Pitchforks (and hydrant wrenches) aloft!

Flower Power! We are neighbors who are interested in bringing some botanical beauty to the bike-lane
tree pits so we have persuaded the city to allow us to garden there unimpeded. Anyone is welcome to
join at any level of involvement. There are no dues and no formal meetings; Just a desire to keep
Chelsea tree-lined and flower-filled. Join us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Host of Golden Daffodils

Sunday's bulb pickup and planting was a big success. At 1 pm the Daffodil Project gave us two thousand bulbs (500 for the block associations) and by 6 p.m. we had planted more than a thousand (one tends to lose count after twenty) bulbs in two dozen pits. So if you want to imagine what West Chelsea will look like next April, think of Wordsworth:

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Flower Power!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Annual Chelsea Community Meeting Tues., Oct. 18th

Once a year everyone in Chelsea is invited to meet with neighbors,
police, elected representatives & local resources at the

Tuesday - OCTOBER 18th - 315 WEST 22 STREET

doors open at 6:30 guest speakers beginb at 7:00 pm:

The 10th Police Precinct on Community safety

NYC Compost Project in Manhattan & TreesNY
Tree care on composting.

The Jack-O-Lantern Composting Project

Free daffodil bulbs & leaf collection bags will be given out.

Chelsea Then & Now video: http://vimeo.com/20312192

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Colors

Callen-Lorde's pit on 18th Street is looking particularly beautiful lately!

Everyone, don't forget the bulb planting this Sunday (Oct. 16) at 2pm NE corner of 22nd and 9th Avenue. I'd like every pit to have at least a few daffodil bulbs so the neighborhood will have Spring daffodils. We're getting 1,000 bulbs so come by and pick up yours!!
Flower Power!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Highline events

Johnny Linville, the Horticulture Foreman of the Highline sent this:
For more see www.thehighline.org

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 7:00PM - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 8:00PM
Rail Yards Talks: Rick Darke

In this public talk, entitled The High Line’s Wild Gardens: Past, Present, and Future, author, photographer, and landscape ethicist Rick Darke will talk about his experience photographing the High Line, and discuss the park’s impact on landscape design and urban planning across the world.
Rick Darke first visited the High Line in 2002, when Joshua David and Robert Hammond invited him to see the self-seeded landscape that had taken over the structure. Since then, Darke has been documenting the landscape as it changes in color and texture throughout the seasons. An internationally recognized expert on grasses, Darke has visited the High Line with Piet Oudolf, Melissa Fisher and other staff to talk about the roles these unique plants play on the High Line.
In this talk and slideshow, Darke will take the audience on a visual tour of the High Line, discussing its past, present, and future. A short Q&A will follow the presentation.
14th Street Passage
On the High Line at 14th Street
This High Line Program is free and open to visitors of all ages. No RSVP required. Seating is available on a first-come, first served basis.
This is the second of three talks about the High Line at the Rail Yards. Friends of the High Line Co-Founder Robert Hammond will speak on Wednesday, October 5.


Saturday, October 1, 2011 10:00AM - Saturday, October 1, 2011 11:30AM
Learn to Compost in the City

Learn how to nourish your plants and cut down on household waste with urban composting. The High Line gardeners will teach the basics, and review options for composting in a dense, urban environment like New York City. Participants will take home their own worm composting bin.
14th Street Passage On the High Line at 14th Street
This High Line Program is free and open to visitors ages 16 and up. RSVP is required.

