Sunday, December 20, 2009

NARGS seed exchange seed list available

The NARGS seed exchange seed list is now available online.

For more information on the seed exchange, visit the NARGS seed exchange page.

Ordering deadline is Feb. 10.

NARGS looking for board nominations

From Alice Nicolson, Potomoc Valley Chapter and Chair, NARGS Nominating Committee 2010.

We're looking for three new Directors of the Board to help support the NARGS Administrative Committee who keeps our society running smoothly, adapting to members' changing needs and goals. Todd Boland, Florene Carney, and Don Dembowski will finish up their three-year terms next year, and we need people to replace them on the nine-person Board.

The job is conducted mostly by email, since most of us can't attend that many national meetings. We are basically asked to contribute our thoughts on the various issues that come up, and to vote on a few matters. Most of you are already contributing your time and ideas to your local chapters, but you may know members who might be interested in doing the same for our umbrella group, NARGS, or you may be interested in such a role for yourself.

Please suggest a couple of people whom you know who might be able to contribute to the continued development of NARGS. Send us their names and email addresses or phone numbers as soon as possible, at least before January 10. Don't worry - they won't be nominated unless they consent! We'll contact possible candidates to ask if they are willing serve, and if so, that they prepare a short gardening bio that can be published in the spring Quarterly. The deadline for that is February 1, so we don't have much time! We'll get going on this sooner next year, I promise.

Send your suggestions to any of the committee members listed below:

VA - Alice Nicolson -
NY - Lola Horwitz -
ONT - Anna Leggatt -
MA - Matt Mattus -
MN - Cheryl Philstrom -
CO - Nicola Ripley -
PA - Joan Schmitt -

With your help, I think we'll come up with another three good people to help keep NARGS running.

NARGS on Facebook

Visit NARGS' new Facebook page.

The page was created by Hugh MacMillan, NARGS webmaster, and will help the newly formed Membership Committee, chaired by Matt Mattus (Mass.), recruit new members.

Spencer Crest Nature Center rock garden update

From Bill Plummer:

Here is the progress report on the pavilion rock garden at the Spencer Crest Nature Center.

It has been submitted to the Norman Singer Endowment committee and to Todd Boland, the Image Coordinator for the NARGS web site and photos have been posted thereon.

There are dozens of plants that I just HAVE to get after Don's talk yesterday. I spoke to him about creating a bog garden on the west side of the pavilion and he offered plants.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2010 Membership Form

It's time to re-up for 2010. You can send the 2010 membership form electronically, or print and mail or bring to our next meeting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Want a copy of Native Plants of the Northeast?

From Carol Eichler:

Because we sold out of Don Leopold's book Native Plants of the Northeast so quickly at our meeting (8 copies weren't enough), please contact me, Carol Eichler, (, 607-387-5823) if you were one who missed out and would like to purchase a copy. We need a minimum order from Timber Press (I believe it's 12) to get the discount of 50%. There's a small shipping charge too but the Chapter covered that. We can add other books to beef up the order. So if you have any books on your wish list, we can add them as well - in time for holiday giving - if I get a good response.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Deer Fortress

From Carol Eichler:

My fall anemones have never looked so great! In spite of the fact that I grow them near the house, the deer are bold enough (as you all know) to enjoy them as a snack just when the plants begin to flower.

This year, after the first early nibbles (earlier would have been better), I hung out a product called Deer Fortress. You'll notice (picture below) I used ski poles located about every 6 to 8 feet because I needed the Deer Fortress's small cylindrical canisters to be located at about flower height.

You can see for yourself that Deer Fortress ended my deer dilemma. The really nice thing about this product - besides its effectiveness - is that they last a whole season. No need to reapply. I use them elsewhere in my garden as well.

Yes, they are available locally or by mail order. This is my second year using them. I'm curious as to whether other members are familiar with this product and if they've had equal success.

Click image for larger view.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

October newsletter

The October issue of The Green Dragon is online in reader/printer friendly .pdf format.

Coming This March: NARGS Seed Exchange 2010, Surplus Round

From Rosemarie Parker:

Our chapter has agreed to coordinate the Surplus Seed round of the NARGS Seed Exchange again this year. The process should be less hectic than last year, as more people adjust to the web-only seed list and get their orders in for the first round. BZ Marranca has agreed to be overall coordinator, and we hope to have weekly coordinators as well to share some of the work. For national NARGS members, the incentives include getting “donor status” on the next year’s exchange (10 more packets + priority order filling) and the ability to choose your own surplus seed purchase. The chapter is looking at several incentives for local members who are not national members, so that everyone will want to help. Look for details around February, as the work will take place throughout March. If you have questions or want sign on as one of the weekly coordinators, contact BZ Marranca:

Holly Shimizu on Sustainable Landscapes in Corning

From Bill Plummer:

October 30: Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden will be speak on Creating Sustainable Landscapes at 171 Cedar Arts Center's Drake House Theater, 155 Cedar Street, Corning, N.Y. at 10 a.m. Directions and more info at

Plant of the Month for October

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month coordinator:

The Plant of the Month at our October 11 meeting will be miniature Narcissi. We’ll have a selection of bulbs available. The first dozen will be free to each member and any remaining bulbs will be available to purchase. Since we’re buying in quantity, leftover bulbs will be sold at a good price. Narcissi prefer full sun to partial shade, neutral soil, and good drainage. Pending availability, our selection will include the varieties below, all hardy to at least zone 4, except N. caniculatus:

  • ‘Small Talk’ is an all yellow miniature trumpet, 5 to 6 inches high, blooming in April. Plant 5 to 6 inches deep and 5 inches apart.
  • ‘Segovia’ is a small cupped Narcissus. It has white perianth (the base) and a small disc shaped greenish-yellow cup. It’s 5 to 6 inches high, blooming in April. Plant 6 to 7 inches deep and 6 inches apart.
  • Narcissus canaliculatus is a species miniature with multiple flowers. It has a white reflexed perianth and a cup shaped golden crown. It’s 6 inches high, blooming in April. Plant 4 to 5 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. It’s reputedly hardy to zone 6, so try a protected spot, or be adventurous.
  • Narcissus cantabricus is a species miniature with white flowers. It’s 6 inches high and blooms in April. Plant 4 to 5 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. Availability may be limited.

