Moo Creamery afterwards, just down

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9, 2013 12 | May Home Hudson Valley Rt. 301 along the river. There’s a terrific plaza there with benches and a replica of a Parrott rifle cannon, which were originally made in the nearby West Point Foundry, and perfect views of the Hudson River and the Hudson Highlands. Stonecrop Garden is a delightful experience for all ages and all senses, and it made for an incredibly lovely afternoon with my family. Let me know what you think of it. Stonecrop Gardens is located at 81 Stonecrop Lane in Cold Spring. For more information, call (845) 265-2000 or visit www.stonecrop.org.

Eight Ideas for Gardening with Children Behold, I say - behold the reliability and the finery and the teachings

of this gritty earth gift. -Mary Oliver i consulted some of my favorite hudson Valley experts for ideas about gardening with children. Here’s what they came up with. 1. Dig My friend Nora Snyder introduced to me the picture book My Garden by Kevin Henkes. I love the juxtaposition between the practical elements of gardening and fantasy. The child narrating the story describes being a helper to her mother in the garden: “I water. I weed. And I chase away the rabbits so that they don’t eat all the lettuce.� The child continues, “but if I had a garden...� wishing up an imaginary garden with details she would love, from flowers that change color just by thinking about it to flowers that would immediately grow in the space where one was picked,

to bunny visitors made of chocolate which she would eat. Then this line got me thinking: “Sometimes in my garden, good, unusual things would just pop up — buttons and umbrellas and rusty old keys.� What would it be like to bury some random useless household items in the garden for your children to discover while they dig outside? Digging just for the sake of it. Amie Baracks, education director of the Phillies Bridge Farm Project agrees: “Gardening exploration doesn’t even need to be about growing foods. Many of the kids I work with are happiest just digging in the dirt searching for worms!� Liz Elkin, landscape designer and owner of Bloom Fine Gardening, adds: “Digging for bed preparation can be great fun. Have children help to make the garden beds nice and cozy for seeds to grow well, just like we need a cozy place for resting to grow healthy.� Another take on digging proposed by Ann Guenther is for the adult to dig a hole, and the child inserts the plant or seed and covers it up. 2. Let the kids choose In My Garden, the storyteller mentions vegetables in her wishlist for her ideal garden: “The tomatoes would be as big as beach balls, and the carrots would be invisible because I don’t like carrots.� Baracks suggests: “Ask your kids what they want to grow. Plant things that will stimulate all of your senses. Search for the craziest colored vegetables in a seed catalog and start a small garden in the shape of a rainbow. White carrots! Orange tomatoes! Purple peas! Striped beets! Magenta chard! Spotted lettuce! Black radishes! The opportunities are endless! Even the most ardent vegetable haters have trouble resisting eating the sweet colorful bounty that they planted themselves.� Elkin recommends planting large seeds that germinate quickly and are easy to observe as they grow, “like beans and cucurbits (cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, squash, etc.)� The Hudson Valley Seed Library is a terrific local resource for seeds at www.seedlibrary.org, and check out their beautiful art packs.

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May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley 3. Nighttime gardening Here are three ideas to enhance nighttime gardening. Attract moths with moth broth, a concoction made by mixing mashed fruit with brown sugar and water, forming a thin paste. Let it sit in the sun for a couple of days to ferment, then brush it onto trees and flat surfaces located in a dark spot outdoors where you’d like to attract moths. Later that night, shine a light on your moth broth spots and see who’s visiting! Try planting moonflower, a species related to the Morning Glory that only blooms at night. How about a set of Woodstock Chimes to adorn your garden? Their sweet or mellow sounds can enhance your space during the evening, as well as during the daytime. 4. Paint stumps. Zoe Ogden, age 7, showed me a picture of a terrific project she did in her garden: she painted a heart on a tree stump. What I love about Zoe’s idea is that she took something that was already there, and just made it more beautiful. Now this stump is inviting, as a place to play, a tea party, or just a sign that a talented artist lives here. What kinds of natural features do

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you have in your garden that your child could just paint and highlight as a special garden element? 5. Circle stones. Ella Urrico, age 8, and Olivia Urrico, age 6, shared a wonderfully simple decorative idea with me: place a circle of stones around a tree, then fill in some of the open space with plants. Instant flower bed! This can be very budget-friendly, even free. There are usually plenty of stones to work with around here right in the yard, and the plants can even be something you transplant from another area of your property. Do you have a tree you could enhance like this? 6. Build it together I hadn’t realized how build-it-with-children projects could work so well for gardens. Floyd Kniffen of Kniffen Builders suggests building raised beds for the garden as a simple family project: just nailing boards together. If your soil is hard and rocky like mine, raised beds offer relief from digging since they are placed on top of the ground and you add the dirt yourself. Dan Guenther told me he has built planter boxes with kids over the years, an easy project that

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can be portable, too. I also like the idea of building bird houses or bird feeders. Position a bird feeder your child can view from bed or the family can see from the kitchen table. Ideally, the feeder is one the child can fill independently, or a homemade one, like a pinecone slathered in suet or peanut butter and bird seed and tied to a branch. 7. Watering fun Elkin says it so well, and it applies to all ages: “Children love water! Getting them involved in irrigating with a spray nozzled hose or a watering can is engaging and gratifying. They feel like they are giving the plants what they need to survive....and they are!” 8. All the Senses Engaging all of the senses is one of the perks of gardening for any age. Elkin says, “Entice wonder in the garden through soil exploration, insect discovery and utilizing the five senses to understand plants. Smelling, tasting and touching all kinds of herbs and other plants is fascinating for children!” Ann Guenther added, “There’s nothing like the sound of plunking rocks into a bucket.”

