Showing posts from October, 2017

The Blaze - Halloween Festival in Croton on Hudson, NY

Its Halloween!...and you plan to carve the Jack O'Lantern TONIGHT...triangle eyes, triangle nose.....yawn.....
What you need is some inspiration!

You can find it at the Van Cortlandt Manor located in  my little village of Croton-on-Hudson because we have what must be the world's largest display of carved Jack O' is called the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze.

Why do we have such a thing? 

Well, Croton is in 'Sleepy Hollow Country' and Sleepy Hollow is the home of the Headless Horseman. It is right down the road from us.

 (And he rides through the countryside every Halloween)....thus, we are a natural for Jack O'Lanterns.....

That is my opinion as to the reason why we hold it although the website Things You Should Do says this:
"Blaze’s creative director, Michael Natiello, said the true inspiration for Blaze is the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor itself. 
The event is really a land art installation informed by artists such as Michael Heizer, Robert Smit…

Guidelines for the Size of Your Outdoor Lantern

Hinkley Lighting - Harbor Lights
Outdoor light illuminates and silently leads us on.

I just had a discussion with a lovely friend about the lanterns by her front door. She is replacing them and that is why I am sharing this post  I wrote a few years ago. 

People invariably choose lanterns that are too small for an outdoor site. 

This informative piece is from a great lighting company - HINKLEY LIGHTING (click here).... can help change that.


The height of an outdoor lantern should be based on the height of the door:


If you place a lantern on only one side of the door, it should measure one-third the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.


When two lanterns are used, they should each measure approximately one-fourth the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.

•TIP: In either case, if you choose a fixture w…

The Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand - a new film

Beatrix Farrand, 'Landscape Gardener' and designer, left her mark on many landscapes around the country. Her most celebrated garden is the wonderful Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown in Washington, DC. She worked with the Bliss Family to create a world class estate garden there - and you can visit it.

Finally a documentary has been made to tell her life story from Maine to California. Karyl Evans, the filmmaker, used interviews and footage of over 50 remaining gardens that Beatrix Farrand designed.

A six-time award-winning documentarian, Karyl tells how Beatrix was employed by her Aunt Edith Wharton and mentored by Dr. Charles Sprague Sargent. She became one of the Founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

Beatrix Farrand is an important part of landscape architecture to this day. All designers should know about her and her work!

This film can be purchased by clicking: You can see this film at the National Building Museum in W…

Drumstick Allium - Plant Now

I must admit I first discovered Drumstick Allium when I could not find any other allium bulb to was late fall and I had waited too long to buy the popular Globemaster Alliums... What to DO? I bought the Drumsticks and was thrilled at the result.
These purplish - red blooms are small - 1" -and oval shaped.  They bloom in my part of the world in June atop wiry 24" - 30" tall stems and wave in the breeze...and they make a superb cut flower (which you can dry to be an 'everlasting').

Drumstick Allium bouquet - Martha Stewart Photo Drumstick Alliums look fantastic tucked in the early summer flower border...You can add these small bulbs easily in the fall around clumps of established perennials such as Artemesia, Yarrow, Nepeta and Agastache. They peek out around these plants and are a delightful addition that come back every year!

Artemesia Powis Castle - Great with Drumstick Alliums - Great deer resistantCombo!
White Flower Farm sells Drumstick Allium bulbs …

CHIHULY NIGHTS at New York Botanical Garden - Spectacular! Last few days

ALERT!   Only 7 more days until the  fabulous Dale Chihuly exhibit at NY Botanical Garden closes: Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. CHIHULY Nights: Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday through October 2017, plus Wednesday, October 25, and Sunday, October 29; 6:30–10:30 p.m. 


This is your last chance to see the immensely popular show - by day or night. I suggest you start in early evening and watch as the darkness brings out the glass sculptures in a way nothing else can. It features 20 installations!

That is what I did with my family visiting from Florida. We entered, visited the phenomenal bookstore ( another must for garden lovers) and then walked  the grounds  in the late afternoon light. The sweeping vistas and art contributed  to a memorable evening.

We then had a great dinner near the entrance in the Visitor Center plaza, listened to the live music, and made our way to the conservatory for more Chihuly wonders.

My guests, als…

Purple is Becoming the Most Popular Color in the World

Purple is fast becoming the most popular color in the world, surpassing the perennial favorite color, blue.
Why? It vibrates at a higher frequency. The younger people are drawn to this. 
Natures uses purple to communicate to pollinators. They like purple too.
Here are some 'purple in the garden' photos I have taken ( except for the bee photo):

Christopher Alexander - A Pattern Language

illustration of Christopher Alexander's 'Positive Outdoor Space' by Matt Noiseux
One of the books I used in my Landscape Design Studio class in Columbia University is the classic, 'A Pattern Language' Towns- Buildings- Construction by Christopher Alexander and others. 

It offers 'patterns' as basic design templates for you to follow. 

These are principles of  design that are founded on common sense as much as anything else. 

Alexander says his design language  is based on human and natural considerations.

Adding to the delight it that they are numbered for easy reference in the book:  

'Accessible Green' is # 60.    'Quiet Backs' is #59. 
One of the more elusive patterns is  #106 Positive Outdoor Space.It is a favorite of mine.

 It talks about manipulating outdoor space and refers to space as being 'negative' and 'positive'.
 Yin / Yang anyone?

The gist of this pattern says that there are two fundamentally different kinds of outdoor sp…