Thursday, May 31, 2007

Joshua Davis

My sweet friend, Jon, introduced me to an artist he admires, Joshua Davis. He mutates everyday images into random flowing patterns. Many of his pieces run along a botanical theme or maybe that's just what they eventually morph into...I think his subtle interpretations are truly lovely.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Hey Mom, this is the shrub you were talking about in the message you left.Lagerstroemia indica, Crepe Myrtle, is usually found in zones 6 and up, but Boston is what, zone 4? It should be pruned back in the fall, and I think you should definitely dig it up if you sell your place, just relocate it to a southern sheltered spot! I love you!

Veggie garden update

I planted a ton of the hot pepper seedlings in the veggie garden. Also the baby Genovese basil seedlings - my favorite for making pesto! It's gonna be some spicy pesto this summer!


The Community Garden

There is a lot of room for improvement at the Clifton Place community garden... I do not yet know the history of the lot, but there seems to be a lot of rubble and random junk all over the place. So I decided, rather than dig out all of this rubble, I would just dump the recycled soil from my front yard on top of it and call it great drainage. Anyhow, this is a before picture of the shady side of the lot.

And another...

This is where I weeded and dumped a dozen bags of soil (yes, I haul around really heavy bags of soil for pleasure, at sunset, on a holiday) and planted a bunch of homeless plants that were wasting away in the backyard at work. Mainly hostas, some miscantus, astilbes and a random fern.

Grow plants GROW!

I didn't really know who to consult about this, so I just went ahead. The one guy who I gave money to, in return for a key, didn't really seem to care. So being an impulsive Aries, I just did it. And I think it's great. And it's just the beginning!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The front yard - planting

Some major work went on in the shady corner over the weekend, I planted some salvaged sensitive and cinnamon ferns, as well as the large leaf hosta. On a nursery run last week I got a cimicifuga, sambucus racemosa, some mini hostas ("lemon lime" and "Venusta"), and a deciduous azalea I have been coveting for years, Schlippenbachi, "Royal Azalea".
These are some grasses salvaged from a roof top demo job. Also hard to see in this picture are a dwarf cherry and what I am guessing to be a Viburnum, both also salvaged!

I bought this Kalmia latifolia from my company, it was an extra from a job, and it fits perfectly into the corner here!
So here is an "arial" shot from the top of the stoop... All of those bags lined up along the edge are full of soil I've removed from the front section, destined to be fill for rubble filled future raised beds at the community garden.

The diggingest dogs

The dogs love to hang out in the yard with me while I'm working, and sometimes they are inspired to dig too!

...but usually they just plants themselves in the holes they dig!


Working in the yard - Bricks

There was a problem in the yard with too much soil, it was spilling over into the neighbors yard and was uneven. My landlord said I could help myself to bricks from this pile in the back...
So, I sorted through them and carried many armloads through to the front...

Then I dug out all the old, spilling soil between the privet hedge roots and the iron fence and bagged it up to take away to the community garden. I placed the bricks (with the pretty sides out, of course!) and backfilled with some nice soil I mixed up.

Now there is a mini brick wall from front to back and I must say, it looks great!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gardening Sunday

Today I got to spend a couple of precious free hours in my front yard... I spent most of that time quadrouple digging the front 3rd of the yard, I'm going to work from the sidewalk back. I mixed in all sorts of composts and soil conditioner. When I sent in a soil sample to be analyzed, it came back to be deficient in organic material and phosphorus. I am using Epsoma's Triple Super Phosphate 0-46-0, which comes in a granular form that I broadcast
into the soil. Should get the job done!

I also planted some little things that have been hanging around: asarums,Erythronium, some clumps of iris and daylilies I moved from other parts of the yard to a sunnier location. Tomorrow I have to get a hose!

At the community garden I planted a zucchini and...

..curley parsley and chives I bought at the Farmer's Market in Fort Greene yesterday.

There is nothing pleasanter than spading
when the ground is soft and damp.
- John Steinbeck

Friday, May 18, 2007

Rescue mission

I very carefully uprooted 11 baby Japanese maple seedlings today at a job... They are from 2 very large "Bloodgood" Maples we installed last year. And by installed I mean we removed half of the root ball (4' diameter) and branches (and prayed) so that they could be squeezed into two tiny (3'x3' & 2'x3') little city spots in front of a client's home. In fact, one of these very expensive trees was bought to go in the neighbors yard, directly next door. We got a little nervous when the tree next door immediately dropped all of it's leaves - due to stress - so when it leafed out beautifully this spring, that was crossed off the mental worry list!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My dogs

So, I have to give a shout out to my sweet, sweet dogs...