9, 2013 14 | May Home Hudson Valley

Essential project gear and ideas for using it Bling, Blang, hammer with my hammer, Zingo, Zango, cutting with my saw. -Arlo Guthrie Christine Markman is so handy, I marvel at her ability to build. She shared some of her background: “My dad was a plumber and builder. He

built our house when I was about nine years old. So, I helped my dad by holding up walls and he let us nail things. We were allowed to build our own forts out of scrap wood. My mom had a huge garden and we helped her in every aspect.” Willow Shamson described some of what benefited her from working with her father on projects growing up: “The most important things he did was to explain everything he was doing, even though I didn’t always seem to be paying the slightest bit of attention...I heard and I learned. He also made me feel like I was really essential to the project, even

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when all I did was put it in a few screws or hold a wrench or listen while he said ‘now watch this...You may need to do this someday...How do you think we’ll take this broken piece off? Yeah we’ll do it this way...’” Tim Faoro of Tim Faoro Construction finds that kids are naturally fascinated by tools. He points out, “It’s not so much about a particular ‘project,’ it’s about the tools. Use the tools - their names, what they can do and how to use them (safely) to keep the kids interested in whatever task or project is at hand.” Dan Guenther says that picking up fallen nails was one way to engage his kids on projects. He also recommends giving kids their own toolbox or basket to store them. Kim and Scott Cuppett recommending keeping supplies handy: “We have a large tool chest of older tools and our wood scraps that we save; they are free to use our saved supplies to build stuff. A supply of materials is key to their interest. They’ve built numerous things with our scraps, including jumps for their bikes.” I think Magen Markham of Magen’s Mark House Painting sums it up nicely: “Learning how to use tools at a young age, in my opinion, is very important. Not only does it help build hand-eye coordination, but it helps kids foster a general sense of confidence in using their bodies to get things done. My dad taught me how to properly swing a hammer when I was six, and I can’t remember a time when I ever felt incapable of using, or figuring out how to use a tool. Those early lessons were priceless in my development into a capable, handy adult.” with all of this advice in mind, here’s my starter list of essential backyard gardening and building gear for children: • Blanket For forts and picnics.

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you’ve got the gear, so now what? Here are some creative tips on building projects with your kids.

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• Garden features Remember those pruners I mentioned in the gear list? Liz Elkin of Bloom suggests: “Save shrub prunings to build teepees for imaginative play around the garden. Build garden fairy houses and leave nature-based presents for them and see what they leave for you the next day in return.” • Magen Markham of Magen’s Mark House Painting elaborates, “Another fun way to integrate building into gardening is to add functional, yet structural creations to your garden such as arbors, trellises, or shade structures. Use found objects such as sticks, branches, bark or recycled roofing and wood. Twine may be enough to hold together your structures, otherwise a few small, well-placed nails can do the trick. Be creative and encourage your kids to follow their instincts!” • Dollhouses Ann Guenther mentioned building dollhouses as a terrific hands-on family project that could be personalized in every way. And for a related design project without tools, she suggests gingerbread houses, made out of practically

photos by erica chase-salerno

Top: students at Cahill Elementary in Saugerties work on the school garden; bottom-left: stump painting and a tree ring; right: Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, a place everyone should see

• Bucket For plunking rocks into, collecting water, carrying dirt, you name it. • Hammer Child-sized hammers are widely available and easier for kids to maneuver safely. Indispensable for building projects. • Headlamp Perfect for nighttime excursions to explore the garden. Get one that uses AA or AAA batteries, not the annoying, hard-to-replace button cell batteries. • Magnifying glass Ever since our family participated in an excursion at Forsyth Nature Center in Kingston where Julie Noble supplied everyone with magnifying glasses for the day, we got some of our own at the Parent Teacher Store and frequently carry them around with us. Magnifying glasses take

• •

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anything — and I mean anything — and make it more interesting. We notice details on bugs, plants, rocks, our toes, etc. that we would otherwise miss. Nails Keep a supply of nails available for kids to use with scrap wood in making their own projects. Pruners I had no idea how much fun pruners are for kids. They’re like magical outdoor scissors. Our daughter prefers her pink pair, our son uses a blue pair, and mine are green. We all love our pruners! We cut driveway shrubs back with them and trim flowering plants to bring the blooms indoors. Rope For tying materials together for shelters or forts or hanging buckets. Shovel I recommend a camp shovel. They’re childsized but pretty strong.

anything, any time of year. • Demolition Kim and Scott Cuppett value this “backwards puzzle of pulling apart.” They explained, “The kids help us with demolition prior to construction projects. We provide them with hammers and chisels to do this. They happily put on safety gear which makes for cute photos.” The Cuppetts also get help from their kids for splitting wood for the wood stove: “They have their own splitting maul, sledge hammer, and wedges. We tell them they will get big muscles if they help - it

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Family-Friendly Garden Events

Bringing the outdoors in

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb Expanding the circle...taking your vision of gardening and home repair to the next level could mean joining a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture is farm in which you invest a membership and receive a weekly share of the harvest throughout the growing season, guaranteeing farmers an income while you benefit from a variety of fresh produce. Some of these farms, such as Phillies Bridge Farm in New Paltz, also run seasonal farm camps for all ages of young people, as well as workshops to cultivate gardening and food-processing skills such as canning. The farming and gardening bug is catching on - have you heard about the Wallkill River School’s new farm camp program in Montgomery? Helping to connect our youth, as well as ourselves, with skills to grow our own food and to learn about healthy eating early is something I’m seeing more and more right here in the Hudson Valley. Here are some upcoming familyfriendly events to support your family’s gardening and home projects: The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum along with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County is offering a series of gardening workshops for families with young children. On Saturday, May 11, the topic is Beneficial Garden Visitors: Birds and Butterflies featuring information about these special

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Bouquets Like I said earlier, my kids love pruners. They love to clip flowers and leaves for a table display or to arrange in a vase, especially if we’re having visitors.

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“I am two with nature.” -Woody Allen whether you’re nervous about embarking on a full-on garden, or you can’t get enough and just have to bring the outdoors in, here are some ideas for honoring nature inside your home.

