Showing posts from April, 2014

William Kent, A Show about him is on Now

The first major exhibition dedicated to the great  English landscape designer, William Kent (1685-1748) opened March 22 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  It highlights  this multitalented designer who designed monuments, furniture and yes - gardens. 
But some say it does not talk enough about his talents as a garden designer, arguably his most original contribution.  I don't know because I don't live in the UK but anyone who does - can you go and tell me what you think of the show?   Kent brought a new level of sophistication to landscape design.  At one project, in Rousham in the mid 1700's his aim was to create and transform the natural landscape into an Augustanlandscape to recall the glories and atmosphere of ancientRome.  "The garden is Daphne in little", Walpole described,  "the sweetest little groves, streams, glades, porticoes, cascades, and river, imaginable; all the scenes are perfectly classic."

He also copied the interior idea of th…

Getting in the 'Flow' by Gardening

"How do adults recapture that feeling of joy that children get from play?" This is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wanted to know. He is a Croation-born professor of American psychology at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and has spent years studying the state of being that he calls "flow."

Flow is what we feel when we are totally absorbed in an activity for its own sake.

 This does not refer to a game where you win or lose or to watching a game. "You don't get much out of the passive consumption of pleasure," Csikszentmihalyi* says, "compared to enjoyment which is much more active and creative and self-directive."

Gardening is a great example of an activity that is creative, self directed and gets you into the flow.

You lose yourself when outdoors, planting, deadheading, weeding, edging watering or even raking the gravel (!?)...well, maybe you don't actually rake gravel but you get the idea.

Flow is what I call…

Weeping Cherry Trees - NY Botanical Garden 2014 - Photo of the Day

I had a book signing at NY Botanical Garden (NYBG) on April 25 - and as I walked in to the Conservatory,  I snapped this photo of the weeping cherry trees in all their spring glory.  Good timing - it poured rain the following evening.

The Tradition of Hanami - Cherry Blossom Viewing in Japan

The Tradition of Hanami When I lived in Kyoto, Japan I was lucky to see Hanami in action.  In Japan, the seasonal blooming of cherry trees is celebrated nationally in an event known as hanami(flower-viewing). 
The practice of hanami is centuries old; it began during the 8th century, when it referred to the viewing of the ume, or plum tree. But  later hanami was synonymous with 'sakura' - cherryand the blossoming of the cherry trees was used to predict the next year's harvest.

Hanami was a time to perform rituals marking the start of the planting season. These rituals ended with a feast under the cherry trees, and this persists to today.   Starting in late March, television weather reporters give the public daily blossom forecasts, tracking the "cherry blossom front" as it progresses from the south to the north.  Families, coworkers, and friends rely on these to quickly organize hanami parties as the cherry trees begin to bloom locally.

 Parks like Tokyo's fam…

A Simple Garden Gate - Photo of the Day

The power of a simple garden gate. It creates mystery, offers an invitation and sets a mood. If it faces East, so much the better...For more photos and ideas click here:  The Power of a Garden Portal on Garden

The Cherokee Dogwood Clan - The Dreamers

The spring  flowering Dogwood is native to North America. When in the wild, they can typically be found at the forest edge and on dry ridges.

They flower in early April in the southern part of their range, to late April or early May in northern and high altitude areas. 

Did you ever wonder why flowering Dogwood varieties refer to Cherokees?I did.  There is:  'Cherokee Daybreak' - white bract; vigorous grower with variegated leaves.'Cherokee Chief' - red bracts; red new growth.'Cherokee Brave' - Even redder than 'Cherokee Chief', smaller bracts but dark red color; consistently resistant to powdery mildew.'Cherokee Princess' - vigorous white bracts, industry standard for white flowers.'Cherokee Sunset' - purplish-red bracts; variegated foliage.

