Tuesday, March 15, 2022


Park B255O has a name. 

The #18thStreetPollinators sign I ordered arrived from Etsy and was planted with the first plants on Friday, March 11th. It provides a succinct explanation for curious onlookers. The goal of the garden? To transform neglected park into a calm botanical oasis for humans and a feeding-stop for New York City pollinators.

If you would like to make a contribution there is a Donate button in the left side bar. 

I was hoping to have an 18thStreetPollinators Instagram account established quickly for passersby wanting to find out more, but a vexing glitch at Instagram's end has stalled it, for now. Very frustrating (because of the time it wasted). Hence the update, here.

I spent two hours planting, but only after spending around 45 minutes shifting massive layers of large-chip mulch to reach the soil. I imagine it was dumped so thickly to suppress weeds. I do remember a very lush patch of chickweed here, last spring. There was also evidence of mallow (long, living tap roots) and dock. The only living things under the trees. Also plenty of earthworms! Which will help with drainage.

My first stop was plant-collection: They may not look impressive right now but it's still pre-spring and this collection is dormant. Gowanus Nursery's Michele Palladino kindly donated plants she had to remove from one of the gardens she tends. An Eden rose, Hypericum, fescues, and asters. Alyse, an Instagram friend, donated lots of Heuchera, as well as phlox, geraniums, mountain mint and a hyssop. I am so grateful.

The NYC Parks sign at least designates this a city park, but there has been no response yet to my emails asking about official stewardship. 

While I worked, four people arrived to sit on the benches. One threw my work bag off before settling down. They were three adults who were developmentally impaired, and their minder, who apologized about the bag, and promptly fell asleep (he snored). They just sat, not able to engage, apparently, and made noises from time to time while I dug. I hoped my activity was at least more interesting than what must be their usual sitting-session.

Michele also gave me two yellow root plants - Xanthoriza simplicissima. I had never seen it before and it solved a forgotten plant ID question for me. It makes fascinating sprays of burgundy flowers, which I have seen in the woodlands in Central Park.

I concentrated on one long bed, planting the asters near some of the allium bulbs I buried a few weeks ago, along with the fescues, the rambling rose, mountain mint and a stray Echinacea. Because they are more or less invisible to anyone who is not a gardener I do worry about stomping, but also feel that they are less attractive to plant thieves than something that looks perfect. The faster I can get plants in, the more established the park may look and the more the threat-level drops. 

Three neighborhood friends are interested in helping out and I think this is the germ on an idea: Walk-by gardening. Dead-heading, weeding, spontaneous, co-operative, decentralized, and intuitive. 

I'll mention again what the NYC Parks and Recreation Department receives in funding: Less than 1% of New York City's annual budget. Most parks and gardens languish for lack of maintenance. It's the ongoing care that sees the least investment. 


Plant walk and picnic
18 March 2022


  1. Good luck!
    I'm always happy to see kerbside gardens, especially when people respect rather than abuse them.

    1. What is not in this park's favor is the fumes. It sits above (luckily not on the same level) a six-lane highway and the stench is quite sobering.

  2. More strength to your arm, Marie, and I hope the neighbours help with the work - walk by gardening sounds a great idea. As long as they distinguish a pollinator from a weed!
    And on another topic, ain't botanical names great? Xantho=yellow, rhiza=root
    Have I mentioned the book Latin for Gardeners by Lorraine Harrison before?

    1. "Community"garden can be a hotbed of strife! Luckily the lovely folks who have volunteered have good eyes and are interested in plants.

  3. Other than Paypal, is there another way to donate? Sorry for the bother.

    1. Hi Carol - than you for asking. Unfortunately not.

  4. Might this be a candidate for the New York Restoration Project? https://www.nyrp.org/

  5. Lynden Miller would be very proud of you!


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