Herb pots Amie Baracks shared this insight: “I have found that so many people are afraid to initiate gardening exploration with their children because they are not confident in their own abilities to grow plants. However, it’s not about the end result. Kids don’t care if they have the most ‘perfect’ garden. My advice for parents (especially nongardeners) is to start small.... For example, a simple project would be to plant various herbs in pots and keep them on your window sill.”

creatures as well as building a simple nesting box and making butterfly decorations. On Saturday, June 15, participants will learn about Beneficial Garden Visitors: Critters Above and Below Ground, exploring information about toads and frogs, examining compost material, and building toad houses. On Saturday, July 13, attendees will use natural materials to construct fairy houses outside around the museum as a hands-on approach to experiencing the magical aspects of gardens. These workshops take place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and are included with admission to the museum: $7.50 per person, free for members and babies under 1 year. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water St. in Poughkeepsie. For reservations or more information, call (845) 471-0589 or visit http://mhcm.org. Remember my mention of Woodstock Chimes? Here’s an inside tip to scoring some great deals: check out their wonderful clearance sale from Thursday, May 16 through Sunday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring a printout of the Woodstock Chimes webpage for a chance to win a special chime! Woodstock Chimes is located at 167 DuBois Rd. in Shokan, off of Rt. 28. For more information, visit www.chimes.com. On Saturday, May 18, the Hudson Highlands Na-

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Nature shelf One treat our family has learned from the Waldorf tradition is creating a nature shelf. Our shelf is on the wall in the kitchen, and whenever the kids find a treasure outside from nature, they add it to the collection. In the past we have also used part of a table, or used an entire small table for displaying these special gifts. Terrariums Eric Cline of Hudson Valley Terrariums creates amazing custom terrariums and vivariums for clients. He suggests, “A cheap indoor terrarium could be made out a large mason jar, rocks for drainage, dirt, plant, moss. Put in a sunny spot in your home and watch it grow.” ●

ture Museum hosts its Wildflower and Heirloom Vegetable Sale. This family friendly event takes place at the Outdoor Discovery Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes Guided Pollinator walks at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., as well as a ladybug craft and a learning table for children. The Outdoor Discovery Center is located at 100 Muser Drive in Cornwall. For more information or to order pre-paid plant sets, call (845) 534-5506 extension 204 or visit hhnaturemuseum.org. On Saturday, June 1, Sustainable Montgomery presents Greenfest 2013, a family-friendly community celebration of innovative ways to save energy. Activities include bluebird house building; farming, gardening and compost demonstrations; meeting the farmer for the Wallkill River School farm camp; making small container gardens, and more. The $500 prize for the youth Renewable Energy Challenge will also be announced. Greenfest 2013 takes place along the Walden Wallkill Rail Trail and at Shanti Mandir, located at 51 Muktanada Marginal in Walden. For more information about the event or the Renewable Energy Challenge, visit https://sites.google.com/site/ sustainablemontgomery. ● Erica Chase-Salerno eats dandelions in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind HudsonValleyParents.com. She can be reached at kidsalmanac@ulsterpublishing.com.


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Master Gardener Cheryl Alloway

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heryl Alloway of Tillson is one of about 80 volunteer Master Gardeners in Ulster County trained by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) to provide the public with gardening expertise. While acknowledging that the connotations of being called a Master Gardener can seem a little lofty or “highfalutin,” Alloway says that the program is really just about being trained to help people find the answers to their gardening problems. It’s not that a Master Gardener knows everything, she says, “it’s that we know where to go to find the answers, and it’s all backed by university-based research.” The Master Gardener program is part of Cornell University’s land-grant mission, created in the mid19th century to teach practical knowledge — like agriculture, science and engineering — to benefit students and the community. Master Gardeners teach classes and workshops, give lectures and demonstrations, organize plant sales and work with 4-H groups and schools, particularly with school gardens. The Master Gardener program also maintains a xeriscape garden at the entrance to the SUNY Ulster campus in Stone Ridge, where a program for the public is held on the third Saturday of each month. “That’s our living classroom,” says Alloway, “developed to teach people water-wise practices.” Xeriscaping was developed in Denver, Colorado at a time when there were severe water shortages and is now an accepted landscaping practice in many communities. It’s not a style of garden, but a concept of water conservation that can be applied to landscapes of any design. Cornell Cooperative Extension also staffs a horticulture hotline, where the public can call (845) 340-DIRT (3478) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon to speak with a Master Gardener. The public can also drop by CCE’s office at 232 Plaza Road in Kingston during those times to have a soil sample tested for pH (for a modest

fee) or get help with insect or plant identification. Each Master Gardener receives an initial 120 hours of research-based instruction from CCE and then continues to learn about the latest developments in horticulture through a variety of educational training programs or conferences. The continuing education is a big part of being a Master Gardener, says Alloway. “You’re always learning.” alloway first became involved with the Master Gardener program in the mid-1980s. She had just relocated to the Hudson Valley from Pennsylvania with her husband, Dick, who had accepted a position with IBM, when she saw an advertisement for the volunteer training program in the newspaper. She’d grown up gardening with her parents in their big backyard garden (“with a little wannabe fruit orchard”) in southwestern Pennsylvania in a small rural town called Eighty Four. (The unusual name came about when a township and a city were both named Somerset and the mail train kept getting the mail mixed up. To save confusion, the town was given the name of the train stop.) Alloway joined the Master Gardeners, but the program fell by the wayside several years later when the horticultural educator in charge of it left CCE. In 1996, the program was revived and after taking the courses again, Alloway once again became a Master Gardener in the class of 1997. At that time, she was employed as an office manager by Kingston CPA firm Kimball & O’Brien. As a Master Gardener, says Alloway, people would come to her with requests for help on various garden projects, and so over time, on that extra day off she had during the week she would take on projects and do gardening for people. “I was lucky enough to have flexible employers who allowed me to keep that one day a week off,” she says. During tax season about seven years ago, she decided to start her own gardening business. “I just felt I didn’t want to sit at a desk and look out the window anymore, so I talked to my husband and said, ‘I think I have to try this, because if I don’t, I’ll

