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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label sustainable. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label sustainable. Show all posts

      Monday, May 14, 2012


      Stephen Scanniello, Pres. Heritage Rose Foundation with Rosa 'Harison's Yellow'

      Just when I think I'm getting to know the gardens and plantings in New York City, I stumble upon surprises. A visit to the Historic Rose District last week introduced me to a massive undertaking by the Heritage Rose Foundation in Upper Manhattan where Harlem meets Washington Heights. Here in Trinity Church (Wall Street) Cemetery, Audubon Terrace, community gardens, and median strips, dedicated members of the Foundation from all over the U.S. are coming to plant and preserve old roses, all on a shoestring budget of donations and volunteers.
      Rosa 'Parson's Pink China'
      The Foundation defines heritage roses as Pre-1930 hybrids, varieties and species; members have scoured old homesteads, cemeteries and roadsides to make cuttings of roses which might disappear forever if not preserved. By their very nature, having existed for decades without spraying, fertilizing, or watering, heritage roses are highly suited for gardeners who care about sustainability.
      When I visited it was planting day and dozens of rooted rose cuttings were scheduled to be dug in at the Church of the Intercession and other select spots. Within three years they'll be showing off fragrance and blooms, spilling over old stones and fences.
      Not only roses, but donated bulbs, shrubs and perennials are added to compliment the roses
      Why here in this spot in Upper Manhattan? It happens that rose breeder George Folliott Harison, he of 'Harison's Yellow' fame is buried in the Trinity Church Cemetery which surrounds the Church of the Intercession, and when these modern-day rose missionaries went to plant one of his namesake roses by his grave, it seems as if they just couldn't stop. Many well-know names appear on other headstones here, like family of John Jacob Astor, Clement Clarke Moore, Charles Dicken's son, J.J. Audubon, and Ralph Elison.
      Just across Broadway from the Church is the massive Audubon Terrace, former site of Audubon estate, now housing the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Hispanic Society of American with its free museum and library, and Boricua College.
      Entrance to Audubon Terrace
      This complex of eight Beaux Arts buildings is on the National Register of Historic sites. Volunteers from the Heritage rose Foundation have placed large containers around the massive brick courtyard and are of course, planting roses.
      Coming soon, a historic walking tour app for your smart phone, created by a H.S. student, Jacob Graff from Dallas TX .
      GO! to learn more visit...

      Friday, January 21, 2011


      The scoop on growing roses sustainably in a new book of essays written by international rose experts, edited by Pat Shanley, Peter Kukielski and Gene Wearing from Newbury Books, a division of Casemate Pub. U.K. $34.95

      Although an unschooled gardener myself, I've contributed "Memoirs of a Condo Rose Grower and Composter" to the book. above, 'All the Rage' blooming on my rooftop with drip irrigation

      Always looking for the New York connection for Garden Bytes readers, of particular interest are pieces by Kukielski and Karl McKoy, curators of roses at the NYBG and Queens Botanic Garden respectively, and Stephen Scanniello, former curator of roses at the BBG, now President of the Heritage Rose Foundation. Other local gardeners Pat Shanley and Marjorie Marcallino have written pieces as well, but the book's crucial message of sustanablitiy applies to us wether the expert is from India or California.

      John Starnes a rose hybridizer from Florida, contributed "Probiotic Rose Growing" and offers a recipe for Poop Soup for roses. A necessary ingredient is a gallon of fresh horse poop. My immediate thought is that since I no longer have my farm, this ingredient will be impossible to obtain in Manhattan; second thought crowding in on the first is an image of me shovel in hand, on Central Park South & Fifth Ave. where the horse carriages await their fares. Can I add horse pooper- scooper to my current title of trash scavenger?

      This book of individual essays would be improved a thousandfold if there were an Index at the end.

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