2024 NYRP Tree Giveaway

The annual New York Restoration Project Tree Giveaway begins distribution on Saturday, April 13th, a little less than 6 weeks away. It runs for four weeks, ending on Sunday, May 12th.

Advance registration is mandatory. You select your preferred species when you register. Note that each location will only have 6-8 species. Some locations, especially smaller sites, may be “sold out” of some species. So, check the locations you can get to, confirm you can do it on their giveaway dates, and select from the species available at those sites.

Consider the mature size, after 30 or more years of growth, of each species. There are two lists below: one for smaller-medium sized shrubs and trees that max out at no more than around 50′ high and 30′ wide; the other for the larger trees that will grow too large for most urban yards. These sizes do not take into consideration existing vegetation, outdoor structures, etc. Your conditions will vary!

Salix discolor, pussy willow

I’ve highlighted the 12 species that are NEW for 2024. The 6 species that aren’t available this year are crossed out.

Shrubs and Smaller Trees

Larger Trees

Brooklyn Locations

There are 8, two more than last year, Brooklyn pickup sites.

Related Content

2023-03-09: 2023 NYRP Tree Giveaway
2010-04-08: Put Down Roots: Million Trees NYC Tree Giveaway
2008-10-14: Tree Giveaway this Saturday in Sunset Park


New York Restoration Project Tree Giveaway

Meta: Blog Comments

The collective texts of the generated spam comments to my blog sometimes resemble poetry. Each line in this “poem” is the complete text of a single spam comment.

from a printed book, reproduction

monuments related to deep

antiquities. These are the

Egyptian papyri works of art.

At the same time, many antique

handwritten books were made,

One of the most skilled calligraphers

Of his works, he is especially famous

the best poets of his era and

which is carried out by the printing

The most common form handwritten by the author.

handwritten synonym

written on the parchment was scratched out

Meta-Meta: This is the first post published since I activated and configured the ActivityPub plugin on the blog. I already published this as three Mastodon posts, broken up for text limitations. Hopefully this shows up on its own!

Saturday, August 12, Wave Hill, Bronx: Bees, Butterflies and Blooms

Toxomerus marginatus on NOID Asteraceae, Wave Hill, June 2021

Saturday, August 12, join me at Wave Hill in the Bronx. I’ll be leading two Native Pollinator Walks, part of their Bees, Butterflies, and Blooms weekend of events. My walks will step off at 11am and 1pm from the Perkins Visitor Center, where the gift shop is located.

I’ll be staffing their Pollination Station information table between walks.

For a list of all that weekend’s events, Saturday and Sunday, August 12th & 13th, see:

Wild Garden, Wave Hill

Who Cares About Honeybees, Anyway?

Originally published as a Guest Rant on Garden Rant, November 4, 2009. Recovered from the Internet Archive. I replaced the photo snapshot with a link to the high-res photo on Flickr. I’ve replaced archive links with current, active links where possible. Those that have since link-rotted are noted.

Subgenus *Agapostemon*, male, on NOID *Helianthus*, perennial sunflower, along my driveway, August 2009

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been making the news rounds for a few years now. It’s old, if still current, news. Dire outcomes from the loss of honeybees have been proffered. For example, PBS recently introduced an online “ask the expert” feature with this:

Since the winter of 2006, millions of bees have vanished, leaving behind empty hives and a damaged ecosystem. [1]

Really? The ECOSYSTEM?! Did they not notice that honeybees aren’t part of the ecosystem?

Honeybees are livestock. They are animals which we manage for our uses. We provide them with housing and maintenance. We even move them from field to field, just as we let cows into different pastures for grazing.

Perhaps, if CCD can neither be prevented nor cured, disaster would come to pass. However, the underlying cause would not be the loss of the honeybees but our dependence on them as a consequence of unsustainable agricultural practices.

The old ways of farming include hedgerows, uncultivated areas between fields. The biodiversity of these patches provide substantial habitat for native pollinators, as well as other beneficial insects. When even these rough “unproductive” patches of land are cleared, we set the stage for the patterns that have come to dominate agriculture: more herbicides, more pesticides, more machinery. All of these also damage the soil food webs that support both soil fertility and agricultural ecosystems. Although manufactured inputs provide temporary relief, they reduce the ecological functions of the land, requiring more and greater inputs to achieve the same effect. This is the definition of addiction, and it’s a clear sign that this way of doing business is unsustainable.

Why do we need to ship and truck pollinators around? There are plenty of native pollinators to do the job, where we haven’t decimated their habitats. There are 4,000 species of bees alone in North America. 226 species are known in New York City. Many of them visit my gardens in Flatbush, Brooklyn; some have even taken up residence [2]. Many native bees are ground-dwellers which need only some open ground in which to dig their nests. When every patch of ground is cultivated, plowed under or paved over, native pollinators disappear. Suddenly, we “need” honeybees for pollination.

