In late 2014, the garden membership passed a motion to appoint “Stewards” to coordinate each of the approximately 20 common areas in the Garden. The aim of this principle is to inspire members to assist in managing common garden areas, improve transparency and communication about these spaces, increase the gardening knowledge of the membership, avoid conflict and increase the overall condition of the front of the garden. Each common area will have one Steward, working with a team, leading the concept and overall direction the area.
How to participate
Those who would like to be really hands on and influence the direction of an area of the garden may wish to apply to be a Steward. Proposals for common areas (the map) without Stewards may be submitted to the Master Gardeners and are accepted on a rolling basis.
If you’d like to help with an area already under the supervision of a Steward, you can join as a team member. See below for a list of areas and the current Stewards. To get involved, if you’re at a work day you can either talk to Steward directly or ask one of the Master Gardeners for guidance. Outside the garden, you can use the following email address to email all of the Stewards: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Continuity is important, so trashing everything in a space to realize your idea is forbidden, however transition plans are acceptable.
- Food production is strongly discouraged due to poor soil conditions (lead).
- Communal areas are still the responsibility of all members, however Stewards will coordinate efforts to maximize the potential of an area.
- Tree pruning and removal shall only be performed by or under the guidance of the Master Gardeners.
For more detail on the rules in place to ensure the smooth operation of the common areas of the garden, please see the rules.
Information for current stewards
Stewards are recommended to do the following:
- Share when they’ll be gardening their areas
- Communicate with their team directly on to do’s
- Provide to-do’s for Group Gardening Days to Coordinators/Master Gardeners
- Email updates, successes, failures to Master Gardeners prior to monthly meeting
- Check the list to see who their team members are
- Understand past history of area when planning future improvements
- Use Plant Directory
- Talk to Master Gardeners
- Send photos and accompanying text to the Communications Co-ordinator for use on the blog and social media
Information for current members
- Check in with Stewards prior to planting or weeding (Don’t risk pulling out a plant that may not be in bloom yet!)
- Let the Stewards know when you’re available to garden (Maybe you foresee extra time during open hours?)
The garden’s common areas
If you’re unsure of which area in the garden is which, you can first have a look at the map of the garden.
There is also a list of the current stewards and team members
To help you decide which area you’d like to help with, here are the aims of each area for the current year:
Area A: Tree Pits
Prospect Heights Community Farm’s two tree pits serve many functions, including housing and protecting our two (Swamp?) Oak street trees, announcing and heralding the gated entrance to the farm, and adding all the benefits that trees contribute to our environs through cleaning the air, providing shade, housing birds, absorbing run off and making people smile. Proper care and maintenance of a tree pit is essential to securing a healthy long life for the trees housed within and all the benefits that they provide. Maintenance will include watering, mulching, feeding, and removing litter. Potential projects could include a local school centered project of adopting and naming the trees. With the proper care and education of the public, our street trees will grow with us for many years to come. (Brian)
Area B: Sustainable Garden Project
This year in addition to maintaining the relevant Project plants and Jerusalem artichokes behind, get the proper tags / labels for ID-ing the plants back in place. (Traci)
Area C: Marcia Bed
This well planted bed needs others to get involved in order to introduce others to the idea of layered plantings for spring, summer, late summer and fall interest. (Virginia)
Area D: Textile and Dye Bed
To introduce a few new plants (grown from seed other than the sanguinaria), in addition to the existing ones:
Linum usitatissimum (flax), Eschscholzia californica (california poppy), Inula helenium (safflower), Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot), Carthamus tinctorius (elecampane), Galium (bedstraw), Rubia tinctoria (madder), Polygonium tinctorium (japanese indigo), as well as more early bloomers.
Using large/straight dogwood prunings, add bigger stakes for the dahlias.
