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Glynwood Farm Presents Program on Carbon Sequestration

and Soil Science to PGC on October 26, 2021

Tapping into the rich resources of environmental stewardship in the Hudson Valley, Philipstown Garden Club’s Conservation and Horticulture Committees reached out to the recently appointed Director of Agriculture at Glynwood Farm, a local CSA, for a program on soil science. On October 26 nearly 20 PGC members turned out in driving rain, perhaps with climate change on their minds, to hear Director Laura Lengnick’s presentation on regenerative agriculture whose goal is carbon sequestration. She discussed ways in which Glynwood’s farmers and gardeners cultivate healthy landscapes that slow climate change and enhance community resilience, crucial to its mission of training farmers and creating a regional food system. Her dive into soil science listed five practices which promote soil health directly relevant to gardeners: maximize cover, minimize disturbance, integrate animals (think pollinators), planned biodiversity and nurture living roots all year. A key part of her presentation dealt with why avoiding or reducing fossil fuel emissions is as important as increasing carbon sequestration in achieving agricultural climate solutions. 


Laura Lengnick trained as a soil scientist thirty years ago, when it was deeply unfashionable. Now restorative agriculture seems essential for the environmental health

of our planet. Laura’s introduction to the subject was so compelling that PGC will return next year for a deeper dive into Soil Science.


Philipstown Garden Club and Village of Nelsonville Join Forces in Homage to Fredrick Law Olmsted

Parks:  Where Nature Meets Community.  The year 2022 will mark the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., widely regarded as the father of American landscape  architecture. The Philipstown Garden Club, a founding member of the Garden Club of America, has joined its fellow clubs nationwide in celebrating Olmsted and his revolutionary theories about the restorative benefits of time spent in nature and the value of public parks and open space for the health of all communities.

The Philipstown community has an outstanding example of just such a park in its midst – the Nelsonville Village Green. Located at the intersection of Main Street and Pearl Street,  across from the Nelsonville Village Offices, this small pocket park features several intimate ‘rooms’ with benches that invite you to rest a while and enjoy the quiet and birdsong. The War Memorial honors those in our armed forces who served and fell during WW II, Korea, and Vietnam wars. There is a plaque commemorating Elisha Nelson, Nelsonville’s namesake. Bronze plaques in the kiosk commemorate all the parties involved in creating this unique space. The first plaque recognizes the Open Space Institute in making the land available to the public, and the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for the Hudson Highlands, Charitable Trust for its generosity in funding the project. The second plaque thanks all the local organizations and businesses that helped make the park a reality and recognizes Mary C. Rice, R.L.A. who created the garden design.  This truly is a park where nature meets our community.

Recognizing the significance and value of this park to the community, Penny Brickman, PGC member and Chair of the Garden History & Design committee, reached out to Village of Nelsonville Trustee, Chris Winward, to collaborate on a project to give the park a fall face lift. On Saturday morning, October 2nd, Penny and Chris were there to greet a crew of 11 PGC members and family who came armed with pruning shears, rakes, and trowels. Within just 3 hours, ten bags of garden debris were removed, hedges were trimmed, fall-blooming sedum and spring bulbs were planted, and the park was given a thorough fall-cleaning to ready it for spring. PGC will continue to provide guidance and other support to Trustee Chris Winward, who has committed time and energy to maintaining this park. It is a fine example of Olmsted’s vision for public spaces as an essential part of our community’s health and well-being.

Civic engagement and supporting projects in the community are also essential elements in the mission of the Philipstown Garden Club. PGC has long standing commitments to the Boscobel  Historic Herb Garden, the gardens at the Garrison Union Free School, the Fair Street & Rt 9D garden, and most recently, harvesting at the Davoren Organic Farm, and our new Winter Blooms for Seniors program.


Stonecrop Visit, September 21, 2021


Annual Thanksgiving Workshop

COVID may have made it impossible for us to get together in person for our annual Thanksgiving Workshop, but the Floral Design Committee was not deterred.  Donna Doyle, who has chaired this workshop for the past 8 years, led the Floral Design Committee’s first virtual Thanksgiving workshop on Tuesday, November 24th.  While demonstrating her approach to creating a low and long arrangement, Donna also shared a wealth of tips and tricks that novices and skilled individuals alike found so practical and helpful.  If you missed the workshop, we hope you’ll join us next year.  Until then, here are some photos from the day before and of the finished arrangements as well as some of those useful tips.


1. Buying roses - squeeze the flower heads to be sure they are firm (should feel like a golf ball). Don't buy if they are soft.

2. Peel off the outer rose petals (those that are browned or damaged) when making your arrangement.

3.  Cut stems at a sharp angle to make it easier to insert into the floral foam and to provide more surface area for water absorption.

4. Grasp stems at their bottoms to push them into the foam. This reduces the chance of stems breaking.

5. Push stems into the foam at least one inch.

6.  Keep looking at your arrangement from all sides to be sure it is balanced and has no "holes" (areas that need more material).

7.  Use extra material to make another arrangement(s). 


Donna Doyle and Steve Hutcheson at Alders for flower selecting.


Flowers in waiting (being conditioned the day prior to the workshop).


