Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Greenest Block

(...or should that be the greenest blog?) As in The Greenest Block in Brooklyn. Competition. Sponsored by GreenBridge at the BBG.

Today I was one of four judges for a semi-final round of this Borough-wide competition, now in its fifteenth year, and we visited a couple of historically good performers as well as some other blocks competing for the honours. I mayn't tell you where we went, but the winners will be announced on August 5th. Fellow judges were BBG Director of Communications Leeann Lavin, writer Stephen Orr, who is working on a book about sustainable and forward-looking gardens in America that also manage to seduce, aesthetically; and Allison Mezzafonte, from AOL Living and Home, who is training for the New York marathon in her spare time. Phew. At least one can blog sitting down.

I caught glimpes of Brooklyns I hardly know, and met some lovely people; spoke to the Russians again, and got wet feet in today's nice rain. Saw a lot of echinacea, rudbeckia and a surprising number of gladioli. A pink pelican or two, some plastic deer, many begonias, some flags, green tomatoes, okra, amaranth, red mulch and late roses. And a rampant passion fruit vine grown by a beautiful woman with Views on community gardening...

I took more pictures than I have time to post and will catch up with some more tomorrow. Day lilies. Lots of day lilies. No, I didn't eat any.

I caught myself walking home looking very critically at all the tree beds on the way. And walked straight out onto my terrace and started to deadhead some basil that had erupted into flower.


  1. Rampant passion fruit vine? Tell me more, tell me more! Ah, and the community garden part sounds good too..

  2. Can't wait to see more pics! Looks like fun... on a completely different note, what is your take on mulch? I never saw any in SA, and here I see it everywhere. Isn't it better to just leave leaves (*ahem*) on flower beds than use material hauled in from somewhere else? And is it really necessary?

  3. jvdh - the passion fruit was weird, because they are not known to be cold hardy here in the NE of the USA. But this one was, totally. Tolonda, its owner, gets 30 fruit a year off it. Sound slike my fig tree. Drool. My mom always has a huge bakvol on the kitchen table when I visit: you can smell grenadilla as you walk in the front door. Sob. Nou's ek eers lus.

    In this case the passion might be an indicator plant telling us that, since it's hardy here now, the weather is Warming.

    KBD - RSA in the house! :-)

    Ja-nee. Mulch. It's so....neurotic over here.

    First of all, the red and deep black stuff: NONONO! It's full of dye and poison.

    The best mulch - which is actually jolly useful for retaining soil moisture, supressing weeds and keeping roots cooler - is real compost: what you said; rotted leaves and organic matter. The Industry that is mulch is just that. A bark chipping bad building material recycling chinese construction waste cedar forest denuding Industry.


    Is it necessary? Not if you have mature beds where perennials and shrubs stand shoulder to shoulder - because they are cooling the soil naturally, and shading out weeds. It is helpful if you have serious water issues. Or are doing some urban landscaping or gardening where you can't weed every day or even every week.

    On the whole I find it over-used and misunderstood.

    Was dit deeglik genoeg?

  4. "Misunderstood mulch" Name of an all-girl pop band?
    I'm with you on the over-use of wood chips and wish the demon chippers would shred it properly then compost it for complete breakdown.
    Your blog, my hobby-horse. Sorry!

  5. I ask in a curious rather than accusatory tone, what are Views? Do they have a certain political slant or are they exactly what they sound like?

    "Yes" is an adequate answer, but specificity a delight.

  6. I hate the huge chips, too Dinahmow :-)

    JMH - thanks for clarifying the tone, since my skin is about as thin as a new garlic's...:-) Views, just means she has strong opinions and in this case they were very nice, well-put and theatrically demonstrated. She was pretty much made for a camera.

  7. Thank you Marie. Yes, dis genoeg... perfect, in fact.I have not got a decent answer from Americans, I guess they're so used to mulch. I spent an hour weeding my tiny (tiny!) garden last night, so these are all good, good things to know... especially for when I grow up and have a real garden.

    Ooh, and what would make this afternoon perfect? Granadilla cordial and sprite :)


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