Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shrub ID: Edgeworthia chrysantha (coming into bloom at BBG)

 I was in the city at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the annual horticulture trade show put on by the Metro Hort Group, Plant-o-Rama.  It is always a great event and one of the bonuses is checking in on this paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) which comes into bloom about this time of year.
 As you can see it's a deciduous shrub.  Most references list it as being hardy in USDA Zones 8-10 which would mean it wouldn't survive the winters here in New York, but as you can see, situated in the right protected spot with good sun and well-drained soil it can do quite well up here.  Below is the flower starting to emerge.  Many people know the wonderful winter interest of different native and non-native species of Hamamelis (witchhazel), not to mention Camellia japonica (Japanese camellia), but you definitely want to know about Edgeworthia as well.  The flowers will open to reveal short, fragrant, tubular flowers yellow to creamy white as we get into late winter.
 Edgeworthia chrysantha:
- commonly called paperbush
- native to China
- member of the daphne family, Thymelaeaceae
- grow in rich soil with ample water and sun to part-shade
- leaves are elongated, oval, mid-green
- can grow to 6' high and wide
- the genus is named after Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881), botanist, plant collector and employee of the East India Company
(Flora: A Gardener's Encyclopedia, 2003, Timber Press)

Monday, January 28, 2013


my early work was in topiary, Nantucket, circa 1984

topiary: a. In gardening, clipped or cut into ornamental shapes; also, of or pertaining to such trimming. Topiary work is the clipping and trimming of trees and shrubs into regular or fantastic shapes. (National Gardening Association, garden.org)

Friday, January 25, 2013

fourth Friday of the year

Another good day.  Trekked up-island to a horticultural conference put on by the Suffolk branch of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.  A varied and very informative day of speakers and presentations.  Reminds me I should get back to posts having to do with actual horticulture.  But alas, I've sat down and now according to the little lady it's bath time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

sunrise on the Sunrise

Two days driving up-island and back before the sunrise sure makes me thankful I don't have to do this commute every day like so many others do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marine Blvd (mini series)

the neighbors

...down the road from where I grew up, on the way to the ocean, used to know this spot as the old Diamond property, today complete with four-legged friends...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 o'clock kitten

Sat down for pretty much the first time today and the little baby girl was instantly on my lap, about to commence bath time - guess my work day is over!  Which is fine with me.  Usually "the squeaks" lands in my wife's lap, but with mom away I get the kid all to myself.  Loving it.

drawing lines in the sand

 January 22, 2012

January 22, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

new collages, and taking the next step

I am feeling good having finally created some new artwork, thirteen new collages to be exact.  In contrast to my previous creations these collages, ranging from 4"x4" to 12"x12", are mounted on ready-to-hang boards which I hope will take me one step closer to my long term goal of figuring out how to sell my artwork online.  Ready-to-hang = ready-to-sell, or so I hope.

Stay tuned, and if you have experience selling your artwork using pay pal via your own blog please feel free to comment or email arborboy@gmail.com - I would appreciate any tips on how to get started in the world of e-commerce.  Thanks!

(oh, and individual scans/titles/details of each of these to be posted shortly - Cheers!)

perfect winter ocean

morning walk, before the snow

Friday, January 18, 2013

first snow

 the neighborhood cat crosses our porch while on her nighttime adventures

We had our first snowfall in the new house last night.  Woke from our warm bed to find the world outside with a fine dusting of the beautiful white stuff.  It looked so picturesque and felt so cozy to be in our own home looking out at our own yard, safe and sound in the midst of a chilly winter wonderland outside.  ...a good feeling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Birthday to my better half

It was probably about seven years ago that my wife decided to leave her previous lines of work and follow her passion of caring for animals.  In the years since she has become an amazing veterinary technician, caring for hundreds if not thousands of patients between New York City and the eastern end of Long Island.  She comes home telling me unbelievable stories of the situations she has dealt with and the obstacles overcome to get these creatures back on track, most of the time successful but unfortunately sometimes not.  I know she works her tail off, the pun slightly intentional, and gives it her all every day, whether a cat or dog or even injured wildlife, and every day I am so proud of her for following her passion and her dream and being so selfless and so strong even though so many of her clients have no clue what her job really entails.  I'll say it again, because it only really scratches the surface.  I am so proud of my love.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Freewrite Friday (not really)

It isn't that I haven't been writing a lot recently, because I have, but yet the freewrites inevitably involve names and places and people and you can't be so casual in this little town with stuff like that.  It frustrates me that I can't share all the stuff I am sorting through in my own mind in terms of life and work and making this new year even better than the last.  But what it really comes down to is that none of this is for the world to read.  I'm on a personal mission.  