Spring Bulbs: Three Months of Bloom

From ACNARGS member and Cornell Cooperative Extension educator, Pat Curran:

Spring Bulbs: Three Months of Bloom
Thurs. Oct. 1, 6:30-8:30 pm

Plan now to plant bulbs this fall for three months of bloom next year! Pat Curran, Horticulture Educator, will discuss different bulb varieties, planting and growing tips, and suggestions for using bulbs in the landscape. Spring Bulbs: Three Months of Bloom will be held Thurs. Oct. 1, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Tompkins County Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca. Fee: $5; pre-registration requested. Please call 272-2292 for more information or registration.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September newsletter

View/download the September newsletter in .pdf format.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

NARGS Seed Exchange seed list

From Joyce Fingerut, NARGS Seed Exchange Director:

The Seed Exchange Seed List will appear on the NARGS website on December 15, 2009. NARGS no longer will automatically distribute printed lists to all its members. NARGS national members who would like to receive a printed copy of the Seed List - either because of no computer, or slow internet connections - must request a copy by November 15, 2009. Write: Joyce Fingerut, 537 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, CT 06378-1805. Phone: 860.535.3067. Or email:

From the Chair

I want to invite everyone to my garden for our September meeting and bring your diseased plants – in a zip-lock bag please. I'm sure I have enough diseases of my own.

I also extend an invitation for any member to bring a note pad and annotate plants that you would like a start of from my garden. I have so much plant material and I would like to share them. I cannot guarantee that I can name them. In fact, I'd like the membership to help me name plants. I seemed to have developed 'plant Alzheimer's ' – I try to retrieve the names from my memory and I remember typically around 2 a.m. If you have a means of keeping your plant records bring them along to share.

Billie Jean Isbell

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Members' garden tour pictures

ACNARGS member Lynn posted more of the great pictures she took from the member garden tours earlier in the summer at her blog, Sin City to Slaterville. Check them out.

Let's visit Sycamore Hill Gardens October 12

From Donna Kraft, Vice chair/program:

Pamela Eveleigh, our speaker on Sunday, October 11, said that she would like to see our autumn colors and visit gardens. She will be in the area on Columbus Day, Monday, October 12. So I’ve made arrangements with Karen Hanford for ACNARGS access to their private Sycamore Hill Gardens in Marcellus!

Go to for an overview of these magnificent 25 acres! This is a wonderful opportunity for our membership to view these awesome gardens while extending accessibility to our speaker. We will meet at the gardens at 10:30 and take a leisurely tour. The Hanfords do request a $5 per person donation for continuing support of Baltimore Woods Centers for Nature Education. Those who wish may also join us for a quick bite to eat in Skaneateles.

Karen did ask about how many people might participate, so we will be taking a poll at the September meeting. For more information or to RSVP, contact me:, 315 696-8626. Sycamore Hill is located at 2130 Old Seneca Turnpike, Marcellus, NY 13108-9760.

NARGS 2010 Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars for the 2010 NARGS annual meeting: Romancing the Rockies - The Marriage of Plant and Stone, July 11-14, 2010, Denver & Salida, Colorado

Join the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NARGS for a trip to the undiscovered Colorado that is every bit as beautiful as—but somehow more pristine and authentic—than the famous resorts that grab headlines. The meeting is scheduled to coincide with the peak of the alpine season: come dance with Eritrichium and primulas on the very backbone of America! Information at and more to follow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cornell Plantations fall lecture series starts Sept. 2

Here's the fall line up. For more information, visit the Plantations' website.

September 2, 5:30 p.m., Warren Hall B45
Reconfiguring Nature after Darwin: Skepticism and Sexuality in High Modernist Literature
Daniel Schwarz, Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature & Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow

September 16, 7:30 p.m., Statler Hall Auditorium
Conservation of an Urban Oasis: Managing Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Albany Pine Bush.
Neil Gifford, Conservation Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve

September 30 7:30 p.m., Statler Hall Auditorium
The Fruit Hunters
Adam Gollner, author

October 14, 7:30 p.m., Statler Hall Auditorium
The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating a Sense of Place.
Claire Sawyers, author and director, Scott Arboretum

October 28, 7:30 p.m., Statler Hall Auditorium
Chinese Herbs and Health
Jean Giblette, owner, High Falls Gardens

November 11, 7:30 p.m., Statler Hall Auditorium
Farming in Iroquoia: Surprising Comparisons with European Agriculture
Jane Mt. Pleasant, Associate Professor of Horticulture, Cornell University

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Contribute to NARGS Image Library

From John Serowicz, NARGS Image Library

This is an open call for photos and to introduce you to the NARGS Image Library. I have been assigned the duties of image archivist.

The Image Library was created to archive images used by our members. The first project will be to scan the 35mm slides from the NARGS Slide Library. This will be done for two reasons. First to save these images in a format that will not be degrading over time. The second is to be able to offer the images to our members in a format readily usable with today's technology. All images will be saved in a nondegrading format then transferred to discs. Duplicates will be kept in two separate locations.

Please notify all your members that we need their photos. All photos will be accepted. If they are in a non-digital format (35mm or negatives) contact me to schedule a time when they can be scanned. Each image should have as much identification information included as possible.

If you know of an older member, past or present, that may have a collection of slides please ask them to join this project so their photos are not lost. All originals will be returned with a copy of the digital format.

All images will only be used by NARGS. You still have copyright privileges for your work. I realize some people get worried about the use or loss of control of their photos. Truth is almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. So almost everything after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not.

What kinds of images are we looking for? Everything! Garden plants, plants in the wild, expedition photos, troughs, seedling, plants with diseases or insects on them, rock garden styles, etc. One project that needs photos is for the Seed Exchange Database. We need photos of seed, seed pods, seedlings, flowering plants in the garden. One important reason for this is to help identify mislabeled seed that is being passed around.

Send all images or questions to Also anyone interested in helping with the scanning please contact me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July/August newsletter

The July/August newsletter in .pdf format is available online here:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

May Plant Sale Report

From David Mitchell and BZ Marranca, plant sale coordinators:

The final total for the plant sale was $2,108.75. This includes new and renewing members dues. We have six new members and eight renewals ($70.00). The new members are Susan Barnett, Lynn Bonnivier, Donna Gibson, Graham Kerslick, Susan Lipinoga and Flora Marranca. Thank you to all who donated quality plants, bought plants and pitched in to help run the sale. Also welcome new and renewing members!

Wurster Garden 'Weed Fest' thanks!

Thanks to all who helped weed, deadhead and perform other maintenance in the rain at the Wurster Garden 'Weed Fest' June 18. It's that kind of dedication that makes Wurster sparkle, as in this picture snapped by David Mitchell earlier in the season.

Bluegrass Lane Open Houses July 25 and 26

Come visit the flower research and demonstration area at the Cornell Department of Horticulture’s Bluegrass Lane Research facility, featuring more than 1,000 varieties of perennial and annual flowers — many new or just coming onto the market.

Everyone is welcome from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 25 and 26. Bluegrass Lane is located off Warren Rd. near the Robert Trent Jones golf course northeast of campus. (See map.)

