Sunday, December 6, 2009

Evergreens We Love

It's actually freezing now and it slushed on the weekend, so we're in winter. Every year it comes as a shock how cold 32 degrees is. I think plants feel the same shock, except they react to winter with greater wisdom than humans; they go dormant for a few months. Many perennials look as if they're "dying" in fall/winter but they're just going into dormancy and will shoot back up in the spring. So if you're looking around for flowering lush green plants right now, you're not going to find many. You might be feeling bad for gardeners, since all of our beloved plants are just reduced to roots below the surface of the ground, but it just gives us something to look forward to and adds an element of suspense to gardening. But there are some lovely evergreens around to keep us company. Here are some native evergreens that you might spot in Central Park or Inwood or in many of the other wilds spots and gardens in the city.
Three Ilexs:

Ilex o
paca, American Holly is a sharped leaved Holly decorated with red berries that birds love. You'll see it as a shrub but it can grow to be a very tall tree (over 80'). It's a very festive winter tree.

Although Ilex verticillata, Winterberry, is not evergreen, it's loaded with red berries so there's not much to complain about. This is another shrub birds love and it's heavily used in Christmas decorations.

Ilex glabra, Inkberry
doesn't have bright red berries, but does have wonderful green foliage and a lovely shape. It's beautiful in the wild and is commonly used in landscaping as a hedge. Use it instead of Privet!

So enough about plants, I'm looking forward to attending a few good Christmas Parties in the next couple of weeks. And besides partying I may do something useful. You can too! Here is relevant information to our NYC environment and how politicians are changing it:

The New York City Council has scheduled a stated meeting for Wednesday,
December 9 and one of the year's most important pieces of environmental
legislation is expected to come up for a vote.
The Greener, Greater Buildings
Plan would dramatically reduce our energy consumption and create green
jobs -- a win-win for the economy and for the environment.

Please ask your elected officials to act now and dramatically shrink the Big
Apple's carbon footprint!

Take Action Here:

The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2009
Excerpts from this press release is from the sponsors of a new bill in Congress -- proposed federal legislation that would be focused entirely on "green infrastructure".


December 3, 2009


Dan Weber (Edwards)
(202) 225-8699
Jim Hubbard (Carnahan)
(202) 225-2671
Tim Mulvey (Driehaus)
(202) 225-2216

Reps. Edwards, Carnahan, Driehaus Introduce ‘Green’ Water Infrastructure Bill That Will Create Jobs, Reduce Costs

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and Steve Driehaus (D-OH) today introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2009. Green Infrastructure is a stormwater management technique that preserves the natural hydrology of an area to help reduce stormwater runoff from hard surfaces.

Green infrastructure techniques rely on natural systems to absorb and filter stormwater in a way that relies on soil and plant life to remove toxins and recharge ground water supplies. Implementing green infrastructure provides numerous benefits, which include enhancing water resources, protecting the environment, reducing the urban heat island effect, increasing community health, creating green jobs, and saving money through reduced capitol costs.

“Access to clean water is a necessity and must be protected to ensure the future prosperity and well-being of the United States,” said Rep. Edwards. “A growing threat to water quality throughout the U.S. is due to polluted stormwater runoff from highly urbanized areas flowing into surface waters without being treated. .... If we do not begin to address this problem, water quality gains made over the last forty years will be lost. Green infrastructure is a proven method that can help address this challenge. The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2009 is an innovative, environmental and economically cost-effective approach to manage storm water flows and improve water quality throughout the nation. ....”


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