Thursday, September 28, 2006

Haven't posted for a few days because I'm working on a garden in Manhattan, trying to finish up with the planting before the first frost. Hope to have pictures soon. Until then, check out this hanging container I planted with two types of sedum that I rescued from a rooftop on West 77th street. Sedum is a succulent and it loves full sun but these had been in old pots, sitting on a hot blazing rooftop for years. The soil was gummy and slick and it was infested with bugs. The plants were screaming for help. I took them out of their prison, soaked them in clean water to get rid of the bugs, added new soil, fertilized and replanted them in this antique horse feeder. They are now retired in the country which they deserve after such a hard beginning. This shot was taken in July.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Of all the house plants out there, this is my favorite. Oaxlis is by far, the most interesting I've come across. Beautiful all year round, even in winter. It loves bright light to shade and no direct sun. Best of all, it has the sweetest trumpet shaped pink to lavender flowers from spring to summer.
This one I've had for three years now. I got the original plant at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. This past spring, I replanted it in a small antique wood box I found upstate. Gorgeous!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A fellow gardener took me to see this crape myrtle tree at the St. Lukes Church in the West Village. It survives the winters here because it's protected on all four sides by the buildings of the church. The bark is gorgeous which makes it a perfect tree for winter interest in a small garden. It flowers in mid-summer and the blooms on this one are large and pink. This crape myrtle is probably a "Peco" or "Hopi". This summer I planted in a garden a young one called, "Acoma", which blooms white.

Yesterday I was walking in Hell's Kitchen when a butterfly flew down in front of me as if he wanted to be noticed. No one else seemed to see it. While walking down the street, New Yorkers tend to avoid each other's gaze, immersed in another world. I know I do sometimes. But not yesterday. As I walked, the butterfly flew above my head leading me down the block.

It had the rust colored wings of a Monarch but it was too frenetic and too far away for me to read it's markings. What I do know is that it was beautiful and for a moment I saw only the butterfly and the canopy of the trees. It was as if I wasn't in the city at all but the wonderful thing was-- is that I was in the city.

Then, as if it was bored with me, it fluttered quickly into the trees and disappeared. My only regret was that I didn't have my camera.


This blog is in memory of my father and mother who were both gardeners.

In the fifties and sixties my father worked for a landscaping company that planted trees and flowers in the city of New Orleans. Every spring and all through the summer, he'd bring home azaleas, viburnum, asters and daisies for my mother who would put them in our backyard, a space that was no more than eight feet square. They both grew up on farms so having that garden was like having a bit of the country, in the city.

In New York City, if you're lucky enough to have any outdoor space, you are among the very few. I've worked in some of them and let me tell you, there's nothing like coming off of the crowded street and into a private garden, even the ones full of weeds and seeing worms and butterflies, oblivious to the jackhammers and rumbling subway just feet away.

Why should living in the city stop you from being a part of the horticultural experience? If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor space or a balcony or terrace, a sunny window sill or even a window with no sun at all, this is the blog for you.

Daniel Webster said that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. Just because you live in the city, doesn't mean you can't be a part of it.