West 104th Street Garden

July 23, 2014

Back to Eden: Garden Themed Events at MOBIA

Filed under: Events — by west104garden @ 2:26 pm

July 23: Special Lecture with Juanli Carrión

Join artist Juanli Carrión tonight at 6:30pm at MOBIA. He will describe his current outdoor project in TriBeCa, Outer Seed Shadow #01, in which he interviewed individuals from various ethnic groups and countries, all of whom live in Manhattan, and each person elected a plant representing his or her origin to include in Carrión’s garden. Attendance is free. Registration is suggested but not required. For more information, please call (212) 408-1500, or email info@mobia.org.

July 27: Artist Talk: Mary Temple

Join Mary Temple this Sunday, July 27th, at 3pm as she discusses North Wall, South Light, Garden, the light installation she created this year for MOBIA. Attendance is free. Registration is suggested but not required. For more information, please call (212) 408-1500, or email info@mobia.org.

August 5: Planting the Seed: The Garden as Symbol in Contemporary Art

From Japanese rock gardens, to medieval cloistered gardens, to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the garden has held symbolic meaning across cultures and throughout history. Join Back to Eden curator Jennifer Scanlan and artists Naomi Reis and Lina Puerta, on August 5th at 6:30pm, in a special tour of the exhibition and discussion about the symbolic meanings of the garden in the exhibition and in the artists’ work. Attendance is free. Registration is required.

For more information, please call (212) 408-1500, or emailinfo@mobia.org.


April 16, 2014

A Tip for Getting Rid of Mosquitos

Filed under: Gardening Tips,News — by west104garden @ 4:05 pm

Get rid of mosquitoes. Easy way.


Bee Update

Filed under: News — by west104garden @ 4:04 pm

Dear Gardeners,

The bees have become a problem. Saturday, we rejected West Garden locations and voted to put the hive on the stone path in the East Garden. On reflection, beekeeper Elaine concluded that this is not a viable location. The heat of the sun plus the retention of heat in the stone path would make the spot too hot. Given the amount of ongoing debate over whether and where to locate the bees, we have concluded that the best solution is for Elaine to take the bees to the country where she has a suitable location.

Thank you for your interest and your patience. We believe all will agree that we want to do what is best for the bees.

The Steering Committee

October 28, 2013

Workday Meeting Minutes for October 19, 2013

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 5:16 pm
Tags: , ,

104 Garden Workday Meeting Minutes

Date: 10/19/13

Lead by Ann Levine – Steering Committee

1. Announcement of 2nd citation for rat infestation:
Follow–up by Melissa Nichols from Green Thumb.  Discussed possible ways to reduce rodents in garden area: harassment–fill holes with dirt and/or copper mesh, end cat and bird food on sidewalk by large gate and hang “pigeon” poster.  Noted that Maria (owner of now closed pet store on W. 100 St.) was seen putting food out for birds and cats. She needs to be contacted at her home, 435 CPW.
Melissa will contact Green Thumb about acquiring the “pigeon” poster to hang on the outside fence.

2. Private Event Proposal:

Noted proposal was sent to all garden members to review with only a reply from one gardener.  Decided that proposal will be reviewed and edited over the winter interim and presented at the first meeting of 2014 for a vote.

Anna (last name?) suggested we contact NYBotanical Gardens for events procedures/policies and similar venues; agreed to help with the proposal.

3. Stage

Stage “committee” (list members) goal to have final plans completed by the end of ’13.

Cindy (last name?) is an industrial designer and agreed to help with drawings if needed.

4. Website Redesign

Lead by Noreen, with Craig, Dinorah; volunteers welcome.  Will do redesign over the winter interim.

5. New Members Orientation

Proposal by Lou to have mandatory orientation for all new members.  No member will be given a plot unless they have completed the orientation.  Lou volunteered to lead the first orientation meetings. Suggested a handbook could be written (or an old existing one edited) to provide members with garden rules, procedures ( with monitor checklist) and plant and gardening guidance. Put orientation dates on the calendar.  Set up “bookkeeping form for member to sign and attach to application for confirmation of completed orientation.  VOTE:  27/yes, 3/no, 1abstain

6. Budget

Noted over $8,000 in coffers (includes $1,000 stage grant).  Garden has kept expenses low in 2013 and made some money from several flea markets.

