The Years Have Been Kind

This Spring has been a season of garden anniversaries for me. Six years ago, my partner and I bought our home in Flatbush. In the first month after closing, I began weeding, composting, and envisioning the gardens. Five years ago, I started this blog to document what I was doing and record my explorations.

It’s also been a season to celebrate the gardens. Last month, for New York City Wildflower Week (NYCWW), I opened my native plant garden for a garden tour for the first time. This Sunday, June 12, the gardens will be opened again, this time for the Victorian Flatbush House Tour, to benefit the Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC). And in May, I registered my garden as a Certified Wildlife Habitat (#141,173) with the National Wildlife Federation.

My original vision for the backyard native plant garden is largely realized. I’m close to completing development of the planting beds. The shrubs and perennials have grown and spread; there is little bare ground. Unlike me, the garden looks better than it did six years ago. Take a look, and let me know what you think.


By view of the garden

Entrance from the driveway.
Backyard, view along the back path
Arbor Entrance

View West, toward the back of the house.
Backyard, view toward the house
View West

View North, toward our next-door neighbor.
Backyard, view away from garage
View North

View East, toward our back neighbor.
Backyard, view away from the house
View East

View South, toward our garage. The entrance from the driveway is to the right.
Backyard, view toward the garage
View South

Related Content

My Garden


NYC Wildflower Week
Victorian Flatbush House Tour, Flatbush Development Corporation
Garden for Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation

Street Tree Walking Tour, Sunday 4/17

Update 2011-04-16: As nasty as the weather is as I update this on Saturday night, it will be beautiful tomorrow for the tour, windy, but temperatures reaching into the upper 50s and low 60s. Added a Google Map of the tour below.

The Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour of April 2009. Photo: Sustainable Flatbush (Flickr)
Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour '09

The 4th Annual Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour will be Sunday, April 17, the day after the Plant Swap. (It’s a busy weekend for us!) We’re following the same route as past tours, so if you’ve only been able to enjoy our fall foliage in the past, come enjoy the spring blooms!

Once again tours leave from Sacred Vibes Apothecary at 11am and 12noon. Your tour guides will be Sam Bishop of Trees NY, neighbor and gardener Tracey Hohman, and me. On the tour, you can see:

  • Acer platanoides, Norway Maple
  • Aesculus hippocastanum, Horsechestnut
  • Amelanchier, Serviceberry
  • Betula nigra, River Birch
  • Cercis canadensis, Redbud
  • Cornus florida, Flowering Dogwood
  • Cryptomeria japonica, Japanese Red Cedar
  • Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo
  • Gleditsia triacanthos, Honey Locust
  • Liquidambar styraciflua, Sweetgum
  • Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Dawn Redwood
  • Pinus strobus, White Pine
  • Platanus x acerifolia, London Plane
  • Pyrus calleryana, Flowering Pear, Callery Pear
  • Quercus palustris, Pin Oak
  • Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’, Columnar English Oak
  • Styphnolobium japonicum (Sophora japonica), Japanese Pagoda Tree, Scholar Tree
  • Taxodium distichum, Bald Cycpress
  • Tsuga canadensis, Eastern Hemlock
  • Ulmus americana, American Elm

… and many more.
When: Sunday, April 17. Tours set out at 11am and 12noon. The tour lasts 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Where: Tours leave from Sacred Vibes Apothecary, 376 Argyle Road, just down the corner from Cortelyou Road, across the street from the Tot Lot, catty-corner from the Greenmarket. The route is about a mile in length, looping back to where we started.
Suggested Donation: 5$

View 2011 Spring Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour in a larger map

April 2009. Photo: Sustainable Flatbush (Flickr)
Sustainable Flatbush Street Tree Walking Tour '09

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Related Content

Previous Tree Tour Posts:

Factoids: Street Trees and Property Values, December 2, 2007
Factoids: NYC’s Street Trees and Stormwater Reduction, November 15, 2007
Basic Research: The State of the Forest in New York City, November 12, 2007

Albemarle Road, Local Landscape


4th Annual Street Tree Walking Tour!, Sustainable Flatbush
Sacred Vibes Apothecary
Trees NY

Brooklyn Garden Tour Calendar

Most of these are house tours which also feature gardens, some are garden-only tours.

Brooklyn Heights, May 9

Five houses and their gardens will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. for the 24th annual tour of the Brooklyn Heights Association. There will be an 1842 Greek Revival house on a street once known as Mansion Row, with its original mahogany woodwork and a collection of contemporary art by American and German artists, and an 1846 house on a corner lot with formal-style gardens, interior front and back staircases and a Federal doorway that was salvaged from a neighborhood building. No children under 13 except infants in front packs. Reservations are recommended. Tickets, $30, by calling (718) 858-9193 and On the day of the tour only, tickets will be sold starting at 12:30 p.m. at 129 Pierrepont Street (near Clinton Street). [Via New York Times, 2009-04-30]

East New York, May 17

East New York Community Gardens Bike Tour
As part of Bike Month NYC, join GreenThumb Community Gardeners for a bike tour starting in East New York, part of NYC’s densest concentration of community gardens. Learn about the tumultuous history of gardening in NYC and see the fruits of the gardens.
Sunday, May 17, 2009, 9:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Start at Green Gems Community Garden, 947-953 Glenmore Avenue, between Fountain and Crystal Street

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, May 31

Eleven houses will be open from noon to 5 p.m., including a 1907 limestone house renovated with a mix of pocket doors, antique chandeliers, an exercise room and a contemporary galley kitchen; a 1911 townhouse with original Arts and Crafts interior details and a staircase decorated with vintage maps; and the home of the 2006 Silver Award winner of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which has a back garden with two waterfalls, charming seating areas and winding paths. Infants in front packs only. Tickets, $25, at K-Dog & Dunebuggy Cafe, 43 Lincoln Road (between Flatbush and Ocean Avenues). Advance tickets, $20. Information: (718) 284-6210 or (718) 462-0024 and at [Via New York Times, 2009-04-30]

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, FORT GREENE AND CLINTON HILL, BROOKLYN, JUNE 14 The Brownstone Brooklyn Garden District’s Garden Walk, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., will feature a dozen private and five community gardens. This year’s sites include two gardens that occupy neighboring yards behind adjacent town houses. One evokes ancient Rome, with shards of masonry, sculptural fragments and embedded plaques set among perennials and tropical plants. The other, centered by a cherry tree planted by the jazz singer Betty Carter, features perennial plantings and flowering trees.

Tickets, $20, at the Forest Floor, 659 Vanderbilt Avenue (Prospect Place) in Prospect Heights; Greene Grape Provisions, 753 Fulton Street (South Portland Avenue) in Fort Greene; and Root Stock and Quade, 471 Myrtle Avenue (Washington Street) in Clinton Hill. Advance tickets, $15, and information: (718) 858-7968, e-mail to or

CROWN HEIGHTS NORTH, BROOKLYN OCT. 4 Eight houses, two churches and a community garden will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets, $25, at St. Gregory’s Parish School, 991 St. Johns Place (between Brooklyn and New York Avenues). Advance tickets, $20, and information at (917) 748-4664 and [Via New York Times, 2009-04-30]