Frequently Asked Questions
When can I visit the garden?
If you are a visitor, you can enter the garden on Saturdays and Sundays, during open hours 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. six months out of the year from April 15 through October 15. As a visitor, you are asked to please stay to the pathways and in the public common areas and not enter into the plots of individual gardeners. If you are visiting as the guest of a member, you can visit anytime during the year during the open hours posted provided that the member is present with you in the gardens.
Are children allowed in the garden?
Of course! Accompanied by an adult, children are more than welcome to tour the gardens and enjoy all the sights and sounds. Riding bikes, scooters, skateboards or skates, however, is not allowed for safety reasons on the garden paths.
Are pets allowed?
Pets on a leash are welcome.
Can I have a picnic in the garden?
Yes, you can have a picnic in the garden if you are a member of the Garden Club or the guest of a member. However, alcohol and cooking fires are not allowed in the garden. All members, guests, and visitors are asked at all times to please be neat, clean up after yourself. All trash should be taken out of the garden with you when you are done.
How do I get a garden?
If you live on Roosevelt Island, you are eligible to become a member. However, there is a waitlist. Please click on "Membership Info" on the top right side of the website header for full information and a waitlist application or simply click here.
What's an Associate Gardener?
An Associate Gardener is a person who is on the waitlist to become a member and who wishes to be part of the garden activities. Associate Gardeners must be registered with the Garden Club Secretary, and be on the Wait list. An Associate Gardener may help a full member in the member's garden (with approval by the RIGC Board) or may help with gardening activities on one of our committees such as Compost, Maintenance, Landscape, Rose Garden or Outreach. Associates pay a reduced fee annually, but are not part of the voting membership of the garden.
Where is the Calendar of Events for members?
Are there guidelines about what I can grow?
Yes, please see the Rules and Regulations for more information. New trees can only be planted with the approval of the RIGC board and must be containerized. (Certain trees that have been in place for a number of years have been allowed to remain, but must be kept pruned and must not become a hardship to neighboring gardens.) Invasive plants are strongly discouraged. Aggressive plants like mints should only be grown in containers or the center of your garden and must not be allowed to extend beyond your plot. You must not allow weeds to grow and go to seed in your garden. If you are uncertain whether a plant is a weed or invasive, please seek out an experienced gardener or Board member to help you.
Are there tools I can use?
The RIGC maintains a full complement of gardening tools for member use available in the shed in the rear of the garden.
Is there a place to store my equipment?
Unfortunately in 2020, due to RIOC's refurbishing of the comfort station, lockers will most likely not be available. We hope to have lockers available again in 2021 at a reasonable fee.
Can I use insecticides or pesticides? Absolutely not. RIGC is a people and wildlife friendly garden. RIGC is a pesticide free space. Many gardeners are growing organic produce to consume. We have children and adults playing and working with the soil. We need to encourage all our native pollinators, beneficial insects, and small wildlife to thrive so that we provide a healthy environment for our local ecosystem and our larger planet.
We also encourage gardeners to avoid big box nurseries where plants are treated systematically with neonicotinoids or other systemic pesticides. These are one of the leading causes of major problems in our current world-wide ecosystem and serious loss of pollinators. For more information please click here.
What do I do with plant matter that I have cleaned up? Any organic matter is not refuse. This is actually a natural resource. All plant trimmings, small twigs, weeds should return to the garden in your own compost system and/or on our community compost system. Sending these materials to landfill produces methane and greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. Unfortunately we cannot process the following items in our composting system: any and all rose cane trimmings or diseased plants should be placed in containers and taken to AVAC.
All other trash disposal is the responsibility of the individual gardeners and their guests. Please take out what you bring in. We discourage the use of plastic and for more information please click here. Metal, and glass should be recycled in your building system or at AVAC. Again, if you bring in any bags with supplies or any plants in containers, plan to take out the containers and recycle them. RIGC must pay for any trash removal. We cannot provide recycling or trash removal for members or their guests. Help us maintain a beautiful garden and beautiful world.
Can I build fences or trellises?
We are first and foremost a community of gardeners. Please consider your neighbors at all times and get to know them. Anything we place in our gardens can affect our neighbor's plantings and we are all here to grow plants and to garden.
Fences may be allowed but only to a height of 3 feet above the level of the external path and with prior Board approval. Any fence posts should be placed in your own plot. Trellises may be allowed but only to a height of 6 feet above the level of the garden plot, and should be placed at least 1.5 feet into the plot and with prior Board approval. Trellises and fences must be of an open construction that does not block the view, airflow, or sunlight of your neighbors.
Any and all construction plans must be cleared through the Executive Board by email to firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of construction. Please consult with your neighbors and with the board before taking on any construction project so we can keep our plants growing happily and our community connections healthy.
Can I consume alcohol in the garden? No. Consumption of alcohol in the garden is prohibited. (As is smoking.) It is disallowed by the Rules and Regulations of the Garden Club and is prohibited in the Land Use Agreement granted for the garden by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
What if I lose my key?
Additional keys are available to members and Associates at a $5.00 replacement fee through the RIGC Secretary.
How can I offer a suggestion?
Send it to the RIGC Executive Board by email email@example.com or to our PO Box 127, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044.