FRIDAY, MAY 06, 2016


Amelanchier trees, also known as Service Berries, have beautiful fresh white blossoms that lighten up any dark corner in New York City that you plant them in. We planted seven of these beauties in this side garden in Fort Green. There are several native species of Amalanchier, and they go by lots of names: Saskatoon Service Berry, Downy Shadbush, Snowy Mespilus. Their vibrant red foliage in fall and their berries (if there are any left) make the tree a multi-season hit. You can find the cultivar 'Autumn Brilliance' at most commercial nurseries. Whatever the species or cultivar, all Amalanchiers produce purple berries in late summer that are delicious! Just ask your great great grandmother who baked Serviceberry Pie for the Revolutionary Soldiers!


Check out this amazing use of stoop space to create a terraced garden. We spotted it in Park Slope and loved the layered look it achieves. Lots of different colors and textures add life to otherwise underutilized space, and give some spring energy to the neighborhood! And it doesn't look like it was too expensive to do. 

This modern tree pit in Brooklyn Heights shows just how seriously you can take this small piece of land in front of our house or apartment. It's sharp juxtaposition of corten steel with the dainty spring blooms of wild columbines makes it really stand out.  Best tree pit of the week!

A shrub we are loving this spring is native Fothergilla 'Mount Airy'. It has beautiful fluffy looking bottle brush blossoms and is a dynamic and compact shrub. It helps structure a garden and is also small enough to fit into some tight spots. It can be seen as naturalistic or formal, is shade tolerant, and has bright red fall foliage.

These Golden Alexander blooms(Zizia aptera or aurea) mix beautifully with the dark stems of Salvia 'Cardonna'. Golden Alexanders have great foliage in the fall and they rebloom if you cut them back after blooms are spent. On this Chelsea rooftop garden we’ve also planted some mexican feathergrass to bring it all together. 


This is a great mix of native spring plants: Twinleaf, Wild Columbine, and Dwarf Crested Iris. Twinleaf's bloom is gorgeous but short lived. It's broad leaf foliage makes it a desirable shade plant.

Wild Geranium is a shade tolerant native perennial that shows delicate pink blooms in the spring. And mixes well with pretty much anything.


White Eastern Redbud is a cultivar of the native Eastern Redbud that usually displays pink/red blooms before it's leaves open up. I particularly like the white or 'alba' cultivar because it's so angelic and when backlit it practically glows. Perfect for a small garden with partial shade. 


Beach Plum or Prunus maritima is another edible native that produces delicious fruit that has been historically used in many an American pie. Greenhook Ginsmiths makes a great liqueur with them. Here's pictures of collected wild beach plums above and the booze you can make from it. Hope you are drunk and surrounded by spring blossoms this Mother's Day!


Event April 30th

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2016

If you're in Greenpoint and interested in what's being done with all that money from Exxon, then come on down to the GGCEF Community Open House! I'll be there talking wildflowers and roofs. 

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