September Pit Maintenance

September Gardening Tips from the NY Botanical Garden

* Complete ordering spring-flowering bulbs and other plants for fall planting
* Continue to assess areas in the garden that may need additional planting
* Continue to take garden notes and/or photographs to plan future plantings

Chores and Maintenance

* Collect seed from perennials and annuals
* Remove and compost spent annuals and fallen leaves
* Continue to aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition
* Continue to check for insect pests and treat accordingly
* Continue to remove any fallen leaves and debris that can harbor insect pests and disease organisms
* Continue to apply deer repellent (or maybe rat repellent in NYC)
* Begin to feed birds

* Continue to propagate herbs from new growth and transplant into pots for winter use
* Continue to divide and transplant early-blooming perennials
* Divide daylilies after flowering
* Plant lilies
* Sow hardy annuals in prepared planting beds
* Plant late-season annuals like ornamental kale and cabbage for fall color
* Sow parsley, radish, lettuce, carrot, and onion
* Complete planting out seedling biennials


* Prune rambler roses
* Prune to remove any diseased and dead rose canes
* Add organic matter such as manure, compost and/or leaf mold to improve soils
* Fertilize roses one last time

Friday, September 2, 2011

Free daffodils Sunday October 16 at 2pm

Mark your calendars and bring some bags.

The Daffodil Project is generously giving us 1,000 bulbs for our pits. Phyllis and I will pick them up around noon and we'll distribute them soon after. It would be nice if we could also plant them that afternoon so we could help each other.
Let's say pick up will be around 2pm. Location to be announced.
Flower Power!

Caterpillars to Butterflies

Well it's finally happened; I'm going to be mother. I had about 20 bright green-with-black-band caterpillars working their way through the parsley last week and now they've disappeared. From what I've found on the Internet, in about 10 days (Sept. 11), I will have Black Swallowtail butterfly babies!
Come by then and see. (20th and 9th).
Flower (or Parsley) Power!!

My source:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I ordered 1100 daffodils

I think that should cover most of Chelsea!

Sign up for Fall Daffodils

The Daffodil Project is taking orders for bulbs. Daffodil bulbs are free to civic organizations, individuals, corporate volunteer groups, schools and community leaders who commit to planting them in a park or public space such as a schoolyard, street tree pit or community garden. That's us! If you want some for your pit we can either get one bag of 550 bulbs for our group and split them up or each of us can go to this website individually and register:


Registration will close August 28th so I will need to know by August 24 (Wednesday) if we want to share a big bag.

Bulbs will be distributed in late September/early October.

Let me know which way you want to do this. Email me at cgc.nyc@gmail.com
Flower Power!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

See the Video and Join the Pit Tour

Lisa Gaye at 19th and 8th filmed her gardening experience and posted it on Youtube. Watch the video and you'll say: "Holy Sunflower Batman!!"

Don't forget the Pit Tour Sunday for a closer look. This has been such a happy project full of really terrific people. I hope you'll join us.
Flower Power!
Missy Adams

First Annual Tree Pit Tour
Mark your calendar for Sunday, July 31st.
You are invited to join us in a stroll along
Eighth and Ninth Avenues
(26th to 18th Streets)
to survey the flowers and foliage we’ve
planted in the bicycle lane tree pits.
Meet at 23rd St. and 8th Ave.
in front of Dallas BBQ at 3 P.M.

Flower Power!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Chelsea Garden Club's First Annual Pit Tour

Mark your Calendars for Sunday, July 31 and spruce up your pits! Let's meet at 23rd and 8th in front of Dallas BBQ at 3pm. We'll stroll along Eighth Avenue and back up Ninth Avenue to admire each others' handiwork--before the August heat takes its toll on our beautiful flowers. Bring your friends...and anyone else.
See you then and Flower Power!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

High School of Fashion Industries

Welcome to the High School of Fashion Industries students (and their librarian-leader)!
They will be tending the pit(s) on 24th and 8th so if you see them, say hello!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bits of bark and mulch

The Parks Department dumped a big pile of wood chips on Eight Avenue for the Garden Club pits. There are still a few bags worth of bark and mulch available to anyone willing to trek over to Eight Avenue and 22nd Street, It's piled just north of the pit on the North side. Help yourself. Hopefully is will keep your garden moist. A very grateful "thank you" to Parks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A late Spring/almost Summer celebration

Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 19 at 4pm. I'd like to get everyone together at Clement Clarke Moore Park (22nd Street and 9th Avenue) to celebrate our achievements so far, share tips (and plants if you want to bring them) and make plans for future gardening.
I will provide some lemonade and cookies. If anyone else wants to bring some refreshments, that would be great too. We'll meet at the Park and if everyone is up for it, perhaps we can tour the pits on 8th and 9th Avenues and admire our handiwork.
I look forward to seeing all of you.