For more information, contact Melissa Kitchen:

For a preview, visit the Bluegrass Lane Annual Flower Trials website.

Irma Markert's garden

From Carol Eichler:

On our June trip to White Pine Camp, we (11 of us) had a very nice visit with Irma Markert at her well-established, well-tended gardens in Ogdensburg. Her property is along the St. Lawrence River providing ideal conditions for wet-loving candelabra primroses. What a show as they were in full bloom! Her rock garden was exquisite too, built along the stone paths leading from the house down to the river's edge. One of Irma and Harold amongst the primroses:

Members' garden tour pictures

ACNARGS member Lynn Yenkey posted some pictures from our May 31 members' garden tours on her blog. And she promises more. Meantime, enjoy exploring her blog for more great garden pictures.

Plan ahead for native plant art exhibition

From Rosemarie Parker:

Artists with an affinity for plants take note: A juried art exhibition is currently being planned by the Finger Lakes Native Plant Society. The show will highlight the beauty and diversity of our region's native plants and fungi and will welcome a wide variety of media.

It will be hosted at the Tompkins County Public Library from January through March 2010, and its opening will coincide with Ithaca's 6th annual Light in Winter festival. Jurors include Camille Doucet, painting and botanical illustration; Eric Serritella, ceramic art; and David Watkins, photography.

Now is the time to begin planning your submissions. For more information, visit

August 15 Annual Picnic and Member-Only Plant Sale

From Donna Kraft, vice-chair/program:

Plans are set for this year’s member picnic and plant sale to be held on Saturday, August 15th at Kenneth Post Lab, Cornell University, Ithaca. ACNARGS will provide a light lunch for those who RSVP by August 7 to Donna Kraft at 315 696-8626 or

The schedule:
  • 10:00 a.m. Arrive promptly, get your plant sale number, help with sale set-up & pricing.
  • 11:00 a.m. Plant sale begins. Buy, buy, and buy some more.
  • 12:00 noon-ish Picnic lunch on the Knoll at Cornell Plantations if weather is good or stay at KPL if conditions dictate.
  • 1:30-ish p.m. Enjoy Cornell Plantations.
As in past years, we'll very democratically allow those who arrive first to get "first dibs" at purchases. So it pays to arrive early. For the treasured and special plants, we will have a silent auction table. Note: this is our one members-only sale and we should have some real horticultural gems. Please label your plant contributions in advance to speed things up.

Not yet a member? We welcome you to join for 2009 at this meeting for $10 ($15 for families). It's still a great value since we have half of our program year ahead of us.

As soon as we finish the plant sale, respondents will enjoy sandwiches, wraps, salads, and dessert provided by our chapter! Socialize and then enjoy Cornell Plantations.

Don't forget to RSVP by August 7.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Garden Conservancy Open Days June 13

Three gardens in the Ithaca area are open for tours this Saturday, June 13. ACNARGS plant sale coordinator David Mitchell's garden is among them. If you missed it on the ACNARGS garden tours last month, now's your chance. You won't want to miss it.

Find details at the Garden Conservancy Open Days website.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden Conservancy Open Days July 11

Two gardens in the Ellis Hollow area east of Ithaca will be open for tours as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days July 11, in partnership with the Tompkins County Community Beautification Program:
Descriptions and directions are available at both the Open Days and TCCBP websites.

Norbert Markert RIP

Longtime ACNARGS member Norbert Markert of Ogdensburg passed away June 3. From his obituary in the Watertown Daily Times:

Norbert's passion through the years was gardening. The garden at his home, developed in partnership with his wife Irma, has been visited by gardeners nationally and internationally. He was active in the Adirondack chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society and was active in the national organization as well. He and his wife were presented with an award for distinguished service and devotion to the Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society. He was an honorary member of the Ottawa and Horticultural Society. He participated in many beautification projects for Ogdensburg and was presented a certificate with his wife Irma as Citizens of the Year of Ogdensburg by the Chamber of Commerce on November 15, 1997 in recognition of their outstanding community service. In 2004 he received an Award of Distinction from the Ogdensburg Garden Club in recognition of his noteworthy contribution to Civic Beautification. He and his wife gave many lectures on Rock Gardening and other topics to garden clubs and rock garden societies.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fall Creek Garden tour June 7

The 2009 Fall Creek Garden tour will take place on Sunday, June 7, 11:00 a.m. ­ 4:00 p.m., rain or shine. Maps will be available at Thompson Park (N. Cayuga and Marshall Streets). Please pick up your map by 3:00 p.m. to allow at least an hour for the tour. This year’s tour will feature a wide variety of flower and vegetable gardens for your enjoyment and inspiration.

The tour is sponsored by the Fall Creek Garden Collective, a local group that works to encourage gardening and engages in beautification efforts in the Fall Creek neighborhood. The group’s activities include work days for clean up and gardening in public green spaces, an annual fall plant exchange, and the annual Fall Creek Garden Tour, now in its seventh year. For more information contact Britta at 272-5756.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trip to Linwood Gardens Saturday May 30

From Billie Jean Isbell

The trip to Linwood Gardens has been moved to this Saturday, May 30th, 2009. I called Linwood and was told that by June 7th the blooms would be just about finished due to the recent heat spell. Sorry for the short notice.

Please email me at if you wish to join the group. We will meet at cooperative extension at 8am and carpool. I suggest that we make a stop at Palmiters nursery first. I will make appointments at Linwood and Palmiters. Food is provided at Linwood. There are no picnic facilities.

If you call me instead of emailing 607-539-6484, leave a message. I'm working in the garden as much as possible between raindrops.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New NARGS website

From Grazyna Grauer, website volunteer and NARGS president

The new NARGS website is up!! It went up Sunday night, May 3. Hugh MacMillan, our designer in Colorado, spent a long weekend transferring data from the prototype to the actual website. The NARGS address is:

About Hugh: his expertise, dedication and unwavering support for NARGS are ASTOUNDING. The final website (it's still a work in progress) will be light years away from what Hugh's initial website plan stipulated. Yes, I did get to hear about project creep, but the resulting website will be so much more fun! Thank you Hugh! (There will be many more "thank you's" to come!!)

And now things you might like to know about the site:

1. What you see now will look different when our Volunteer Graphics Guru gets done with the website. This might take a while, as he is very busy right now.

2. Yes, the Seed Exchange segment is going to join the rest of the website, it's not on it yet. Chris Klapwijk, the creator of much of that segment will work on it.

3. There is some info on the new website, transferred form the old website, that is obsolete and this will be cleaned up.

4. When the new website went up, it appeared on a different Internet Service Provider (ISP) than the old one. The old one was called Hubris and we were paying Hubris about $500/year for hosting. The new one is and costs us $71/year.

