Showing posts from September, 2014

Garden Photos of the Day - Bridges of Many Colors

what color do you prefer?

The Last Section of NYC's High Line is Open!

Big news: In New York City, the High Line at the Rail Yards - the third and northernmost section of the park - is now open to the  public!
New York’s extraordinary elevated public space now extends nearly 1.5 miles from Gansevoort Street to West 34th. You can experience the city from a different perspective as the High Line takes a big swing west toward the Hudson River around old railroad  yards

In this last and final section of the park to open, part of the old rail line that was abandoned years ago is left intact. The landscape planting plan was done by Dutch designer PietOudolfwho left the rusted tracks filled with Queen Anne's lace, chokecherry, milkweed -which is just what you'd expect to find in an abandoned lot. 
In addition,  there are benches and picnic tables, a spacious plaza and a place where children can explore. It was designed by James Corner Field Operations (with Diller Scofidio & Renfro). 

In 1934 the High Line was opened as a way to allow freight trains to…

October Evenings - Outdoor Lighting Ideas for You

October is upon us and the nights are getting darker.
So put on an extra layer and place some outdoor lights in your backyard and enjoy the last gasps of outdoor living. Early evening in the garden can be a magical experience in the fall if you add small lights here and there.
The other night I had some guests come for an outdoor dinner. I placed many flickering tea light candles (battery operated) in small glass holders and set them all around the area. 
Tall and low, the effect was dazzling. I placed them atop a low wall and on low tables. I would have had some hanging from low tree limbs but I didn't have the right lights. 
Now that there are tea light candles that are battery operated there are so many things you can do! This one has a a built-in timer that turns them off automatically (click on caption for a link) :

These are the ones I used below - flickering lights that you must turn off yourself. (These are great in jack o' lanterns as well)

I place them in small glass hold…

My Upcoming Talk at the Wonderful Bartow Pell Mansion Museum

On Tuesday, Sept 23, 7:30 pm -  I will be giving a Powerpoint talk based on my book, 'Heaven is a Garden' at Bartow Pell Mansion Museum.  Please join us!

It the only grand 19th century 'country house' still in existence on Pelham Bay and is an important link to the history of New York City.  

Reception and book signing follows.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.  895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park Bronx, NY.
The wonderful formal terraced garden behind the house is a delight. 

And the old trees are memorable.

Curves in the Landscape - Garden Photo of the Day

I write about the seductive allure of curves in the landscape in my book... so gracious and inviting.

'Sukkah' - An Ephemeral Hut with a View to the Stars

When I was a kid I lived for a few years in Borough Park, Brooklyn. 

Every autumn I would see little sheds attached to the residential buildings, sometimes as much as several stories above the sidewalk.

Adorned with leaves or branches, these were festive huts that my Jewish neighbors would eat their meals in for a week....

I went home to our small apartment and announced that I wanted to build a luck.

The Jewish 'sukkah' is Biblical in origin. It is anephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.

The sukkah's function is to commemorate the temporary structures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus from Egypt, but the function is also to express universal ideas of transience and permanence  in architecture. 

The sukkah .....calls on us to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a moment to dwell on--and dwell in--i…

Free, Clean Water for Plants in Hot, Dry Regions

In ancient times people collected dew water from lamb fleece. Over night the dew would collect on the fleece and this would be wringed into a container.

Lanolin, a waxy ester, came out of the fleece and mixed with the dew water. It protects skin with a thin coating so when people washed their face with that dew water they had what people called "a dewy complexion".

The same idea can be used for plants...Collect dew water over night and give it to plants. Lets do this in California where they need water badly for the crops that feed the US.

The Tal Ya tray is an aluminum composite  tray that responds to shifts in temperature between night and day. When a change of 12 degrees C  (21 degrees F)  occurs, dew forms on the tray surfaces and this condensation is funneled straight to the plant and its roots. 

Since water from dew is 'distilled' water this alleviates the problem of salinity in the soil caused by irrigation. The trays also protect crops from frost during late and …

'Sulphur Heart' Persian Ivy - A RHS Medal Award Winner

Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart' is an evergreen ivy that has received The Royal Horticultural Society prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). 

This is a hard-to-find plant that deserves wider use as ground cover, in city gardens and on walls.  Zones 6a - 9

It is a large leaved, variegated ivy with bright gold and lime green variegations (some solid gold centers can cover 60% of the leaf surface) which brightens up a dark shady wall.

'Sulphur Heart' Persian Ivy clings to walls  with its aerial roots - splash walls with water to help new plants start clinging but don't grow where the mortar is unsound or the roots may cause damage!

Plant Delights nursery notes its very vigorous growth habit: "H. Sulphur Heart makes a great groundcover, and is extremely useful in camouflaging old abandoned school buses."

Here it is climbing a wall (at right) at Chanticleer, a Pleasure Garden.