John Dodge sent this video of his meditation garden and pond that we can all enjoy. The lotus flower is soon to bloom. Breathe deeply and listen as you watch. Dragonflies and fish are healthy and the water lily is also in bloom.
Letter from the Board: Guests and Tools - Opening Changes Approved by RIOC for Phase 3 of COVID 19 era in NYC
Dear Members and Associates,
We have good news! Based on our recently updated agreement with RIOC, the garden club will move into its Phase 3 in the COVID-19 era.
Effective Saturday, August 15th, members are allowed to bring their guests into the garden; however, the gates will remain locked at all times, and the garden is still closed to the general public.
In addition, with proper sanitation the communal tool shed is again be accessible with your garden gate key. It is the responsibility of every member to take the time to sanitize the handles of the shared tools both before and after use.
Please use the spray bottle containing the bleach solution on the handles of the tools and wipe down with the provided cloths. Any member who had registered to use individual tools for the season should now return these tools back to the shed for proper storage. Please do this as soon as possible.
2020 RIGC Executive Board
President: Neal Weissman
Vice President: Johan Marfey
Secretary: Robert Ostergaard
Treasurer: Mike Ritter
Directors: Tim Wong, Takelu Gross, Jack Burkhalter
Outreach and Publicity Committee Chair: Julia Ferguson
Landscape & Common Areas Committee Chair: Curtis Lowrey
Rose Committee Chair: Marjorie Marcallino
Standards Committee Chair: Halima Aouchette
As gardeners we see rainfall differently than some. Ah, a cool drink for our plantings and no need to water!
This summer has been hot and also steadily rainy with thunderstorms moving through almost weekly. One of the biggest storms was tropical storm Isaias that hit on August 4th. Some gardeners were away and there were large branches downed and precariously hanging about. Roosevelt Island also lost some trees such as two Lindens near Pony field.
A big thank you to many who stepped up and reached out and helped with clean up - a few names I heard of were - Anthony Longo, Kaz Bujno, Karen Lee, Jack Burkhalter, Monica Dow, Alexis Villafane. If you helped out, too and I don't have your name, THANK YOU SO MUCH!
RIOC's new staff member Matthew Kibby has shown up as a garden ally and fellow horticulturist all during this 2020 season! He worked with Beverly Shutes ,Ali Shchwayri, and others to help with some dead trees on our southern border. He has had his team bring wood chips to the gardens on more than one occasion this summer and helped us get electricity back after the construction had to shut it off. Most recently after storm Isaias, Matt's team from RIOC helped to cart away branches piled in the front common area. Thank you!
Starting in the fall of 2019, several RIGC Executive Board members began to work on updating a mission or purpose statement to describe our community garden. Tim Wong, Director, also took over work on updating our map with plot numbers and first names since the prior map software had become outdated.
For the mission or purpose statement, we discussed our main focus-gardening- as well as the importance of our composting program that has developed so well in recent years. We discussed RIGC's current role supporting nature and providing a beautiful outdoor space to visitors as well as the outreach we provide when possible as an all volunteer non-profit in the community.
RIGC may currently be one of the oldest non-profit organizations on Roosevelt Island! This year at our Board meetings, we discussed, finalized, and voted on these two items which are found below and are also found on the Home and About pages of our website.
To download your copy of the map on your computer or phone click here.
The Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) is a diverse community of gardening enthusiasts who work together to beautify our Roosevelt Island home, to increase gardening knowledge, and to impart an appreciation for gardening, nature, and environmental stewardship among our members and our neighbors.
We all want our vegetables and herbs to thrive and we all need our pollinating insect friends.According the Permaculture Research Institute companion planting is , "A gardening method which makes use of the synergistic properties found in nature: cooperation between plants to achieve optimum health and viability."
Tomatoes like chives and parsley and marigolds. Basil likes tomatoes. Spinach likes strawberries. Potatoes like beans. For many more companion planting ideas check here and here and here for teaching children
One little known fact is the finicky property of fennel. Fennel is beneficial to many insects and serves as a host plant for swallowtail butterflies. Finnochio Fennel is completely edible with delicious, healthy anise like flavor and is the smaller plant that develops a delicious bulb. Common fennel is grown as an herb. The only parts used on this plant are leaves and seeds.