Flower Power!

Iron sulphate and good soil

Phyllis Waisman and Paul Bodden made an attempt to rescue the tree in the
bike lane island on the south side of 21st Street at 9th Avenue. The
tree, a pin oak, has recently started turning yellow (chlorosis). It turned
out that the base of the tree trunk was buried by almost 5 inches of dirt
and debris including some large chunks of cement. Paul and Phyllis
excavated the soil to the tree base level for about 1 to 3 feet around the
base of the tree.

Phyllis filled the tree garter with water and the cement and dead juniper
were discarded. The soil, which is of fairly good quality, was loaded up
into 5 bags and taken for storage in Paul's yard. Any one suffering with
poor soil on 8th Avenue might want to take some of this better soil and work
it into your pit.

At the advice of Steven Boyce from TreesNY, iron sulphate has been ordered
and will be added to the soil next week. Pin oaks are particularly
sensitive to alkaline soils and cement and lime can affect them adverse

Ideally, the soil level should be lowered 4-5" for a full 3 feet around so
that the tree roots can breathe, but we didn't want to disturb the plantings
in the pit. Again, ideally, some kind of barrier could be put in to keep
the soil from spilling back towards the base of the tree.

If anyone need some iron sulphate or good dirt, contact cgc.nyc@gmail.com


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Need Volunteers April 30

Twenty first street could use our help. (And you might learn a thing or two). Bring whatever tools you have and dig in. Saturday from 10a-4p on 21st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Flower Power!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Workshop on the Highline April 30!

April 30: Divide & Grow Garden Workshop

Join us for a garden workshop, where you will learn how to divide clumps of grasses and perennials, and take home a special plant from the park to grow in your own garden.

As the High Line's perennials and grasses mature, some grow into ever-widening clumps that must be divided to keep the plants vigorous and blooming. Spring is an ideal time for dividing many plants since it marks the start of the growing cycle.

This High Line program is $15 for members of Friends of the High Line, $20 for non-members, and is designed for ages 13 and up. Please visit our Event Calendar to purchase tickets or to learn more.

Danya Sherman
Director of Public Programs, Education, & Community Engagement
Friends of the High Line
(212) 206-9922

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pit Guidelines

Phyllis has gotten approval for our final planting and tending guidelines. She spent an enormous amount of time not only putting them together, but getting everyone's input and approval. Be sure to take a look at them as we are relying on the kindness of the various city agencies and I want us all to be conscious of their wishes, especially as we are the test case for the rest of the city pits. A big responsibility for such small spaces.


The care of the tree pit begins in late April and ends at the first frost (usually mid-November).

1. Clean the tree pit at the beginning of spring.
2. Flush the tree pit with lots of water to remove salt deposits.
3. Mix in a thin layer of compost annually (maximum ½ inch in depth).
4. Use a hand cultivator (looks like a three-pronged claw) to loosen and aerate the top 1” to 2” of soil. The majority of the tree’s roots are in the top 18 inches of soil, so be gentle!
5. Plant annuals, perennials or bulbs until your heart’s content. (No vegetables, please.) For plant and flower suggestions, go to the Chelsea Garden Club blog at http://chelseagardenclub.blogspot.com.
6. Give newly planted trees about 10-15 gallons of water each week during the summer. That’s about 4-5 large buckets. Give trees older than one year about 8-10 gallons of water. That’s about 3-4 large buckets. The key is to water slowly.
7. Add a layer of mulch to the tree pit. Please don’t pile mulch against the tree trunk or shrubs because water may accumulate and rot them.
8. Please remove any weeds often.
9. At the end of the season, please remove annuals and cut back shrubs.