go through the rest of my life saying why didn’t I.’” Alloway Garden Design does a bit of everything, with the focus on deer-proof gardening and waterwise practices. She designs new gardens and does renovations on old ones in addition to coaching and consulting. “If somebody doesn’t know how to do something and they want to learn, I can show them how or work alongside them in their garden,” Alloway says. She and husband Dick have one son, Toller, who’ll be 25 this year and attends the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. When she was expecting, Alloway says, her husband liked the name of Canadian Olympic ice skater Toller Cranston, but she wasn’t so sure at the time. “I’m a very short person!” she laughs. “I came to like it, though, and it’s been a good name.” Toller was her “right-hand guy,” she says, before he went off to school, working with her on strenuous jobs and always there with an extra set of hands. For fun, she likes to create hypertufa. “It’s one of the things I’ve taught classes on with Marge Bonner, one of my Master Gardener friends,” says Alloway. Hypertufa are planting containers made from a mixture of cement, sand or peat moss and perlite or vermiculite mixed to the consistency of cottage cheese and then molded using the inside or outside of existing containers. After it cures, hypertufa has the advantage of being weatherproof in the winter, unlike terra cotta which is subject to shifts in temperature and can crack if left outdoors year-round. Alloway’s own garden has evolved as her business has grown, she says. “I love English cottage gardens - the whimsy and the controlled chaos - but for the most part that look is hard to achieve with little maintenance.” So several years ago, she did some research and decided what flowering shrubs she liked and changed her garden from being full of perennials to instead featuring things like Hydrangeas, Daphne Flower and Nine Bud Flower that she says have a lot of impact, but don’t require as much maintenance. “There’s no such thing as low maintenance [in a garden], but with the right planning, you can make the garden fit the time that you do have.” ●

9, 2013 18 | May Home Hudson Valley

In full flower Garden Conservancy’s 2013 Open Days program Sharyn Flanagan


ome of the finest public gardens were actually started as private labors of love. Perhaps the best-known example is Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny. He created it to provide subject matter to paint, but also because he’d developed a passion for botany over the years. It has been written of Monet that he didn’t like his garden organized or constrained. He planted flowers together by color, mixing the simple varieties with the rare, and left them to grow wild together. He exchanged plants with friends like the painter Gustave Caillebotte, and was always on the lookout for unusual varieties to buy, sparing no expense when he found something special. “All my money goes into my garden,” he said. Monet’s influence in the village of Giverny was such that he was allowed to divert the Ru, a tributary of the Seine River, to flow through his property to enlarge the pond that he planted with water lilies. His neighbors at the time were opposed to the diversion of the river, afraid the exotic plants would poison the water supply; but generations since have been the beneficiaries of Monet’s actions in the enjoyment of the water-lily paintings that were created as a result, and in visiting the now-public gardens of Giverny. And while few of the individuals who create private gardens today in our country have the political clout of a Monet to assist in the development of their landscaping, they do have the considerable backing of the Garden Conservancy behind them. Established in 1989 by Frank Cabot, a leading garden preservationist, the Conservancy is a national organization headquartered in Cold Spring that partners with individual garden-owners as well as public and private organizations, and provides the horticultural, management and financial expertise needed to sustain these environments and ensure long-term stewardship of them. The Garden Conservancy’s approach is multifaceted. Its mission to preserve and protect gardens includes an emphasis on education and advocacy. It identifies threatened gardens, intervenes to prevent their loss and promotes public policies and funding to encourage garden preservation. It presents programs that inspire audiences about the design, care and sustainability of gardens and champions their aesthetic and historic value within a community. To that end, the Garden Conservancy has developed an annual program it calls Open Days, which has spread the garden preservation message to a wide range of people since 1995 by providing access to some of America’s finest private gardens. In 2012, more than 300 private gardens in 19 states opened to allow thousands of visitors to explore some beautiful environments not normally open to the public.



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Teri Condon’s garden (photos by Ken Garcens and Terry Decker)

Spotlight Teri Condon’s Highland Garden w h e n y o u ta l k t o p e o p l e w h o h av e a passion for gardening, more often than not it turns out that they’ve been involved with it since childhood, and grew up surrounded by family members who passed on their own love of gardening. Teri Condon of Highland is no exception. Her grandmothers and

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her father were gardeners back in Iowa where she grew up and her mom is an avid gardener. Condon remembers the garden at the first house her family lived in. “We moved out when I was in second grade, but I still remember the fishpond and all the places where we hid out as kids. One of the places happened to be this lilac forest, super overgrown, with a hollow in there to hide in.” Today Condon has her own landscape design and installation business. She started Gardensmith Design in 1985. The name of the company is meant

May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley

Gardening for health Jennifer Brizzi


’m a big fan of the art of gardening and have been doing it about 20 years. But as much as I’ve enjoyed the beauty and good taste of the plants I’ve grown, I know the activity provides many more benefits the body, mind and spirit. The most obvious one is the exercise. With our too-sedentary lives, any hobby that hat gets us outside and moving around is clearly rly a good one. Gardening keeps joints limber with frequent use, stretches muscles, burns calories. lories. Turning soil with a hoe is a sustained workout ut that builds stamina, and pushing a heavy wheelbarrow barrow around or moving that huge planter housing ng the fig tree builds strength throughout the body. dy. Countless studies have shown that gardenrdening lowers stress levels, probably for a variety ety of reasons. Nature and its sounds, smells and d sights i h have a relaxing effect on our psyches that cell phones and laptops don’t. It’s a noted ameliorator of mental ills from sour moods to deep depression. Some credit that to a benign bacterium in the dirt called Mycobacterium vaccae that helps up serotonin levels. Some studies of older gardeners show lower rates of dementia than their neighboring non-gardeners. Because you can control what chemicals you put on your plants, and what plants you use, hybrid or heirloom, you can grow the best plants for nutrition and taste, not bred for shelf-stability, good looks or long life for traveling. That broccoli you just picked from the garden tonight and steamed will have much higher nutritional value—not to mention a tastier flavor—than that tired head in the supermarket picked several weeks ago. Not to mention that having a handy wealth of lovely produce motivates you to eat more of it, with its