Another Friday.  The second Friday of the year.

I stare out of the front door window a lot.  Or rather, I have been trying to stare out the front door window more often.

Back in mid December there was a great article in the New York Times that my mother tore out for me to read.  It was called "The Power of Concentration" and sure enough she was right, as I felt like it was almost written for me to read.  It spoke of the value of single-tasking in this crazy multi-tasking world that we have gotten ourselves so caught up in.  I won't do it justice so I won't try, I'll just post the link and hope that you read it.  ...because it is a very interesting read.

For months I had been saying to myself and others that I needed to write.  It was my way of saying that after all that happened in 2012 I needed time to reflect.  It wasn't that the year was bad, in sharp contrast it was probably one of the best years of my life, but there was no down time.  All of a sudden I was feeling spread so thin that I felt like everything was starting to suffer.  Or maybe a better way of putting it is to say that I was feeling that the quality of my work and the quality of life was lessening.  That scared me.  That scared me a lot, because this whole move was about making our quality of life better, not worse. 

I have to remember to get out of my own head sometimes, as I think we all do.  I need to stop and focus, even if it means focusing on nothing for a few minutes.  It is time to get re-centered.  Even on days like today when things don't go as well as I would have liked I have to remember to go for that run or surf, take advantage of the awesome gift of yoga my wife gifted me with, or in this case, write.  Every day we can learn and grow and move forward, that is if we are smart and conscientious enough to let ourselves. 

Oh yeah, that article:

Monday, January 7, 2013

horizon lines

 The flu bug officially infiltrated our house, but we weren't going to let it get us down.  The new master bedroom upstairs was prepped for paint so we put on the classic rock radio station and got busy. At the end of the day we realized we had to get outside so we went for a quick ocean stroll.  The sea was a rich, cold blue and the horizon so striking. 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Harvey's swans

It was another beautiful winter day.  I returned to the creek house as the sun was setting and beers were being cracked.  This evening there were two swans navigating the thin layer of ice now coating Hog Creek.  As we stood and watched the swans try and figure out what to do Nisse got a call from our friend Rossa.  She soon got off the phone and returned to where Tommy, Sebastian, and I were standing by the water's edge.  Harvey Shapiro, the long time boyfriend and companion of Rossa's mom, Galen Williams, was dying and there wasn't anything that could be done about it.  After a long and accomplished life it was his time to go.  We cheers'd and made a toast to the heavens in Harvey's name.  Just then the two swans began to run as fast as they could, their large flat feet clamoring on the alien ice.  With wings flapping they persevered and took flight, and in a beautiful display honked off towards Gardiners Bay.  Nothing else had to be said.

This is the obituary that the New York Times would publish the next day, definitely worth reading:

RIP Harvey, you will be missed.


Friday, January 4, 2013

First Friday of 2013

It was a good day.  Made it through the first week of the new year and feeling like things are moving in the right direction.  Got out of work early and headed up to Hog Creek to visit some old friends.  I'm looking forward to more good Fridays in 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dad's pets

While Dad's away, the... ...deer will lay?!?

Heading into the city for the day, I parked at the folks house so I could hop a Hampton Jitney from the stop in town.  Checking on their place while they're away I had to text dad this photo.  This family of deer are practically his pets after so many years living together on this property.  I am sure he was none too pleased but I definitely had a good chuckle!

 The trip to the city was to join Diane Schaub (center), Curator of the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, her staff and volunteers in celebrating Earl Munroe, who tomorrow will retire after 13 years of tremendous service.  We wish Earl (left) and his wife Joan all the best as they begin the next chapter of their lives.  May it be a safe and comfortable return to Giyana, "the breadbasket of the Carribean".

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, new roof!

We woke this morning to good weather, which meant only one thing as we saw the guys begin to arrive at 7am, a new roof!  Buying the house we knew it was inevitable so we went ahead and bit the bullet, thanks in major part to Gramma and Grampa, Hilda and Howard Good, for their most amazing generosity.  After asking around town, facebook and whatnot, we decided to go with everyone's top recommendation, Straightline Roofing.  These guys were fantastic.  Like a fine-tuned machine they wasted no time and ended up doing an exceptional job, while being super-nice and professional.  A huge thanks to Steve and company.  We're psyched!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When at first you don't succeed, blog, blog again.

This is a beloved Laeliocattleya orchid of mine named 'Gold Rush' which bloomed earlier than usual this year.  I almost missed it in the midst of all the holiday madness, glad I didn't!