1. Do not plant flowers that will grow taller than 2 feet. The line of sight, sight distance and visibility of motorists approaching these locations are important.
2. Do not plant bamboo, ivy, vines, woody shrubs or evergreens since they compete for water and can stunt or kill a tree.
3. Avoid planting near the tree trunk up to 12 inches.
4. For now, please do not put fencing, stones, signs or blocks around or inside of the tree pit.
5. Never raise the soil level more than ½ inch.
6. If the tree dies or be destroyed, it will be replaced by NYC Dept. of Parks. The Dept. of Parks will replace a dead tree, but any flowers or plants in the pit will be removed when a new tree is planted.

1. All gardeners must be 21 years of age or older.
2. Wear gloves.
3. Bag and dispose of any garbage properly.
4. Try to recycle what materials can be recycled.
5. MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE CAREFUL when working in a tree pit. You have traffic on one side and bikes on the other. We want you to enjoy your tree pit creations.

The Chelsea Garden Club reports into Community Board 4. Our direct contact is Jim Jasper.


Friday, March 25, 2011

So Much Creativity!

We have some landscape artists who will hopefully be joining in at the Eighth Avenue and 27th Street pit. I am posting their proposal as a picture on the right. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Composting Ideas

Neil in Chelsea wrote:

"Last week we got a message from the Block Association advertising a compost service at Abingdon Square every Saturday. We haven't been able to bring stuff there on Saturdays, so our organics are starting to pile up!

Does CGC have a composting station in the neighborhood, that's a little closer to home?"

Do any of you have any ideas how we can set up a composting site?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cheap plants

The Parks Dept - Greenbelt Native Plant Center over on Staten Island has a long list of drought tolerant, sun loving and butterfly friendly plants that they grow and we might be able to get cheaply. Look on their website lists starting here:


Then put your lists in the comments section (with your name) and I will try to see if we can order them.
Cheap is good!

Three Plant Lists

From Luis whose pit is on 25th and Ninth:
The colored cosmos and petunias did well for me last year. Zinnias do well, are drought resistant and give lots of seeds you can save. I also have pansies that are already coming up on their own from last year. Echinacea are very hardy too. I am giving sweet peas a try this year-- am sprouting indoors now-fingers crossed.

from Eric on Ninth and 21st:
Here's a list of plants that I've used: Don't know all the scientific names.
1. Russian Sage
2. Sedum: I can't recall the specific type, but it grew to be about 14" tall and had pink flowers.
3. Cone Flower
4. Bee Balm
5. Ornamental sunflowers
6. Black-eyed Susans
7. Hens and chicks (Jovibarba Hirta)
8. Orange Cosmos (annuals, but self-seed)
9. Burgundy grass
10. Asitlbe

And from Paul:
Hi, Here is my (unintentionally exhaustive) list of plants that I've had success with in difficult sunny situations.

Botanical name (common names)
Perennials (come back each year)
Achillea (Yarrow, Boneset) silvery foliage, usually yellow flowers in an flat umbrella-like arrangement
Allium (Ornamental Onion) summer bulb, many types and sizes
Aquilegia (Columbine) many different colors and sizes, the wild purple ones are easiest
Armeria (Thrift) gray foliage, pink flowers, short clumps
Coreopsis (Tickseed) many, many varieties, yellow daisies some with brown or red touches
Dianthus (Pinks) many varieties, usu. grayish foliage and, yes, pink flowers. There are annual types also
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Eryngium (Sea Holly) rosette of spiny gray foliage, purple flowers
Geranium (Cranesbill) a perennial, NOT the flower-pot half-hardy annual type. Some types are more drought-resistant than others
Liatris (Gayfeather) native of US prairies, spikes of purple-pink fuzzy flowers
Lupinus perennis (Wild Lupine) a New York native, a little tricky to establish
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Nepeta (Cat Mint) fragrant, grayish foliage, purple-pink flowers not too tall
Origanum (Oregano) and most other Mediterranean herbs like Thyme
Oenothera (Evening Primrose, Sundrop) yellow flowers, rapid spreader
Perovskia (Russian Sage) (not a salvia) – tough and beautiful
Platycodon (Balloon Flower) usually purple-blue flowers, also pink and white
Rudbeckia (Coneflower) yellow to gold flowers
Salvia (sage) many types some perennial, some annual
Sedum (Stonecrop) succulent with brush-like flowers
Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks) succulents, generally smaller than sedums
Viola (Johnny Jump Up) small semi-hardy biennial that re-seeds itself if you’re lucky