beneficial nutrients and fiber. And gardening is great for the health of the community at large, not only minimizing the carbon footprint of long-distance produce transport, but in the form of community gardens and school gardens, with their social benefits, a crucial factor in total health. There are myriad ways to make this healthful activity even more so. Making healthy soil with good compost and mulches is heal one. Using untreated wood for any raised beds is key, as is having your soil checked for any harmful chemicals lurking there before you plant. Cornell chemic Cooperative Extension can help with that (see Cooper our arti article on Master Gardener tips). Use natural pesticides in the garden — follow instructions pestici carefully — and wash your bounty well before carefu consumption. consum Make sure your tetanus/diphtheria (Td) vacMa cination i i is up to date — adults need one every ten years — as it is present in soil and can enter breaks in the skin from pointy plants or sharp tools. Protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen and appropriate clothing — hats, long sleeves and pants. Protect yourself from disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes with repellents. Protect your knees and back. Throwing my lower back out from too much soil tilling one spring a few years ago is not something I want to repeat. Reduce strain on your body by working in ergonomically correct positions, such as bending over from slightly bent knees, not the waist, and make good use of your legs to help lift rather than having your back do all the work. Be kind to your back and hold heavy items close to the body. Protect it when pushing or pulling heavy things too. Don’t twist and move slowly and careful, no jerky movements. Obviously, seek medical help immediately if you are

Open Days 2013 Schedule Dutchess County

Columbia County

SATURDAY, MAY 11 Broccoli Hall – Maxine Paetro in Amenia (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

SATURDAY, MAY 11 Margaret Roach in Copake Falls (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 Beatrix Farrand garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park (12 noon to 4 p.m.) Broccoli Hall – Maxine Paetro in Amenia (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 Margaret Roach in Copake Falls (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Arcadia – Wagner/Van Dam in West Taghkanic (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Kevin Lee Jacobs in Valatie (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Peter Bevacqua and Stephen King in Claverack (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

SUNDAY, JUNE 30 Beatrix Farrand garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park (12 noon to 4 p.m.) Zibby and Jim Tozer in Stanfordville (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.) Roseview Dressage in Millbrook (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Belinda and Stephen Kaye in Millbrook (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Jade Hill – Paul Arcario and Don Walker in Amenia (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 Judson Bush Farm in Greenport (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Susan Anthony and Richard Galef in Craryville (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Hudson Hood in Hudson (11 a.m.-4 p.m.)

to play off the idea that just as a blacksmith works iron to create a product, a “Gardensmith” is working the land to create a garden. Her own garden in Highland will be opened to the public on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the “Open Days” program sponsored by The Garden Conservancy, a national organization that works to preserve gardens and inspire the public about the design, care and sustainability of gardens. One of the ways they do this is through the annual Open Days program, partnering with people like Condon who have an exceptional private garden and bringing the public in for the day to appreciate it and, perhaps, become inspired. Condon’s garden is situated in an old apple orchard with a view of the Shawangunk Ridge. Serpentine stone paths take the visitor past metal artworks by Condon’s husband, sculptor and Rock and Snow owner Richard Gottlieb, and to an Akebia-draped pergola, recessed patio and stone fire circle. Asked for the most striking feature of her garden, Condon says it’s

SUNDAY, JUNE 30 Helen Bodian in Millerton (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) SUNDAY, JULY 28 Rockland Farm in Canaan (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) The Tilden Japanese Garden in New Lebanon (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Ulster County SATURDAY, JUNE 15 Lee Reich in New Paltz (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Teri Condon – Gardensmith Design in Highland (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) SATURDAY, JULY 13 Suzanne Pierot’s Garden by the Stream in Willow (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) Gayle Burbank garden in Bearsville (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

probably the use of color and plant combinations. She likes to make offbeat choices and plant things in

| 19

injured, feel dizzy or have arm or chest pain. Those of us with disabilities — from arthritis to paraplegia — can still enjoy gardening with certain precautions. Occupational therapists can help. Garden tools with ergonomically curved handles can help with joint issues, as can extra padding. Cut down your workload with groundcovers, perennials and native plants, which require less maintenance. Design the garden to make simplify tasks. Katie Parry, a garden designer and landscaper at Grandiflora in Red Hook, helped create a user-friendly garden for a woman who used an electric wheelchair to get around. “There had to be really good paving,” Parry says. “And it’s good to have a work table and even a sink at wheelchair height.” She says they made super sturdy raised beds so the gardener could pull herself out of the wheelchair and perch on the sides for her gardening chores. And that’s not all. “We made everything lightweight,” Parry adds. “She had lightweight hoses with wands placed around the garden.” Irrigation systems and soaker hoses can help too, as does good mulching to reduce the water needs of those veggies, fruits and flowers. Spacing is key. For anyone with physical limitations, those raised beds should be at least two feet tall, no more than two feet wide, and for wheelchair access, surrounded by three-foot-wide paved paths. The physical activity of gardening gives everyone much needed exercise, especially crucial for those who may not get around as well. But whether disabled or not, each person’s own health care provider can best tell them what kind of activities they can do and how much. I started gardening with dozens of pots on a Brooklyn patio years ago, later progressing to raised beds in Rhinecliff. Now back to a few containers on a shady deck, I miss my big garden, but hope to be physically able to reap the many benefits of gardening in some form or another as long as I can hold a hoe. ● For more health coverage from a local perspective, see our weekly health column in all Ulster Publishing’s weekly newspapers and online at healthyhv.com

an unusual way, like putting castor bean in pots; a plant that will grow 12 feet high in the ground, says Condon, but when contained becomes somewhat of a bonsai plant. “I like its foliage,” she says. “I like to play with unexpected plant combinations.” This is the fourth year she’ll participate in the Open Days program. Usually the visitors to her garden number between 50–100, Condon says, and they come for different reasons. “Some are homeowners and some are designers. Some are people who are interested in horticulture. I really like it, because I get to meet great people and talk about gardens all day.” One of her visitors was noted garden writer Tovah Martin, who ended up writing an article about Condon that appeared in the spring 2013 issue of a Better Homes & Gardens special publication, Deck, Patio and Outdoor Living, available at Barnes & Noble on the Nook e-reader, Lowe’s and Home Depot. Condon says she’s inspired by garden history, and remembers fondly a trip to England she took a few years back with her mother where they went on a garden tour. “I love that in England gardening is so important,” she says. “Everybody knows all the history about every piece of property.” For more information about The Garden Conservancy and its Open Days program, visit www. gardenconservancy.org or call (845) 424-6500. ●

