Randalls Island Park Alliance


In What's in Bloom on July 10, 2013 at 2:20 pm


By Phyllis Odessey

On Saturday, June 29th, 16 volunteers came to Randall’s Island to work on a restoration project at our White Garden on Wards Island.  The White Garden has a special place in my heart.  It’s a little hidden and was here when I came to Randalls’ seven years ago.

In the last seven years, we expanded the garden, added several birch trees and planted spring blooming bulbs.

The White Garden was hit hard by Sandy.  In fact, out of all the gardens on Randalls, The Bloomberg Vols w RIPA HC in White Garden 062913 145[1] White Garden suffered the most damage.  Through an analysis of water currents and topography, we figured out that The White Garden, although on higher ground than some other gardens, the force of the water at Hell Gate was stronger than say the Water’s Edge Garden.

Bloomberg Vols w RIPA HC in White Garden 062913 160[1]

We also planted salt and drought tolerant plants, which we hope we last many years.  In addition, we expanded the birch tree forest, which is underplanted with bluebells.

Here is the list of new plants:
Dicentra spectablis ‘Alba’
Epimedium x ‘Niveum’
Galium odoratum
Lamium m. ‘White Nancy’
Polygonatum s. ‘Variegatum’

Bloomberg volunteers planted a total of 800 plants.  Stop by and The White Garden and see what’s growing.
Bloomberg Vols w RIPA HC in White Garden 062913 164[1]


A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

In What's in Bloom on July 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm


By Phyllis Odessey

I am feeling very proud.  We just finished hanging photographs for our exhibition at the East Harlem Cafe.  The opening reception is July 9th between 5-7 pm.

The photographs feature kids who have participated in our Edible Education Program at the Urban Farm, a partnership with GrowNYC.  As well as some fantastic photographs from the gardens around Randall’s Island.
PHOTOINVITEWe look forward to seeing you the Cafe for the opening.  The show will be up for one month, stop by and have a look and enjoy a great cup of coffee.


Pay It Forward

In Water's Edge Garden on June 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

By Phyllis Odessey

profile-1110IMG_0716IMG_0715Giving back is an important part of the culture at Randall’s Island Park Alliance.

Our Urban Farm contributes all its extra produce to a small soup kitchen in East Harlem.  All the workshops and programming are  are free.

At the Waterfront Garden, we believe in sharing “the wealth.”  After seven years, the garden contains approximately 150,000 perennials and 50,000 spring and fall blooming bulbs.  We often divide our plants and email to friends and other gardeners that we have plants available.

On Thursday, June 20, volunteers from Goldman Sachs Community
IMG_0705Teamworks came to the waterfront garden to divide Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head.’  It’s tough as nails, both as a garden plant and as a plant.  It was unaffected by the salt water that covered it for a day or two as a result of the water washing over the garden due to  Sandy.

The last time, we divided this grass was four years ago and it was time to do it again.  With so many community gardens hurting, we decided to title our volunteer project, ‘PAY IT FORWARD.’

IMG_0714The great thing about division projects is from one plant comes many.  Each of these massive grasses, that volunteers from Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks divided,  bore at least 10 divisions.  We will be contacting several community gardens and seeing how many of the divisions these gardens can use.

We thank our team of Goldman Sachs Community Teamworks volunteers for their hard work and hard work it was.  Brand new bow saws in hand; it took something much more intense IMG_0713than new tools.  It took old- fashioned elbow grease, which was in great supply.  No one gave up or gave in.  The day was a tremendous success.  We hope to see all our wonderful volunteers from Goldma Sachs on Randall’s Island next year.