The Garden Anthology

Long before Lost Generation icons like Hemingway and Stein held court with Joyce and Fitzgerald, another cadre of artists called Paris home: “Les Mardistes,” named for the Tuesdays (in French: mardi) on which they often met. Imagine stepping into a parlor with Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and none other than the Impressionist himself, Claude Monet–you get the idea. When it rains, it pours, and late 19th-century France saw a veritable flood of the creative spirit. At the NYBG, we’re hoping you’ll join us in recreating it through The Garden Anthology, and all poets are welcome!

More than an homage to Giverny or an exhibition of Monet’s art, Monet’s Garden is a seasonal celebration of that prolific muse. No static thing, it moved fluidly between the arts, touching the Impressionist painter just as it inspired the Symbolist poets. In the Perennial Garden‘s Poetry Walk, you can see the work of Monet’s lyrical forebears and contemporaries proudly displayed among our summer blooms. Better yet, the Salon Series regales visitors with the words of the French writers–Verlaine, Mallarmé, Baudelaire, Rimbaud–as recited by some of the finest New York poets to have studied them.

But what if an afternoon spent reflecting on conifers leaves you dreaming in haikus, or a rose calls up the ghost of an elegy? We want you to share your work with us! Through The Garden Anthology, we’re collecting the verse of our visitors for all to enjoy, and your submission matters. Simply visit our anthology page through the end of Monet’s Garden to view the nature-inspired poetry of fellow visitors, or submit a piece you’ve penned yourself. Whether your words were influenced by a day at the NYBG, a walk in a city park, or an afternoon weeding in your home garden, we want to see them. You can even tweet your 140-character poems to us with #nybgpoem. But above all, don’t let your muse go ignored–there’s a bit of poetry in each of us, whether it takes digging or not!

Monet’s Garden continues with seasonally-changing flower displays through October 31. The next and final Salon Series readings are scheduled to take place on October 20. See the official exhibition page for more information.

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Farmers Sue for Roundup Poisonings

A group of farmers from Argentina have sued Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, for “knowingly” allowing them to be poisoned while using the weed killer and other pesticides.

Citing “devastating birth defects,” the lawsuit filed in a Delaware court also names significant players in the tobacco industry, including the Altria Group, Philip Morris Cos., Philip Morris USA, Carolina Leaf Tobacco, and the Universal Corporation.

“Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants promoted the use of Roundup and other herbicides to tobacco farmers in Misiones even though they were on direct and explicit notice that at all relevant times farmers . . . lacked the necessary personal protective equipment and other safety knowledge and skills required to minimize harmful exposures to Roundup,” the complaint states.

“What is more, at all relevant times Tabacos Norte, the Monsanto defendants, the Philip Morris defendants, and the Carolina Leaf defendants did not recommend protective measures to farmers and their families in Misiones. In fact, aforementioned defendants actively recommended and/or required that contracted tobacco farmers, including the instant plaintiffs, purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides.

“At all relevant times, defendants were on direct and explicit notice that fruits, vegetables and farm animals designated for family consumption would be contaminated with pesticides including Roundup if contract farmers followed the defendants’ aggressive chemical application specifications for tobacco cultivation.”

For additional details, click here:

This case in Delaware comes on the heels of a February decision by a French court that found Monsanto guilty of poisoning a farmer with a weed killer known as alachlor:

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Scotts Lawn Service Fined $160,000 for Intentionally Polluting Water

Coming just a month after Scotts Miracle Gro pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying documents and selling bird seed tainted with pesticide, a the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined a Pennsylvania branch of Scotts Lawn Service $160,000 for dumping its waste water directly into a stream.

In June of 2010 a Scotts employee built a syphon system to drain a tank of remaining weed killers, insecticides and synthetic chemical fertilizer. Approximately 1,000 gallons of the toxic material then flowed from a storm drain into a tributary of Thompson Run in Monroeville, Pa.

A Scotts spokesman told Pennsylvania media outlets that a single employee, Ronald F. Vargo, was responsible for the misdeed and said his employment has been terminated.

The DEP heard numerous complaints about the toxic dump from local tenants of a business park complained about a foul odor. Firefighters were called the scene to put up damns in the stream and to shut off the local sewer. Area buildings were evacuated.

On July 25 of 2011, Vargo entered a plea of no contest to unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. He will serve two years probation, pay a $2,500 fine and perform 40 hours of community service.

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Citing Guilty Plea, Wildlife Federation Ends Agreement with Scotts

SafeLawns followers are celebrating a victory today.

Succumbing to a barrage of criticism from the environmental community — and in the wake of a guilty plea from Scotts Miracle Gro in federal court — the National Wildlife Federation announced to members this afternoon that is would end its sponsorship deal with the world’s largest purveyor of toxic lawn and garden products.

The announcement of a promotional deal between Scotts and NWF posted 10 days ago confounded thousands of followers of the organization known for its environmental stewardship programs. The organization’s leadership steadfastly defended its deal last week, but apparently had no idea that Scotts Miracle Gro would soon plead guilty last Thursday to charges of falsifying documents and selling bird seed tainted with pesticides that are toxic to birds.

At approximately 4 p.m. today, Ed Coleman, the general manager of customer service at NWF, issued this statement:

“The National Wildlife Federation has worked together with Scotts Miracle-Gro over the past two years on programs to educate gardeners about global warming, connect children to the outdoors and help restore habitat following the Gulf oil disaster. Both parties recently announced plans for an even broader partnership that was based on our common interests.

“Since that time, Scotts announced a pending legal settlement related to events in 2008 that predate our partnership, which has made it clear that the partnership is not viable. Therefore, NWF and Scotts will work together to end the partnership in a friendly and mutually beneficial way.

“National Wildlife Federation appreciates your continuing support.”

Coleman also posted his email ( and phone number (703-438-6205) with the message.

Reaction was celebratory, even euphoric, from SafeLawns followers who have been emailing, phoning and protesting in various ways in the past week.

“We won!” said Marie Ross. “This proves the power of social media once again.”

“It’s too bad it took the federal court case for the NWF to come to its senses, but at least it did,” said Jonathan R. Douglass.

Many others thanked SafeLawns directly for helping to lead a charge last week with a series of postings about the story.

“Thanks, Paul, for all you do,” said a message from a group known as StopPesticidesinNeedham. “I suspect all our letters combined with the reality that Scotts is such a dirty company made the NWF realize this was not good.”

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