Having said that, when we have the on-line shopping cart for the Book Service (under development), we will need secure web pages for credit card transactions. This means we'll need an SSL (Secure Socket Layers) account and that will cost us an additional $70 or so a year. Plus, if we decide to add PayPal, another $30/month.

5. Speaking about the Book Service, while the on-line ordering is being developed, books can be ordered by printing the website order form and mailing it to Mohnton, Pennsylvania.

6. Photo Gallery is currently accessible to the general public for viewing purposes, but only NARGS members will be able to post pictures. Actual posting will be done through the Photo Gallery Administrator and his team.

Login to the Photo Gallery will be synchronized from the site and not directly into the gallery.

How will you log in? If you supplied your email address when paying membership dues, we'll e-mail you your login information once it is created (please be patient, there are over 1000 users to set up). If not, the query will go to Bobby Ward (our Executive Secretary), he'll check if you are a member, add your e-mail address to the database, notify the webmaster to create a web user account, and you'll receive your login notification when it is ready.

If you are not a NARGS member, you'll be invited to join.

7. Online membership - Bobby Ward, Randy Tatroe (the Treasurer) and Hugh are in the process of getting this set up. This should take a week or so to
complete. Members have access to a printable form for now.

8. The wiki and the Discussion Forum are features that are currently accessible by signed in members. We are still evaluating the option of making these parts open to general public.

Have fun getting acquainted with our new site!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Let's visit Linwood Gardens

From Billie Jean Isbell, chair and garden tour coordinator.

Linwood is a private garden on the historical registry in Pavilion, N.Y. (southwest of Rochester). It is only open during the festival of flowers:

May 24 OR June 7
Open to the public 9 am to 5 pm
Suggested contribution $8 for garden preservation.
Guided tour $10

I will check their website regularly to see when the best time to visit will be. We will aim for either Sunday, May 24th or Sunday, June 7th. Send me an email (Billie Jean Isbell if you are interested in joining the group. If you do not have email, call me. My phone number is (607)539-6484.

This will be a day trip, leaving Ithaca at around 8am and returning by 5pm. I’ll see if there is a nursery we can visit in the vicinity. The garden does not have picnic facilities but they do sell food and drinks.

Come join us. It will be a great opportunity to see one of the historic gardens in our region. You can check out the website to check on updates of blooms:

NARGS interest groups

A message from the National President of NARGS via Billie Jean Isbell, chair.

I am pleased to announce an idea that has the potential to increase NARGS membership.  The idea was suggested at a NARGS board meeting a few years ago.
The suggestion is to establish NARGS interest groups, which would be dedicated to particular genus of plant, a specific type of gardening or a pastime related to rock gardening. This could include, for example, Campanula, Fritillaria, or Helleborus sections. Other groups could be dedicated to  woodland rock garden or gardening in troughs and other containers. There might be a place for plant photography.
The NARGS member who has agreed to take charge of interest groups is Tony Reznicek.
How would it work? There were two scenarios written on the subject and these are attached. The original proposal came from the Rock Garden Quarterly editor, Jane McGary, and was based on the Alpine Garden Society's (Great Britain) structure.  Later, past president Dick Bartlett wrote a supporting opinion and included a potential list of societies to approach.
A lot of creative  thinking will have to go into the project.  Clearly, the first thing to do would be to ask the AGS how they handled it. To that end, Tony Reznicek and I are going to talk to Malcolm McGregor, of the Scottish Rock Garden Club, who  is also an active member of the AGS saxifrage group. Malcolm is scheduled to speak at the Great Lakes Chapter "Spring Gala",  Saturday May 16 -  Sunday 17.
Once in place, the interest groups could have an impact on NARGS and its activities, most notably the Quarterly, the Web site and the Seed Exchange. There is a lot we can gain from these groups. You will hear more about the project as the work progresses.

Would you like to help with this project?  Volunteers are needed; please contact Tony or me
Grazyna Grauer,
NARGS President

Visit members' gardens May 31

From Billie Jean Isbell, chair and garden tour coordinator.

We've planned a series of garden visits for May 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We will be visiting 4 members’ gardens that are quite different: David Mitchell’s urban garden in downtown Ithaca, Nariman Mistry’s suburban garden, Deb Lampman’s commercial enterprise with many unusual plants, Bedlam Gardens, in King Ferry and Susanne Lipari’s country garden in Alpine.

Visit the Mitchell, Mistry and Bedlam gardens anytime during the day. But plan to be at Susanne Lipari's between 3-4pm, for a final get together. Bring snacks and drinks to share.

Addresses and directions:

David Michell
402 Esty St., Ithaca. (607) 342-3660
From Route 13 (Meadow St.) North, turn right at Esty Street just before the Tamarind Thai restaurant and after CFCU bank.  David's house is at the first intersection, on your left.  The corner is Esty and Washington Streets.  Park anywhere on the street. Coming from downtown, heading west on Buffalo, turn right on Washington Street.  Go two blocks to Esty Street.  David’s house is on the corner, the one with the huge hedges. 

Deb Lampman, Bedlam Gardens
1893 Rt 34 B King Ferry. (315)346-8726
Bedlam Gardens is about 19 miles from downtown Ithaca. Take 34 to 34 B. Continue on 34 B 10-12 miles past the Lansing schools. When you reach the stop sign in King Ferry Deb's place is 3 miles north on the west (left) side of the road. You can't miss it -- too many flowers!

Nari Mistry
1159 Ellis Hollow Rd. (607) 272-7496
Ellis Hollow Rd. originates at East Hill Plaza and 1159 is one mile east of the Plaza. Turn left onto Dodge Rd. where visitors should park. (Traffic is too heavy on Ellis Hollow Rd.) Nari’s house and garden are across the street on Ellis Hollow.

Susanne Lipari
Alpine, N.Y. (607-256-9308)
Plan to end your visits at Susanne Lipari’s. She is expecting us in the afternoon at the end of our tour. Bring nibbles and drinks to share. Take Rt. 79 West to Mecklenburg, take Rt. 228 South (direction Odessa) for 2.4 miles. When you see a silo at the left side of the road, you’ve made it. Her driveway is across the road on the right.  Please park along the road on the shoulder.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Volunteers needed for new NARGS website and other news from National

The new and improved National NARGS website is expected to go live this month. Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with monitoring discussion forums, posting updates, and providing back-end support and graphic help. To find out more, contact NARGS president Grazyna Grauer

Grazyna, Tony Reznicek and other NARGS leaders are also looking in to forming interest groups around particular genera, types of gardening (such as troughs or woodland gardens) or garden-related pastimes (such as garden photography). If you'd like to read more about this, let me know and I'll email you the background correspondence (

Jane McGary will be retiring as editor of Rock Garden Quarterly next year. Maria Galletti is chairing an editor search committee that is also looking at the "need to redefine our journal for the purpose of being more vital and relative to the membership of the organization." Again, let me know if you'd like to read background correspondence and I'll forward (

Summer events

In addition to our May 31 tour of members' gardens, there are lots of other garden-related activities to take in this summer:

Mother's Day Garden Tour at Sycamore Hill Gardens - May 10, Marcellus. More information.