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9, 2013 20 | May Home Hudson Valley

Growing strong Gardens for Nutrition in New Paltz still thriving after 37 years, hurricanes and floods Frances Marion Platt


n the floodplain of the Wallkill River, just off Huguenot Street in the Village of New Paltz, lies a peaceful five-acre slice of paradise called the Gardens for Nutrition. There, some 135 gardeners – mostly local, but a few from as far away as Poughkeepsie, Saugerties, New York City and New Jersey – tend 20-by-30-foot plots of rich alluvial soil to raise organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. Many have been gardening here for years, marking out their shares of the communal land with odd bits of fencing and hand-built gateways. The plots often include chairs or benches, shaded from the bright sunshine by umbrellas or canvas awnings. That’s because the gardeners come here day after day in the growing season for more than just a bit of outdoor exercise or a harvest of healthy greens. They come to sit for a spell between weeding sessions and enjoy the view of the Gunks, the birdsongs and the breeze off the little river. They come to hang over the fence and schmooze with their neighbors, sharing tips about what grows best here or how to deter pests. “It’s a real community.” That’s what a visitor hears over and over from the people who garden here, whether they be old-timers or new recruits. “If I can, I come every day that I’m here. I kind of go into a trance, pulling weeds,” says Jo Gangem, who splits her time between New York City and a condominium complex in New Paltz where gardening is not permitted. It’s only her second year at the Gardens for Nutrition. “This is a nice, friendly, communal experience. Last year I knew totally nothing. But there’s a lot of sharing of information – and also a lot of opinions on how to do things.”

“What I appreciate about this garden is, first of all, the community. They’re such nice, friendly, helpful people, by and large.” So says Jaimee Uhlenbrock, current president of the Gardens for Nutrition’s volunteer board of directors. “We just had a Community Work Day. Everyone pitches in to help haul trash, inventory tools, clean and repair them, repair the deer fence… We also have two pot luck dinners each year, where people bring dishes that they’ve cooked with food that they grew in their garden plots.” Although some board members have been involved with the Gardens as long as 16 or 17 years, many users are unaware of just how communal the project was at its founding, way back in 1976. It was a time of recession and high unemployment, and Ulster County officials were looking for ways to help feed the hungry. Sites in several towns were designated as Gardens for Nutrition and a paid position created for a coordinator to organize local volunteers who wanted to farm as a hobby (remember, this was during the heyday of the “back-to-the-land” movement) and donate the bulk of their produce for distribution to poor people through social service agencies, food banks, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. “Larry Sommers was hired by the county to supervise two gardens,” Uhlenbrock recounts. Sommers was a recent graduate who had been involved in the establishment of the fabled Environmental Studies Site on the SUNY-New Paltz campus, later bulldozed under the Alice Chandler administration; he would subsequently go on to a long career at National Gardening and EatingWell magazines. The Gardens for Nutrition project was launched with great enthusiasm and a lot of help from the Village of New Paltz and local businesses. “Pete Ferrante from Wallkill View Farm plowed it up each spring. At first there were no fences at all.” Then-mayor John Vett was a big booster, and gardened his own plot. “Larry told me that there was an enormous firepit in the middle of the garden where people would sit and have communal dinners,” Uhlenbrock recalls. But that spirit of altruism quickly waned: After the first few years, “It didn’t succeed. It was hard to get people together to plant for other people.” There

never seemed to be enough excess produce to keep supplying the cannery in Saugerties and the freezing facility that had been engaged to process food for distribution beyond the end of the growing season, so that part of the project folded, along with the network for delivery to county food pantries. The desire to help the poor just didn’t seem to provide enough of an incentive to undertake all the labor involved in maintaining a garden plot for a whole season. So the Gardens for Nutrition underwent a metamorphosis into a form more closely resembling what they are today: a place where people go to enjoy the outdoors and the occasional company of like-minded green thumbs while growing tasty organic crops for their own nutrition and that of their families and friends, rather than needy strangers. One plot, named the Bill Quast Memorial Garden in honor of a past board president, is planted to supply Family of New Paltz, and some users voluntarily participate in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program; but donations of produce are no longer required. In the early 1980s, the Gardens were restructured like a not-for-profit with a volunteer board. Efforts at the time to obtain a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service foundered in a sea of never-ending paperwork, says Uhlenbrock. But the Gardens for Nutrition finally hired an accountant last year to rectify the situation, and official not-forprofit status is now pending. Though enlightened self-interest nowadays plays more of a role in the Gardens’ remarkable longevity, it still takes a village (literally) and a lot of cooperative effort to keep them going. “The Department of Public Works collects leaves and brings frontloaders to turn the piles. Then they move the composted leaf mold down to the end, where the gardeners can collect it and put it through the sifter,” said Uhlenbrock. “We have a very good relationship with the village, and especially with the DPW. This would be very hard to do without that cooperation. We feel very privileged.” The gardeners are all expected to adhere to certain guidelines if they want to keep their plots, for which there is nearly always a waiting list. You can view the rules on the Gardens for Nutrition

