Sunday, September 21, 2008

two new collages

"Cocktail Limes", mixed media on paper, 6.5" x 10", aef08

"Someday I'll Find You", collage on paper, 6.5" x 10", aef08

Saturday, September 20, 2008

back to the dirt

I realized the other day I haven't taken a botanical photograph in ages. For a while work had me behind a desk but recently I was able to make a great change and get back to the dirt. Having survived the first week I relished in the option to sleep in this morning, even though I was still up by 8:30. A little sore but so much happier as I sit here sipping cup number two. The other day I was working on a slope and people kept asking what the tall perennial flower was down at the edge in the dappled mid-September sun. "It's just so beautiful", they would gawk.

Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida) is a plant worth knowing about if you don't already. In sun or dappled shade these upright herbaceous perennials can get to about 3' or 4' tall and flowering by late summer or early fall. Most anemones bloom much earlier in spring, like Anemone canadensis and other native species of this large genus within the Ranunculaceae family. One of the common names you hear for many anemones is windflower, which likely derives from "anemos", the Greek word for wind (Flora, 2004). In all their forms anemones are a excellent woodland plant, loving organic-rich soil and good drainage and a good chunk of sun. Discover them emerging from the leaf litter in early spring before everything else comes to life, or enjoy the later Japanese anemone, with all of its cultivars, while we welcome the cooler temperatures and the changing of the seasons. Someday I will have them in my woodland garden and you can all come over and visit.
Hepatica acutiloba I thought was now considered Anemone acutiloba, but perhaps not. Whatever. Cool plants. Check 'em out. I need a shower.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

figs and football

We were invited to brunch today by a friend we hadn't seen in a while. She has a big backyard with lots of potential that she can do whatever she wants with. I was drawing plans in no time. Shrubs for wildlife and focal points from inside. Compost bin can hide there, behind the tomatoes and squash. Beans there, peas over a bit, to climb the fence. For the front, set seed for a meadow cutting garden of easy natives, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Monarda, Aquilegia, or whatever you want. It will all be fine under the amazing fig tree. wait. what? Amazing fig tree?! Sa-lammin'!
Luckily our lovely host Megan said she couldn't eat another so we had a festive little harvest before we hit the road. Delish!
You know how figs are pollinated, right? It's a pretty fascinating story, from a botanical standpoint, that is.
So, a common fruiting fig (Ficus carica) is a flowering tree, but where are the flowers? When figs form, the flowers are actually inside that mini pear shaped syconium. Ultimately you cannot see a figs flowers until you cut into a fig. At the base of figs is a tiny hole where tiny wasps fly in and buzz around to pollinate the flowers. For every flower is a pollinator, remember. Well, how do they know the flowers are in there, you might ask. Easy. The whole time the tiny little wasps are just looking for a suitable place to lay their eggs. Plants, they're somthing. I'll leave you with that, I have to get back to football anyway. Happy Sunday.

Curious to know more about growing figs in New York City? Well, I happen to write two pieces about that for my old work blog and you are invited to check those out too if you like:
The original Q&A from the HSNY blog
and then
Part two, complete with some very cool pics of bound fig trees

laugh out loud funny

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ea pics from last Sunday...

...are now posted on my flickr page, so check out the cuteness. And if you are just tuning in scroll down past the politics to read about Nanny. Enjoy the day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

on politics

I thank Charles Gibson for asking the questions he did and running a good interview. I think he did a great job. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, I do not believe. This is the absolute best VP nomination the Republicans can come up with? Really?!? I know there is a lot to know, and it is hard to find any news agency that doesn't have a little slant in one direction or the other, but still, you have to be a little smarter to talk with the big kids. Commitment is fabulous but we all know commitment is not experience. And I am a big fan of experiential learning over talk, talk, talk. I was asked to join one of those silly facebook groups called "I Have More Foreign Policy Experience than Sarah Palin". Little did I know that was actually true. And I hate politics! Wowch.

Anne Denzler Worth 1922 - 2008

We all love and miss you Nanny.

Anne Worth nee Catherine Anne Denzler of Cutchogue and later Ft. Pierce Florida died on September 5 at the home of her daughter Sue Worth Feleppa in East Hampton. She was weeks shy of her 86th birthday.

