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.