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Posts Tagged ‘hurricane Irene’

Newly Replanted Bed in the Courtyard of Hartley House

After hurricane Irene downed four mature trees at Hartley House last season, the courtyard was in desperate need of new plantings. Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design volunteered to provide a full design for the courtyard in an effort to reclaim the space and fill the void the trees left behind.

A Close-up Shot of the East Bed

Though the courtyard benefits from gracious donations of annual flowers on a yearly basis, we knew that it needed more this year to make an impact in the space. Alan Klein headed a garden committee to coordinate the replanting of the largest planting bed in the courtyard.

A Mixture of Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs Were Used in the Planting Bed

After the committee raised enough funds for the installation of an automatic irrigation system, Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design donated additional labor and assisted in obtaining plant materials to make the funds stretch to cover the full installation of the planting bed. The plantings, installed just after July 4th, feature perennial flowers, shrubs and vines which will continue growing year after year. Just a small portion in the front of the planting bed was reserved as a place for annual flowers.

Hydrangea ‘Little Lamb’ is a Showstopper Along the North Bed

We want to thank family, friends and neighbors who donated to this cause. We couldn’t be more proud to play a role in helping a community center which makes a difference in the lives of so many families in Hell’s Kitchen. We will continue to donate time to care for the plants and hope to raise additional funds to continue greening the courtyard at Hartley House in the future.

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For all of you wondering how you can join us to get your hands dirty and get your garden on….this is for you! In the end of August 2011 New York City was girding for an evacuation of low-lying areas from fear of flooding due to Hurricane Irene.  For most of us city dwellers the storm was relatively anticlimactic, bringing only a bit of rain and wind.

The Courtyard of Hartley House in Hell's Kitchen

Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design provided a pro bono consultation to our neighborhood community center, Hartley House, one week before Irene’s visit. During that meeting, one of our chief concerns was for a pair of Ailanthus trees growing in the courtyard which had never been pruned properly.  This invasive species, known for being unstable, raised fears for the wellbeing of surrounding historic buildings of Hartley House, and for the children attending afterschool and summer programs in the courtyard.

If you are already a reader of Erbology, you know how this story (and storm) ended, as chronicled in When Heaven Came Crashing Down on September 7, 2011.  Thankfully no one was hurt, and the property damage was minimal.  The courtyard plantings suffered the worst with multiple beds and plantings being demolished and requiring removal.

We are ready to start the next chapter for the courtyard. Alan Klein has taken the initiative as chairman of the newly formed Hartley House Garden Committee. This group is tasked with a fundraising effort to help restore and replant the courtyard between the main building of Hartley House and the original 1800’s carriage house hidden behind.  Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design is donating a new design and installation materials while Alan works closely with Hartley House staff members on fundraising for this effort.

We welcome contributions and support of all shapes and sizes. Volunteers will be needed for our June planting (check back soon for dates and times) and contributions of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Don’t miss this chance to be involved and to give back to an amazing community organization.

The Carriage House Stairway and West Planting Bed

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Ailanthus Tree Came Down Due to Heavy Rains

Ailanthus altissima (commonly referred to as Tree of Heaven) is a sneaky tree. It is a fast-growing invasive plant that grows well in disturbed sites and poor soils. Ailanthus loves New York City. There are more than a few in the neighbor’s backyard beside my own building. Because of all the rainfall we’ve recently received, mature street trees and Ailanthus alike have become unstable due to restricted root systems.

Exposed Roots of Ailanthus altissima

 Soaring as high as 40-60′ tall at maturity, Ailanthus can grow up to 5′ in a single year. This rapid growth forms weak wood which can break easily in storms. It seems that any tree or shrub that can find a way to survive in a city backyard should be loved, but this little piece of heaven can be dangerous. The above pictures were taken just this week. Hurricane Irene caused other Ailanthus trees to fall in Hell’s Kitchen as well. If you are unsure about a tree on or around your property, get a certified arborist to come and check it out. We recommend Arborpolitan for tree care in New York City.

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Tropical Depression Eight

Hurricane Irene's Projected Path From http://www.weather.com

Hurricane Irene stubbornly continues on her path barreling towards all of the major Northeastern metropolitan areas. New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia are all included on her coastal tour. As you may have guessed hurricanes and roof gardens don’t exactly make for a party. For those of you with exposed outdoor spaces, here are some tips to consider as you batten down your hatches and prepare your roof garden for a storm.

1. Bring all lightweight furniture, cushions and accessories inside. Anything that you can lift and fit through the door should be brought in.

2.  Prune prune prune. Okay, so it may not be the ideal time of season to prune your containerized trees, but any extra branches or leaves you can remove will help reduce the impact of wind on the plants.

3. Cluster planters against the sides of buildings. Small pots that can be grouped together against building walls will generally be more secure than those left on the middle of an exposed rooftop. Of course each roof has its own specific conditions, but this is a general rule of thumb.

4. Turn dining tables upside down (assuming it doesn’t fit through your patio door). They can get caught by strong winds if left in their normal position. Place a protective surface on the floor, turn it upside down and place something on top of it to weigh it down. Extra concrete pavers or small planters could do the trick.

5. Fill some buckets of water and leave them on the terrace. Just in case the electricity goes out you are still going to want to water your plants after the storm dissipates.

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