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Notice anything different about me? Until a few minutes ago, the by-line at the header of this blog read: Adventures in Neo-Victorian, Wil...

2008-03-31

2008 Western North Carolina Orchid Show and Sale, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Thwaitesara 'Angel Sound'
Thwaitesara 'Angel Sound'

Here's the second round of photos from yesterday's visit to the 2008 Western North Carolina Orchid Show at the North Carolina Arboretum. There are the flower portraits, the closeups and other details, of the stars of the show.

I'm ignorant of orchids. I tried to take photos of labels so I could identify the flowers later. But the labels weren't always so obviously associated with the plants. I transcribed the names as best I could. So take any names provided here with heaping teaspoons of salt.

Unknown Moth Orchid
Unknown Moth Orchid

Some kind of ladyslipper
Unknown Beauty

Pharg. 'Ashley Wilkes'
Pharg. 'Ashley Wilkes'

Detail, Flower Arrangement
Detail, Flower Arrangement

Another unknown beauty, perhaps a Cattleya relative?
Unknown Beauty

Moth Orchid, Dtps. 'Elmore's Pink Silk'
Dtps. 'Elmore's Pink Silk'

These little guys look just like Turkish dervish dancers to me
Turkish Dancers

The name on the label was Paph. JulisRothschildianum 'Eureka' x Lowii 'Princehouse' AM/AOS. I guess this is a hybrid of two "Paph." (Paphiopedalum?) varieties. Anyone want to translate?
Paph. JulisRothschildianum 'Eureka' x Lowii 'Princehouse' AM/AOS

I'll close out with two detailed portraits of two amazing orchids.

This is a detail of Phrag. caudatum, some kind of ladyslipper orchid.
Phrag. caudatum

That's beautiful enough. But check out the lateral petals. They've evolved into straps hanging down over 18" on each side of the bloom.
Phrag. caudatum

Here's a view of the entire plant. I can't imagine how one would even transport such a thing
Phrag. caudatum

It's a little hard to pick out from the mass of foliage surrounding it, but the hanging basket (seated, in this setting) in the center of the photo contains a specimen of Chamaengis harotiana. You can see this won First Place in something.
Chamaengis harotiana

It doesn't look like much at first glance. Let's take a closer look.
Chamaengis harotiana

Hard to appreciate it, so I put my fingertip in the photo for scale. Ten of those flowers could fit on my fingernail.
Chamaengis harotiana

Related Posts

2008 Western North Carolina Orchid Show and Sale, Part 1

2008-03-30

2008 Western North Carolina Orchid Show and Sale, Part 1

Display Room of the Western North Carolina Orchid Show in the Education Center of the North Carolina Arboretum
Western North Carolina Orchid Show

This morning I attended the second day of the 2008 Western North Carolina Orchid Show and Sale at the North Carolina Arboretum. Although I've gardened outdoors for many years, I cannot keep a houseplant alive. I certainly haven't ventured into the Orchid world. My experience of an event like this is much like how I describe myself going to Sunday services: like a dog in church. I enjoy the sights and scents for their own sake, and have no interest in tapping into the deeper religion of the event.

So here is my report from today's visit, emphasizing the visual experience, which was more than satisfying to this orchid-ignorant gardener. This first part gives the overview and most of the exhibits. When I get home I'll be able to filter through the flower portraits for Part 2.

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

The event was sponsored by the Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS). The event was held in the Education Building of the North Carolina Arboretum. Specimens from WNCOS members occupied the central display. All of these photos are from the members exhibit, taken from different vantage points around the room.

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

Western North Carolina Orchid Show

Displays from vendors and other orchid societies covered the perimeter of the room. The vendors tables themselves occupied two other rooms.

Carolina Orchids
Carolina Orchids Display

South Carolina Orchid Society Display
South Carolina Orchid Society Display

Ironwood Estates Orchids Display
Ironwood Estates Orchids Display

Marble Branch Farms Displays
Marble Branch Farms Displays

Elmore Orchids Display
Elmore Orchids Display

Orchidview Orchids Display
Orchidview Orchids Display

Carter & Holmes Display
Carter & Holmes Display

One thing that struck me - and I wonder if others have the same impression - is that orchid society seems to be disproportionately male. If one were to judge the demographics of gardeners by that of its bloggers, one might come up with a distribution like this:
  • 70% women
  • 30% men
    • 15% straight
    • 15%gay
It's hard to say what the breakdown would be at today's event. Men seemed to be in the majority, at least while I was there. As for the rest of it, I would not presume to infer. I'll just say that the orchids weren't the only eye-candy on hand today.

