We Are the Champion ... Trees!

Via Press Release from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Brooklyn, New York—October 26, 2009—On Tuesday, October 27 at 2:45 p.m., the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will award two trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden “State Champion” status, affirming that they are the largest of their species on record in the state. The trees, a Kansas hawthorn (Crataegus coccinoides) and a Carolina holly (Ilex ambigua var. monticola) are the first trees in New York City to receive this honor. Only native or naturalized, nonhybrid species are eligible for champion designation. These specimens were nominated by a private citizen and their dimensions verified by the DEC.


Saturday, October 24: Meet the Trees

Fraxinus americana, White Ash, one of the street trees that will be on the tour.
Fraxinus americana, White Ash, 1216 Beverly Road

On Saturday, October 24, Sustainable Flatbush will host its first Fall Street Tree Walking Tour. And I'm looking forward to once again be one of the guides for the tour.


Brooklyn, NY October 16, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009—Rain or Shine

Based on the success of the annual walking tour events in celebration of Arbor Day and spring in bloom, Sustainable Flatbush is now introducing the inaugural Fall Street Tree Walking Tour. The tour guides will be Tracey Hohman, professional gardener, and Chris Kreussling, aka Flatbush Gardener, both neighborhood residents.


Trees for the Future, Blog Action Day 2009

Like Garden Rant, global warming and climate change is a recurring topic on this blog:
The impacts of climate change to urban areas, such as New York City, will be extreme. Today, a typical NYC summer has 15 days with temperatures over 90F, and 2 days over 100F. By the end of this century, even optimistic scenarios, in which we reduce emissions and greenhouse gases starting NOW, NYC will have 39 90F days, and 7 100F days. In a typical summer. Some summers will be worse. People will die. If we do nothing, it will be worse.

I've written a lot about more immediate benefits of city trees, such as reduced flooding, summer cooling, and improved air quality. There remain opportunities for nurturing our urban forests. Addressing climate change is one more reason to do so:
Urban trees help offset climate change by capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide in their tissue, reducing energy used by buildings, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel based power plants. Our City’s trees store about 1.35 million tons of carbon valued at $24.9 million. In addition, our trees remove over 42,000 tons of carbon each year.
- Benefits of NYC's Urban Forest, MillionTreesNYC
Planting trees is one thing a gardener can do that will outlive them. But what world will my tree grow into? And what are its chances for survival in that world? I must avoid trees that are already at the southern limit of their range in NYC; by the end of the century, the climate will have escaped them. Trees can't move fast enough to keep pace with the changes that are coming, that are already happening. They will need our help to survive.
I feel compelled to act as a guardian of my little area of the world, for as long as it, and I, last. Though I have always had, and expect I always will have, a troubled relationship with "community," perhaps there is one I can be part of which will "watch over a much larger area." It is my belief, my hope, that collectively we will create, and find in each other, that community.
- July 26, 2006: The Bemidji Statement On Seventh Generation Guardianship
The whole world is now our Ark, and we are its Noah. It's going to be a long ride.


Daffodil Project 2009

Update 2009.10.18: Kensington date of 10/18 was rained out. Rain date is 10/25.

The Daffodil Project 2009 distribution at the Greenmarket in Grand Army Plaza, outside Prospect Park, Saturday, October 10, 2009
Daffodil Project Distribution, Grand Army Plaza, October 2009
The Daffodil Project was originally created to commemorate September 11. ... The Daffodil Project is made possible in part by the generosity of a Dutch bulb supplier, Hans van Waardenburg of B&K Flowerbulbs, who has pledged to donate 500,000 daffodil bulbs to the project each year as long as there are volunteers willing to plant them. More than 20,000 volunteers have responded to his challenge so far. And thanks to their efforts, more than 3 million yellow daffodils [bloomed] in over 2,000 individual sites across the five boroughs in the spring of 2009.
- The Daffodil Project, New Yorkers for Parks
Here are some locations in Brooklyn where you can get your bulb on with the Daffodil Project this season.


Blessing of the Animals, Chelsea Community Church

Update 2009-10-12: Added story about Smokey.

Blog Widow and Annie, the new kitten, at the Blessing of the Animals service at Chelsea Community Church earlier today.
Blog Widow and Annie

An off-topic, i.e. non-gardening, post.

In some recognition of National Coming Out Day, some non-gardening factoids about me:
  • I'm an atheist.
  • My partner, known as Blog Widow, is an ordained minister, among many other talents.
  • People who've known me a long time think that's hysterical.
It takes some enticement to get me into church. Filling the pews with dogs and other companion animals kinda does it for me.

This is also an opportunity to introduce Annie.

Annie is a six-month old kitten we adopted two weeks ago from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Kensington. We've been wanting to adopt a second cat, thinking that Ripley, the old soul, would do better with some companionship when we're out during the day. Ummm, yeah. That'll work. Eventually.

Today was Annie's "coming out," as we took her to the Blessing of the Animals service at Blog Widow's church, Chelsea Community Church. Mostly dogs were present; Annie was one of four cats, by my count, in attendance. She even made an appearance on stage when Blog Widow introduced her to the congregation for his general blessing over those assembled, human and otherwise.

Blog Widow and Annie


Save the Campus Road Garden in Flatbush

Update, 2009-10-09: The Daily News has picked up the story, a few days after it's been in the Brooklyn Blogosphere.

Campus Road Garden, South Midwood, Flatbush, Brooklyn, August 2008
Campus Road Garden

The fate of the Baltic Street Garden in Park Slope was, unfortunately, sealed months ago. And now Flatbush' 14-year old Campus Road Garden is threatened by Brooklyn College's plans to build a parking lot in its place.

View Brooklyn Community Gardens in a larger map
The garden has a [long] history and a lot of love, sweat and passion went into creating the garden and sustaining it through the years.

The college has made beautiful new additions to the campus: building, walkways, etc.

However, the garden, which lies at the foot of the athletic field, is going to be bulldozed to make room for a small parking lot.

As you can imagine we are all saddened by this. Each member joined for their own reasons, but the bottom line is, we all come together as a community and we cherish the friendships we have made with fellow gardeners, the Brooklyn College community and, of course, the neighborhood.
- Letter from the author of Snowballs and Candy Corn
Here's how you can help.
  1. Sign the online petition: Stop the Demolition of the Campus Road Garden. (You'll be prompted to contribute through PayPal, but you can ignore that.)
  2. On Facebook, join the group Stop the Demolition of Campus Road Garden! to stay informed.


Brooklyn Leaf Composting Project

A Brooklyn-wide effort to organize locally and restore leaf composting to Brooklyn! There's a brainstorming meeting TOMORROW, Saturday, October 3, at Ozzie's Cafe in Park Slope. See below for full details.
Please join your fellow community gardeners and our friends from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a brainstorming session that will focus on how we can expand and improve community leaf collection and recycling this fall.

As you know, the City will not be collecting leaves separately from regular trash, again, this fall. That means that it's up to us to find ways to take this rich source of garden nutrients out of the wastestream and bring it into our gardens, where it will do the most good.

Building on a very successful leaf collection and recycling project that was implemented at 6/15 Green garden last year, we hope to coordinate a Brooklyn-wide project that will enable local community gardens to be collection points for bagged leaves from their neighbors for use in the community gardens....and possibly even distributed back to the community in the future.

This is truly a win/win for everyone. Gardens will benefit from the addition of wonderful leaves that they can use as mulch or make into "brown gold" compost and residents will be able to recycle their leaves knowing that they will not be wasted clogging up our landfills.