Apple tree needed pruning

Last week, we noticed that one big branch of our apple tree had suddenly gone dry. There were still apples on it, but clearly, this branch was dead. It was hanging over the sidewalk and was too high for us to reach it with our small ladder or the pole pruner (I know, I tried). We worried that the branch might break during the next thunderstorm with strong winds. Something had to happen.IMG_0839

Barbara contacted our GreenThumb outreach coordinator Anthony who immediately notified the Parks Department. Sara sent photos of the tree on Thursday, and on Friday, a crew arrived with saws and ladders and a lot of expertise.

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They worked from 8:30 am until 1 pm and pruned not only the apple tree but also the crab apple tree and even the honey locust above our bee hive.

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All trees will be so much happier after this healing treatment. We are very grateful for the great job that this fantastic crew did for us. There are still plenty of apples on the tree and we are looking forward to harvesting them in October. (All photos by Sara Jones.)

Daylily

Who, besides me, thought that daylilies are native American woodland plants? Daylilies are actually from Asia and the ones that we see in woods and forests are invasive escapers from gardens!

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Orange daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) growing wild in Inwood Hill Park

Daylilies are clearly very vigorous plants that spread easily (often a bit too much) and are pretty resistant to frost, drought and diseases. There are many beautiful cultivars in colors ranging from light yellow to dark red. Several different varieties grow in our garden and are now flowering.

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An additional benefit of daylilies is that the flowers are edible. In Asia, they are eaten in soups and stirfries, but I have put them as a sweet and colorful additions to salads, too.

A warning is in order: as with mushrooms, don’t take a bite if you are not absolutely sure that you identified your species correctly. Other lilies are poisonous!

 

Make Music New York

It is already a week since the summer solstice, days are getting shorter again. Time to report on our latest event:

mmny-summer-2016On June 21 free music was performed in more than 700 cities in 120 countries. This music festival, Make Music, was first launched in 1982 in France as “Fête de la Musique” and spread from there all over the world. Of course, New York takes part, too and so did we.

Like last year and 2014, LaGuardia Corner Gardens hosted the Nevermind Orchestra for Make Music New York. The energetic, fun and very brassy music of this fabulous band attracted many listeners into the garden.

Check out the videos below for a little taste!

 

 

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People stopped to listen inside and outside of the garden

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Thanks to Diana’s enthusiasm, download-cards for songs by the Nevermind Orchestra sold out quickly

Plant profile: Spigelia

Right now, Spigelia marilandica (indian pink or pinkroot) is blooming in a couple of shady spots in our garden. This pretty woodland perennial grows naturally in the southeast of the United States. Its range does not include New York, but it seems do well in gardens here.

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The attractive red and yellow tubular flowers are typically pollinated by hummingbirds, who are–like most birds–especially attracted to red.

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Spigelia marilandica is also a medicinal plant. Its roots contain the alcaloid spigeline, which has antihelminthic properties. That is, powdered roots can be used as a de-worming medicine against tapeworms and roundworms. As with many herbal medicines, the proper dosage is important: too much spigelin can cause dizziness, blurred vision, muscular spasms, nausea and other unpleasant effects.

I have not seen a hummingbird in the garden this year. But yesterday, I notice the first fireflies. Summer is here!