Der Rosenmeister in Ithaca has a season-long line-up of informative and educational programs. More information.

Cornell Plantations has it's usual spectacular line-up of walks, workshops and other events. More information.

Garden Conservency Open Days:
  • Tompkins County: June 13 (3 gardens including David Mitchell's)
  • Oswego: June 14 (Seneca Hill Perennials)
  • Tompkins County: July 11 (2 gardens)
  • Marcellus: July 12 (Sycamore Hill)

May Plant Sale

From David Mitchell, plant sales coordinator along with BZ Marranca

Now's the time to have your plant donations potted up so that they'll have time to recover and look great for the May plant sale. The sale will be held on May 16 at the Ithaca High School. We'll start setup on Friday around 4 p.m. and usually work until 8. My driveway is available for drop-offs anytime until 3:30 p.m. on Friday 5/15, if you really can't make it to the high school. After then, all plants need to be brought directly to the high school, before 8 p.m. Friday or early Saturday morning. The driveway is on the Washington Street side of the corner of Washington and Esty Streets (402 Esty Street).

Please have your plants labeled and and suggest a price. This is especially important if you drop the plants off early on Saturday. Labeling, pricing and setting up all at the same time makes for a very hectic Saturday morning!

We need volunteers for setup, day of sale setup, cashiers, and plant advisers during the sale, and cleanup. Remember, members receive a 25 percent discount on purchases at the sale. The sale hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those working at the sale have a chance to pick out some cool plants
before others get there.

The sale hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please arrive early to help with late donations or jump in any time to help. Every pot should have a label and a price stick before the sale starts.

My phone number is (607) 342-3660 should you have any questions about the sale.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ithaca garden tour May 31

Mark your calendar: We're planning a tour of Ithaca-area members' gardens for May 31. Details coming soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

April newsletter

The April 2009 in printer friendly .pdf format is here:

Member volunteers distribute 20,245 seed packets

From Rosemarie Parker

I hope all the members who volunteered for the NARGS Seed Exchange Phase 4 distribution have recovered somewhat from the back pains, nightmares of seed packet mishaps, etc. I nearly have. I just want everyone to know how grateful I am for all the members who showed up to work whenever they could to help with this monumental effort.

We sent out roughly 20,245 packets. That is assuming everyone got exactly the right amount, but I know some got less, a few got more. We filled 331 orders, and sent off remains to 23 chapters, including our own. That is a massive undertaking.

All together, we had 22 volunteers helping with the seed pulling. Marcia Meigs wins the attendance award for having missed only one work session. David Mitchell and BZ Marranca were close seconds! Harold Peachy gets the laid-back-nod for being willing to figure out the most
bizarre and complex order forms with no complaints or snide comments.

We had wonderful snacks and dinners provided by volunteers - Lynn's chocolate peanut butter cookies, Billy Jean's casserole, Carol's pizza, and David's party leftovers come to mind. And every volunteer who wanted to order was able to pick and choose the packets for themselves.

American Primrose Society 59th National Show

American Primrose Society 59th National Show, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, located in the quaint New England Town of Boylston, Massachusetts, May 1, 2 & 3, 2009. More info:

April Plant of the Month

John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator

Due to a shipping error (the supplier forgot to ship the order in time), our March 2009 Plant of the Month, woodland wildflowers and ferns, will be offered at the April 2009 meeting as a member appreciation plant. Plants we will offer include: Hepatica acutiloba, Uvularia grandiflora (merrybells), Trilliums, including T. grandiflorum, T. luteum, and T. sessile, and Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern). After members receive a free plant, leftover plants will be offered for sale. For details on growing these plants, please refer to the article in the March 2009 Green Dragon.

In addition, The April 2009 Plant of the Month will be Hostas. As our speaker will be talking about miniature Hostas, we’re going to purchase mainly miniature Hostas to coordinate with our speaker’s presentation. We have arranged to buy plants from a local nursery, Tobeytown, where an endless array of Hostas is grown, but none in very large quantities. As Tobeytown does not currently have a list of the plants available, you’ll have to be in suspense waiting for exactly which varieties we’ll offer on April 25. We hope to have some really enticing Hostas to inspire our discriminating members!

Hostas, formerly named Funkias, are hardy in zones 3 to 8. Hostas grow best in partial shade and humus rich, fertile soil with mulch and adequate moisture. In our northern latitude, Hostas are more tolerant of bright sun, but they will suffer more from dry conditions when planted in a sunny spot, unless the gardener provides plenty of moisture during dry spells. Blue leaved Hostas have the best foliage color in partial shade. Hostas with yellow or yellow variegated leaves have the brightest yellow coloring with some sun – but not a location that’s too dry or sunny.

Hostas unfortunately are preyed on by slugs, the chief pest of Hostas, but slugs can be controlled, or at least discouraged by baiting and trapping, or by mulching with sharp grit. Slugs can be baited with iron phosphate pellets (e.g. Sluggo), which are toxic to slugs but not toxic to mammals, including the gardener. Iron phosphate pellets will eventually dissolve in the rain, so they’ll need to be either covered, or reapplied during the season. An effective slug trap is any small container filled with cheap beer. Disposable, small hard plastic cups work well and can catch a lot of slugs. Some of the thicker leaved Hostas are reputedly more slug resistant. It is important to start slug control early in the season before slugs have a chance to disfigure your Hosta leaves with their chew holes. Hostas are very sturdy plants, though they may suffer from vole damage during the winter; I’ve only had a minor problem with this during 1 or 2 winters. Unfortunately deer also will eat Hostas. They chewed on my Frances Williams, but apparently never found her tasty enough to consume more than a sample.

I’ve never tried growing Hostas in a container or trough, but Hostas should be hardy enough to overwinter in a trough in most of our area, if the trough is in a sufficiently protected spot. Miniature Hostas would be perfect for a trough.

Soils follow up

From David Mitchell, plant sale coordinator

Plants need soil to grow in, but what kind? Success is in the mix and if you have any number of materials on hand, you'll find it easier to make up a trough or section of the rock garden to meet the soil needs of most rock garden plants. You'll find many soil recipes include sterilized soil, but I don't use soil as most of the plants I grow in pots will end up at our plant sales where soilless mix is required by law.