May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley

| 21

photos by mookie forcella

Facing page: Randy Parmer and Rachel Sather, this page (clockwise from top-left): Gail Herman; Bruce Hill; Myra Long and Adam William, J.J. Ruhe; front page: Krisha and Ida Stoever

website at www.gardensfornutrition.org/gardenrules.html. Besides paying a nominal fee each year – $40 for a full plot, $25 for a half-plot or for seniors – each user must commit to a couple of hours per month of volunteer maintenance work. At least 75 percent of each plot must be kept under cultivation; what you grow can’t unduly shade neighboring patches; and if you let your plot become too unkempt, you stand to forfeit your rights to use the space (after a series of official warnings). “We’ve become very strict about compost and debris piles,” says Uhlenbrock, noting that such deposits provide ideal habitat for voles – the most destructive animal pests visiting the Gardens since a solar-powered electric deer fence was installed around the perimeter about eight years ago. “All non-organic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and repellants are absolutely prohibited,” say the rules. But it seems almost silly to resort to chemical measures anyway, considering the enormous compost pile a short walk away. And everyone seems to agree that the alluvial soil on the site is great to begin with. “The soil is wonderful. The floods deposit good stuff,” says Arnold Projansky, now in his fourth season at the site. “I knew about these gardens for a long time, but I gardened at home and struggled

with the shade. Then one day I took a walk down here, and I was amazed at the fecundity – even late in the season, it was still going strong.” But the strength of the location is also its greatest weakness: “After the hurricane, this place was underwater for about two weeks. A lot of people got discouraged. We lost about 30 members,” says Gregg Gocha, who also serves on the board along with his wife, Maria Rosales. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good, though, and the next season a new generation of users was quick to snag the abandoned plots; some longtime users actually expanded their plots by renting adjacent ones. Absent such major events precipitating a lot of turnover, prospective new users must be patient, submitting an application form available on the website at www.gardensfornutrition.org and hoping for a vacancy. “It’s never too late to start,” says Uhlenbrock. “There are always people who can’t keep up their commitment and give up their plots during the season, making room for some people on the waiting list.” There was some concern following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee that the soil might have been contaminated by the stormwater. “After the floods, we sent samples to one of the best labs in the US,” Gocha recounts. “They were tested

Many gardeners are unaware of just how communal the project was at its founding, when donations to the hungry were mandatory

for heavy metals, petroleum products, all sorts of contaminants, and came back with a clean bill of health.” The water from the Wallkill that is pumped into a distribution system with spigots strategically placed among the plots is also tested regularly by the neighboring sewage treatment plant, and is consistently deemed healthy enough for organic gardening. On some summer days the odors downwind of the plant can be a bit daunting; but Gocha and Rosales seem very pleased with their current plot that became available after the upheaval of the storms, situated closer to the compost pile than their first location. “This is ideal right here,” says Gocha. “It’s such a nice view. You can’t beat it.” Jo Gangem seems content as well with her spot nearer to the entrance from Huguenot Street. “It’s sweet,” she says. “It’s like a little homestead.” On the day in early May when this correspondent visited, the youngest laborer in the Gardens was 4 ½-year-old J. J. Ruhe, who was helping his “Nana,” New Paltz Garden Club President Shelly Ottens, with her planting and weeding. “I grow spinach. I planted 37 peas. I like to grow all these,” says J. J., proudly pointing to the rows. He claims to like to eat all the vegetables that he grows as well – especially broccoli and cauliflower, which he says “looks like a cumulus cloud.” This wannabe organic farmer also informed me that Santa’s favorite tool was a “hoe-hoe-hoe.” As that perfect spring day drew to a close, Nana Ottens packed up her gear, and J. J. sang as he pushed her garden cart along all by himself: “One little, two little, three little daffodils…” It would appear that the longest-running community gardens in New York State have an even-longer and brighter future ahead. ●

9, 2013 22 | May Home Hudson Valley

Green thumbs Like gardening and want to learn more? Consider joining one of the area’s many clubs Crispin Kott


Home Hudson Valley Home, Lawn & Garden Editorial EDITOR:

Will Dendis Joe Morgan CONTRIBUTORS: Jennifer Brizzi, Will Dendis, Ashley Drewes, Sharyn Flanagan, Mookie Forcella, Crispin Kott, Frances Marion Platt AD PLACEMENT:

Ulster Publishing PUBLISHER:

Geddy Sveikauskas Dolores Giordano CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER: Joe Morgan ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Genia Wickwire ADVERTISING PROJECT MANAGER: Sue Rogers DISPLAY ADS: Lynn Coraza, Pam Courselle, Elizabeth K. W. Jackson, Ralph Longendyke, Linda Saccoman PRODUCTION MANAGER: Joe Morgan PRODUCTION: Karin Evans, Josh Gilligan, Rick Holland CLASSIFIED ADS: Amy Murphy, Tobi Watson CIRCULATION: Dominic Labate ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER:

Home Hudson Valley: Home, Lawn & Garden is an annual publication produced by Ulster Publishing. It is distributed in the company’s four weekly newspapers and separately at select locations, reaching an estimated readership of over 50,000. Its website is www.homehudsonvalley.com. For more info on upcoming special sections, including how to place an ad, call 845-334-8200, fax 845-334-8202 or go to www.ulsterpublishing.com.

andrea barrist stern

t should surprise no one who has spent any time observing local landscapes that the Hudson Valley is home to a great many gardening enthusiasts. From festivals dedicated to local perennials to home gardens with a pictureperfect blend of colors and shapes, much of what you see is the work of a member of a garden club. The first established garden club was started in 1891, where a dozen friends gathered to share plants and related cuttings. The following year, the Ladies’ Garden Club of Athens (GA) was formally organized, and still exists today. In 1913, the Garden Club of America was founded as the first national federation to help bring local clubs together. In 1929, the National Council of State Garden Clubs was started, by which time the Shawangunk Garden Club was already two years old. The club is also one of the largest in the area, with 57 active members and another handful of honorary and associate members. Helene Morris is a member of the Shawangunk Garden Club, which meets the first Monday of each month with the exception of January and February (most garden clubs take a few months off in the winter when nothing much grows save for a longing for warmer weather). The meetings usually feature a speaker, which could be anyone from a master gardener to an expert on floral arrangements. But for the most part, Morris said, the Shawangunk Garden Club exists to serve the community. “Our main thrust really is our civic projects,” Morris said. “We do a lot of planting and providing of funds and planning for gardens throughout the community. We plant trees and do planting at our local hospital and our local library as well. We have whiskey barrels, we put out about 18-20 to beautify the town.” Morris said the club also has a stretch of adopted highway, which they organize to clean twice a year. They take donations for church food pantries and