Born October 2, 1922 in Cutchogue NY, Anne was one of five daughters of Albert William Denzler and Anna Helene Gee. She graduated from Southold High School in 1940 and attended Wanamaker’s Beautician School in Manhattan. After studying the craft that she would practice throughout her lifetime and some stints as a hand model, she returned to Cutchogue to marry her high school sweetheart William Wilson (Bud) Worth who was serving in the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor.

Her husband of 53 years predeceased her in 1994; and she lost her two sisters, Kathleen Foster of Port St. Lucie FL and Margaret Helene Bush of Greenport NY during the past thirteen months as she courageously battled cancer.

Anne and Bud raised two daughters and a son on the North Road and later Wells Avenue in Southold, all of whom survive her: Lilian Anne (Bonnie) Rose Wilcenski of Sidney Center, NY; Sue W. Feleppa of East Hampton NY; and William Wayne Worth of Los Angeles CA. She is also survived by two sisters: Mary Patricia Foley of Cortland NY and Eileen Walters of Southold NY; plus eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

A piece of local history: While Bud Worth was working at Grumman Aviation on the Apollo Lunar Module (lem) that would bring man to the moon, Anne was at home in her kitchen pleasing her customers with perms and rinses or baking her scrumptious apple pie for the night’s dinner table.

A loving mother, wife, and volunteer, Anne was devoted to her family, speaking often of the classical piano music that her mother played, or of her dad who cooked the two o’clock Sunday roast, or of the wonderful years dancing the Peabody or Lindy with her husband. Her white hair beautifully coiffed and her smile distinctively warm, Anne was most enthusiastic about her plants and flowers, her birds, her chocolates, her CC, and her ability to lay down devastating hands of Bridge and Cribbage.

A mass will be held on Wednesday September 10 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Southold, with a graveside memorial immediately following. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of DeFriest Grattan Funeral Home in Southold.

The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations go to your favorite charity for children.

(Picture taken and obituary prepared by my father, Richard Feleppa - September, 2008)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

faithful to the journey of life

Wednesday was a crisp and clear September morning out on the North Fork of Long Island. The funeral for my grandmother was held at St. Patrick's in Southold at 10am. Tim did one of the most poignant readings of Ecclesiastes. Father Ken spoke about my grandmother being faithful to the journey of life as we all must strive to be. My mother called him a tough act to follow but she did fabulous herself. Anne Denzler Worth was a lady in every sense of the word and we honored that. Following church and a gathering in the cemetery to bring Nanny back by my grandfather's side we migrated to the water to have lunch and reminisce and enjoy the day as Anne and Bud would have.
(Oh, you know you can click on the pictures to see them enlarged)
Everywhere we looked there were subtle reminders of the joys my grandparents found during their lives. It was a perfect day to be on the water. I loved when we used to take an evening ride on Pop-Pop's boat after dinner.

Nanny was always a lover of birds and bird watching so all the visitors were welcome.

Pepi's had a great big tented area loaded with food and drink but most of us gathered to bask in the sun out back.
Cousin Skip and my dad.

Mom having a blast telling stories to Joanie Worth and Aunt Brennie.

Uncle Whoop was looking sharp.

Ed Worth and Tom Fantini hoped on the cocktail train. The family made sure there was no lack of Canadian Club, Nan's drink of choice.

I hadn't seen my cousins Mike and Skip together in a while so that was really a treat. Talk about a couple of great characters.

My cousins on my dad's side made the trip down from Connecticut with my Aunt and that really meant a lot to my folks. Sue Woods and Gian Carlo Feleppa were keeping it positive.

We were all tempted to hop in the water. Frosty and Tim at least got to wriggle their toes a bit. Morgane had just flown east from LA and we were so glad she did.

Ea was stealing the show all morning and afternoon. Here she is in the arms of my mom, the newly appointed grandmother. And here we are, accepting the joy and sorrow life brings, and through it all doing our best to be faithful to the journey.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If I could name a plant...

...I might name this one Hosta 'Deer's Delight'.

