Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Jewels

A couple quick photos of some of my favorites this week.  
Above is daphne 'Lawrence Crocker'.

alyssum montanum 'Berggold'

anemonella thalictroides 'Cameo'

fritillaria uva vulpis

 arabis alp. caucasica 'Snowball'

potentilla porphryrantha

One of the many troughs.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rock On

For the last couple years, I've wanted to do a dry stone wall workshop at The Stone Trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the craft of laying dry stone, in Dummerston, VT. This winter I checked their schedule and was pleased to see that they would be doing a workshop at the NY-NJ Trail Conference Headquarters in Mahwah, NJ, near the NY state line.  How could I resist a workshop so close to home?

Friday's workshop, which I missed due to work, was dedicated to the planning and prep work of the build.  When I showed up at the workshop on Saturday, the wooden frames and string lines were already in place, the stones were sorted and the gravel footing was laid.  We started laying the foundation stones almost immediately.  By Saturday afternoon we were a couple courses above ground level and started placing our through-stones (the long rectangular ones placed perpendicular to the wall in the photo above).  These long stones help tie the two faces of the wall together.

The instructors were patient with us novices, and the wall rose at a pretty good pace.  We each had out section that we worked on.  The above photo was taken this morning before we started work.

 The wall lies between the busy road and the trail conference headquarters, a beautifully restored 1891 schoolhouse building.

With about 25 people working for two days, we laid over 100' feet of wall.  Every stone is painstakingly mated with its brethren, with only gravity and friction holding them in place.

We capped the wall with some large, long stones to hold it all in place.  I capped my weekend with a couple IPAs and a hot shower.

May it stand for a century.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Draba Season

I like to think of the drabas as the daffodils of the alpine plants.  Their bright yellow is always a welcome sight in the raw weather of spring.  Above is draba novolympica growing on tufa in one of my troughs.

This one's draba lasiocarpa, growing near the edge of one of my troughs.

I'm cheating a bit to include these photos but I can't help it.  The next two are my neighbor Ray's, growing in a trough in his front yard.  Above is a draba sp.

In the same trough is this draba rigida.

Pulling back, here's the two together in the same photo.

Pulling farther back, you can see the Gothic-style hypertufa trough that Ray and I cast together a couple years ago.  It looks like it's been there forever.

In the same trough is aubrieta 'Royal Blue'.

In one of the four troughs on Ray's hellstrip is this cute arabis x arendsii 'Compinkie'.  I've killed it twice but am hoping for a piece of this clump to try again (I'm so lucky to live across from a better gardener than I am).  Hope the third time's a charm.

Lastly, here's saxifrage 'Petrushka' waving goodbye from one of the troughs in my driveway.