Annuals (one season only) useful for fill and until the perennials get established
Cleome (Spider Flower)
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) multi-colored daisies, there are perennial types also
Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)
Snapdragon half-hardy perennial
Verbena bonariensis tall grass-like with small purple-pink flowers, half-hardy

Plant Sale

Paul Bodden mentioned that the Conservancy in Battery Park is having a plant sale. They are propagated by the Battery Conservancy from their own gardens and have very mature root systems so they are strong and have a better chance of surviving. You can order online now and pickup the plants the first week of May. Their website has a link to their plant database. Check it for drought tolerant perennials. There is one price, $11, for any plant. Here's the website:


Spring Pre-Planting Meeting Productive

This past Sunday afternoon, the first day of Spring of course, about 15 members of the Chelsea Garden Club met to sort out the caretaking assignments and duties of the Eighth and Ninth Avenue tree pits from 17th Street to 23rd Street.

We've had a tremendous response to our call for pit volunteers. Almost all of the blocks have been claimed. Seventeenth Street on both avenues still needs gardeners. And several pits above 23rd are also spoken for, so to speak. If you would like to participate in any that strike your fancy, email me and I will put you in touch with others on the same spot or sign you up for your own spot. Also look for the sign up link on this blog to see what's still available.

It was fantastic meeting my fellow volunteers and urban gardeners in person and discussing all our issues and plans. It's a passionate bunch!

CGC member Phyllis Waisman, who attended a meeting last week hosted by Sen. Tom Duane's office, has developed a list of guidelines that should help as we plan our pits. I will post that as a separate link next week. It seems that we are the test case for other neighborhoods as DOT bicycle lanes and their concrete and mulch offspring extend their routes North.

Consequently, there are several important things to keep in mind:

*Please, no plants higher than two feet or that will obstruct the view of traffic.
*Don't destroy or discard the city plants currently in the pit.
*No fences, stones, containers or anything that could pose a hazard to pedestrians. (I will talk about other dog preventives in a later post.)
*Those who are caring for their particular pits should pay for their own materials. At this point we would prefer our efforts to be self sufficient. So no grants and no solicitations of local businesses. We can revisit the issue later on if everyone disagrees. In the meantime, those within the group will happily share, plant and tool-wise.
*The design and look of your garden is up to you but please keep away from plants that will need too much water or will hurt the tree. Nothing dangerous or poisonous, obviously.

That said, we have a wealth of expert gardeners in the group including a landscape designer who have offered to help us in procuring plants at good prices. I will let you know when he and others will be taking orders.

Paul Bodden mentioned that the Conservancy in Battery Park is having a plant sale. Also I will post a separate list of plants that have thrived in several pits on Ninth Avenue in case you would like to incorporate them into your own garden. See next post for details on both.

I will be at the pit on 20th Street and 9th Avenue early most weekend mornings. If you are nearby, come over and say hi.
Flower Power!

Monday, March 7, 2011

First Day of Spring-CGC Preplanting Meeting

I have notified all those who expressed an interest in planting that we will be meeting March 20 at 4pm to pool our resources and ideas and discuss Parks Department requirements. If I have left anyone out (completely unintentionally I'm sure) and you would like to attend the meeting, please email me at cgc.nyc@gmail.com by Friday March 11 and I will sent you the address where we will be meeting.
Happy Spring and Flower Power!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And so it begins: Begonia rescue

From Paul B.