Links

Program and Exhibitors for the 2008 WNC Orchid Show and Sale [PDF]
North Carolina Arboretum
Western North Carolina Orchid Society (WNCOS) [Note: The site was completely unavailable when I wrote this post.]

2008-03-28

Outside Clyde

Anemone blanda, Outside Clyde
Anemone blanda

This afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting with CC of Outside Clyde. I've been following his chronicles witnessing the succession of growth and bloom on the resident gardeners' hillside. This is just my small contribution.

There's no single vantage from which you can take in the entire hillside at once.

Daffodil Hill
Daffodil Hill

The trails wander and intersect organically, having evolved over three decades of clearing, planting and gardening.

Over the hill, through the woods
Over the hill, through the woods

The trails are rough, and steep at times. But it pays to stop often and look around, and up, and out.

Daffodil "Rip van Winkle"
Daffodil "Rip van Winkle"

Narcissus, cyclamineus tribe
Narcissus, cyclamineus tribe

Possibly "King Alfred"
Possibly King Alfred

Shelf fungus
Shelf fungus

Pulmonaria
Pulmonaria

The threatened thunderstorms never materialized. CC's site is adjacent, and we hiked along another trail to get there. There was only a sprinkle of rain.

Lichens
Lichens

Old foundation
Old foundation

Last year's Goldenrod
Last year's Asters

Claytonia
Claytonia

A lovely afternoon.

2008-03-26

Hawthorne Street, Stewards of Street Trees

Hawthorne Street, one of my blogging neighbors in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, the northeast reaches of greater Flatbush, posted some tips about how to watch over new street trees planted this Spring:
If you have a recently planted street tree in front of your house or building, maintenance is a key factor in ensuring that it continues to be healthy. The first year after planting is a critical time. Now that the danger of frost is dissipating, young trees need a lot of water. Watering should be done slowly, allowing the moisture to permeate the soil deeply. This allows the tree to develop a deep root system rather than depending on shallow roots.
- Caring for new street trees
They have additional info, and links to other online resources, so check 'em out!

2008-03-25

Sustainable Flatbush featured in "A Walk Around the Blog"

BRIC, the non-profit Brooklyn arts organization which produces Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT), has been doing a bi-monthly series called A Walk Around the Blog, interviews with Brooklyn bloggers talking about their neighborhoods. The latest edition features Anne Pope of Sustainable Flatbush talking about, what else, Flatbush and sustainability.

I make an appearance from 1:53 to 2:54 in the video.

If you can't see the embedded video above, or if you want to view it at a higher resolution, it's also hosted on blip.tv.

Related posts

Greening Flatbush a success!, February 24, 2008

Links

Sustainable Flatbush
A Walk Around the Blog (Blog)
A Walk Around the Blog (Blip)
BRIC

2008-03-19

Persephone Rises

The Return of Persephone (1891), by Frederic Leighton (1830–1896)
The Return of Persephone (1891), by Frederic Leighton (1830–1896)

The vernal equinox of 2008 occurs at 05:48 UTC on March 20, or 01:48/1:48am my time, after midnight tonight. And a blogging neighbor wishes everyone a Happy New Year 1387.

I used the same image above for last year's Vernal Equinox post. Not that I want to just phone it in. I think the painting is gorgeous. And I like the story of Demeter and Persephone. In comments on last year's post, Blackswamp Girl (Kim of A Study in Contrasts) expressed discomfort with the story. I responded:
The way I keep the story in my mind, Winter doesn't occur because Hades is evil/dark/etc. Persephone was not the keeper of the earth. The earth didn't miss her, Demeter did. Demeter grieved for her loss, and neglected her gardening duties, and that's why Winter occurs. Demeter rejoices at the return of Persephone, which restores her interest in the world, and that's when we get Spring.

Related Posts

Happy Vernal Equinox, 2007

Links

Wikipedia:Equinox

2008-03-18

Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park Historic District Designated

700 East 17 Street, Midwood Park, Flatbush, Brooklyn
700 East 17 Street, Midwood Park, Flatbush, Brooklyn

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) today approved the designation of the city's newest Historic District. Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park, in Flatbush, becomes the city's 91st Historic District.

Map of the boundaries of Midwood Park and Fiske Terrace, as presented to LPC on October 16, 2007 (PDF)
Midwood Park - Fiske Terrace Boundaries

776 East 17th Street, Fiske Terrace, Flatbush, Brooklyn
776 East 17th Street, Fiske Terrace, Flatbush, Brooklyn

Here's the description from the LPC's press release:
Bound on the north and south by Foster Avenue and Avenue H, and on the west and east by the Brighton subway line and Ocean Avenue, this district comprises 250 eclectic houses that were largely completed and occupied by 1914, and were built by two prominent local builders and developers.

