This plant blew into the garden from somewhere a few years ago and is now well established. It appears to be a member of the Persicaria family, probably P. maculosa, “Lady’s Thumb,” a member of the knotweed family.
Some sources report that P. maculosa produces a yellow/green dye (with an alum mordant), although one source says red/brown.
I had initially thought that silver ragwort (aka “Dusty Miller”) was an annual, but it turns out to be winter hardy, and several of the ones I planted last year survived our gentle winter and have continued to provide an unusual bit of contrast in the garden this season.
Nominally, anyone can perform tree-bed care activities — such as cleaning, cultivating, watering, and planting — on any sidewalk in New York City.
However, it seems to be generally accepted etiquette that the people who live in a building have “first dibs” on the adjacent tree beds, and thus I am loathe to do much digging unless it’s clear that the people who live or work in that stretch have no interest in doing so.
In hopes of mustering some buy-in from my neighbors, I’ve posted letters in a couple of nearby building, inviting them to join me in planting daffodil bulbs in their tree beds.
I was very pleased to be able to pick up a large supply of free daffodil bulbs today for planting in the garden and around the neighborhood. They were provided by New Yorkers for Parks as part of the NYC Daffodil Project.
Their distribution site was in Union Square, where bags were set out for people who had registered online. I had missed the registration cut-off date and was relegated to the wait-list line for leftovers — but thankfully, this year they had expanded their program and had many thousands of extra bulbs, so I was able to get as many as I could carry.
Each of their shipping crates was estimated to hold about 550 bulbs, and conveniently fit into one of the large reusable grocery bags I had brought with me. After filling my jumbo shopping cart with three crates’ worth — a hundred pounds of bulbs — I bumped them down the stairs to the Q train and headed back uptown.
Now it’s time to tackle the next project — planting them all!
Bloomingdale Garden is a tiny patch of green in public space on New York City’s Upper West Side.
Located in containers and tree beds along the sidewalk of 219/217/215 West 106th Street, the garden occupies less than a hundred square feet, but provides a welcome splash of color to the neighborhood.
My name is Matthew Cavalletto, and I’ve created this site to showcase the flora and fauna that make their home in and around my garden, and to answer some common questions asked by passers by. I’ll also share some notes about my experiences as a gardener, in hopes that this will encourage other people to create their own pocket gardens anywhere they can.