The Cherokee believed that a tiny people lived amidst the Dogwoods and that this divine little race was sent to teach people to live in harmony with the woods.  The “Dogwood People,” as they are called, a…

Solitude (serenity in the garden)

Solitude I have a house where I go When there's too many people, I have a house where I go Where no one can be; I have a house where I go, Where nobody ever says 'No'; Where no one says anything- so There is no one but me. Alan Alexander Milne

NY Botanical Garden - a Springtime Delight

I am off to give a class on the 'Secrets of Creating Serene Outdoor Spaces' at the NY Botanical Garden this morning.  I love this class because it allows me to really go into depth on many little known aspects of garden design.

The NYBG venue is also so inspiring and I hope to take some photos of their magnificent daffodil many types of daffodils!

And if I am lucky, after class, I  can walk on some hidden paths and enjoy NYBG at its most sublime.

What a treasure that place is...go explore - and take a class - whenever you have a chance!

O sweet spontaneous - e.e. cummings

O sweet spontaneousby: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)
 sweet spontaneousearth how often havethedotingfingers ofprurient philosophers pinchedandpokedthee, has the naughty thumbof science proddedthybeauty, howoften have religions takenthee upon their scraggy kneessqueezing and
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceivegods(buttrueto the incomparablecouch of death thyrhythmicloverthou answerestthem only withspring)

Plant a Child's Vegetable Garden!

I am reprinting this post from last is so timely!

 3 secrets to a successful  CHILD'S VEGETABLE GARDEN: They should not be too demanding, They should offer fairly quick results The must not  require too much maintenance.

But how to achieve this in a garden in the short few months before school is over in June?

 Go to and also go to the wonderful post on Yardday  (click on name here) then, prepare, prepare, prepare.
1. First, your veggie garden site has to have full sun for over 6 hours a day. This is a must! And morning sun is preferable over 6 hours of late in the day sun.

2. It must be relatively level and have soil deep enough to sustain plant roots and facilitate adequate drainage (about 16 inches deep at least). No 6" to bedrock or placed atop asphalt.
The soil has to be prepared beforehand - not by the kids, but by adults. 

The quality of the soil decides the success of the garden. Little kids cannot be expected to amend and prepare the soil in the …

'Before and After' - Garden Photo of the Day

Everyone loves 'before and after' photos...Here is a a B & A of a flower bed....time to plan for the flowers....

Oh No They Didn't! Fashion Statement Garden Hose

The lowly garden hose is now a Fashion Accessory for your House! Here is the latest from Boxhill - the Reimagined Garden Hose.

Oh NO! A garden hose in the 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid!

The fashionistas are trooping into the garden and accessorizing the place.  Out with that 'plain jane' green, top of the line Flexogen hose that you saved up for and in with a colorful hose complete with a gold plated metal tag.

What is next? A Haws watering can in Vivid Blue?  A garden tarp in a classic Ralph Lauren plaid?

This is a part of the Boxhill description:

"Garden hoses are not the most glamorous items in the world, but they are eye-catchers, usually placed right in the spotlight....

Let your garden hose be an exclusive detail on your house instead of hiding it away!"

That is the height of something - I am not sure what.

One question - where is the fitting at the end of the hose? I don't see any in the photo.

You want the know the name of the gold hose above? It is name…

THE BEST - Dwarf Calamint 'Montrose White'

The thing to do this year is PLANT FOR THE BEES.  So if you join me on that important bandwagon I suggest you plant - 

Dwarf Calamint 'Montrose White'  (Calamintha nepeta spp nepeta 'Montrose White').

Calamintha is an herb that's native to Europe and is used in cooking in Italy under the name nepitella.

This plant, I predict, will be a 'Perennial Plant of the Year'. Why? because it is a hardy (to USDA zone 4) and delightful flowering perennial plant that is deer resistant.  YAY!

Calamintha nepeta spp nepeta 'Montrose White' was named by Mike Yanny of Johnson’s Nursery in Menomonee Falls, Wis. 

Yanny’s wife purchased the calamint from Nancy Goodwin at Montrose Nursery. Yanny saw that the plant thrived under benign neglect and came back every year as strong as ever. He asked Goodwin if he could name and patent this particular calamint ‘Montrose White.’ She agreed.

‘Montrose White’ is a compact, clump-forming, 12" - 16” high plant that is covered with…