However, the common fennel plant can also get 4-6 feet tall and spreads aggressively. Fennel is a real foe to tomatoes and potatoes. So keep your fennel in check or in a container. Be considerate of for your neighbors plantings.
And enjoy this herb's leaves and seeds and the caterpillars and butterflies as well!
We are a community of volunteers and we have some special persons to thank for the daily prep of the bleach solution available week after week.
Our RIGC COVID team for the past 6 weeks since we regained member access on May 17 has been:
Carolina Meyer Associate
and thank you to Neal Weissman for all the organizing and preparation.
RIOC, along with The Butterfly Project NYC, GreenThumb, iDig2Learn, RI Garden Club & GRIN, joined forces to plant pollinator-attracting plants near Sportspark during National Pollinator Week in late June!
Christina Delfico, Jack Burkhalter, and Julia Ferguson met up early on a Thursday morning to plant beautiful perennial native plants to attract pollinators year round. This native planting includes Zizia Aurea, Baptisia Alba, Gray Goldenrod, & False Aster. Native plants have evolved with the regional conditions & local wildlife. They need less water and also support pollinators and birds much more effectively than other plantings!
Morning workout - weed, add a little locally processed compost, plant with space to grow & water.
All of this was possible because of Ursula with the NYC Environmental Education Center @nycenviroeductr and Christina Delfico @iDig2Learn #butterflyprojectnyc
We are grateful for Altheria Jackson, Mary Cunneen, Jessica Cerone, Erica Spencer El, Matthew Kibby, Eddie Perez, and Fernando Vargas at RIOC @rooseveltislandrioc. They all pitched in behind the scenes for permission, planning, adding more soil amendments, and turning on the water so these plants can get established.
A very special thanks to RIOC’s acting CEO & President Shelton Haynes who was very excited about this community project.
Roosevelt Island Garden Club #community garden appreciates so many partners on Roosevelt Island who help to make wise choices that provide opportunities for nature and our environment.
Please visit pollinator.org to find out what you can do to protect pollinators!
On Saturday, June 20th, members and associates individually brought their saved organics - greens and browns back to the compost area where they learned where to place them as Anthony, Jorg, and Kaz created a new pile to cook this season. Danika and Aiesha helped out with many tasks like more sifting, so compost was available for pick up as well! A beautiful, quiet, physically distanced day of safe composting thanks to Anthony Longo's leadership.
Remember to keep your organic matter in your plot until the next announced time to bring it to the communal system. Take a look below at the curated exhibit by Karen Lee teaching us to carefully prepare materials to compost and showing us what dangerous items to leave out!
Thank you for keeping all cleaned up organic matter in your own plot at this time!
Mark Your Calendars!
The first day in which we will be open for bringing organic matter to the back compost area will be June 20 from 10 am - 1 pm. The compost committee might even have some compost for you at that time! :-) In fairness to the compost committee and for the safety of us all, members cannot leave anything at any other time. See you on June 20!
Watch the Compost Zoom
To learn ways in which you can compost directly in your plot and/or hold organic matter neatly in your plot, please watch the Compost Education Zoom meet-up held on June 7, 2020 and organized by Aiesha Eleusizov:
Intro & Ways to Hold Organic Matter in Your Plot and Save for Communal Compost System- 15 min - Jerome Dutilloy
Using Dry Leaves Stems & More for Soil and Pollinators like our Native Bees - 12 min Jack Burkhalter
Compost Directly Into Your Soil -both garden materials and food scraps - 14 min Shelley Yu
Full Cycle Container Composting in Your Own Plot and Conclusion - 31 min Karen Lee
You can also find additional compost resources here on the RIGC website
This past week, Neal Weissman made a trip in to Ben Kallos's office to provide gardeners with extra masks if needed to keep us all safe in the gardens. This pandemic has us all connecting in so many new ways and we are so grateful for elected leaders and their staff who help in so many different ways at this time! Neal will distribute to any who are in need or who forget theirs for safety.
Good evening Neal,
Thanks again for making the trip up to our office for the masks. We hope they'll helpful for any RIer's who are still in need in need of them!
Budget Director and Office Manager
Office of NYC Council Member Ben Kallos
District Five: Midtown East, Upper East Side, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island