Above is a shot I took of the Burnett Fountain at the Conservatory Garden in Central Park back at the end of July. I couldn't quite figure out the best way to crop it so I opted to go with a number of options.
In the fountain is a fabulous container of Colocasia and Acorus. The Acorus is a new experiment this year and I think it looks great at the base of the Colocasia. Usually you see the two in annual beds and container gardening but since they are water loving plants they can also stand to live in a fountain or pond, as long as the water is circulating of course. Stagnant water will rot and kill even the toughest of aquatic critters so you always have to make sure the water is flowing and fresh. Pot the plants in a soil mix that is more clay-like than what you would use for regular potting above sea level. But hey, if all you have is potting mix you can actually make that work too. If you fear that some of the soil mix will not hold then you can mulch your aquatic containers with pebbles or gravel as long as you do not bury the crown of the plant. This way the soil stays in while your plants stems and foliage continue to grow from the root system. Worse comes to worse you just have to skim your pond a little after placing your containers to remove unwanted floating peat moss or perlite. I didn't realize how easy aquatic gardening can be and yet people are always amazed and really love it, thinking you have done something so extraordinary.
The sculpture is by Bessie Potter Vonnoh. In 1924 Frances Hodgson Burnett passed away, author of The Secret Garden which was first published in 1917. After her passing, as the story goes, a committee was formed to create a memorial in her honor somewhere in the city. A place for the children of New York to be able to read a book, have an outdoor classroom, experience and fall in love with nature, the south garden was picked as the spot before the Conservatory Garden was opened to the public in September of 1937. Though the fountain is not titled as such it is loosely based on the two main characters, Dickon (above) and Mary (below). Even though the south garden is often described as the English garden within the six-acre formal garden many locals lovingly know it as the secret garden.
The tropical water lilies are grown like the Colocasia and Acorus. Potted in soil and mulched with gravel the lilies are placed in the fountain in early June and grow and bloom magnificently all summer. The only challenge is the huge crabapple tree that grows over head and adds a little more shade to the scenario every year.
Forgive me that I have been a real blog-posting slacker recently. With my wedding less than a month away and my fiancee and I uber planners there hasn't been much extra time for photos and freewrites and all that good stuff. Not to mention Hurricane Danielle is beginning to push some swells to our local surf spots so tomorrow we are leaving the technology behind to find the true knowledge. Wish us luck! cheers, AEF