Friday, March 30, 2012


I'm sure you can tell that this was written for work... just sayin.

Anyone familiar with Greek mythology might recall the story of Narcissus who stumbled upon a pool of water and then became so obsessed with his own reflection that he knelt in front of it until he died. As mythology tells, a flower sprang from this spot which bears the name of Narcissus and botanical Latin has come to recognize. The other derivation is that the plant is named after its narcotic properties literally translating to “I grow numb” in Greek.
The common name Daffodil is derived from a "Affodell", referring to the genus Asphodelus (other beautiful plants connected with sites of death in Greek mythology). The dutch article “de” was added to the name when the bulb was introduced to Northern Europe and  other variants such as "daffadown Dilly", "daffadown dilly", and "daffydowndilly" have appeared since the 16th century. You might also hear it called by the name Jonquil, in the south, as most of the heat tolerant cultivars stem from the species Narcissus jonquilla.  
Daffodil’s are symbolic in many cultures. In the United States they’re a symbol of rebirth and spring. In Germany the Daffodil is connotated with Easter as it is commonly called Osterglocke, or Easter bell. China has a story of a poor man who held a golden cup shaped flower and he received many cups of gold for it. Being able to force a Daffodil to bloom during the Chinese New Year is considered to be a symbol of upcoming wealth. 

New York City has its own Daffodil history. The Daffodil Project was founded in 2001 to memorialize the attacks of September 11th. The Parks Department and NY4P teams up with volunteers every fall to plant daffodils in public spaces to celebrate their blooming as symbols of perseverance and restoration. As of 2008, 1.5 million bulbs had been donated to this project after Hans van Waardenburg (B&K Bulbs) made his initial donation. The Daffodil Project continues to plant daffodils every autumn with the help of volunteers throughout the five boughs.
Most varieties of Narcissus are very accommodating to novice gardeners. There are over 50 registered species and over 13,000 registered hybrids at the present. If you’re tired of seeing the classic bright yellow, look for more modern hybrids in green, orange, white, and pink. Flowers can be large or small, single to multi-petaled, tall or short, fragrant or unscented. No matter what your tastes are in flowers, there is probably a Narcissus for you. They’ll even come back year after year.
If you find yourself as enamored with Daffodils as Narcissus was with his reflection, be sure to check out the American Daffodil Society, browse through the Daffodil database, or participate in a nearby Daffodil festival.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Apparently my Amaryllis finally bloomed at my father's house. It really didn't want to have anything to do with dormancy last year. Looks like it even had some babies.  I do have some confusion about this bulb. I purchased them from colorblends in 2010 and they've had no problems blooming. In fact, they might have been the biggest amaryllis bulbs I've ever seen. What I am concerned about, is that this variety looks alot more like 'Rilona' than 'Aphrodite.' I hadn't noticed it during the past two years.. but then again, I really can't remember if I looked THAT closely at it.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winter Field Trips

So, you're a gardener. What do you do in the winter?

Alot of stuff happens in the winter. I won't go through all of it in this post (mostly because painting and mopping aren't out of the job description) but alot of pruning takes place in the winter. Tools need sharpening, designs need to be made for the next year, records need to be maintained and of course, I pray that all snow falls on my rdos.

One thing we've been doing this year is checking out other parks to see what sort of systems they have in place and how they manage every day problems.

(The Bottom line is, I was looking through all of the random things I took photos of this winter and found it rather amusing.)

These pictures are from Battery Park/Battery Park City. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't confused about the naming scheme. They both make up the southern tip of Manhattan. Just connect them and get it over with. We also came across some other really awesome small park down there, unfortunately my fingers were too frozen for me to take pictures at that point. Best rock formations I've seen that far downtown.


 Edging (with hand for scale...)

 Great patch of Euphorbia

 Super comfortable looking non-homeless-deterring benches
(technical term)

 Minimalistic fencing (notice that people stand in the middle for no reason..)

 Beautiful Cyclamen

Bergenia 'Winter glow' One of my favorites

 Fancy irrigation hook up (and Yucca 'Gold Sword' and random weed)

 Crazy trellises

 Cardinal and some grasses

 Ugliest sacrificial-altar-chess-boards I've ever seen.

Proper, washable, surface on a dogrun.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Golden Spring

I took this picture yesterday afternoon. According to my roommate, it's a bit early for Clouded sulphurs, Colias philodice to be out. I won't argue that. It's barely March and we already have butterflies out.

The Eranthis hyemalis is adorable as well. I didn't think these cuties were going to break dormancy this year. I was wrong.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Apparently a picture of me was featured on the cover of the uconn 2009 turf research report. The more you know...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mushroom update

If anyone was wondering, the mushroom kit does work. I do recommend altering the packaging a bit. Take it out of the cardboard, put it in a ziplock and occasionally fill the bag with water and drain it in 24 hours.  Keep the bag mostly closed at all times and this will increase humidity so that you'll get a good crop before everything dries out. Don't put the bag in direct light or where its hot and make sure the bag is big enough for the mushrooms to actually grow.

Easy pickins.

Friday, March 2, 2012


So I'm working on next months nycss newsletter.  Here's a teaser...

Genus Spotlight: Acharagma
The genus Acharagma consists of two small cacti species from northern Mexico. Acharagma aguirreana  and Acharagma  roseana were previously placed under the genus Escobaria. Chareles Glass reclassified them into Acharagma in 1998. Despite its previous association with Escobaria, the plant is more closely related to Pediocactus and Lophophora. Breeders in Denmark have been working to hybridize Acharagma roseana and various species of Pediocactus and Lophophora to create hybrids bearing showier blooms.
These plants have tubercles (raised bumps) with ungroved areoles. The name of the genus Acharagma actually translates to "no groove" in Greek [a (no) - charagma (groove)]. The spines are quite thick and short (>1in.) can obscure much of the stem.  Flowers are produced at the stem tip and have a darker vertical stripe.The fruits are produced in little green pods. Both species may produce offsets from the bottom.
Acharagma roseana
USDA Z 9-10
Acharagma roseana is native to the mountains of Coahuila and Nuero Leon where it grows at elevations of 5000-7000ft. The species is slow branching, forming clusters with age. Each stem reaches a mature height of 2.5 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. They contain 4-6 central spines and 15-30 radical spines in shades of white or gold. Plants are prone to root rot so grow them on the dry side. Flowers are very small, up to .8 inches in diameter and range from yellow to pink. They prefer full sun but will take light shade. Plant can be propagated from seed or by cuttings.
USDA Z10-11
This critically endangered globose species is native to the Coahuila de Zaragoza in central Mexico. Less than 1,000 plants/ sq km exist in the wild because of illegal poaching. This species is solitary and small, reaching heights of 2 inches. They contain 15-20 spines in shades of white and deep brown. Flowers are red or yellow, up to .8 inches in diameter.