Ariel mentioned Block Associations caution to keep our account under $10,000 for tax reasons, but it was concluded that was not really a concern.

7. Motion to move butterfly bush in the East garden to the SE coner of the garden by Katy. VOTE:  25/yes, 3/no.  Bush will be moved by Katy and any volunteers this fall.

9. Work day projects and minor announcements:

  • Plant daffodils (not in SW corner of West garden or under tree)
  • Clean grill
  • Turn off water harvesting
  • Add bleach to water system.
  • Do not prune canes near herb garden

October 27, 2013

Queen Code 12012

Filed under: Bees,News — by west104garden @ 11:08 am

It’s not a zip code, it’s the number of queen bees living in my hive at various times between May and October 2013.  The first queen (1) went into the new hive in May; five weeks later, a second queen was spotted in the hive but I didn’t know where she came from (12). I gave this second one to a fellow beekeeper and a week later, my remaining queen was also gone (120). My last report was about the new queen purchased (1201). This new queen, hived in early September, laid eggs for only two weeks and then stopped for unknown reasons. The honeybee farm that provided her (Johnston’s Honey Bee Farm in upstate NY) graciously replaced her at no cost, and that new queen was active immediately. In early October, Tobias Heller (garden member and new beekeeper) and I discovered some very interesting and good news about the hive when we did a complete hive inspection with Barbara Heller’s help.

1) a queen was laying regularly as evidenced by larvae of different ages visible in the honeycomb
2) we did not see the new marked queen from Johnston’s (with a pink dot for identification) but saw evidence of queen activity (larvae)
3) there was a large amount of capped brood – meaning that eggs had been laid in these cells at least a week earlier
4) there was lots of honey to feed the bees over the winter
5) a good amount of pollen was stored in the hive; pollen is needed to ‘build bees’ so the bees were preparing food for the new population
6) the bee population was noticeably higher than before, another good sign the hive would overwinter successfully; we guesstimated about 15,000 bees – about 10,000 is a minimum winter population needed to keep the hive warm enough
7) there was an empty queen cell attached to one of the frames in the middle hive box, indicating that the hive had raised their own queen from one of the worker larvae and that she had successfully emerged from the cell
8) we DID find another queen (12012), just by her very large size, that was most likely the one produced by the hive and that emerged from the queen cell; there is some chance she was fertilized on a nuptial flight in the neighborhood but we don’t know.
9) we have repeatedly found no diseases or parasites of any kind in the hive although other beekeepers on the upper west side have had such problems.

We hope the hive continues to thrive for the remainder of the fall and through the winter. Minimal inspection will be done from now until March or April and that only to see if the bees need additional food and are healthy

September 17, 2013

Mystery Surrounding the New Queen Bee 

Filed under: Bees,News — by west104garden @ 8:12 am
Tags: ,

I wrote earlier that I hived a new queen bee on August 7 and released her a few days later, after the hive and she got acquainted. She took a little time to settle in but by August 23 she appeared to be laying eggs, which was confirmed five days later. There was a good age (size) range of larvae in the brood cells which means the queen was laying regularly. A large number of brood cells were already capped which happens about a week after the eggs are laid. It was a good start for the new queen and improves chances that the hive will be large enough to survive the winter. While the hive was queenless for about 6 weeks, the bees produced lots of honey in honey cells as well as in what had been brood cells.

I returned to check the hive on Wednesday, September 11. It was the first time that Tobias Heller (8 yrs old) – a garden member with his mother Barbara – handled the bees and frames. He now has his own bee jacket with veiled hood, and is a natural. We weren’t surprised since he’s been researching bees, listening closely to my explanations for months and explaining a lot about the hive and bees to garden members who came around during hive inspections. Even when the bees were climbing around on his gloved hands, he was calm and collected.

