Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Long Weekend

The cappuchino

The bench

The view from the bench

The troughs that I cast that day, fueled by the cappuchino 

The troughs will sit for 30 days, sealed in plastic in the basement, until just before Christmas, when I will set them out to spend a cold winter in the yard.  Come spring, I will find new owners for them.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Tender Trap

I imagine that if the tender succulents could talk it would sound something like this today:

"...but Daaaaaaaddd...all the the other plants get to play outside today... and it's such a nice day...why can't we?"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


hakonechloa macra 'All Gold'

I've been accused of being a foliage (I think they mean "boring") gardener.  I take a weird sort of pride in enjoying the subtleties of shape and texture in the garden, especially in the ornamental grasses.  

For instance, I love the way the yellow and green colors of hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' contrast so startlingly with the creepy dead foliage of the kirengeshoma on the left.  It's a small thrill, I know, but it's as rewarding to me as any summer bloom.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


salix nakamurana var. yezoalpina

I love this dwarf alpine willow (thanks, Ray).  It's a tough groundcover willow that stays under 1' high but can get up to 8' wide.  I've had it in a trough for a year and a half or so and it doesn't show any signs of world domination yet.  It had a fairly modest show of catkins this spring (I'm hoping for more next year) and was a solid green texture all summer and fall, but I really like the nice yellow it has now.  I'm always reluctant to buy yellow-flowering plants because it's not my favorite color.  But now, on the cusp of coldness, yellow seems just right in the garden.  It's the end of the season; yellow signals capitulation.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Worth the Trouble

chasmanthium latifolium Northern Sea Oats

Sometimes one has to ignore the warnings.  

I've always loved Northern Sea Oats, even though I knew from volunteering at Green Dome Garden in Brooklyn that it can self-seed.  I put a couple in last year and the enjoyment that I got from them was worth the 30 minutes that it took me this spring to root out the unwanted seedlings.  I know that I could cut off the dry seed heads and avoid the self-seeding, but really, what's the point of having it then?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Know Just How You Feel, Friend

Hosta 'Sagae'

This photo made me laugh when I saw it on the computer monitor as it downloaded.  The collapsed hosta seemed kind of bittersweet in the context of our garden but was somehow absurd when isolated in a photo.

I couldn't help identifying with it today, though.  I started a full time job this past Monday, my first since quitting 5 years ago to be home with the kids.  It's the weekend, but I'm exhausted.  I really missed seeing the garden every day and noticing the tiny changes.  There should be another word to use when we say "work in the garden".  Cleaning up perennials and raking outside today was completely different than the "work" that I did all week in Manhattan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunday Morning

Light frost on a hellebore (above) and lambs ears (below)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Trash-picked holly

One night last week I found this female holly thrown out in the trash by my neighbor the landscaper.  It was in its nursery pot and its leaves were still flexible, but I couldn't tell much more since it was so dark when I stumbled across it.  I stashed it in my driveway until I could inspect it the next morning.  In the sunlight of the next day I could see that it wasn't obviously diseased, had been clipped back this year and had a few berries still attached.  Aside from being slightly rootbound I couldn't see why it had been discarded.

I planted it into an unsold Stewart container so that I can enjoy it all winter.  Maybe I can cast a larger container for it in the spring or find it a home at a friend's house.  For now, it's free winter interest.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ahhhh, Much Better

I replaced the three chair arms broken by a falling limb last week.  It always surprises me how easy such a repair is versus how annoyed I was that it happened.  They are safe on the deck, out of range of falling limbs, for the winter.  They've got a few more years left with me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Think I Know Now

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

I've had this witch hazel four years now and it's finally getting its legs under it.  Admittedly, it was tiny when I put it in.  I'm always excited when it opens its yellow, strappy flowers in early March.  It's kind of like the starting gun to the growing season for me.

I know that it was developed at the Harvard University Arnold Arboretum (that's the 'Arnold' in its name).  But 'Promise'?  Today I realized the promise is this: great fall color.