PGC’s 2021 Native Plant Propagation Work

By Matthew Weigman


Zone III

Philipstown GC

Garrison, NY


Inspired by Doug Tallamy’s mission of helping native wildlife one backyard at a time, Philipstown Garden Club’s Conservation and Horticulture committees teamed up for a 3-Part Seed Propagation Workshop to help members get native plants into their gardens in quantity. This commenced during the cold, snowy days of January with Seed Starting by the milk-jug method, an ideal way to propagate native plants which require cold-moist stratification to germinate.  Think yarrow, columbine, milkweed, summer phlox, red and blue lobelia. Altogether 15 members participated, sowing seed which had been gathered by the Horticulture team. The milk-jugs spent the balance of the winter in members’ gardens exposed to the elements and by April were ready for Part 2-Pricking out, each according to its own pace of growth.  In May, members held The Swap where they could trade what plants they had in abundance for greater variety. Collectively club members propagated nearly 325 mostly native perennials of 12 different species beloved by pollinators.


In a separate initiative the Horticulture committee facilitated Club members’ acquisition of the GCA plant of the year - Button Bush / Cephalanthus occidentalis. By assembling a group of 10 members with the appropriate habitat for this moisture-loving native shrub, the plants could be purchased in bulk as bare-root 12 – 18-inch whips at low cost ($2.50 each!) and sourced from Chief River Nurseries.


All the plants are now growing on in members gardens around our community, adding to the quotient of native flora nurturing native fauna in Philipstown.

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PGC President Carol McPeek and member Elefteria Zagoreos hard at work sowing native seeds in January 2021 Workshop

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Donna’s demonstration arrangement.

Anne Osborn’s two arrangements.


Jackie Grant made two as well.


Bev Leardi’s arrangement.


Seamus Carroll’s arrangement


Peg Moran’s arrangement.


Katherine MacInnes’ arrangement.


Linda Lange’s arrangement.


Karen Nelson’s arrangement.


Carol McPeek’s Thanksgiving table arrangement.


Andrea Maasik’s

Thanksgiving Day arrangement.


PGC Visits Peter Davoren’s Organic Farm And Assists with 2020 Autumn Harvests

On October 4, 2020 a Philipstown Garden Club group got a fascinating look at the “application science” of horticulture when the Horticulture Committee arranged a socially distanced Visit to Peter Davoren’s Organic Farm in Garrison, NY.  Starting in his spic-and-span barn, Peter Davoren and his wife Stacey Farley outlined the steps required to achieve successful yields of an array of vegetables – from January seed tray preparation, to warming chambers providing specific temperature and moisture levels, then grow-light racks where root growth is carefully nurtured over a period of weeks. They showed the impressive array of tractors and ancillary equipment necessary to get crops into the ground of their 9-acre farm and outlined the numerous challenges between planting and harvest following organic procedures. The group was amazed to learn the farm is staffed, aside from Peter and Stacey by only one full-time and two part-time employees and to learn that for Davoren, CEO and President of Turner Construction Company, the farm is a second job! 

Among the bounty of this year’s crops were a wide variety of vegetables including tomatoes, basil, squash, arugula, kale, peppers, potatoes, onions, eggplant, sweet potatoes and more. Davoren Farm sells its produce to local restaurants and they have a pop-up Farm Stand open on occasional weekends as well. Stacey outlined how they distribute the considerable balance to area Community Food Pantries in Putnam and neighboring Westchester and Dutchess counties where hundreds of working families receive the bounty of farm produce on a weekly basis, as well as how proceeds of the farm stand are converted into coupons for area pharmacies. 

With the Autumn harvest in full swing, members were able to pick samples of the abundant yield to take home.  But more importantly, having seen first-hand the challenge of bringing in the thriving crops, PGC groups returned on October 8th and helped to pick fresh peppers and tomatoes which were delivered to a community food pantry in neighboring Northern Westchester county.  A PGC team of 8 was back on October 21st to help with the sweet potato harvest, bringing in 900 pounds in just over an hour which are destined for Fred’s Pantry in Peekskill, and will return for the last harvest of peppers on the 26th October.  So, what started as a Horticulture Committee outing to educate members has evolved into a PGC group assisting on an ongoing basis with the harvest and thus helping one of the area’s premier local farms serve the wider community. 


PGC Team Assisting with Harvest at Davoren Farm on October 8, 2020


PGC Harvesting Sweet Potatoes at Davoren Farm October 21, 2020

Horticulture and Visiting Gardens Committees Team Up for Wethersfield Visit 

On September 25, 2020, the Horticulture and Visiting Gardens Committees arranged for a visit to Wethersfield Estate and Gardens in Amenia, NY, where the Director of Horticulture, Toshi Yano, gave the PGC group a fascinating tour of the gardens of this quintessential 1930’s gentleman’s estate. Members heard about the creation and maintenance of the gardens, learned about ongoing plans to revitalize foundation plantings in the formal garden spaces, and also took away some ideas about species choices to use in their own gardens. 

Right: Wethersfield Horticulture Director Toshi Yano with a PGC Team in the Cutting Garden September 25, 2020.