What I’m About

Notice anything different about me? Until a few minutes ago, the by-line at the header of this blog read:

Adventures in Neo-Victorian, Wild, Shade, Organic and Native Plant Gardening, Garden Design, and Garden Restoration.

It now reads:

Urban Gardening with Native Plants

This better communicates the focus of my interests and expertise than the “anything goes” byline it replaces.

How I got here

We bought our house and garden 10 years ago. I started this blog 9 years ago.

The byline I just replaced reflected the experimental approach I was taking to having so much space to play with. Heirloom plants in the front yard, which might have been available to the original gardener of our home. Shade gardening because what urban gardener doesn’t have to deal with shade somewhere? Wild, because something has to be left uncultivated. And always organic gardening.

I’ve gardened with native plants since my first garden in the East Village. Each of the 4 gardens I’ve worked on in New York City has incorporated native plants. When we bought our house 10 years ago, I had pretty much a blank slate to work with. I quickly decided that the backyard would be a woodland garden, populated with ephemerals, ferns, and others plants native to the forests of northeastern North America.

Over time, I eliminated the major invasives I had inherited, including Rosa multifloraClematis terniflora, sweet autumn clematis (SAC), and Acer platanoides, Norway maple. I succeeded in transforming the backyard from the dustbowl I started with.

I expanded the areas devoted to native plants. I took up part of the driveway so the “woodland” could expand into the “clearing” offered by the south side of the house. The front yard has enjoyed a similar transformation. I removed first one section of front lawn, then replaced most of the rest with native plants last year.

My garden has been on tour four times, three times with NYC Wildflower Week. Last month, I spoke at the Long Island Botanical Society about my gardens, and the increasing number and variety of insect visitors I’ve observed and documented.

As I’ve expanded the areas of native plants in my garden, I’ve narrowed the focus, specializing increasingly in species native to New York City. I’m growing nearly 100 NYC-native species. I’ve added another 70 species this year, and continue to expand the areas for them.

All this diversity brings in countless species of insects, including dozens of bees and wasps. I’ve identified a half dozen new species in the garden just this Spring. Summer, the peak pollinator season, is just around the corner. I look forward to what else I will find this year.

So, when people ask, I say: I specialize in urban gardening with native plants. This isn’t a limitation. I see no end to what I can discover and learn by doing so. And no end to the benefits this can bring to myself, my family, my community, and the region.

Related Content

All my Native Plants posts


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