Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter Still Life

I'm always playing around with this grouping of containers in front of the garage, probably because I can see it from the house.  The containers are mostly prototypes that I didn't put into production or odd troughs that were leftovers for one reason or another.  The three small round ones at the front are made from extra hypertufa leftover from a casting session, kind of like how I make a cinnamon and sugar cookie for the kids when I have leftover dough after rolling pie crust.

The evergreen plants in these containers are tough customers: a couple junipers, a chamaecyparis, rosemary, an erica, and a helianthemum. 

Yeah, I'm blocking two of my garage doors.  I've still got two others that open.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's the Little Things...

The little things, like the drop hanging on the Spriber Winterberry, are among the best pleasures of this season.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking For Hope

As my personal life spins out of control, I've been looking to nature for strength and consolation.  Like any good gardener, I try to take a long view.

Sedum sieboldii (above) has spectacular color as it finishes.  It's fleeting, but I look forward to it each year...probably even more than the flowering.

Dwarf cotoneaster shines right now.  It's way too ambitious to live in harmony with its more mild-mannered brethren.  I cast a new square trough for it yesterday, but I'll wait for spring to transplant it.

Ilex verticillata 'Spriber' seem to be content in a large hypertufa pot, maybe because its male counterpart is potted up six feet away.

This lonicera has great yellow color right now, as well as a last handful of flowers.

Little bluestem and oakleaf hydrangea.

This mossy rock is normally hidden behind ferns and anemones.  I'm always happy to see it again in autumn. 

Sedum spectabile has plans for next year already.  I'm jealous.

Erica x darleyensis 'Kramer's Red' is starting its four-month show.  It waits until March to change to a darker pink.

The first flower of the winter jasmine opened yesterday.  It flowered for weeks in that tough December last year.  

Welcome back, my friend.  Not much has changed in the last year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012


We survived Sandy relatively well.  We lost power for three days, but had no flooding, no roof damage and the huge maple in the backyard is still standing.  Our generator felt both necessary and extravagant during the outage.

We feel pretty lucky as all around us are friends in neighborhoods approaching a week without power.  One friend slept fully clothed under the comforter last night and woke to a 49-degree house this morning.

Walking out of the house after the storm I was struck by the fine layer of leaf litter, almost mulch, that was spread across everything.  We even had drifts of the finely chopped leaves on the windward side of the house.  Hurricane confetti?

Monday, October 29, 2012


Taking pictures before the hurricane was kind of wistful.  It will certainly not be the same tomorrow.  The hyacinth beans are trying to beat the frost.

Autumn crocuses finishing with the witch hazel leaves.

Gothic planter still looking great.

The toad lilies have gone on and on this year.

This was delivered on Friday.  I hope it's enough.  
Good luck everyone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sunday Hike near Warwick, NY

Autumn shadows

Autumn colors

A happy boy

A happy dog

Best trail blaze ever


Or is it Rockery?

Mossy rock face

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Finale

The front yard still looks good thanks to the mums, asters, geranium and the self-seeded goldenrod.  After the solidago finishes blooming, its getting tossed on the compost.  That tiny, weedy white aster on the right?  It self-seeded too.  I might transplant it to a better spot.  I kind of like it.

Is baptisia really worth it?  It bloomed so long ago that I've kind of forgotten why I have the sprawling mass of its foliage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tall Stoop Planters

I cast these recently for a client who wanted some tall (23"H) planters to flank her doorway.

I didn't want them to be ridiculously heavy and unwieldy, in case she wanted to move them.

Casting them in parts solved the problem.

They were so nice that I might even make myself some.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Square Rimmed Trough

I cast this square trough in July.  It's as satisfying as I had hoped.  Now I have to decide which of my over-eager "dwarf" shrubs to put in it.  I have a chamaecyparis and a cotoneaster that are both getting too big for their own mixed troughs.  They need to be separated for their physical health and my mental health.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Alliums for Webb

Webb expressed surprise a couple weeks ago that I had allium blooming in one of my troughs.  I always think of them as a spring plant too, but have found a few good summer bloomers in the allium family.  Above is garlic chives, allium tuberosum.  It's perfectly happy in a whiskey barrel on the hellstrip by the street.

Allium senescens var. glaucum, the circle onion (its leaves grow in a swirl).

The circle onion at home in its trough, with gentian, sedum, a chamaecyparis and so on.  That's carex glauca in the trough behind, mimicking the alliums' foliage color.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Later Than You Think

The full sunflower in bloom, the unopened bud, the dried flower head going to seed, the spider web...this image seems to sum up Labor Day weekend.  We've come far along in the growing season but there's still a little drama left.

The curtain is opening on Autumn, my favorite act in the yearly play.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Great Yard

Every year when we go to Avalon, NJ for a week at the beach, I spend time gawking at this yard.  This is no hidden side yard or unused area.  This is the front yard.  I was standing on the sidewalk when I took this.

I think that it's an older house that had a lot of work done on it recently, including a sensitive re-landscaping.  I really like the imbalance between the boring mass of the house and the jewel-like decks added on to it.  

The front yard has a wild, dune-like feel, which is totally appropriate for a house less than a block from the ocean.  This is the front walk, er, path.

I love the green roof and the trellis on the garage.

Nice edge treatment with a bit of formal repetition to frame the riot going on behind.

No lawn mowing at this summer house.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Week at the Jersey Shore

We got back on Saturday from an amazing week in south Jersey.

The beach at 8AM was pretty empty.

I had some amazing, flat bike rides around gorgeous swamps.  The only hills down there are the bridges.  Gulls, herons, and egrets were everywhere.

We used to use this type of fencing to stop snow in Iowa.  I like these drifts better.

Tenacious dune grass.

Cross section of a dune.
Swampy bird sanctuary in Stone Harbor, NJ.  That chartreuse green in the mid-ground is a sedge I think.