Several people asked me where I found the materials I presented at the beginner's rock garden workshop: granite grit, potting mix, composted pine bark, gravel, fired clay grit, and sand.

Chicken grit can be found at Agway's feed and grain across from their garden center on Fulton Street. The brand I buy is called Gran-I-Grit "starter" size and a 50 pound bag sells for about nine dollars. This is 100% granite and it is slightly acidic at about a pH of 5 to 6, but doesn't seem to affect the pH of the soil mix. Granite grit: Ithaca Farm and Garden Center, 213 S Fulton Street, Ithaca, NY, Tel. (607) 273-2505.

The potting mix is Fafard brand Number 52 found at Griffin Greenhouse and Nursery Supply in Auburn. Griffin does not promote itself as retail, so you won't know how inexpensive they are until you find them. They have a website with lots of product details, but no pricing, but I can tell you the trip to Auburn is worth the gas money. The Number 52 contains 24% peat moss, 8% perlite, 8% vermiculite, and 60% bark. This is the lowest peat content I could find. Potting mixes, etc.: Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery Supplies, Inc., 1 Ellis Drive, Auburn, NY, Tel. (315) 255-1450.

If you want to eliminate the use of peat altogether, you may want to try using aged pine bark, also known as composted pine bark. I found 2.8 cubic bags 35 miles southwest of Rochester at Palmiter's Garden Nursery, 2675 Avon Geneseo Rd., Avon, NY, Tel. (585) 226-3073.

Local sand and gravel can be found at several gravel pits in the area. The one I use is the Brooktondale Pit, 113 Perkins Road, Brooktondale. Drive in and park at the white trailer, go in and let the person know what you want and they'll give you instructions. I usually get three or four buckets of material for about 5 dollars.

The Turface brand soil amendment I found at Banfield-Baker in Horseheads (thank you Bill Plummer). It's fired clay grit that is used on baseball playing fields and sometimes seen as cat litter. The clay is porous and holds moisture. Banfield-Baker Corporation, 2512 Corning Road (Rt. 14), Horseheads, NY, Tel. (607) 739-8771.

The beautiful, dustless white quartz sand I have was found at a garden center in Cleveland for about 4 dollars a bag, priceless as they say. Haven't seen it here, but play sand may be an option.

April Seedling Exchange and May Plant Sale

From David Mitchell, plant sale coordinator

In addition to our fabulous speaker, this month's meeting will be our annual seedling exchange. Bring in your seedlings to share. I'll have some pots and potting soil on hand. Potted divisions will also be accepted and priced for sale or held for the May plant sale. I'm hoping the seedlings will find good homes and that some will show up on our tables at the May and August plant sales. The seedling exchange is a great way to learn about what plants are easy to grow from seed and to learn from other's experiences in growing them on.

The May plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 16th. We'll start setup on Friday around 4 p.m. or so. My driveway is available for dropoffs if you can't make it to the high school before the sale starts. The driveway is on the Washington Street side of the corner of Washington and Esty Streets (402 Esty Street). My phone number is (607) 342-3660 should you have any questions about the sale.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

From the chair

From Billie Jean Isbell:

Don't miss our April 25 meeting (a week later than usual this month) with hosta expert Michael Shadrack
, author of two Timber Press books on the subject. His presentation on miniature hostas will be at 1 p.m. preceded by a brown bag lunch at noon at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca. The Plant of the Month will feature hostas and we'll have our annual seedling exchange.

Seeds, seeds, seeds and seedlings

Congratulations to Rosemarie Parker and all the volunteers who completed Round Two of the National NARGS seed exchange, the pulling of packets and mailing of orders that went out to NARGS members around the world. If we do this again next year we will need more volunteers. The whole process is amazing and I picture the gardeners that benefit from our effort planting their seeds in the next weeks.

David Mitchell is propagating seeds from the exchange for our chapter for the May 16 plant sale at Ithaca High School. However, everyone should search in their own gardens for seedlings that can be brought to the April 25 meeting at Cooperative Extension where we will have our free seedling exchange after the program. The idea is for each of us to take seedlings home to grow them on for the May 16 plant sale. So as you clean up your garden, pot up those seedlings.

Chapter Needs

Is anyone interested in helping organize trips and garden visits? If so, email me

We also need someone to take over organizing work parties for the Wuster garden.

Up for a trip to Linwood Gardens Tree Peony Festival?

Check out the website: Located in Pavilion, NY, 35 miles west of Rochester, the festival is held May 23, 24, and 25; May 30 and 31; June 6 and 7. Cost $8 a person. Email me with suggestions for convenient dates and we will finalize the plans at our next meeting.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rock garden help needed

From David Mitchell:

Elizabeth Reid is seeking help to maintain the rock garden created by Toni and Bob Wilkinson that sits in front of her cottage at Kendal. She can be reached by phone at (607) 257-4330.

Trip to White Pine Camp in June

From Carol Eichler:

The Chapter is planning to return to White Pine Camp this June to work on the Heutte Rock Garden there. Depending on how many of us go, the work is likely to take about a half-day of clean-up, weeding, planting, and watering. Then it's time on your own to enjoy the Camp and nearby attractions. Because of the distance, this will be a 2-night overnight. There's a possibility we could schedule one garden stop "on the way." Chapter members Dick and Mary George are currently serving as innkeepers at WPC and they spearheaded the restoration of the historic Heutte RG.

If you are interested in going to help, we need to firm the dates ASAP. Here are the choices: June 4-6 or June 11-13. Please get back to me by April 15th (my apologies for the short turn-around) if you plan to go and which date is your preference. Depending on the configuration of singles and couples, the cottages can accommodate 10 - 17. Once I book, I will need payment in full, estimated at no more than $107 per person plus tax. Contact me: Carol Eichler, or 607.387.5823.

What else can I tell you? Those of us who went last year - David Mitchell, John Gilrein, and me - had a great time. The 100-year-old Camp is beautiful, cottages are roomy and come with full kitchen, and the place is on a lake surrounded by state land. We really enjoyed the lady slipper orchids in bloom everywhere! There are canoes and kayaks available. It is located in the high peaks region, very close to Paul Smith's and the Visitor Info Center - a wonderful place with trails, exhibits, and gardens. Plenty of birding, hiking, and fishing opportunities. To investigate on your own check out these resources: and

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March newsletter

The March newsletter is available in printer-friendly .pdf format here:

More good reading

The Trillium, the newsletter of the Piedmont Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society. is available online – including back issues back to 2006. Find links to the .pdf files on this page:

Our Plant of the Month coordinator, John Gilrein, recommends It’s all in who you know... , a story by Scott McMahan about his plant expedition to China with Ozzie Johnson and Dan Hinkley. You can read it in the Feb. issue:

March Plant of the Month – Woodland Plants

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator

For our March 2009 meeting, the plant of the month will be a mix of woodland plants. Our March selection from Eastern Plant Specialties includes:
  • Hepatica acutiloba (sharp-lobed hepatica)
  • Uvularia grandiflora (large merrybells, large-flowered bellwort)
  • Trilliums, T. grandiflorum (white Trillium), T. luteum (yellow Trillium), and T. sessile (sessile Trillium)
  • Adiantum pedatum (Northern maidenhair fern).