I actually love the punk rock variation. Found these on the south side of my folks place out in EH last weekend. Too funny.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"I think shuffle is psychic"

TodayI let people know I was leaving my job for a good step in the right direction for me these days. The feedback was amazingly positive but still a heavy day and series of emails to write and send. Luckily the ipod shuffle was treating me good on the ride home from the office. My old roommate Jen and I would talk about the psychic properties of shuffle at times. At times it does deliver a perfect soundtrack you couldn't script. I didn't pay attention the whole time but scribbled down a few names in the outer margin of the wrinkled paper as I'm known to do.

"Ballade" by Illyah Kuryahkin off the album Count No Count
The melodic distortion of this album blows my mind. I don't know what it is, but I can listen to songs off this album over and over and over again. If I could make distortion sound that pretty I might quit horticulture.

"Sprout and the Bean" by Joanna Newsom off the album The Milk-Eyed Mender
Combine this album with grad school in horticulture followed by subway adventures all over the five boroughs to end up at the best hidden gem gardens and you have a pretty fabulous series of mental snapshots. If only I could describe the dichotomous magnificence of grit and beauty. I thank Jake Martin for turning me on to Joanna Newsom.

"Battle of Who Could Care Less" by Ben Folds Five off the album Whatever & Ever Amen
Takes me back to another place and time yet in the post-work subway rumble I can't help but think of a certain someone acting painfully unprofessional these days. I rock back and forth losing focus on the crossword. I'm rocking out like Ben would want my white ass to be.

"Drag Days" by Guided By Voices off the album Under the Bushes Under the Stars
I was originally given this album by either Tim or Gian Carlo, my brothers, because our friend Shelby from Memphis played on it. It was a long time ago and it took me a little while to get into it, but now this might be one of my fave GBV records.

Others made appearences of note but it is now late and I have a long day at my new job tomorrow. Thank God I'll be back in the gardens.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nanny's last pie

Friday night in the middle of the night I woke. I waited a moment and heard it again, a beep from the kitchen. I figured my brother had finally called back after we had gone to bed. In a sleepy haze I got up and checked my voicemail. In the darkness of the kitchen the phone shone a cool blue light as my mother's voice told me Nanny had finally passed away. The strongest woman I know, a true matriarch, endured a quick and serious battle with cancer, and finally decided to let go. Sighs of relief are inevitable following such a disease, though so sad and weighted. And relief for my parents who had done so much to maintain for Nan a quality of life that she deserved.

We drove out that evening and swooped Uncle Whoop up along the way in Islip. Saturday friends and family and loving sentiment kept arriving. My mom just wanted to be surrounded by love so that's what we did. The phaelanopsis above came first. Then this beautiful creation:
I don't know I've ever seen Sedum and Hydrangea used together in an arangement, although I am no floral design authority. I could see Nanny standing over it and marvelling at it, the way she would lightly touch her chest and nose forward with such peaceful curiosity.
Pop and color and beauty we made sure to have everywhere. Orange ranunculus and orange roses with paeony and hydrangea, pretty wow.
Eventually we gathered around the table to feast on fresh local seafood and veggies Mark had brought from upstate. The whiskey and wine were flowing. We sat and shared stories of the past, of boats and fishing and growing up on the water. We laughed about family and friends and the Worth siblings still calling the undertaker by his ancient nickname of "Tiger". Eventually Aunt Bonnie pulled out an apple pie and cut it up for everyone to have a taste. Before we dug in Bonnie said something that made my heart skip a beat. This was Nanny's last pie, which Bonnie had saved from Nan's last trip north. You see, nobody's apple pie was like Anne Worth's apple pie. Local apples, the perfect ratio of cinnamon to sugar, and a crust even better than you can imagine. The perfect apple pie is a phenomenon for many families, I am sure, but Nanny's hands forged an ideal version that was always the greatest we knew. "Often imitated and never duplicated" doesn't even come close. This was a real moment, a brilliant long life of adventure and hard work and focus and love encapsulated in a single wedge of apple pie. There is no question it was her finest.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Full Melvin

Melvin Motorboat

Friends and family will be happy to know that Melvin is now officially cast-free. Following the cast and the e-collar its funny to see him without anything on. Hence, the nickname of the week, The Full Melvin. Yeah, we're having entirely too much fun. It's kind of ridiculous. We know.

Great weekend at home entertaining good ol' friends. And now psyched to have another day off before testing out a new job in Central Park. Free time? Oh, I'm down. Happy Sunday on a Monday!