Proposed NYC Rules Threaten Community Gardens

Update 2010-07-28:

The Baltic Street Community Garden in Park Slope, as it appeared in July 2008. It was destroyed in 2009 by the NYC Department of Education.
Baltic Street Community Garden

The agreement that has largely protected New York City community gardens for nearly a decade expires this September. Community gardens fall under different jurisdictions, depending on whether they are in private hands, such as a land trust organization, or on land controlled by an Agency of the City. In advance of the expiration of the agreement, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR, or simply "Parks") and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) have drafted revised rules for governing the gardens under their care. In short: gardens will have no protection.

Public comments are due in writing by August 10. To view the proposed rules, or to submit comments:
  1. Visit Proposed Rules on the NYC.gov Web site.
  2. For "Agency", Select "DPR" or "HPD".
  3. Click [GO].
  4. Click "Community Gardens" to view the Proposed Rule (PDF). Click "Comment" to submit your written comments online.
There is a community meeting tomorrow evening for gardeners and advocates of NYC's community gardens to learn about the issues and what we can do in response.

Gardener's Information Session
Wednesday July 28 6-8pm
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Auditorium
1000 Washington Ave.
Subway: 2,3 to Eastern Pkwy, or B, Q to Prospect Park  

Public Hearing
August 10 11am
Chelsea Recreation Center
430 W. 25th St (btwn 9 & 10)
Subway: C, E to 23rd Street, or A to 34th Street

The Campus Road Garden in South Midwood, as it appeared in August 2008. It was destroyed earlier this year by Brooklyn College.
Campus Road Garden


Related Content

Community Gardens
Other Community Garden posts


Notice of Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Rule (PDFs) from Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Housing Preservation and Development

Take Action: Parks' Policy Change Threatens Community Gardens, NYC Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC)

New York's Community Gardens Lose Protect Status, Threatened With Development Under New Rules, TreeHugger, 2010-07-27
Letter to Gardeners (PDF), NYCCGC, 2010-07-22
Protect our community gardens, EV Grieve, 2010-07-19
The 2002 Settlement
2002 Memorandum of Agreement (PDF), NYCCGC

Community Gardens Lawsuit Settles, The Municipal Arts Society of New York (MASNYC), 2004-02-09
Ending a Long Battle, New York Lets Housing and Gardens Grow, NY Times, 2002-09-19
Community Gardens in New York City: the Lower East Side of Manhattan offers a summarized timeline of community gardens in NYC from 1965-2002


Blooms and Bloggers: The Buffa10 Cocktail Reception

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Panorama, Buffa10 Cocktail Hour, Thursday, July 8, 2010
Panorama, Buffa10 Cocktail Hour

Elizabeth Licata, one of the organizers and hosts of Buffa10, opened her garden for a cocktail reception for early arrivals the afternoon of Thursday, July 8, the first official event for Buffa10. As enjoyable as it was to rub shoulders with other garden bloggers, it was a real treat to visit a garden I'd only seen online. This view was familiar to me, as it was to her other readers, from her personal garden blog, Gardening While Intoxicated.


Patrick Dougherty at BBG

I'm looking forward to this. Installation will take place from Thursday, August 5 through Sunday, August 31. The work is planned to be on display for nearly a year, through June 2011.

Press Release

Brooklyn, July 10, 2010—Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) announces the commission of its first site-specific sculpture to celebrated artist Patrick Dougherty, whose massive constructions made of woven saplings and twigs conjure up the creations of Lewis Carroll and Andy Goldsworthy for their outsized physicality and whimsical charm.


Garden Stumbling: More of Buffalo's North Pearl Street

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

9 (right) and 17 North Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY
9 North Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY

The first official event of Buffa10 was a Thursday afternoon cocktail reception, appropriately held in the Gardening While Intoxicated garden of Elizabeth Licata, one of our hosts for Buffa10, and 1/4 of the Gang of Four behind Garden Rant. Before, during and after, we were invited to wander - the Garden Stumble - the neighborhood's streets, admire the architecture, and visit several of the gardens opened for us in a preview of Buffalo's justly famed Garden Walk, happening this weekend.