Delilah and Bandit hold it down at the brewery on a daily basis, but especially love Saturdays because that is when my boyfriend gives brewery tours and they are in charge of meeting and greeting tons of new beer loving people, herding them and sometimes eating their pizza crusts. Saturday is also my big day of gardening in Red Hook at the brewery.

Seedling update

The hot peppers are looking great! They'll go in the garden this weekend.

My sweet friend Kevin gave me his old digital camera! Thanks Kevin! He is one of the owners of Barcade, one of the best bars in all of Brooklyn!

This is a picture of Central Park I took from a penthouse roof where I am implementing a massive design. Directionally this is looking SW from the Upper East Side, towards Columbus Circle.

This is a killer rooftop garden I spied out of my friend Mark's window on the Upper West (he is on the 38th floor!)He lives in Columbus Circle - that is the park again in the lower right...

Mystery solved - the massive leaved plant is Astilboides! Thanks Xris!!! I clipped this leaf off after I took the picture, it was bullying the cimicifuga!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Community Gardening

This is our spot in the community garden! With four of us, it was easy work to clear it and mix in many bags of great compost.

This is Bob spreading our secret weapon uber compost...

This is Bob's daughter, Adele, one of the coolest kids I've met in a long time, planting the first four heirloom tomato plants... We're using the 'pack it all in' biodynamic method!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


This is a picture of the front yard with the hedge completely chopped. Pretty bare! This is also the last time I saw my plants from the plant sale (in the 2 brown paper bags)... when I came home from work, someone had filtched them!

It's not like they were especially pretty or fancy plants, they were random, obscure natives and such. I hope they found a good home!

Nothing like a mesh bag of hibernating ladybugs in your fridge to make you feel better!

"Ladybugs can eat over 5000 aphids (and other soft body insects) during their lifetime of about a year. Ladybugs are one of the few beneficial insects that can be stored for between one and ten weeks, dormant, in the refrigerator at a temperature between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them above freezing, and you can let some out occasionally as needed."

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Gardening Sunday

I got up early this morning to go to the NARGS plant sale, which was amazing! I only got one rock garden plant, all of the rest are super great shady plants... Check out my stash:

I intended these for my front yard, which I thought was shady, but I guess I was wrong, because today I spent the rest of my mid-day tearing into the front yard and it was very sunny! Change of plans! I didn't take any pictures of that but I did take some of the community garden, here's my plot:

There's also an incredible tulip display


There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly,
that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an
impression of beauty and delight.
- Gertrude Jekyll

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Progress at the brewery garden

I have been doing some research on my mystery plant and I am pretty sure it is a type of gunnera, aka dinosaur food! I think this variety maxes out at a 2-3' leaf, so it will definitely have to be transplanted some day (soon!)I am hopeful it will create an umbrella effect over the other shade plants, which it seems to be doing. I think it is making "Mouse Ears" hosta (next to it) feel big and tough!

I found fresh cat poo in this planter, and I've been having a hard time locating mushroom compost, so in a moment of motherly panic for my plants, I bought some blood meal at Lowes and sprinkled it around having heard that squirrels don't like it... maybe it goes for cats as well? And yes, as a vegetarian, I have massive quams with blood meal, but I was desperate. First I sprinkled some really great compost around.

This is a gunnera...!

One of the bench side planters planted with tricyrtis, angelica, ostrich fern and hosta "ginko craig"... The other planter is planted with the same and last year I filled in the empty spots with annuals.

This is one of many perennial collection planters. Essentially what happened while I worked at the nursery last spring was plant hording. A delivery came in, I had to have certain plants, then didn't have anywhere to put them, so I would buy a planter and put them on the rooftop. I tried to stick to tough sun lovers! My boyfriend came home and asked me if I was growing asparagus! It is actually baptisia, in with echinacea and some other unrecognizables...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

NARGS Annual Chapter Plant Sale

This is our big fundraiser, so if you're local and interested you should come by! Sunday May 6th, 9-11am. The sale will take place in the beautiful courtyard garden behind Merchants House Museum, 29 E. 4th Street between Lafayette and Bowery.

A preview of some plants for sale:

Arisaema ringens

Aquilegia flabellata nana

Podophyllum hexandrum