I care about the honeybees. I like my honey and beeswax candles. I support efforts to legalize beekeeping in New York City. But not at the expense of the biodiversity that is all around us, even in the city, if only we care enough to look for it, value it, and nurture it.

Dig Deeper

The Great Pollinator Project [original link defunct]
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
Saving [Honey] Bees: What We Know Now [About CCD], NY Times, 2009-09-02


[1] Ask “Silence of the Bees” Expert Dr. Diana Cox-Foster, PBS Blog [original link defunct]
[2] “Cellophane Bees Return”, 2009-05-02 [sic, correct date below]

End of original guest rant.

Related Content

Cellophane Bees Return, 2009-05-09 [cited in the Notes above]
Bee Watchers Needed in NYC (and a rant), 2009-06-09 [This was the original blog post which led to the Guest Rant]

All my Bees posts


Eastern North America Native Groundcovers

These are some of the Eastern North American species suitable for groundcover, most of which I have grown in my gardens over the decades. Some of these prefer shade, some prefer sun. Most of these will spread by runners, stolons, and the like, as “true” groundcovers. Others are effective as groundcovers because of their habit and crown expansion over time.

  • Asarum canadense, wild ginger
    Asarum canadense, wild ginger, growing in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat, May 2016
  • Athyrium filix-femina, lady fern
  • Carex, sedges, hundreds of species, e.g.: Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania sedge
    Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge
  • Chrysogonum virginianum, green-and-gold
    Chrysogonum virginianum
  • Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
    Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
  • Heuchera americana (sunnier)
  • Heuchera villosa (shadier)
  • Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern
    Onoclea sensibilis, Sensitive Fern, High Rock Park, Staten Island, May 2014
  • Pachysandra procumbens, Allegheny spurge
    Pachysandra procumbens
  • Packera aurea, golden ragwort. Many other species native to North America.
    Packera aurea (Senecio aureus), Heart-Leaved Groundsel
  • Phlox subulata, mosspink, for sun.
    Morning Glory: Phlox subulata
  • Phlox stolonifera, creeping phlox, for shade.
    Phlox stolonifera, Creeping Phlox
  • Sedum ternatum
  • Thelypteris noveboracensis, New York fern
  • Thelypteris palustris, marsh fern
  • Tiarella cordifolia, hearttleaf foamflower
    Tiarella cordifolia, heartleaf foamflower, May 2016
  • Zizia aurea, golden alexanders. Also Z. aptera.
    Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders

Related Content

2009-05-11: Wildflowers in a Flatbush Backyard
2007-08-06: Growing a Native Plant Garden in a Flatbush BackyardWildflowers in a Flatbush Backyard

This list replaces the one I wrote 6 years ago.


Mary Kreussling, 1931-2020

If you want to read these in sequence:
2020-09-23The Night’s Watch
2020-09-25Waking Up From Death 
2020-09-28The Last Goodbyes

My Mother's Deathbed

My mother passed away peacefully at home this morning around 5:30 am, Eastern Time. She’d been in home hospice for the past week. She’d been living at home with my sister since 2009, where she moved after our father passed away. She was 89 years old.

She was born with cerebral palsy. Despite her disability, she worked as a legal secretary, typing, and taking shorthand dictation, for much of her life. Taking after her mother, she enjoyed sewing throughout most of her life. In retirement, she took up weaving, and created many beautiful works which her family continues to enjoy.

She and our father were active volunteers in many community organizations everywhere they lived, including various community theater groups in Florida and New York, and the Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County in North Carolina, where they retired.

She was charming, and made friends easily. Stories abound of how she befriended strangers, whether they be people waiting on line with her, wrong numbers at our home, or truckers on the Long Island Expressway. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

No immediate service or memorial is planned.  In keeping with her wishes, her remains will be cremated, to be scattered with those of her husband at a future date. The family will plan an online celebration of life sometime in the future.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to your state or local chapter of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), https://ucp.org/find-us/

Related Content

2020-09-28: The Last Goodbyes
2020-09-25Waking Up From Death 
2020-09-23The Night’s Watch


Waking Up From Death

Goodbye #2

We’re nearing the end. Mom hasn’t eaten anything, not even a popsicle, in two days. The “comfort” drugs are powerful, blunt instruments that can only do so much to relieve her pain and discomfort. She is sleeping more and more. Her breath is shallow, but – thankfully – untroubled right now.

