Sunday, January 31, 2010

winter, sunrise, graffiti, headphones

...Tell you my cup, cup, is running over, baby,
And I don't know what to, don't know what to do yeah,
Tell you my cup is running over,
And I don't know, don't know, don't know what to do...

-Bob Marley and the Wailers
from Grooving Kingston

Friday, January 29, 2010

the last day of 2009 (in snow)

I realized during yesterday's snow shower that I never posted these images of the Conservatory Garden to the blog. This is the morning of New Year's Eve. My friend and mentor Lynden B. Miller loves to quote Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz as saying "A garden that is not beautiful in winter is not a beautiful garden". Clearly I couldn't agree more. Enjoy.
Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' at the end of one of the perennial beds in the English garden at the south end of the Conservatory Garden, accompanied by the fabulous structure of oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) and other shrubs, grasses and perennials providing winter interest.
It is under a fresh snow that I most love the crabapple (Malus floribunda) allees on either side of the central Italianate garden.
For it is winter that allows you the best chance to see the bones of a garden, the mix of smart horticulture and invaluable age that makes a place like this so special.

"Three Dancing Maidens" by German sculptor Walter Schott is a sensational piece of public art easily adored in every season.

I know, I know, I post a ton of images of the Conservatory Garden. But I think it is really important that people know this is a public space in Harlem, at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue, intended for all to enjoy, and in my opinion one of the best things in Manhattan.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

plant of the day: black bamboo

botanically known as Phyllostachys nigra, this is black bamboo in winter
Photos taken at Brooklyn Botanic Garden early this morning before a great day catching up with old friends and meeting new people at Plant-O-Rama, the late January tradition amongst us urban horticulturists thanks to the Metro Hort Group.
Phyllostachys nigra:
-commonly called black bamboo
-Originally from China
-grows 20-50' high and wide and does best in full sun
-new culms (shoots) go from green to brown stippling to black
-hardy in USDA cold hardiness zones 7-10
-a running form of bamboo so if you are going to plant it, be sure to stay on top of controlling it over the years! ...and if you don't know that bamboo (the genus Phyllostachys) comes in both running and clump forms, you should know that. It will help you a great deal if you ever want to add bamboos to your garden scheme.

Thanks to Flora: a Gardener's Encyclopedia for factoid confirmation.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

first foray into the world of Photoshop, and related adventures

I must apologize for the lack of blogs recently posted, or not posted as the case may be. Wedding planning has officially begun along with the new year and free minutes are quickly gobbled by to-do list making and doing, pre-planning to avoid mental freak outs, and yes, even a foray into extremely fun but time consuming graphic design. This is the "Save the Date" postcard that I designed for us for our wedding this fall out on Long Island. I hope you like it. Certainly the horticultural blog posts have suffered and might continue to over the next couple months and I am sorry about that. But do stay tuned and I will try and be better about getting posts up on a more regular basis. Thanks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

quick tree question - fallen pods?

A friend recently wrote:
I have a quick tree question: what kind of tree are all those fallen pods coming from that are now on the sidewalks of Williamsburg? There's a ton near us. The pods are turning black, maybe rotting? (They don't seem to smell, but then again it's freezing out.) I'm just curious about the name of the tree. The sidewalks around Graham Avenue are covered with pods.
I answered:
I would guess you have a bunch of honeylocust trees around you. They have compound leaves comprised of small leaflets that turn a nice golden color in the fall before showering the pavement. The seed pods come after, from October through Dec/Jan and are dark brown to black, roughly 4-8" long, rather curved by this point. The pods hold good-sized round seeds, also a dark color. Does that sound right? They were a popular street tree planting years ago because they were able to cultivate a thornless variety (aka the ones you see, Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis) - the regular species in the wild has serious 2" thorns that cover the branches. What everyone realized after the fact is that they are also pretty shallow rooted trees so now where you find a honeylocust as a street tree you also tend to find heaved up pavement. (potentially another ID characteristic for us urbanites). The botanical name is Gleditsia triacanthos, but obviously most people know them as honeylocusts.

Apparently I got it right:
Thanks for all this info! I just looked up images of honeylocust trees and that's exactly it! There are a ton of them in Williamsburg, and you're right about the sidewalks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' in front of an array of ornamental grasses, herbaceous perennials, and an oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) under fresh snow in the Conservatory Garden, Central Park, New York City, New Year's Eve 2010.