The primary developer of Fiske Terrace, which lies south of Glenwood Road and is named for George B. Fiske, an oil merchant, was the T.B. Ackerson Company, whose owner once boasted of transforming the area “from woods into city in 18 months.” Approximately 75 percent of the houses in the Midwood Park part of the district, which lies north of Glenwood Road, were constructed by the John R. Corbin Company.

Most of the houses in the district adhere primarily to the popular early 20th-century architectural styles, especially the Arts and Crafts, Colonial Revival and Dutch Colonial Revival styles. The houses were typically constructed in one of three forms: the box-like foursquare, crowned by a hipped or pyramidal roof; the temple-house, featuring a prominent front-facing gable; and the bungalow, with its low profile, deep porch with thick tapered columns, and broadly overhanging eaves.

Related Posts

Times admits past errors: We are not all Ditmas Park, March 15, 2008
Other posts on Victorian Flatbush

Links

Map of the Fiske Terrace - Midwood Park Historic District (PDF)
New Landmarks Include Webster Hall, New York Times, March 18, 2008
Press Release (PDF) from LPC, March 18, 2008
Coda: Fiske Terrace/Midwood Park Designated as Landmark by LPC, Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn, March 20, 2008
Fiske Terrace-Midwood Park in Flatbush Gains Landmark Status, Brooklyn Eagle, March 20, 2008

Northeastern Bats in Peril

Bat House at the East 4th Street Community Garden in Kensington/Windsor Terrace
Bat House

A discussion thread about mosquito control on the Flatbush Family Network led to this question:
I heard that bat houses are a possible long-term solution for mosquitos. I guess you put a bat house up and hope that they come and live there. It can take a few seasons to get them to do it but an average bat eats lots of mosquitos a day. Seems strange to try and seduce bats to your house but those mosquitos are terrible. Anyone else heard about these bat houses?
The photo above is of a bat house in the East 4th Street Community Garden, which I visited for the first time last November. One of the questions they get when they explain what it's for is, "Where do you get the bats?" If you build it, they will come. We have bats here in Brooklyn. Whether we will continue to have them is in question.

A newly emerging epidemic is wiping out bat colonies. First discovered last winter in a single cave near Albany, New York, this winter it's been found to have spread to more locations, including sites in Vermont and Massachusetts. Mortality has been as high as 90% in some caves:
Thousands of hibernating bats are dying in caves in New York State and Vermont from unknown causes ... The most obvious symptom involved in the die-off is a white fungus encircling the noses of some, but not all, of the bats. Called "white-nose syndrome," the fungus is believed to be associated with the problem, but it may not necessarily contribute to the actual cause of death. It appears that the affected bats deplete their fat reserves months before they would normally emerge from hibernation and die as a result ...

"What we've seen so far is unprecedented," said Alan Hicks, DEC's bat specialist. "Most bat researchers would agree that this is the gravest threat to bats they have ever seen. We have bat researchers, laboratories and caving groups across the country working to understand the cause of the problem and ways to contain it."
- Bat Die-Off Prompts Investigation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Bat populations are particularly vulnerable during hibernation as they congregate in large numbers in caves-clusters of 300 per square foot in some locations-making them susceptible to disturbance or disease. The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of bats known to hibernate in New York do so in just five caves and mines. Because bats often migrate hundreds of miles to their summer range, effects on hibernating bats can have significant implications for bats throughout the Northeast.

Indiana bats [Myotis sodalis], a state and federally endangered species, are perhaps the most vulnerable. Half the estimated 52,000 Indiana bats that hibernate in the state are located in just one former mine-a mine that is now infected with white-nose syndrome. Eastern pipistrelle [Perimyotis subflavus], northern long-eared [Myotis septentrionalis] and little brown [Myotis lucifugus] bats also are dying. Little brown bats, the most common hibernating species in the state, have sustained the largest number of deaths.

