New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show – Virtual Tour

Here is a really nice video from the New York Botanical Garden. Their annual orchid show had to be cut short (NYBG is still closed as of today) so they did this virtual tour.

Amy Tomlinson
President, SCSH Desert Gardeners Club

Established in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is distinguished by the beauty of its landscape, collections, and gardens, and the scope and excellence of its programs in horticulture, education, and science. NYBG was inspired by an 1888 visit that eminent botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife, Elizabeth, took to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London. The Brittons believed New York should have a great botanical garden to advance public understanding of plants, be a repository of rare and valuable specimens, and lead original research in botanical science. Because of its picturesque terrain, freshwater Bronx River, rock-cut gorge, and 50 acres of old-growth forest, the Garden was sited on the northern half of Bronx Park.

Today, the 250-acre Garden—the largest in any city in the United States—is a National Historic Landmark. In addition to the natural attributes that attracted the Brittons, NYBG encompasses 50 specialty gardens and collections comprising more than one million plants, the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the nation’s preeminent Victorian-style glasshouse. Highlights include the award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, considered among the world’s most sustainable rose gardens; the Native Plant Garden, celebrating the diversity of northeastern North American plants; and 30,000 distinguished trees, many more than 200 years old. More than one million visitors annually enjoy the grounds, view innovative exhibitions, and participate in educational programs that are larger and more diverse than those of any other garden in the world.

From its earliest days, NYBG has also been driven by a mission to conduct basic and applied research on the plants of the world with the goal of protecting and preserving them. Currently, 100 Ph.D.-level scientists are engaged in 250 international collaborations in 49 countries. NYBG is one of the top two freestanding botanical gardens in the world where plant and fungal research is conducted, thanks to the resources of the International Plant Science Center, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Library. The second largest in the world, the Steere Herbarium houses 7.8 million plant specimens, representing all groups of plants and fungi from around the world, with strength in the flora of the Americas. The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is the largest botanical and horticultural library in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 11 million archival items spanning 10 centuries.

During the 129 years since its founding, NYBG has carefully stewarded a stunning urban oasis, created one of the world’s most comprehensive plant research and conservation programs, amassed unrivaled research collections, and, as a living museum, taught millions of visitors of all ages to love and respect the plants of the world. The New York Botanical Garden is committed to preserving and protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources and enhancing human well-being by educating, training, and empowering the next generation of Earth’s caregivers—in partnership with both local and global communities.

Rain Bird Irrigation Valve Repairs – Leaking Anti-Syphon Cap

Does water leak out of the top of your anti-syphon irrigation valve when it is on? See photos below of a typical valve.

Our SCSH homes were originally equipped with two Rain Bird irrigation valves. One each for the front and back yards. Each valve is referred to as a station and they are operated by the irrigation controller/timer, originally installed outside on the garage wall.

If your home has the original or like-kind Rain Bird irrigation valves you may find that the large, black cap is leaking water when the valve is on and watering your lawn or other plants. Photo 1 shows a typical valve; the pencil pointing to the anti-syphon chamber and the black cap. Water leaking from this area is a common occurrence. Many times, the fix is simple, economical, and effective without needing to pay someone to make a costly valve replacement.

Just follow these easy steps. (It may require a trip to the plumbing store):

  1. Turn your irrigation controller (timer) to the off position.
  2. Unscrew the large black, dome-shaped cap on the top of the anti-syphon chamber.
  3. Inside the cap is a large “O” ring or washer. As the washer ages it can allow water to bypass and leak.
  4. Two steps you can try before heading to the plumbing store are:
    1. If you have water-resistant marine grease apply a small amount to both sides of the washer.
    2. If you have plumbers tape wrap it snuggly around the threads of the chamber in a clockwise direction (photo 2).

(Note: While you have the cap off observe the water level in the inner chamber (photo 3). If water continuously rises and flows out of the inner chamber it is an indication the valve is leaking and may need to be replaced.)

  1. Replace the cap snuggly onto the chamber with hand pressure.
  2. Turn the controller to manual and start the system watering. If the valve you just repaired does not come on advance the controller until that valve/station comes on. Observe the anti-syphon valve for a few minutes to confirm whether your repair stopped the leak.
  3. If water is still leaking after the above steps take the cap and washer to a plumbing supply store so they can confirm the part and sell you a new one. Be sure to turn the controller to the off position while you have the cap off. Smith Pipe and Supply Co. in Indio sells new caps and washers for about $10. The big box hardware stores do not typically sell this valve part. You may want to buy two caps while you are there!
  4. When you return home, with your controller still in the off position, install the new cap and washer and restart your system as in Step 5.
  5. While a new cap generally stops a leak in this part of the valve assembly, if it fails to do so you probably need a whole new valve. A new valve of the same make and model will cost about $30 and the labor to remove the old one and install the new one could cost another $50 or more, depending on the billing rate of your contractor.

Produced by SCSH resident and member of the SCSH Desert Gardeners Club, Corey Unfried, 541-206-1329. Not a licensed contractor but a descent do-it-yourselfer always willing to help where he is capable!

A Day at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Seemingly everybody has a “bucket list” these days. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Philadelphia Flower Show was on the bucket list for myself and my Mom, Barb. We’ve been to some world-famous gardens in the UK – Sissinghurst and Gertrude Jekyll’s home garden, and we attended the flower show of all flower shows, The Chelsea Flower Show (London). Others include Butchart Gardens in B.C., the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

So in March of 2020 we flew to PA to attend the longest-running flower show in the U.S. The following collection of photos is just a small representation of all the fabulous exhibits and plants we saw within the Philadelphia Convention Center. Please enjoy!

Amy Tomlinson
President, SCSH Desert Gardeners Club