This morning, we got to have a few lucid minutes with her, before she fell back asleep. Cass – her granddaughter, my niece – and I were with her in the room. She said to us: “It feels like I keep waking up from death.” A pause, then “It feels weird”. “I bet it does!” I replied. “Does that make sense?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered. Then she began to say “But you …” and dismissed what she was going to say. I understood it as “You don’t believe in anything” as I’m atheist.

I do believe in the sacredness of this time, this experience. This morning’s conversation, however brief, was a blessing. There are no magic spirits behind any of this. It’s what we bring of ourselves to it.

Wishing that this would end soon arises from both kindness and selfishness. They coexist in us. There is so much else going on around me and my family right now, I don’t know how we endure it. Not to mention the state of the world, the peril we face in this country. But endure we must.

I am tired. I need to sleep. I hate the idea of leaving my mother alone in this room. I don’t want her to wake up and see there’s no one here. But that’s an unrealistic fear. She is sleeping peacefully right now, and most likely will for hours. I will be up hours before we get her up in the morning to change her.

I just want one of us to be with her when she passes. When she no longer wakes from her last death.

Related Content


Land of the Free: A Civics Lesson

[Transcribed from a 2017-09-16 Twitter thread and back-dated.]
ACLU Handbook - The Rights of Students - Front Cover - 1973

I originally wrote this as a linked group of posts on Twitter in response to an article about a teacher put on leave after “manhandling” (violently snatching from his chair) a student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

A billion yrs ago, I was in high school. I was gay, atheist, and figuring out my personal conscience and integrity against the injustice I saw in the world.

I spent a lot of time in the school library. There I found a copy of an ACLU handbook on students’ rights. Among the chapters, there was a section about reciting, or even standing for, the so-called “Pledge of Allegiance.” That was the practice in my high scool’s “home room”: the first “class” of the day, where attendance was taken, and Pledge recited. I had been standing only, not reciting, for weeks.

After reviewing the ACLU handbook, I wanted to exercise my conscience, and my right. One morning, I remained seated. The teacher, calling me by my last name, told me to stand. I refused. He asked why. I explained. I was lying if I recited it. There was no “liberty and justice for all.” I was atheist, and did not believe in a nation “under god.”

He moved on that 1st day. The 2nd day, he brought in the school’s disciplinarian to glare at me from the doorway, to intimidate. I sat. There was the visit to the principal’s office. I explained my reasons again. I remained seated.

This gave other students license to attempt intimidation, push my chair while I remained seated, shove me in hallways outside class. One student called me a “godless, commie fag.” He didn’t know I was gay. It was just the worst insult he could think of.

Related Content


Farmington teacher accused of mistreating student put on leave“, Charles E. Ramirez and Mark Hicks, The Detroit News, 2017-09-15 Continue reading

Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies

This is an updated version of a recipe I published 3 years ago. This version reflects the adjustments I’ve made since then. I feel like I’ve perfected this one. If you try this recipe, let me know what you did and how it turned out in the comments!

Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies, cooled and ready for consumption

The trick of using a frozen lemon and zesting the whole thing is something I picked up from my husband. He came across it, as he says, “on the computer.” As you grind down the lemon toward the center, be sure to pick out the seeds with a fork.
Half of a frozen lemon, zested for Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies

Yield: 60 (5 dozen) cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ frozen lemon, zested
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted. I like using white whole wheat flower for a recipe like this that has more delicate flavorings.
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)


  1. Let the butter soften to room temperature.
  2. Zest the frozen lemon (pick out seeds, as needed) into a small bowl and set aside to thaw.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Sift the flour and set aside.
  5. Cream the butter until smooth.
  6. Cream the butter and sugar together at high speed until light and fluffy.
    Creaming the butter and sugar, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  7. Add the zested lemon, extracts, and spices. Add salt to taste, if desired.
  8. Add the baking powder and baking soda and blend well.
    Batter, before adding dough, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  9. Add the sifted flour and mix until just blended together and no flecks remain.
    FInished Dough, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  10. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  11. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Scoop tablespoons of the chilled dough, roll lightly in sugar, and place on the parchment. Leave space between them; they will roughly double in diameter.
    A baker's dozen of scooped dough, ready for the oven, Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies
  13. Bake for 10 minutes until just brown on the edges. Your sense of smell is the best guide; remove them when you can just smell the sugar caramelizing. The edges should be just starting to darken. This will give you a crisp edge and chewy center.
    Lemon-Cardamon Sugar Cookies, fresh out of the oven
  14. Remove the baking sheet to a cooling rack, and let the cookies cool and set up on the sheet.

Related Content

Other recipes on this blog


The original recipe by Lauren Zietsman, published on her blog “A Full Measure of Happiness,” is no longer available on the Web.