Tag Archives: Irvington NY

While the Forsythias are Blooming…

It was standing room only when members and friends of The Garden Club met recently to enjoy a demonstration by floral artists Miko Akasaka and her husband Yusuke of Seasons On The Hudson, Irvington’s local floral design and accessories shop. Miko was a wealth of new information, including advice on how to incorporate stems purchased at the florist with flowers from your own garden. She began with tall branches of forsythia, the yellow shrubs now in bloom everywhere—some in full bloom, others she called “really tight,” to open later and give the arrangement longevity. She then added branches of curly willow and pussy willow and stems of delphinium, clematis, bells of Ireland, and orchids. “We don’t force nature. We let nature do its thing,” she said. “This is English Garden style, not too symmetrical.”

Among Miko’s other advice: Use Japanese clippers to split-cut the base of hydrangeas and of other flowers with woody stems. Put the stems in a vase of hot water. Let the water cool a bit before adding other flowers.  Use hairdressers’ gloves to protect your hands. And “Go bold! It takes courage, but do it.”

It’s always a pleasure to watch artists at work. Here, Yusuke is demonstrating how to fold leaves to line a simple glass vase and make it special.

Seasons On The Hudson is located at 45 Main Street, Irvington, NY 10533.

Filed under Flower Arranging, Irvington Garden Club Events, Irvington NY

Members Learn Air Layering to Clone Fruit Trees

Woman propagating citrus

Garden club members learned a challenging and rewarding new skill: How to air-layer citrus plants — lemon, orange, kumquat — to create offspring that will bear fruit identical to that of the parent.

CJ Reilly, Director of Education and Head of Grounds and Operations at the O’Hara Nature Center and Irvington Woods Park, led us through a process that included:

  • Locating a healthy, straight branch about the diameter of a pencil and selecting a 1″ long area of the branch to work on.
  • Clipping off the leaves adjacent to the area, then scraping of the bark to expose the inner wood.
  • Mixing one part each moss and organic soil into a rough ball, moistening it, and wrapping it around the exposed inner wood.
  • Covering the rounded mass with a plastic baggie and sealing it with tape or twine.

CJ Reilly demonstrates how to strip off an inch of bark without injuring the young tree.

Air layering is an age-old and important skill, CJ explained, because you can successfully clone many fruit trees, including apple, peach, fig and lychee—all of which usually take eight to ten years to bear fruit if planted from seed. And the fruit from seed will often different from that of the parent. With air layering, flowering and fruit typically occur in one to two years for limes and lemons and in two to three years for oranges. This method can also be successful for perennial shrubs like azaleas.

The Nature Center graciously supplied all the materials and most of the plants,

The plants Garden Club members worked on will live at the Nature Center until the mossy spheres in their plastic skins sprout roots. Then the root balls will be transplanted into new containers. The young plants can be left outdoors when there is no chance of frost. “Your air-layered branches should be ready to transplant in two to three months,” CJ said. “You’re all taking them home at the end of December.”


“We all look intense and immersed in what we are doing,” commented Club co-president Linda Azif. “These photos reflect how our members work, learn and support each other.”


For further information, please contact the  O’Hara Nature Center.

Photographs by Edna Kornberg and CJ Reilly.

Filed under Horticulture

Annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale a GCI Tradition

What should I plant in the shade? Does this plant like to be wet or dry? Should I let it grow or pinch it back? Will the deer eat it? Every year, on the Saturday before Mothers Day, Garden Club members help guests to our Garden Fair and Plant Sale at the Lyndhurst Greenhouses choose plants and provide tips on care that, we hope, will contribute to the success and beauty of many gardens in the area. An added bonus: the daylilies, coleus and hostas that are unsold are donated to Lyndhurst to enhance the plantings at this National Trust property.

Filed under Horticulture, Irvington Garden Club Events, Plant Sale, Rivertowns Westchester NY, Tarrytown NY