Sunday, January 8, 2017

January Gardening

We got 6" of snow yesterday, along with cold temps, ... cold at least for us anyway.

The troughs are under blankets of snow today.

Buckets protect some of the evergreens and a few temperamental alpines.

Just after dawn this morning.  
The tender crew looks out the window and dreams of warmer days, just like me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

December's Been A Blur


This month has been a blur, but I've managed to snap a few photos to remind me just how beautiful it can be.  Last week's slush storm, above.

A platoon of Santas at Genevieve's Chocolates, an old school candy shop in Garfield, NJ.

More Genevieve's


My favorite ornament on the tree

Through the water glass.

Climbing hydrangea

Ginger Stout Cake, recipe from The Marrow

Sporobolus wrightii, making a statement in the sun.

One of the reindeer on Christmas Eve.

When a daughter shops for her mom.

Merry Christmas to me (thanks Grace!)

Stuffed pork loin on Christmas.

What a great month.  
Be well.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Warm Fall

I've learned not to be disappointed when we have (more frequently lately) a warm, late autumn and the virburnum farreri 'Nanum' blooms.  It smells so great...and the garden is mostly headed off to sleep right now.

It's out of my hands, like a lot of things these days.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mini Fall Color

As most of the alpines in the troughs go to sleep for the winter, there are still little bits of color and interest.  Above is dryas octopetala.  Fingers crossed that it blooms next year.

Androsace sarmentosa.  Imagine wallpaper in this pattern.

A baby sedum sieboldii (red, lower left) and sprawling dracocephalum argunense Fuji Blue (the thin orange foliage)

Saracennia, of course.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Stone Wall Workshop Part II

(I meath to post this earlier in the week, but something..uhmmm...'came up' on Tuesday that...uhmm...overshadowed this)

Last weekend I took part in the second Stone Trust dry-stone walling workshop at the NY NJ Trail Conference headquarters in Mahwah, NJ.  I did the first workshop in April and was looking forward to having another go at it, even though it's tough work.  Above is the 30' of wall that most of the workshop students worked on Saturday and Sunday.

I was assigned the front face of this small curved section on the other side of the driveway.  The boulders were already in place.  They'll help protect the wall from snowplows, etc.  The rebar/lumber forms and string lines were placed on Friday.  The wall sits on a deep gravel footing.

The string lines are just a suggestion on a curved wall.  As always, the faces of the wall are of paramount importance.  Smaller stones are packed as hearting between the two faces of the wall.

The tools in the photo above are resting on one of a couple 'through-stones' in the wall, stones that run the full width of the wall and tie the two sides together.  Behind the wall you can see how neatly my partner, a full-time mason, has laid out the raw materials on his side.  This photo is from mid-Sunday morning so it's taken us a full-day's work to get this far up with the wall.

As we neared the top of the wall, the stones got smaller and the wall went up quicker.
I was happy to use the Stone Trust's carbide hammers and chisels, and to receive excellent directions from my partner and the workshop instructor on how to split, shape and trim stone.  About 40% of the rocks in the face of the wall are trimmed to some degree.

That's Rob, who built the other side of the wall and provided excellent conversation for two days.
Larger coping stones have been added in a more rustic pattern to the top of the wall.  The extra weight on top will keep downward pressure on the wall and help hold it together over the next century.

The finished wall from the side.

The trail conference headquarters is a restored schoolhouse from the 1890's.  It's a gorgeous spot, even more so now that the wall is complete.  I can't wait to take my family for a visit and point out which parts I worked on.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

That Fall Sedum

Sedum sieboldii is doing its thing, turning red as it blooms pink.  It lives happily in this rather shallow trough in full sun on the deck, with semps, soapwort, pasqueflower and another small sedum.  

The bees were all over it today, except in the photos.

It's so well behaved that it has fall color.  I love it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's Not All Alpines

Not everything I grow in hypertufa is a precious miniature.  Above is an electric purple aster from Home Depot, stuck in a quatrefoil trough that's looking for a home.  I'm a sucker for purples in the fall.

I found a katsura sapling at a plant sale this spring and couldn't resist bringing it home, even though I have no room for it in the yard.  I'll grow it for a couple years in the planter and then find a home for it.  The fall color is charitably called 'apricot', but I like it.

These sarracenias were still babies last year but have steadily bulked up this year.  I have high hopes for them next year.  The hypertufa bowl is formed around a plastic liner in order to have a barrier between the alkaline planter and the acidic planting medium these guys need.

Back to alpine programming next week.