Related Posts

Bat Houses, April 13, 2008
Other posts about bats

Links

Chronology
Bat Die-Off Prompts Investigation, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Mystery Disease Kills U.S. Bats, Bat Conservation International
Something is killing our bats: The white-nose syndrome mystery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wikipedia: White-nose syndrome

Flatbush Family Network (requires membership)

News

Dying Bats in the Northeast Remain a Mystery, USGS Newsroom, May 9, 2008
First It Was Bees, Now It's Bats That Are Dying, Natural News, April 11, 2008
Bats in the Region Are Dying From a Mysterious Ailment, Litchfield County Times, April 3, 2008
Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why, New York Times Science Section, March 25, 2008




2008-03-15

Times admits past errors: We are not all Ditmas Park

A House in Caton Park
House in Caton Park

I am astonished to find that tomorrow's New York Times City Section has an article on Victorian Flatbush, not "Ditmas Park," which they finally realize only applies to one historic district in this large area. And in this article, they focus on the "forgotten" neighborhoods, those which don't have landmark protection, and which are in danger of being eroded and lost forever to "development":
The neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush are of particular interest to historians because in many respects they were the first suburbs. With the newly built Brooklyn Rapid Transit rail line stretching out to Coney Island, the farmland of the Dutch village of Flatbush became a prime location in the early 20th century for what was considered commuter living.
- Peaked Roofs, Crossed Fingers
315 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East
315 East 18th Street, Beverly Square East
All the neighborhoods featured houses built in the most fashionable of Victorian-era styles, among them Tudor, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Georgian. These houses, adorned with carved moldings, fluted columns, copper trimmings and wide, open porches, evoked a lifestyle that went beyond architecture. Exclusive social clubs flourished in the area, as did community associations, many of which have been the driving force in campaigns for historic protection.
457 Rugby Road, Ditmas Park West
457 Rugby Road

House in South Midwood
House in South Midwood
“We don’t want the Manhattanization of Brooklyn,” said Ron Schweiger, the Brooklyn borough historian and a longtime resident of Beverley Square West. “We don’t want high-rises coming into residential areas. That’s why we want all of Victorian Flatbush to get historic district status.”

And though the neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush have distinct characters, nearly all of them have one thing in common: residents eager to protect what is a remarkable and in some cases irreplaceable architectural history.

Beverley Square West

341 Rugby Road, Beverley Square West
341 Rugby Road, Beverley Square West

209 (Left) & 215 (Right) Stratford Road, Beverley Square West
209 (Left) & 215 (Right) Stratford Road

There's a little bit of hand-waving around my neighborhood of Beverley Square West, resulting in several inaccuracies.
Beverley Square East and West, nestled between Prospect Park South and Ditmas Park [and Ditmas Park West] and completed just after the turn of the 20th century, were Ackerson’s major projects. The developer also got certain streets that run through Beverley Square West rechristened with upper-crust British names: East 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Streets became Westminster, Argyle, Rugby and Marlborough Roads.
Somehow the Times lost one-fifth of Beverley Square West, omitting Stratford Road (East 11th Street) from their description of the neighborhood. Stratford Road is both the westernmost block and the one most at risk from inappropriate zoning in Beverley Square West and Ditmas Park West.

The street names originated in the development of Prospect Park South by Dean Alvord. Ackerson's early advertising for developments here still used the numbered designations of East 11th, 12th, and so forth, not the names. By 1902, the named designations were extended south to what would become Beverley Square West and Ditmas Park West. Our bill from Con Ed, which was around before this building boom of the early 1900s, still uses the numbered designation for our street address.
All the original homes of the Beverley Squares were individually designed. Ackerson himself lived in a house in Beverley Square West, and the developer Pounds, a future borough president, lived in Beverley Square East.
From what I've learned of the history of the development here, this is not accurate. The houses on Stratford and Westminster Roads are stylistically different from those on Argyle, Rugby and Marlborough. Although no two houses are exactly alike on Stratford and Westminster, neither do they feature much of the architectural details - turrets, round oeil de boeuf (ox-eye) windows, unusual dormers, and so on - visible on nearly every house on the other blocks.

I think the houses on these two westernmost blocks were built largely using Victorian pattern books widely available at the time; they were mostly "builders' specials," not designed by architects. They were built earlier, and not by Ackerson. Early Ackerson promotional photos show houses already standing on Stratford and Westminster while Argyle and Rugby are nothing more than empty lots.

The earliest neighborhood name I've found for these five blocks is Matthews Park. Matthews Court is one of the short side streets joining Stratford Road and Coney Island Avenue. Not that long ago, "Beverley Square West" referred only to the Ackerson-developed blocks of Argyle, Rugby and Marlborough Roads. Stratford and Westminster had their own neighborhood association, called Westford Park. These two neighborhood associations joined forces to form the current, five-block Beverley Square West Association.

Street Sign, Matthews Court

Related Posts

Victorian Flatbush at risk from inappropriate zoning, October 23, 2007
Landscape and Politics in Brooklyn's City Council District 40, February 14, 2007
Matthews Park, September 29, 2006

Links

NoProPaSo, Kneel Before Your Creator, Crazy Stable
Victorian Flatbush: An Architectural History (Warning: contains intrusive popups)