Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A gift...

A very special friend brought me a present....

Salvia divinorum, also known as Diviner's Sage, "sage of the seers".

I think they'll be happy on the fire escape!

Boomin it up

This week I'm working with a bunch of the guys on a huge install in SoHo... Yesterday the crane came and we were boomed up pallets of soil, plants, and over 15 very BIG trees. The cops immediately wrote us a ticket!


Arborvitae or "ThuYa" as some chose to call it...

Landing on the 7th floor rooftop (only one paver broken!)

Trees wondering, "where are we?"...

Corylopsis pauciflora

Luke, this is that shrub we were wondering about and thought was viburnum! Duh, it's Buttercup Winter Hazel of course!

Slow growing, blooms early spring and may rebloom if you're good in the fall...
"Tassells of primrose-yellow flowers lend this broadleaf deciduous shrub the name "buttercup," appearing at the cusp of spring, a mite earlier than the majority of our garden's deciduous shrubs. The buds begin to open at the tail-end of winter but are at their peak of beauty late March & early April.
Buttercup Winter Hazel"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Green Scenes from NYC

"Our urban problem is how to revive the reality of the outside as a dimension of human experience." Richard Sennet

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Twilight planting

On a much smaller scale... I planted these sedum & small rock garden-y plants on my fire escape tonight.

The Dianthus was left by the previous tennant.

Front: Saxifraga ardensii "Snow Carpet"
Middle: Saxifraga cochlearis "Minor"
Back: Armeria juniperfolia

Sempervivum... the tags fell down through the fire escape while I was planting!

A Semp with Sedum cauticola "Lidakense"

One of my current installs

This is a very big job I fell into at work this past winter. My company has had this account since 2004, but very little has happened since the building is very strict (no construction noise until after May 15th...etc) and plans have had to go through many routes of approval. It is three large terraces, which were fully landscaped, but were extremely overgrown and in disrepair when my client bought the penthouse. She fought the building (weight on the rooftop is always an issue) to get the mature trees grandfathered into the new design, and since then, my company has had to take some massive pruning measures, as in, pruning with a saws-all... I have major issues with the McDonald's playland red pavers the building installed, but sometimes you have to work around what you are given. So, the exact fire code ratio of wood-to-concrete has been met by removing said pavers and replacing with at-grade decking. The client LOVES French country and lattice so that is what she got!

Two in one planter... it's an urban forest!

The Crecis "Forest Pansy" and Lagerstoemia "Miami" are the only new trees/shrubs. EVERYTHING else is recycled, and I had such major doubts about the motley crew of Junipers, Viburnum, etc. that I had to incorporate into this design... But after some extreme root and top pruning I think it came out really nicely... A little bit Dr. Seuss, but I think those trees will be happy!

The sweetness of being

Thrill of thrills... Walking the dogs home from Bonita, where I got my usual fish tacos and a glass of wine at the bar while I waited... FIREFLIES! So magical, ancient and utterly amazing! Once again, the little things change perspective of everything...

Then when I got home, waiting outside my door...

My landlords Jessica & Sasha are so SWEET! They left this to thank me for the garden. I feel a little bit undeserving since it is in a massive state of upheaval right now... maybe I'll post some pic's of that tomorrow! I am so blessed to get to live here!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Guerrilla Gardening

I picked this book up the other day... the author, David Tracy, says,
I decided to write Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto to join the growing campaign to help cities bloom. By combining what I've learned through reporting from urban areas on six continents with what I studied about urban ecology and tried firsthand as a community planner and activist, I hope to make the case that:
1.Cities are too important to leave to people who don't care.
2. Gardening is easy, although sometime tricky when you don't have permission.
3.The planet can be saved by committed gardeners because
4. We are planting the seeds of a brighter future and
5. Our time has come.

"The phenomenon by which the sunflower's head can follow the movement of the sun throughout the day is known as heliotropism"

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My amazing new bike!

My friend Luke, always a hero, got me this great bike from one of his clients who didn't want it anymore. It was all rusted and the tires were flat, but after some convincing that it was worth it, the snobby bike mechanics on Lafayette hooked it up with new chains, brakes, tires, a seat, a hardcore lock and even a bell!

She even made her maiden voyage as my bike, across the Manhattan bridge, with a sedum in the basket! Maybe her name could be Sempervivum.

I just love my new bike!

The Front Yard Part 2

This is those 2 planters full of perennials I brought home from the brewery last week. They seeem to have taken to the transplant and are really growing! I just love that cute little grass!



The Japanese maple tree farm

The Front Yard Part 1

I treated myself to a new digital camera... Thanks to Michael who helped me out so much! It has a 7.1 megapixel zoom! Yippee!

The chartreuse Campanula is sweet & spreading itself out

Rose Mallow blooms are so saturated with color

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Annual Arrangements

These usually end up consisting of my favorites... Below is Tithonia, Amsonia, Euphorbia "Diamond Frost" and Callibrachoa in the terra cotta shade.

Here is a funny one because I mixed two of my little pepper plants in with Tithonia, Amsonia, Bulbine and a sweet potato vine. This was the last one planted - it has all of the odd balls in it - there's also a passionflower vine in the back!

This is a "Texan" sage with something I forget the name of with the tubular flowers and a cardinal climber vine that was growing all out of control! And Euphorbia "Diamond Frost" again.

This is what happens when you plant Verbaena bonariensis - it drops seeds everywhere and the next year you have a forest of it!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Making Hypertufa planters

I created the mix with 3 parts perlite, 3 parts peat moss, 2 parts Portland Cement and enough water to make it the consistency of cottage cheese.

All of the boxes are lined up and ready to go!

Shane brought me one of his Apollo Wheat beers to help the process...

First you fill the bottom of the big box, and then put the smaller box centered on top of that and fill in the space on the sides. Some recipes recommend using a piece of chicken wire in the bottom to reinforce it, but after trying this with the first two I made a month ago, it seems unnecessary with these smallish planters.

Voila! The finished product has to sit and cure for a couple of weeks...I cover them with some of the plastic sheeting so that they do not dry out too quickly.


Last year I planted these two planters with some perennials; echinacea, rudibekia, agastache, baptisia and a great little grass. I decided we should take them home so that I can take these plantings apart and relocate them in the front garden. I think they will be much more prolific with some space to spread out - they are really crammed in!

This is a pretty echinacea blooming in a very pale shade of yellow. Maybe "Sunrise"...

All loaded up!


These photos do not do justice to the delicate beauty of the blooming Martagon Lily in the courtyard at the brewery. Thay are absolutely perfect.