For those attending Buffa10, North Pearl Street was our gateway to the architecture and gardens of Buffalo, a prelude to the abundance we would enjoy throughout the weekend. Front yards were mostly populated entirely by gardens. This front yard at 82 North Pearl Street was typically lush, with Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak-Leaf Hydrangea), Hosta, Hemerocallis, tall Lilium and Achillea, Bergenia, Lavandula, and many more species and varieties. I especially liked the use of Matteucia struthiopteris, Ostrich Fern, whose arching exclamations give movement to the garden more typically provided by tall ornamental grasses.


Hope you like Petunias: The Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Panorama of the the Buffa10 visit to the Trial Gardens at the Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, NY
Panorama, Buffa10 at Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens

I arrived in Buffalo on Wednesday, July 7. I wanted to take in some sights on Thursday before the Buffa10 schedule began. I found myself at the Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens. Even though we would be visiting on Saturday, I was glad to have a prolonged visit on my own.

Shortly after I arrived at the Gardens Thursday, I met Stan Swisher, one of the nursery managers there. We spent a couple hours talking about the operation, visiting the different beds. Stan showed me countless specimens, and gave me the back-story on several of them. Here, Stan shares with me the details of a double-flowered Bacopa.

Designing a New Communal Garden

2010-07-31: Added base plan, drawn to scale, of the site.
2010-07-26: Added transcribed notes from the workshop materials.

On June 6 and June 16, Sustainable Flatbush and the Flatbush Reformed Church held two Community Visioning Workshops for a new communal garden to be created on the grounds of the Church. On Sunday, August 1, 3pm, we invite community review of proposed designs.

Participants of the second community visioning workshop introduce themselves on the grounds of the future garden.
Church Garden Visioning Workshop #2

We invite design proposals from the community. This post has basic information about the site, including measurements and general conditions, as well as the notes from the workshop sessions, to inform your designs.


The main area available for the new garden is the front lawn of the Parsonage of the Flatbush Reformed Church. This building is at the corner of a dead-end court, Kenmore Terrace, and lightly-traveled through-street, East 21st Street.

View Larger Map

Here's how the site looks from the corner. Kenmore Terrace is in the foreground, East 21st Street is on the left. The view is looking slightly east of north.


Twentieth Century Club

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

A panoramic view of the walled garden of the Twentieth Century Club in Buffalo, NY.
Panorama, Twentieth Century Club

Dinner Thursday evening was at the Twentieth Century Club, a Buffalo institution that had its origins in an alumni association of the Buffalo Seminary. These roots were reflected in the walled garden, a cloistered garden, where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and company beneath the shade of a huge mature beech tree.



35 North Pearl Street

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Red Monarda, Beebalm, against a turquoise blue door in the backyard of 35 North Pearl Street in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood.
Red Monarda, Blue Door

This is one of the first gardens I saw in the Allentown neighborhood of Buffalo the afternoon of Thursday, July 8. Perhaps because it was first, it got extra attention. Nevertheless, I think you'll agree it was worthy of it.

A simple design made practical use of a small, urban backyard. The hub and spoke design creates multiple focal points: a fountain, a chair, and the blue door. This is an important design strategy for making a small space seem bigger, part of our conversation on the "short bus" one afternoon. At the same time, it grants reliable access to most of the flowers beds for maintenance. A strong design like this works even - especially - when flowers are past and leaves are gone. And Buffalo's notorious snows would highlight it further, when it's not completely buried.

Allentown Association Community Garden

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

The Allentown Association Community Garden provides a gateway from Buffalo's Main Street to the quiet side streets and lush gardens of the Allentown neighborhood.
Allentown Association Community Garden



Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

2010-07-19: Added foliage section.

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Echeveria setosa, Mexican Fire Cracker, in the Desert House of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Echeveria setosa, Mexican Fire Cracker

What a treasure these conservatories must be during Buffalo's winters. Or on a rainy day like we had Friday. But we visited Saturday, with beautiful, if uncharacteristically warm, weather.

The perennial and shrub gardens outside were also beautiful. We didn't have time to visit the arboretum.


Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

2010-07-23: Added Garden Stumbling
2010-07-17: Added Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens
2010-07-16: Added Twentieth Century Club
2010-07-14: Added Allentown Association Community Garden and 35 North Pearl Street
2010-07-12: Added links to articles in The Buffalo News

Links and placeholders for all the places I visited and saw during my stay in Buffalo.

Thursday, July 8

Hidden Treasure (Cary Street)
Hope Blooms (The Victorian, 200 South Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY)
Gardens of Allentown:

Friday, July 9

Cottage District
Urban Roots
Japanese Garden, Delaware Park, Buffalo, NY
Bird Avenue

Saturday, July 10

Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Lockwood's Greenhouses
Hosta Heaven

Sunday, July 11

Lancaster Avenue Gardens
Brunch at Jim's


Japanese Garden, Delaware Park, Buffalo, NY

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Japanese Garden, Delaware Park, Buffalo, NY

Today's Garden Bloggers Buffa10 visit to the Japanese Garden in Buffalo's Delaware Park coincided with a Celebration of the reopening of the Garden.

The siting of this garden is unfortunate. NY State Route 198 slices through the Park, crossing Mirror Lake, on the bank of which the garden is situated. Even when you can direct your gaze to block out the bridge and movement of cars and trucks, the rush and roar of traffic crossing the lake is constant.



Hope Blooms

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

Hope Blooms, The Victorian, 200 South Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York
The Victorian, 200 South Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY

Like Cary Street, The Victorian, at 200 South Elmwood Avenue, is also located just around the corner from the Buffa10 hotel. It's one of the headquarters for Garden Walk Buffalo. It's also one of the homes of AIDS Community Services of Western New York. Hidden behind the building is Hope Blooms, "a garden by, and for, people living with HIV/AIDS."
A complete volunteer effort, “Hope Blooms” was built as a unique garden “by and for” those living with HIV/AIDS. Having been featured in a full page photo in the Garden Walk Buffalo Book, it is recognized as one of Buffalo’s significantly beautiful gardens. Christopher Voltz, ACS’ Director of Marketing and Special projects volunteers his weekends, all summer long, to build and maintain this garden.

Clients and patients help plant the garden and its flowers are used to supply fresh bouquets of flowers to client services areas in our offices every week.

This simple gesture is greatly appreciated by ACS’ clients and patients. It is ACS’ belief that a warm and welcoming environment for its clients is of great importance. Whether one is living with cancer, diabetes or HIV disease, everyone deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. These bouquets and this garden are simple ways to demonstrate this to the thousands of individuals and families we serve.


Hidden Treasure

Part of Garden Bloggers Buffa10, Buffalo, NY, July 2010

63 Cary Street, Buffalo, NY
63 Cary Street, Buffalo, NY

Right around the corner from the Buffa10 hotel, the Embassy Suites Buffalo, is a cul-de-sac named Cary Street. I discovered it by accident when I was trying to find the entrance to the hotel when I drove into Buffalo yesterday. I missed the entrance, and pulled into the first street I found to turn around: Cary Street.

The homes are detached cottages of modern construction, but in Buffalo's vernacular brick Victorian style. No two houses are alike. And most of them have beautiful front-yard gardens.



Shufflin' Off ...

Today I'm driving from Syracuse to Buffalo, New York, to attend Garden Bloggers Buffa10, the third annual meetup of North American (U.S and Canada) garden bloggers. The first was two years ago in Austin, Texas. I attended last year's Chicago Spring Fling and had a blast.

Buffa10 runs from tomorrow, Thursday, July 8 through Sunday, July 11, in the middle of Buffalo's all-garden blowout, Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S. With more than 350 gardens on display, we'll only get to visit a handful in our four days.


Be Green Organic Yards NY

The New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation announced a new initiative to encourage the use of sustainable gardening and yard care practices.

Be Green(sm) Organic Yards NY will provide training and licensing. Businesses complying with their practices will be able to display the Be Green logo. DEC is also enlisting course providers to deliver the training.

I hope their program includes eliminating leaf-blowers.

From the July 2010 issue of NYS DEC's online magazine, Environment DEC: