THE MANHATTAN BOTANICAL GARDEN - 1994-2006
A project of Friends of Pier 84 (FoP84)
The initial concept in 1994 was to plant some flowers at the entrance of Pier 84 at the end of West 44th Street to show how we cared for the beloved but dilapidated city-owned pier on the Hudson River. The all-volunteer beautification idea caught on; and since Manhattan would never have the space for one, a decentralized botanical garden concept was created.
A beautiful garden of 31 distinctive plantings was created that delighted both residents and tourists. Word spread and volunteer gardeners were linking up around the island. In the meantime, Friends of Pier 84 won a two-year battle to save Pier 84 from being destroyed to make room for Intrepid's massive tourist sightseeing heliport. FoP84 actively worked for legislation to create the Hudson River Park and also won that fight. But time and marine borer worms took their toll on the wood piles that held her up and the pier began to collapse. Pile driving for the new pier began in November 2003; the Hudson River Park Trust is building a state-of-the-art, all-public Pier 84 to be completed in 2006 - including the new prototype garden - the Concept Garden.
The Manhattan Botanical Garden (MBG) was dedicated by Deputy Mayor Fran Reiter on August 28, 1996 at a party held in the garden on Pier 84's western end over the Hudson River estuary. Thanks to the wonderful support of New York City Parks & Recreation Commissioners Henry Stern and Adrian Benepe and Manhattan Commissioner Bill Castro, all of the plants and compost were saved when the pier collapsed and space for gardening was created in DeWitt Clinton Park in 1998.
Comprised of 45 satellite gardens throughout the borough, all MBG sites are tended by volunteers, can be seen by the public, and feature some plants that are native to the island of Manhattan. Gardens are on private property, in parks (even City Hall Park), on school property, and planted in community gardens and street tree beds. Gardeners are given a list of native plants that once flourished on and near the shores well before European settlers arrived in 1624.
There are no dues or fees; the mutual mission to help fellow volunteers locate plants and supplies, answer questions, assist in planting, even testify to save gardens, protect our street trees, and earmark funds for public land. Donations for postage, seeds, and plants are gratefully accepted. The satellite gardeners are thankful for the continued support of The Greenacre Foundation, for both native plants and perennial herbs.
In August 2000, the Aster novi-belgi was proclaimed the official flower of the Manhattan Botancial Garden by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
The MBG is a project of Friends of Pier 84, the official caretakers of public Pier 84 since 1994. The Concept Garden is being designed by MBG Director, Barbara Feldt and built by The Hudson River Trust. The soil mix was created by landscape architect Signe Nielsen.
Map illustrated by Paula Brinkman.
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All MBG satellites plant some species that have grown on the island since the last glacier.
SHALLOW EMERGENT MARSH
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern
Osmunda cinnamomea Cinnamon Fern
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed - 2-4'; pink
Chelone glabra Turtlehead
Helenium autumnale Sneezeweed
Helianthus angustifolius Swamp Sunflower
Hibiscus moscheutos Rose Mallow
Liatris spicata Blazing Star - Full sun; 1-4'; purple
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower - Partial shade; 3-4'; red
Tradescantia virginiana Spiderwort
MARSH SHALLOW EMERGENT AND SUCCESSIONAL SHRUBLAND, Herbaceous
Aster novae-angliae New England Aster
Aster novi-belgi New York Aster - Full sun; 2', violet *
Eupatorium fistulosum Joe-Pye Weed
Lobelia siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia
MARITIME GRASSLAND, SHRUBLAND & SUCCESSIONAL SHRUBLAND
Andropogon virginicus Broomsedge
Carex pensylvanica Pennsylvania Sedge - Shade; to 1'
Panicum virgatum Switchgrass
Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem
Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Weed
Aster linariifolius Stiff-leaf Aster
Coreopsis lanceolata Lancc-Leaf Coreopsis - Full sun; 1-3'; yellow
Lespedeza capitata Round-Headed Bushclover
Oenothera fruticosa Sundrops
Solidago rugosa Rough-leaved Goldenrod
Solidago sempervirens Seaside Goldenrod - Full sun; 3-6', yellow
SUCCESSIONAL SHRUBLAND, Graminoid
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem
Monarda didyma Oswego Tea/Beebalm –sun/partial shade; 2-4'; red
Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot - Sun-partial shade; 1-4'; blue
Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod
Rudbeckia hirta Black-eyed Susan - Full sun; 2-3; yellow
Source: Native Species Planting Guide for New York and Vicinity, 1993, Natural Resources Group, City of NY, Parks & Recreation; Plants: Native Gardens 1-865-856-0220 or see www.native-gardens.com
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EXAMPLE: FEEL FREE TO USE!
MANHATTAN BOTANICAL GARDEN: Contract and Guidelines
The Manhattan Botanical Garden (MBG) is a decentralized garden that promotes public gardening and the planting and appreciation of our island's native plants. Collectively, volunteer gardeners throughout the borough take pride in creating unique and beautiful gardening experiences. The MBG links us together.
The Manhattan Botanical Garden (a project of Friends of Pier 84) formed in 1994 and was dedicated in 1996 by Deputy Mayor Fran Reiter. You’ll be provided with the MBG logo (to copy for signs or flyers), our list of native Manhattan plants, and sources. Since we’re all volunteers, we don’t always provide plants (thanks to the support of the Greenacre Foundation, plants have been distributed to satellite gardens since 1999) and always promote sharing them. In 1996 we planted one of every plant on the list for under a hundred dollars. Some MBG sites are on private property, in planters in front of buildings, in street tree beds, in parks, and community gardens. There is no charge. As long as the public can see your garden, you're in! Our goals are to share knowledge and sources, work to preserve and expand Manhattan’s gardens, and to beautify our island while linking volunteers in their gardening efforts.
As a satellite garden, you’ll represent the whole MBG. By signing this form, you agree:
1. If your garden’s on park property, the City of New York Parks & Recreation Department must give permission for your MBG. We’ll forward for approval.
2. The MBG garden logo (if on parkland, the dual logo) must be placed in or near native plants. The MBG & Parks sign includes both the MBG and City of New York Parks & Recreation logos.
3. Your MBG should be organic and in “visitor condition” — watered, weeded, litter-free, safeguarded to protect the plants, and mulched in winter.
4. Publicity about your MBG benefits all MBG gardeners! Contact the Director (information below) for ideas and for current press information to provide.
As an official MBG satellite, I’ll also keep my eyes open for more gardening opportunities and volunteers!
MBG Contact (Print): ___________________ Signature: _______________________
Your Mailing Address ___________________________________________
Organization Name/Park Name: ________________________________________
Site/Park Address _______________________________________
Land owned by: _____________________ No. of gardeners/volunteers: ______
The MBG project is sanctioned by Partnerships for Parks.
(email address here)
Member, American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
Please print, fill out, keep a copy for your files, and mail or email back to:
Manhattan Botanical Garden
ã Manhattan Botanical Garden, Barbara Feldt, Director
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The MBG was formally dissolved April 3, 2006, as a project of Friends of Pier 84
(which fulfilled her mission in safeguarding the pier for public use). The name,
Manhattan Botanical Garden was created and is retained by founder and past-director,
Barbara Feldt. Email (see Contact Us) for information and permissions.
The Hudson River Park Trust approved The West 44th Street Better Block Association to maintain the Pier 84 garden.
Special thanks to Victoria's Nursery, Paramus, NJ.