Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chelsea Sculpture Garden

One of my big design projects, this sculpture garden for an international art gallery network, has finally been installed! We were delayed several months by problems with the brand new building which is covered with a fancy new plastic panel product from the Netherlands... They had to go back and do a lot more water sealing!
But anyways, these are zinc coated boxes with 5'-6' Arborvitaes, 56 trees exactly! They will form a consistent green hedge which will block out all of the distracting ugliness around the terrace and be a nice backdrop to the outdoor sculpture.

Looking West

The black tubing and wires hanging out of the planters are the lines for the irrigation and lighting, which will be finished this week.

Looking East

Do you see how there is a section that pops out? This was designed to hide the utilities and massive flood lights situated in this corner of the terrace. Two of the planters are on heavy duty casters so that they may be pushed aside for any maintenance to the equipment.

The hidden utility equipment

Paulo, my coworker and dear friend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The community garden

I really can't explain what's going on here... nature?

This is some yummy parsley

Okra! not mine, but an amazing bloom!

when good trees go bad...


Who said dare!? Why is it always the furthestmost, out-of-reach bugger who has to cause a problem? Why? This Arborvitae decided he just couldn't go on... So I got to figure out how exactly to remove him from his perch over the pool (5'-6') deep. It was 3"x10's, screwed together with a bit of carpet foam underneath to keep it from slipping out from underneath us and/or, scratching the granite coping. The pool had been empty until the day before when the pool guys filled it to make sure it was properly sealed!

I think the new tree makes the middle tree look a little bit... ashy...

Japanese Maple, South/west corner, to the right of the outdoor fireplace

Magnolia, opposite Maple, in the "kitchen"

More great annual vines

Cardiospermum halicacabum ("Love-in-a Puff") is one of my all time favorite vines... It has tiny little white flowers, and makes these balloon-like seedpods. Inside is...

A round back seed with a perfect white heart! The heart is created by where the membrane of the seedpod attaches itself to the seed, and is regardless, a feat of nature!

Also blooming at the brewery is a "Cardinal Climber" Ipomoea sloteri, beautiful ferny foliage, vibrant red blooms and a delicate, climbing nature...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I am so ashamed...

My front garden went to the dark side... During the heat and humidity of high summer I couldn't deal with it... and was away... and made up a whole bunch of excuses! The weeds were out of control! I had to do something! There were homeless plants that had been sitting in old soil bags for weeks, and watering of the whole thing was spotty at best!

The cucumber vine, who's race horse name is "Wild Abandon", had 2 monsterosa cucumbers stashed away in the privet hedge.They are pictured here on my stoop with a regular/largish cucumber... Freaks.

So I ruthlessly tore out, cut back, planted & transplanted. Spread a little soil conditioner as mulch et voila! So much better! And yes, I store my hose on my boxwoods...

I have 4 large nursery pots full of stones (and one antique door knob) I excavated while gardening. I am wondering what I might do with them...

I planted one of my seed started scarlet runner bean vines next to the neighbor's stoop and have been guiding it into and around the ironwork of their railing. I didn't ask them about it, but they didn't complain! It's blooming and stunning right now with the luminous purple pods popping out all over!

This job is finished and ready for a party

I'm so shocked at how perfectly these banquette benches came out! The fabric is Sunbrella outdoor marine grade and beautiful! I had the cushions custom made by Foam and Futon (they were near my office on Houston, but have recently relocated to west 12th - and they are great to work with!) out of outdoor safe (non moldy/mildewey) water repellent foam. And I can't get over the fact that they fit absolutely dead on. Even the piping on the seams is fantastic! The occasional furniture, several ottomans that can also be tables are from (yikes!) Target online. The lanterns are from Pottery Barn, they have LED bulbs and batteries, so they can just be switched on or off. The lanterns are just for the party since they would be messed up in the wind there on the 13th floor.

Another view, this time South/West towards Central Park, in the bottom corner you can see one of the buffet units I designed, this one holds a refrigerator and trash, the other is all storage. The kicker with these custom units are the beautiful granite tops, they match the color palette of the furniture fabric exactly! The fountain is a silly spitting lion, it took some finessing to figure out the right proportion of water so that it's not just dribbling and also, not too much so that it shoots out past the catch basin! Below is a swatch of the granite from Red Hook Marble, there were some beautiful streaks of a rusty-peach as well...

This is a picture of problem solving... The problem was a gaping hole where an AC was once housed... Long gone, the hole had been patched with a yucky old board and some caulk. This is where the speaker wire needed to come out from inside the apartment, so I pried off the board and had a really ugly situation to deal with (one that had to have an 8" x 8" access panel for the speaker stuff). I asked the carpenter to frame out a piece of lattice and hang it over the whole thing and then I mounted a really beautiful 4' copper window box on it. Unfortunately the box can't be seen in this picture, it is all covered by a silk ivy and hydrangea arrangement I did for the party. You can catch a glimpse of the access panel middle right.

So my client was having a huge party to celebrate her son's engagement, and decided to use the other half of the rooftop, which is property of the building. Thursday night she had (another) nervous breakdown, this time because she realized there was no lighting in this space... This is where the caterer and half a dozen cocktail tables would be set up. I had the lighting tech whip out a rental proposal for the night, but she decided she didn't want to spend $3,000 for an evening... So she informed me at noon, the day before the party, that this was my problem to solve. She didn't care what it looked like, just so long as people could see and would not trip and sue her. she repeatedly called me to remind me how bright it needed to be. I went to a fancy upper East hardware store and bought 20 clip lamps and 150 watt clear bulbs and a zillion feet of extension cord and worked it out...


A garden I maintain in the West Village has a stunning Moonflower vine on the front railing... My appointment was too early to witness a peak blossom, as they tend to burst open in the afternoon and stay open into the night. The buds are pretty amazing!

You can almost see it unfurl.

Yes of course I saved the seeds!!!

Morning Glory

On my walk to the subway in the morning...