Top Ten Bulb Picks with Pete Patel

Tulip "Hemisphere"

Tulip “Hemisphere”

Hudson Valley Garden Association aren’t the only local folks crazy about spring blooming bulbs! This fall Orange County Arboretum horticulturist and arborist, Pete Patel, and staff will be planting over 40,000 bulbs that will bloom next year. We asked Pete to share his favorites, and offer a little bit of advice based on his years of experience and observation growing these spring beauties.

HVGA.BulbPicksALLPETE’S TOP TEN BULB PICKS (in no particular order):

1) Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ – Many people do not like this allium’s smaller bloom, but it flowers the earliest (with Darwin hybrid, triumph, and single late tulips) and is the most affordable by far.

2) Allium ‘Globemaster’ – Tall thick stem, huge purple globe, very long lasting and very expensive – great for transition between spring and summer blooming plants.

3) Muscari armeniacum (Grape hyacinth) – Small, economical blue carpet. Deer resistant. Shallow planting depth make this easy to plant.

4) Tulip ‘Gudoshnik’ (Darwin hybrid) – I use this every year and it impresses me each year! Tall stems, huge blooms. Great variation in color of blooms.

5) Tulip ‘Hemisphere’ (triumph) – I love the color of the pink/purple petals. I can’t describe it….a picture is a must! Like all bulbs in this list it performs wonderfully for me at my site.

6) Tulip ‘Angelique’ (double late) – Short, sturdy stems and wide blooms make this the ideal pink carpet to contrast darker blooms, like my next choice…

7) Tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ (single late) – Tall sturdy stems, black (dark maroon) petals make this one of my favorite tulips – it looks great with any color combination.

8) Fritillaria imperialis ‘Lutea & Aurora’ (Crown Imperial) – Show stoppers! Tall, very thick, sturdy stems and incredible showy blooms are the talk of my garden every year. Highly deer and rodent resistant make it an obvious replacement for tulips in areas of high deer populations. Planting tips: Needs a deep planting depth (approx 3x length of bulb); a well drained, soil with high organic content; should be planted on side angle to prevent rot.

9) Narcissus ‘Dutch Master’ (trumpet type) – Simply said, there is a reason this is one of the most widely grown daffodils in the world. Great for naturalizing, huge bright yellow blooms in early April.

10) Hyacinth glasses – I love the smell of hyacinths, but they bloom too early for my liking. The hyacinth glass is the perfect choice for a indoor sunny window. My kids love to watch the roots grow and my wife loves the fragrance. Bulb must have chilling requirement met before forcing.

Orange County Arboretum
Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Rt 416, Montgomery, NY 12549



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Program Spotlight: Hudson Valley Seed

Contributed by Ava Bynum, Executive Director, Hudson Valley Seed

HVSeedLogo150Hudson Valley Seed educates children in academics and wellness through curriculum- integrated lessons in school vegetable gardens. Hudson Valley Seed establishes educational school gardens and runs weekly curriculum-integrated garden lessons for 1,500 students across Putnam, Dutchess and Orange Counties.

Through weekly visits to the garden, students experientially learn math, science and more while being provided with the knowledge, skills and environment to make healthy choices. By uniting academic achievement and wellness education, healthy eating and hands-on learning can be integrated into the weekly schedule of public school classrooms across the Hudson Valley.


This year we are working with 1,500 students in Beacon, Garrison and Newburgh public schools. During one classroom’s salad party, a first grade student said, “I never had salad before, now I love it!” This came from a girl who in September would not dig in the garden without gloves on, touch a worm or eat anything that had come close to dirt. The ten-month transformation of her attitude and enthusiasm, not just in regard to eating salad, but also in making observations, peer editing garden journals, transplanting squash seedlings and more, demonstrates the multi-faceted impact of Hudson Valley Seed’s work. It is becoming more widely appreciated that experiential learning and good nutrition are key to children’s academic achievement.


When a student plants a kale seed, waters it each week and learns to graph the seedling’s growth, harvests kale leaves, and finally uses measurement to follow a recipe for making salad dressing, that student will try kale for the first time, and will eat it again at home. Hudson Valley Seed, in conjunction with The Beacon Farm to School Collaborative, has kept data from pre and post surveys that measure change in students’ attitudes towards new vegetables before and after Farm to School education. The results clearly show that when students have the opportunity to directly engage with a new vegetable, they are going to try it and encourage their families to try it at home. We have also seen that when these students are sent home with recipes they know how to create, they feel empowered to create those dishes for their guardians and siblings.


Hudson Valley Seed has a very unique organizational model. We achieve health and wellness education through academic learning. With resources of time and money so constraining for public schools, wellness education for a set group of students would not be permitted to take up an hour weekly of the school day. Hudson Valley Seed has created a model by which these parameters can be circumnavigated. By focussing on academic excellence through experiential education, and by making a vegetable garden the site of that hands-on learning, nutrition education can become a weekly activity for students.


