Sunday, June 28, 2009


Many gardeners have been bemoaned New Jersey's record precipitation this month.  But shame on them, those dogs in the manger.

It is true that the roses need frequent deadheading, but their lax ways add to their charm.

Burgundy foliage and flowers shimmer on the smokebush (Cotinus coggyria 'Purple Smoke'). Though perhaps we should rename it "fogbush" or "drizzlebush."

A frilly opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) nods her head.

Miniature Hosta 'Pandora's Box' is happy as a clam, in spite of being halved for the Cross Estate plant sale.  Rocks do look splendid when they are wet.

Is this fern weather?  Totally.

Happiness is a big rainfall.  Picture Burt Lancaster in the 1957 film The Rainmaker, finally breaking the drought. Lancaster plays Starbuck, a sort of meteorological Music Man.  The movie's climax has him out in the long-awaited downpour.  (You can see the love scene with co-star Katharine Hepburn at
but do try to see the whole film one of these days.

So just call me the princess of precipitation.  And now the sun is shining.  Ho hum.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Garden Changes Her June Tune

She plays a trio for the Viola tricolor.

She rings the foxglove chimes. 

She whistles in yellow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Third Floor Walk Up, Rent Free

Welcome to New York City's newest park, the High Line.

Running from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street, an old elevated railway is converted into a contemporary aerial park.

The views of the city are bird's eye, if a low-flying bird.  

Built for industrial freight in the 1930s, it is fitting that the new High Line has splendid views of transportation. Roadways...

And waterways.

It still has some grittiness.

Hold on to your hats urban archaeology fans, the developers are coming!

The original High Line was an infrastructure project from the First Great Depression. So it is, perhaps, appropriate that its new life ushers in faster change for the Meat Packing District.

A clever sign, if slightly contradictory, says, "Keep it Wild. Stay on the Paths."

The plantings evoke a wild landscape, weeds growing out of the rails, with grasses, forbs and native plants.  Bloom and texture among the salvaged tracks with a gravel topdressing.

The benches play off the shape and color of the tracks.

Come up for a stroll. Soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Other People's Gardens

It is garden tour season, and this year I've indulged in several.  Opening a garden to scads of visitors is a terrifying experience, but visiting is a sweet pleasure.  Someone else has done the weeding, planted the containers, deadheaded the roses.  It is vaguely decadent, balanced on the tightrope between inquisitive and nosy.

Come, let's peek...

A formal garden with lettuce used as an edging plant. The edible landscape goes high end.

An undulating line for a flagstone walk and boxwood hedge. Simple but so effective.

A massing of boxwood and alchemilla makes a statement for a formal entrance.

Where do they put the banana trees in the winter?

A stunning long view.

Punctuated by a perfect pot of sempervivum (hens and chicks).

My favorite herb garden, on a sunny front stoop.

But it's hard to beat a mature stand of specimen trees. If you look closely, you can see the Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata) in bloom.

Time for tea.
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