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Briarcliff Gardening Experts Give Tips for Summer

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Dawn Orza doesn’t just plant native flowers in Briarcliff Manor because they look nice. She does it to preserve all wildlife in the area.

“We have some beautiful plants but they’re not just nice for gardening, they’re the food source for all of our native wildlife,” Orza said Wednesday. “They feed the insects that are the food source for our birds. That’s why it’s so important. If we start losing our native plants, we’ll start to see our native species disappearing.”

Orza should know, she’s the Village of Briarcliff Manor ’s horticulturalist and is responsible for planting thousands of flowers around the area. Orza and Brooke Beebe, past director of the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College , both gave presentations Wednesday night during the Briarcliff Manor Public Library ’s Garden Workshop. The two stressed the importance of using native plants and also gave tips on creating green and beautiful gardens.

Dozens of residents attending the presentation applauding Orza’s work around the village. But Orza said she’s also impressed with what she sees from residents.

“I know there are so many people involved and interested in gardening and I often see many that are really well kept,” she said. “I get a lot of comments that people enjoy what they see in the village and I want to let people know they can do the same thing.”

Beebe, who’s also a Briarcliff resident, complemented Orza’s work in the village Wednesday night.

“The village itself looks so much better now that Dawn has taken it over,” Beebe said. “It’s really nice to have someone locally who cares so much about gardening and using native plants and using green methods to do it.”

Orza and Beebe gave a few tips to gardeners, like using deer-repelling native plants to keep deer away and growing grass longer in the summertime to ensure that it stays healthy longer. In addition to the Native Plant Center website , Orza and Beebe also pointed to Leave Leaves Alone , a Bedford organization with tips on handling leaves and other yard work. Many of the websites mentioned are set to be available at the Briarcliff Manor Public Library , along with dozens of books on gardening.

“As gardeners we always love to learn more,” Beebe said. “And I think that’s one of the best parts about gardening is that there is always something more to learn and ways we can improve and the library is such a great place to learn about those things.”

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