Studies have shown that when students learn information experientially, especially in the outdoors, they are far more likely to retain that information for and following a test. This is how Hudson Valley Seed brings school districts and teachers on board. By counting pumpkin seeds to learn arithmetic, students also become comfortable eating squash. By graphing the growth of a kale seedling, students gain the confidence to try new dark leafy greens. By writing about the process of sowing carrot seeds, students become excited to pull the carrot from the dirt and eat it.

How can you help? Hudson Valley Seed is always looking for more volunteers! We can help match you with a volunteer opportunity that uses your skill set, or we can help you learn something new. Email

HVGA.HVSeedEventImageAn Afternoon Of Harvested Snacks & Sips with Hudson Valley Seed
Saturday, October 19th, 2014, 3pm-6pm
Winter Hill, 20 Nazareth Way, Garrison
An affordable family fundraiser for your school garden featuring creative outdoor activities, local fare, live music, silent auction and community celebration of garden education. More info.

Even if you are unable to attend on the 19th, you can still donate to support garden education! Every dollar you contribute directly helps more students visit school gardens. Give to Hudson Valley Seed at

Hudson Valley Seed
P.O. Box 223, Beacon, NY 12508
(845) 419-3871

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Ava Bynum discovered her passion for connecting agriculture, education, and community at Four Winds Farm, where she worked for 8 summers as a farmer. A Garrison native, she taught at The Garden Road School in Peekskill, NY, which became the birth-site of the Hudson Valley Seed model. She founded Hudson Valley Seed recognizing the critical role the natural world played in her own development. She hopes to secure the same opportunities for all children and young people by working collaboratively to instill an innate sense of wonder, drive to explore and thirst for learning using the outdoors as the ultimate classroom. 

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F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Contributed by Virginia Condon, F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association

HVGA.Vanderbilt OLD hot house

Photo from gardeners collection shows original garden (pre-1938), including hot houses.

HVGA.Vanderbilt NEW flowers

Upper annual beds are planted by F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association volunteers

We are very excited to be celebrating our 30th year in the garden.

Fredrick W. Vanderbilt died in 1938. Two years later, FDR persuaded the Vanderbilt heir to donate the property to the Federal Government.  The country went to war soon after and there were no funds or plans to replace the garden beds. Soon weeds and brush took over the garden beds and vines choked the arbors and crumbling walls. In 1981 a government grant allowed the National Park Service to complete the restoration of the walls and structures, but there were no plans to replace the gardens.

HVGA.Vanderbilt OLD reflecting pool 2

Reflecting pool before restoration

In 1984, the Fredrick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association was founded by three Hyde Park women, Marion Asher, Louise Martin and Marty Stuart, with the purpose of rehabilitating the gardens. The rehabilitation began in the fall of 1984, with the cutting out and preparation of the upper and lower annual beds. The following spring, the beds were planted with the same plant varieties that Mr. Vanderbilt’s gardeners had used originally.  The Cherry Walk and Pool Garden were planted with perennials in 1986.  The following year, the rose garden terraces were planted.

HVGA.Vanderbilt OLD per3Cherry Walk and Perennial garden before renovations

HVGA.Vanderbilt NEW reflecting pool 2

New reflecting pool with “Barefoot Kate” and perennial beds

HVGA.Vanderbilt NEW pergola

The Cherry Walk, renovated, but prior to further restoration completed recently.

HVGA.Vanderbilt OLD rose pergola

Rose Pergola overgrown with grass and weeds, before FWVGA

More recently, the Boy Dolphin fountain, in the lower garden was restored and the rose beds were replanted. We are now in the process of completing their metal edging, and the Cherry Walk is being restored to its historic layout. 

HVGA.Vanderbilt NEW rose gardenRose Garden

DSC_0027The Fredrick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the rehabilitation and maintenance of the garden. Funds are raised by the organization, through fund-raising events and contributions from individuals and businesses.  

HVGA.VanderbiltToursOn weekends from April through October there are Greeters at the garden gate to welcome visitors and provide them with brochures for a self guided tour and the toolhouse is open so visitors can view photographs from the Vanderbilt era and albums of the Association’s work over the years. Our trained Interpreters offer free guided tours of the gardens on the third Sunday of the month from 1-4pm.

U P C O M I N G   E V E N T S

10665250_10152308906522073_5227154301455265439_nFall Festival Plant Sale
Saturday, October 4, 2014, 9am-4PM, rain or shine
Taking place on the lawn next to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site parking lot. No entrance fee to the grounds. Among the items featured for sale will be hardy mums, asters, flowering kale & cabbage, ornamental peppers, perennials for fall planting, and more!

HVGC.VanderbiltBGuided Garden Tour
Sunday, October 19th, 1pm-4pm
FREE! Visitors should park in the Visitor Center parking lot, and walk down the gravel path from the Mansion to the gardens. 

There is always a need for garden lovers, whether it is working in the garden, greeting on the weekends, helping with fund-raising or donating.  If any of these appeal to you please visit our website for more information.

F.W. Vanderbilt Garden Association
P.O. Box 239, Hyde Park, New York 12538  | Follow on Facebook

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