In general, all these plants want part shade conditions and a good, moist, well drained soil and are native to the Eastern U.S. Shade of deciduous trees and soil enriched with organic matter are beneficial.

Hepatica acutiloba is hardy in zones 3-8, height 6 inches, flower color pale to dark violet, blooms in early spring. This plant is found in rich woods and favors alkaline soils.

Uvularia grandiflora is hardy in zones 3-8, height 12-16 inches, flower color pale to medium yellow, blooming in early Spring. U. grandiflora also favors lime rich soils.

Trilliums are hardy in zones 4-8 (T. grandiflorum is hardy in to zone 3), height 6-20 inches, and flower in mid-Spring. T. grandiflorum has white flowers and is native to a wide area of Northeastern North America; T. luteum has yellow flowers is native to the Southern Appalachians; and T. sessile has maroon flowers is native to the Midwest. Both T. luteum and T. sessile are sessile species (the flowers are stemless, nestled in the leaves and the leaves are mottled). Soil pH preferences based on my references are: neutral to alkaline for T. grandiflorum, neutral for T. sessile, and acidic to neutral for T. luteum.

Adiantum pedatum is a graceful fern fond of calcium rich soils (a lime lover) but tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Height is 1 to 2 feet. It has black stems and is a slow spreader. This will tolerate more shade than the flowering plants above.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

From Rosemarie Parker Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

Please help our chapter process the second round of the 2009 NARGS seed exchange. This year, one time only, ALL chapter members are eligible to order seeds in this round, even if you are not a member of national NARGS. This is a great deal, $5 per 20 packets up to 100 packets. If you volunteer to help, you can fill your own order, choosing your own substitutes if your first choice is gone. And the first 20 volunteers can take a free packet to count towards MY order. The very extensive round 2 seed list is posted at

Thanks to Susanne Lipari, we will be meeting in a great room (#211) of the Plant Science Building, the same building as the monthly meetings. Parking will not be a problem as all sessions are evenings or weekends. There are jobs for people who need to stay seated, and ones who need to move around. Based on last years statistics, we will need nearly 200 person hours of work, so the more people who volunteer the better. It will be interesting, maybe even fun, and I promise to arrange for munchies every session.

Please let me know if and when you can attend one or more of the workdays listed below ( or 607-257-4853). Too few or too many people per session are inefficient, so I really need an RSVP at least a few days ahead of each session.


Sat 3-7 12:30-4:30 pm
Sun 3-8 12:30-4:30 pm
Tue 3-10 6:30-9 pm
Th 3-12 6:30-9 pm
Sun 3-15 12:30-4:30 pm
Sat 3-21 9-noon (before rock garden workshop @1pm)
Wed 3-25 6:30-9 pm
Sat 3-28 12:30 (if needed)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Great deal on Round 2 NARGS seed exchange

As you know, our chapter is running the surplus seed distribution for the NARGS seed exchange. (Contact Rosemarie Parker to find out how you can help.)

This year, NARGS has opened up the surplus distribution to chapter members and is charging only $5 per 20 packets.

February 18, 2009

Dear Chapter Chairs and Newsletter Editors,

The Main Seed Distribution is now over and we are preparing the remaining seed for the Surplus Seed Distribution, which will be handled by the Adirondack Chapter. We have a lot of choice seed left this year (see for the list) and have decided to do two new things to help get the seeds out to our members:

1) We are increasing the number of packets that members can order to 100. So now members can get 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 packets of seed for $5 per 20 packets. That is just $0.25 per packet!

2) We are opening up the Surplus Seed Distribution to all chapter members. If you have chapter members who are NOT NARGS members they can now take advantage of this ONE TIME opportunity to get the same great deal on seeds as NARGS members. We are hoping this will encourage some of your local members to join NARGS once they see the great selection of seeds available.

We are asking that you inform your chapter members as soon as possible of this offer, so that they have time to get the Order form and send in their order (orders must be received by March 20). Especially let any of your members who are seedaholics know about this. We will be asking the chapter members to include the name of their chapter on their order form so that we know they are not just someone who stumbled on the surplus list on the website.;-) They must also use the “official” Surplus Seed Order List which they can get by contacting me at I can also send you the file for the surplus list if you would like to print it out for your interested members.

The Surplus Seed Round will run from March 7-20; after the 20th the seed will be split up among the chapters who request leftover seed. If you would like a share of the leftover seed you must send the Adirondack Chapter a self-addressed shipping label along with a note asking for leftover seed for your chapter. Please send this request to:

Adirondack Chapter-NARGS
c/o Rosemarie Parker
532 Cayuga Heights Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850

You may also want to share some of this leftover seed with a local horticultural organization (botanic garden, university, trade school, Master Gardener program, local nurseries, etc) as a way to build goodwill and as a source of future recruits for NARGS.

Please encourage your members to start collecting seed for next years seed exchange-details on donating will be in the Summer issue of the Rock Garden Quarterly.

Laura Serowicz
NARGS Seed Intake Manager
15411 Woodring
Livonia, MI 48154

'Good rock garden plants' on NARGS website

I know the NARGS National website contains a lot of helpful information. Yet, it’s not always easy to find it! I know they are involved with redesigning their site – a project that has been months in the making. Being involved myself with a redesign where I work, I can be sympathetic with how complicated a process this can be.

All that said, a while back I found this whole secion of the NARGS site that I didn’t know existed on Good Rock Garden Plants. I quickly “bookmarked” it so I could find it again. Here’s the URL: It contains photos and an alphabetical listing of many plants suitable for the rock gardening.

So until the time when we can get outdoors and our hands dirty, enjoy this great resource from the comfort of your living room.


Here's the leadership team for 2009:

  • Chair/trips: Billie Jean Isbell,, 607-539-6484
  • Vice chair/program: Donna Kraft,, 315 696-8626
  • Secretary: Carolyn Yaeger,, 607-844-9462
  • Treasurer/Plant sales: BZ Marranca,
  • Program: Carol Eichler,, 607-387-5823
  • Plant sales, Wurster Garden Coordinator: David Mitchell,, 607-342-3660
  • Plant of the Month, Co-secretary: John Gilrein,, 315-492-0844
  • Membership: Susanne Lipari 607-387-9308
  • New member hospitality: Judy Fogel 607-275-3332
  • Newsletter editor/Webmaster: Craig Cramer,

Rock Garden Basics Workshop March 21

From Carol Eichler:

Join us for our March program which is being offered in a slightly different format than usual - with 3 different speakers. We thought we'd focus on the "Basics of Rock Gardening" - in a mini-seminar format - to inspire you to make plans to build your own rock garden - or to refurbish an existing one.