Top: The Woodstock Garden Club in 2005; below, floral designs and street sign flower boxes by the Saugerties Society of Little Gardens

to help poor communities across the world establish their own gardens. They also give scholarships to two high school seniors seeking a career in conservation or environmental fields. Sue Miller of the Tongore Garden Club in Pine Hill also noted a certain degree of civic pride. “We have several different facets,” Miller said. “One, of course, is civic beautification. Every year in the spring, we go to the local monuments in the hamlets of Olive. We plant annual flowers at each of the memorials. And in November and December we put Christmas wreaths on the monuments. We provide wreaths and decorations for the library at the time. And sometimes the town might ask us to do something extra if there’s a specific project.” The New Paltz Garden Club is also active in the community, giving a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior from New Paltz High who is interested in studying horticulture or agriculture. They also maintain public gardens, including the one at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, and the tubs at the Thruway tollbooths at Exit 18. The New Paltz Garden Club, said its President Shelly Ottens, also regularly hits the road to check out other gardens of note, like the New York Botanical Gardens, Wave Hill and the Orange County Arboretum. The New Paltz Garden Club has also held a wide range of lectures on gardening. “We recently learned about cooking with the herbs you grow,” Ottens said. “And the person did a demonstration cooking simple things for us made with the herbs grown in the Hudson Valley.” On Monday, May 20, the club will host a lecture covering tick-borne illnesses by Stacy Kraft, the public health coordinator at the Ulster County Department of Health. Two days earlier, they will hold their ninth annual community-wide plant sale and swap. It’s one of many ways clubs recruit new members. “We have recently had a number of new members, but unfortunately a couple of our members passed away or moved,” said Ottens, who said the group

generally maintains a membership of around 35. The club has a brochure in the Chamber of Commerce and the library, and its open meetings are advertised in the newspaper. “But most of the time it’s word of mouth,” Ottens said. “A person shouldn’t have to feel that they already know a lot about gardening before they come to the garden club, because there are so many educational meetings that we have, and speakers. There’s such a wealth of knowledge, with master gardeners in the club.” The Tongore Garden Club, which generally meets at the Olive Public Library, has also seen its membership fluctuate, but stay roughly the same. Still, it can be tricky blending the older members with the newer. “This year there seems to be an influx, actually, of new interested members,” said Miller. “So we’re trying to adjust our focus and our meeting times to accommodate the younger ones that have young kids or are working during the day so they can’t make daytime meetings. Of course, in general the newer members have lots of questions about how to be successful, so this year we’re trying to get back to basics.” The same is generally true with the Little Gardens Club of Kingston, a roughly 20-member group Carolyn Short said skewed slightly older than many others. “Our group is pretty much an older group, so there’s very little strenuous gardening that they’re able to do,” Short said. “In Hurley, where a lot of our members come from, they participate in tulip planting, and Hurley has a big tulip festival. We provide funding for gardening projects when we’re able, and we do a lot of learning, which is helpful to all of us.” The Little Gardens Club also does a fair bit of traveling, though they generally keep it closer to home. “In the past over the years, the gardening club has done projects about learning about gardening in other places,” Short said. “Here, for example, we have taken a tour at the community college where they have an environmentally fascinating garden that

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May 9, 2013 Home Hudson Valley doesn’t need a lot of water. And we’ve gone to Eleanor Roosevelt’s home in Val-Kill, which incidentally is a jewel of a place. Hers is a place where people lived, which you cannot always tell in the large house.” Unlike some of the other groups, the Little Gardens Club hasn’t been as successful at recruiting new members, in part because of scheduling conflicts. “The seriously old people like myself don’t drive at night because our vision isn’t good enough,” Short said. “Many of the young women are working during the daytime. It makes it kind of tough to find a time that is right for everyone to participate. Some of them participate in the events but can’t come to all the meetings, and some of them who are frail in health are not anymore participating in strenuous activities. But the reality is that membership in all kinds of clubs is on the decline. People are simply having to work harder to make ends meet.” The Saugerties Society of Little Gardens is also active in the community. Each year, it donates a book on gardening to the library, gives a commencement award to a graduating high school senior and plants a tree on Arbor Day. Like the New Paltz Garden Club, it maintains flower boxes at the Thruway tollbooths. In June, in honor of National Gardening Week, it distributes free plants in the village and in December it donates Christmas wreathes to the village and town offices, as well as a local senior residence and the town’s Senior Center, where public meetings are held. Some local clubs • New Paltz Garden Club: www.newpaltzgardenclub.org. A full calendar of events and meetings is available on the club’s website. • Woodstock Garden Club: woodstockgardenclub@ yahoo.com. Meetings held on the 4th Thursday of each month from April through November at the Woodstock Rescue Squad building on Rt. 212. • Tongore Garden Club, Meetings held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from April through December at the Olive Library. • The Community Garden Club of Marlboroughon-Hudson: dir.gardenweb.com/directory/cgcmoh Meetings held on the 1st Wednesday of each month at the Union Presbyterian Church in Newburgh.

• The Little Gardens Club of Kingston: cshort0319@ aol.com • Shawangunk Garden Club: shawangunkgardenclub.com

• Saugerties Little Garden Club: Meets the second Wednesday of the month at the Saugerties Public Library Community Room. Interested members should contact 246-3611. ●





As mentioned in the May issue of Country Living Magazine


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