Create a book of sample swatches of fabrics/yarns dyed from plants grown in the garden with photos and other planting details for reference. (Eva)
Area E: Francis’s Bed
n/a – Ask Francis as needed
Area F: Front Box 5
Add compost ASAP, keep it weeded, and see what comes up as the time goes by. Divide and replant the snowdrops after their foliage browns. Reduce the overcrowding; the beauty berry should be moved out, and maybe the hydrangea should be re-positioned. Otherwise, it would be nice perhaps to put a plant of some sort in there in order to provide some off-season interest from the street… And tidy up the path around it, maybe put down some extra slate pieces… (Melissa)
Area G: The Rock Garden
The rock garden needs a bit of infusing to attract people from the street; so I’d like to invest again in some scree bed or alpines as originally designed. (Virginia)
Area H: Herbaceous Border
Goals: The soil is currently not in great shape and needs regular loads of organic matter adding to improve it. The weeds are already much more under control than they were the last few years but this area still needs more attention that other areas of the garden that are more established. Add more bulbs as this area on has crocuses and daffodils currently. Plan for summer and early autumn flowering as this is probably the most lacking season presently. Specific maintenance for this year are to continue to train the rose into a climber and to divide one large clump of irises which didn’t flower this year. There’s also some space at the back for more tall plantings e.g. biennials like foxgloves and hollyhocks. (Will)
Area I: Stewartia Garden
This area will need some re-thinking in terms of the layout of existing plants, as well as management of the established shrubs including the viburnum, lilac, and witch hazel. Some of the larger plants are too congested and I would consider removing the lilac. After improving the soil and making changes to the layout of the major plants I would add some perennials and bulbs for a changing seasonal display. (Catherine)
Area J: Crabapple
The tree will need long term management as it has some kind of fungal infection, and will require pruning out of dead branches. The bed itself is neglected and filled with weeds as well as plants that would do better elsewhere. So I would propose a major overhaul that would include rebuilding the stone border, removing unwanted plants, improving the soil, and replanting with more appropriate low growing perennials and groundcovers. (Catherine)
Area K: Burning Bush Bed
Maintain the existing coral bells, hydrangea, etc, and new plantings from BBG last September (2014) – creeping dianthus, foxglove, campanula (Redelia)
Area L: Dogwood/water tanks
Goals: To continue maintaining the recently planted a magnolia tree, as well as several Hosta plants along the path and to continue developing the “hosta walk” by continuing to plant a variety of these plants to fill in the shady area along the path. Keep the tall willow-like plants along the tank side of this area to keep a natural visual block of the tanks. (Joey)
Area M: Woodland Whimsy
This is one of the shadiest areas of the garden and could benefit from a bit more attention and the addition of more shade appropriate plants. Some plants suitable for this area would be more Bleeding Hearts, adding Hellebores and maybe even Astrantia. It is also a prime spot to increase with bulbs as it only has a few at the moment (mostly crocus in one corner). Summer interest should also be increased, perhaps with an Acanthus mollis or spinosus, some early summer flowering primulas or Japanese anemone. As new plants are planted, a lot of the wild violets will be relocated which are taking over and clear some of the end closest to the bench which is quite weedy. There are also some irises which need transplanting as it’s too shady for them here. (Will)
Area N: Buddleia Bowl
Area O: Evergreen Edge
In part because there are so few evergreens in New York City, the Evergreen Edge at Prospect Heights Community Farm immediately transports one to a different head space, inducing a calm and secure feeling of connection with nature amid the bustle of Brooklyn, which clamors just steps away, outside the gate. Care of the Evergreen Edge should seek to preserve this sense of wonder, including basic maintenance such as litter removal, watering, and feeding. Keeping in mind that the edge itself as well as adjacent areas have often become default storage for various garden supplies and other rummage in the past, care should be taken to keep the area clear of clutter. Potential new projects for the area could include mushroom cultivation however the primary focus will be to preserve and foster the health of the current stand of mixed evergreens. (Brian)
Mushroom Cultivation Project
Using the shady space in the O Evergreen Edge, stewards will initially select a species of mushroom to cultivate. All interested stewards will meet first, clear the area of debris that won’t be used in cultivation, and then decide on what species of mushroom to cultivate. They will review the resources, and mushroom spawn, available here: http://fieldforest.net. Most likely the team will start with one of the easiest strains, such as oysters on a log. Cultivation spawn will be purchased, and as a group, we will drill into logs, or other substrate, and begin cultivation later this spring.
Use of the mushrooms as food will only be considered if they are grown off the ground, and it is determined that they are safe, upon consult with Master Gardeners, and additional expert resources. (Ted)
Area P: “Walled” garden
Goals: To continue maintaining the iris bed planted under the fig tree, keeping the irises for their spring color, but also mix in later blooming shade plants that could thrive when the irises die off and the fig is in full bloom. (Joey)
Area Q: Communal flower Cutting Bed
To continue planting in conjunction with others desires for cut flowers for the entire membership (and visitors when we have enough) (Traci)
Area R: Hot Bed
Area S: Herb Circle
Goals: To continue improving the herb circle for another season for communal use. I did considerable work on a few sections and would like to form a team to help me take on this project. Several members have expressed interest in working with me on this area and I think with a committed team we can greatly build upon the plantings in this area. (Joey)
Area T: The Hill
Long and short term goals for the rear left border: To revitalize the area to produce an appealing, educational landscape.
This would include repairing or replacing the existing retaining wall; Clearing of any debris; Establishing a maintenance schedule for the existing plants and shrubs, and removing or transplanting unwanted plants to another area; and Creation of a border garden theme. (Ruth)
Area U: the Communal Strawberry/ Potato box
I wouldn’t mind also finding and planting some everbearing strawberries in the potato/strawberry bed, so everyone could enjoy them all summer. (Melissa)
Area V: Briar Fence / Border
This area was planted to keep intruders from easily hopping the fence and stealing our tools back in the day; the trifoliate orange are maturing now and are (hopefully) getting ready to fruit. Maintaining those and the surrounding plantings, perhaps removing one of the hydrangeas or cutting it back and ensuring leaves aren’t dumped there to smother plants. (Traci)
Fancy getting involved? Email the stewards!