We checked 2 of the 3 hive boxes, and discovered that the first brood from the new queen had ‘hatched’, that there is still capped brood that will produce more bees, but that there were no larvae of any age. That means the queen stopped laying at least a week ago, and maybe longer. We don’t know why, and we’re not sure if she is still in the hive. We tried to think like a bee and thought maybe she was not laying because she was not happy with the existing honeycomb. So we added a new 4th box of frames, and sprinkled some pollen in to encourage the bees to come up and pull out the embossed wax to make honeycomb cells for eggs. We’ll return next week to see what’s happened, with hopes that our guess was right and that the bees are working the wax and the queen is laying again.

August 29, 2013

Workday Meeting Minutes for August 14, 2013

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 3:05 pm
Tags: ,

August 14 Workday Minutes – Taken by Ann Levine

David Kaplan called the meeting to order–after an early hour of peach picking.


The Columbus-Amsterdam BID is holding a Street Fair on Sundays Sept. 8 and 15, on Amsterdam between 106 and 110 Streets, from 12 to 4. The Garden would like to reserve a table, but we need both volunteers to man the booth and ideas for display projects.
The July 14 Flea Market brought in $590! Special thanks to Julia, Christine, and Jesus. The next flea market has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 5. Donations and volunteers requested.

From the members

Ideas for street fair: Supplies for children to draw their ideal garden; bake sale.

We’re in mosquito season. Water barrels must be covered at all times. Watering cans should be emptied and turned upside down after use.

Members must NOT give the lock combinations to non-members for any reason.

Fence in the southeastern corner of the East garden has collapsed. Must be repaired.

Tasks completed

Members cut down a volunteer tree just outside the fence in the East Garden; bagged mulch for future use (though much remains in the pile); sanded the floor of the gazebo, in preparation for painting; and weeded.

Revised Garden Workday Minutes for May 12, 2012

Filed under: Meeting Notes — by west104garden @ 12:27 pm
Tags: ,

Dear Garden Members,
It is our sincerest intention to provide the most accurate minutes possible, but misquotes and other errors are likely to happen.  We are sure you can all appreciate how difficult it is to follow a fast paced, multi speaker and at times, highly charged meeting and simultaneously take notes.
Please accept this revised copy of the most recent work day minutes.
We hope you find them informative.
Best Regards,
West 104 Garden Steering Committee