Hello fellow Chelsea gardeners,
I am about to thin out and transplant the hundreds of begonia seedlings I
have growing under lights in my basement.  If any of you think you might
want to rescue a few to grow indoors until planting time, let me know.

They are annual fibrous begonias 'Super Olympia Rose' compact green-leaved
plants with large rose-pink flowers, drought tolerant, suitable for shade or
Cheers, Paul
(Anyone who is interested can email cgc.nyc@gmail.com  or comment here and I will pass it along to Paul.)
Flower Power

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grow Baby Grow!

The meeting with the Parks Department and others was enlightening and ultimately successful. In short: We will be able to tend and add to the plants in the tree pits on 8th and 9th Avenues! 

I am keeping the list of who wants to garden at which intersection so if you haven't signed up, send me an email.

Let's have another meeting, say March  20th (first day of Spring), time and location tba,  and we can discuss all sorts of plant ideas and guidelines.

Start planning your pits!
Flower Power!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Meeting with Parks Department

Hey Everyone,
Sarah at Tom Duane's office has set up a meeting with Sen. Duane and Parks and others on February 11th. 
Phyllis, James and I will be there to make our case for planting and fencing and ask for help with watering and supplies like dirt and mulch.

If there are any other points or requests you feel are important to mention at this meeting, post them on the Chelsea Garden Club blog or reply to me via email.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Best wishes and Flower Power!
Missy Adams

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pick Your Pit

I am thrilled that so many people have expressed an interest in helping plant and maintain the tree pits. I haven't been paying attention to exactly who has staked out which pit but I know some people are planning on doubling up and others just want to pitch in occasionally where help might be needed.

I've set up a list (the link is to the right) so people can sign up for a spot and coordinate with others in terms of work and supplies. I don't want to get overly involved in who is doing what but it would be nice to match people with pits either on the avenues or the side streets. That way we can more evenly distribute our neighborhood beautification.

If anyone has a better idea on this or knows how to set up a more interactive list on this blog, either comment below or email me.

Anyway, once we get Parks Dept on board, I'll turn to that. Plenty of time before Spring planting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Meeting of the Chelsea Garden Club (CGC)

We held our first meeting January 8th to formally establish a collective of Chelsea residents who want to plant and maintain the tree pits in 8th and 9th Avenues without obstruction from the Department of Transportation, the Parks Department or Greenstreets. Additionally, we are hoping for some support from those agencies, in the form of training, and some very limited supplies and maintenance, namely mulch and water.

With the help of Sen. Tom Duane's office we will have that guaranteed in writing from Parks and Greenstreets before Spring planting.

I have set up this blog in order to inform  and coordinate everyone who might be interested in our urban gardening project. Hopefully we can share resources, labor and information and make these dog patches into lush oases that everyone will enjoy!

Right now, members have signed up to care for the tree pits along 9th Avenue at 25th & 26th Streets,  23rd, 22nd, 20th and both the north and south sides of the 19th Street intersection. We still need volunteers for 21st Street as well as most of 8th Avenue (8th and 22nd has been spoken for). Several members are also planning to upgrade some damaged tree pits on the side streets between 8th and 9th Avenues and are looking for additional volunteers.

On a defensive front, we discussed options for protecting these spaces from dogs and others using fencing or other deterrents. One  person emailed that the Flatiron District had lovely fencing protecting their trees and had paid for them with contributions from local businesses. Perhaps this is something to research discuss at the next meeting.

If you are interested in pitching in, have some great ideas or just want to come to one of our random meetings for coffee and snacks, please email me. The more the merrier. In the meantime I will let everyone know the outcome of the meeting with Sen. Duane and Parks once it finally takes place.
Keep your fingers crossed and your pitchforks ready.
Flower Power!