Urban Gardening & Ecology Blog

Weed of the Month: Ragweed

Common Ragweed and a Beetle

Anyone with fall allergies—like me—should learn to spot the worst villain of all superweeds: ragweed! The main cause of hay fever, this annual beast can produce one billion grains of pollen per plant. Ragweed pollen causes familiar allergy symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes, and to make matters worse, it can also

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Weed of the Month: Pokeweed

Pokeweed

Every year around midsummer, a yellow-green shoot emerges in the same spot near the Children’s Garden sign. When its stem thickens and turns red over the next few weeks, I know that our beloved pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is back! By this time of year, this herbaceous perennial resembles a small tree—some years it

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Weed of the Month: Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

A favorite in wildflower bouquets, Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) comes into bloom in the heat of late summer. You’ll see its delicate white flowers atop three-foot stems on roadsides and in empty lots, rising above the trash and tangle of other weedy plants around it. This drought-tolerant member of the parsley

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Restorative Gardening on Brooklyn’s Coast

Tree bed in Canarsie

From the overflowing window boxes of Bay Ridge to the patchwork of urban farms in East New York, gardening in Brooklyn means tradition, therapy, discipline, beauty, and can-do resilience. But when the second spring since Sandy came this year, many gardeners in coastal Brooklyn did not see the buds and blooms they were used

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Trees are for Kids!

Homemade sign in a tree bed

Young gardeners learn best by doing, and street trees could use their help! Here are some tree-rific tips to get started: Prep: Scout your tree bed for anything hazardous that should first be removed by you. Dress the part: It’s dirty work, so think fashion for scarecrows—gloves and old clothes. De-trash: Together,

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Weed of the Month: Broadleaf Plantain

Broadleaf Plantain

A regular in lawns and along paths, broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) is a weed you’ll see plenty of now and for the rest of the summer. Even among weeds, it’s incredibly persistent. Mow it, step on it, weed-whack it, and this tough perennial will return, thanks to its low-growing habit and regenerative crown.

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