West 104th St Community Garden.
Monthly Meeting Saturday 5/12/12
Meeting started at 10:21 am
1) ART WORK in the garden
SC: Morse code – current art installation
Vote: To be kept, or to be removed?
Remove: 9 votes
Keep: 9 votes
Jean: Said that in 2011 the garden voted the art to be kept as a permanent installation.
Ann: Proposed it to be revisited.
Flamingo Parade – installation on east building wall of the East Garden.
Concern about the vine. Was the art going to cover it? Was it going to affect its growth?
SC: Proposed an online vote for approval of graphic.
Garden Members approved suggestion.
On-line vote to be sent with picture attached and more details about the art size and way of attachment.
Vote: If it is to be a temporary installation, will the garden agree to host it?
Yes: 23 votes
No: 3 votes
Mary K: Said that the art installation was accepted in 2011 as a temporary piece. However, it remained unclear if every member had seen the graphic previous to that approval.
SC: Even if garden votes to allow the installation, the building owner/management has not agreed (or not) to the installation and the final decision will remain with them.
2) Request for a volunteer to be chairman for the Special Event committee.
Nobody volunteered.
Current members of the committee will select somebody among themselves.
3) Proposal from SC: Installation/extension of a fence at the back of the east wall end on the West Garden.
Reason: To prevent tenants from building in the middle to use garden as their private backyard.
Vote: whether to install new fence or not?
Yes: 2 votes
No: 18 votes
Walli: Concerned about spending money. Expressed concerns about financial status of garden.
Lou: Added that screws were methodically removed from existing gate that grant access to East Garden.
SC: Could we have somebody from the garden contact the building’s owner?
4) Replacement of crumbling brick path in front of east wall communal bed in East Garden.
Vote: bricks on path
Remove during work day (5/12/12): 7 votes
“Clean up” only during work day: 16 votes
Vote: brick path
Replace with another hard scape material: 14 votes
Replace with sod: 5 votes
Clean up: 6 votes
Extra: Dinorah and Paul to have a final proposal of materials for the meeting to be held in June.
Jean: Bricks to be removed once we have a plan in place.
Nikki: Encouraged plan of brick removal to be done on Saturday May 12th because it is a chore that has to be addressed by all members.
Susan Bernofsky: Offered to write grants if Walli will also join her on the task. Walli declined.
5) SC announced decision to not increase membership fee. Current: $20.00
6) Announcement of MMNY – Make Music New York, Thursday June 21st event.
7) Gazebo
Frank to begin work the week of June 21st.
Jean: to meet with new carpenter to assess scope of work to be done. Meeting to occur not later than Tuesday, May 15th, 2012.
Question to be asked: “What is duration of job?”
Mary K: pointed out that last year, garden members had decided to forgo
putting any gutters on the gazebo for rainwater gathering; and that the garden
tried to give the barrels and other water collection materials away.
8) Fire Hydrant.
Should all members call 311?
It was reiterated water should be used moderately due to lack of water access and plenty of rain. Tank in West Garden is full. It will provide enough water to irrigate plants on both sides.
9) Lids for water barrels.
Request for new flat lids that don’t hold water to discourage mosquito breeding.
Jean suggested drilling a small hole in the middle to drain accumulated water into barrel.
Garden approved suggestion. Experiment to be applied.
Concern: Wouldn’t this hole encourage mosquito breeding?
Jean thought small hole size might not encourage breeding.
Answer not completely satisfactory.
10) Removal of plants in communal beds. Main issue: East Garden removal of butterfly bushes and smoke bush.
Kim requested clearer rules regarding communal bed management to avoid future misunderstanding.
Mary K explained that each person in charge of a communal bed has the liberty to rearrange plants (add or remove) on their own behalf.
SC agreed with this remark.
SC representative (Kate) suggested:
a) Email or note has to be sent to all members in the garden before (NOT AFTER) removing any plant of considerable importance, size, aesthetic qualities, or sentiment attached to another member. This step aims to give enough time to the community to ponder the possibility of using the planting material.
b) Rules for Communal beds should be written down from now on, and be posted somewhere where people can refer to. It could be in the website or a copy posted inside the sheds.
11) Ants on peach tree.
Suggestion: Use of ant traps or mix potions suggested by Jean.

July 25, 2013

Five Smooth Stones – An Interactive Art Project

Filed under: News — by west104garden @ 3:05 pm

Five Smooth Stones

  1. First, consider the frame and the space in contains.
  2. Arrange the five stones any way you like.

    Savor your design.

  3. Take a picture of the arrangement with you cell phone other digital device/camera.
  4. Send the image to:west104gardenart@gmail.com
  5. Leave the stones where they will remain until the next participant rearranges them.

All the images taken for this project will be gathered and presented together on a digital quilt on August 2013. Look for it at:


What can you do with five smooth stones?
What can you create?

1 Samuel 17:40

July 10, 2013

Saturday July 13: Green Thumb Garden Festival

Filed under: Events — by west104garden @ 8:27 pm

The team from GreenThumb invites you to join them this Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Harlem for the 2013 GreenThumb Summer Festival!

This festival serves to recognize and celebrate GreenThumb community gardeners throughout New York City. Co-sponsored by New York State Assembly Member Keith L.T. Wright and NYC Council Member Inez Dickens, our greening partners for this event include: Circle of Brothers, Project Harmony, Green Guerillas, GrowNYC, New York Restoration Project, NYC Community Garden Coalition, Black Urban Growers, Boswyck Farms, Citizens Committee for NY, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Community Environmental Center, Food Bank for New York City, Hip Hop Public Health, Manhattanville Houses Resident Green Committee, NYC Compost Project in Manhattan, Corbin Hill Farms, Heritage Rose Foundation, and Casa De Frela.

We will have live music and dance, radio station WBLS on site as well as raffle prizes.  Additionally, there will be face painting, arts and crafts, food demonstrations as well as a full size garden on display courtesy of the Urban Garden Center. Come meet GreenThumb’s many partner organizations and learn about the resources we offer to help New Yorkers grow successful urban gardens.  

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email Roland Chouloute of GreenThumb at Roland.Chouloute@parks.nyc.gov. We hope to see you there!

Deputy Commissioner Larry Scott Blackmon

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