Michelle Jones Ham will start us off "Easy Plants for the Rock Garden," offering inspiring photos and suitable plants that she has grown successfully.

David Mitchell comes next to talk about "Soil Mixes." David has been doing quite a lot of experimentation with different materials and formulas that he'll be sharing. Others are invited to chime in about their own experiences.

Lastly, Robin Bell will close by talking about "RG Construction Techniques." We hope the weather is cooperative so that we can go outdoors to view the different rock garden styles used on the Wurster Rock Garden, since it was designed to show these different styles.

Note we are meeting at 1 p.m. at Tompkins County office of Cornell Cooperative Extension (615 Willow Ave., Ithaca) for a program that should run about an hour longer than usual.

Many of you know Michelle Jones Ham who was a member of our Chapter for many years and served as our Chair before a new job meant she had to move. She didn't stop rock gardening and she cease her involvement with NARGS. Instead she became the driving force behind establishing a new Chapter, the Genesee Valley Chapter based in Rochester which is very much alive and well. In fact, they hosted the 2007 Eastern Study Weekend while still in their infancy. Michelle is also active at the NARGS National level, serving on ad hoc Committee to address membership issues and currently serving as Manager of the slide collection.

Our own members David Mitchell and Robin Bell are both notable for their wonderful gardens and plant knowledge. Robin has been a frequent speaker. You can be sure they will provide us with a wealth of knowledge - from their own gardening experience - often the best kind!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

March 7 seed exchange session

From Rosemarie Parker (

Hi all, I expect to get more volunteers (in fact, not all of you have actually stated that you would come; I am ever hopeful). But I wanted to let you know ASAP that the first day of "picking" is going to be Saturday, March 7th, barring dire events in the meantime. Don't worry if you are busy that day; last year's crew had 8 work days total so there are lots of opportunities. Looks like 4 hour stints are about all anyone can take. You don't have to stay the whole time. I'm easy about what time to start - suggestions welcome. I just thought it might be helpful to put a note on your calendars.

Thanks for volunteering, and I will get back with more specifics when I have them.

More info about seed exchange.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

February newsletter

Here's the February ACNARGS newsletter in printer-friendly .pdf format.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Volunteers needed Round Two of seed exchange

From Rosemarie Parker:

Our chapter has committed to do the second round of the 2009 NARGS seed exchange. This mostly means filling orders from the remaining seeds, and mailing them off. Susanne Lipari has found us working areas on Cornell campus, and I'd like to get a tentative list of who is willing to help. It should be interesting, maybe even fun, and I promise to arrange for munchies.

I want to schedule several workdays, most likely in the first three weeks of March. If you volunteer, I'd like to try to meet your preferred schedule as much as possible. So, if you would be willing to come select seeds and stuff envelopes, even for an hour, please let me know. And tell me your preferred work times: weekends (morning, afternoon, evenings?) or weekdays (around lunch, late afternoon, evenings, whatever?). The actual dates and times can't be set until we know when the seeds will arrive!

Send your contact info (e-mail, telephone) and preferred times to or give me a call at 607-257-4853. We'll also have a sign up at our Feb. 21 meeting.


From Bobby J. Ward, Exec. Secretary, North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS), the umbrella organization for our Adirondack Chapter and other NARGS chapters around the continent:

NARGS is for gardening enthusiasts interested in alpine, saxatile, and low-growing perennials. Annual dues in the U.S. and Canada are $30, payable in U.S. funds. VISA/Mastercard accepted.

Benefits of membership include: Rock Garden Quarterly with articles on alpines and North American wildflowers, illustrated in color photographs and pen and ink drawings; annual seed exchange with thousands of plant species; study weekends and annual meetings in either U.S. or Canada; and book service to members.

Join on-line at Or write: Bobby J. Ward, Exec. Secretary NARGS, P.O. Box 18604, Raleigh, NC 27619-8604, USA.

Controlling forest invasives talk

From Pat Curran:

The Finger Lakes Native Plant Society presents a slide show and talk by Charlotte Acharya of Cornell Dept of Natural Resources on Controlling Forest Invasive Plants: Linking Management Practices with Outcomes.

A diverse group of organizations are performing invasive plant control. Charlotte surveyed the leaders of these organizations to discover what management strategies were being used and if their management had resulted in prevention of new species establishment, invasive species population reductions or protection of native plants. The lessons are applicable to small areas as well as large.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 7:00 to 8:30 PM at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Alpine Flowers flickr group

From David Mitchell, plant sales coordinator:

I found a group on Flickr for pictures of alpine plants:
Alpine Flowers flickr group


Mark your calendar ...

... for 2009 Garden Conservency Open Days:

  • Tompkins County: June 13 & July 11
  • Oswego: June 13
  • Marcellus: July 12
More details to come at the Open Days website.

Time to renew your membership

If you haven't done so already, fill out a 2009 membership form and send it in, or bring it with you to the Feb. 21 meeting.

2009 Program Plans

Here's the tentative line-up for the rest of 2009. Updated 10/23/2009.

Nov. 14 - Native Plants for the Naturalistic Garden with Don Leopold, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and author of Native Plants of the Northeast. Kenneth Post Lab on the Cornell University campus.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Native plants workshop

Designing with Native Plants:
Creating Sustainable Landscapes for the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York

Friday, February 20, 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in Ithaca

More information.

Garden travel slide shows from Tompkins County CCE

From Pat Curran:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County will host three Garden Travel Slide Shows this winter. The first is:

Alcatraz Historic Garden Restoration - Alcatraz, the famous island prison in San Francisco Bay, had gardens maintained by soldiers, prisoners, and prison staff until it was closed in 1963. In 2003, the Garden Conservancy undertook a long-term project to restore the historic gardens. Dan Klein, Tompkins County Beautification Coordinator, has volunteered several times to help with this restoration and will share his experiences and photos.

This event will be held SATURDAY afternoon Jan. 17, 2:00-3:30 pm, at the Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca. Refreshments and time to socialize will follow the talk. $3 suggested donation helps support the Horticulture Program. Please call 272-2292 for more information.

The other two programs are:

  • Jan. 31, Gardens and Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, with Irene Lekstutis.
  • Feb. 28, Flowers and Frost, by photographer Dede Hatch.