6.28.2012

Patience- One of the Greatest Gifts from the Garden


So far in my gardening life at Ault Park I have adopted gardens that already had a few plants- perhaps a few hostas, a nice stand of coneflowers or iris; something to give the garden a head start early in the season. My new garden just outside the adopt-a-plot area is the exception. In this ‘before’ photo you can see a large void due in great part to the recent removal of a tree.

When I saw this blank slate I asked the head of the park if I could take ownership. At first I considered just gardening the deepest section; behind the shrubs and up to the retaining wall. But as I began edging and weeding I knew I would want to work the entire length of the garden. Since the park did not have plans to install a garden in this area anything I do will be an improvement and I do not feel like I have to have it all done at once. This is a very good thing for time and resources are limited. And to be honest, I am not entirely sure what to do with the area in front of the roses and grasses.

The deepest section of the garden space I planted with Brazilian verbena, three varieties of coneflowers and scads of Liatris spicata. I also added a few shrubs including a Mount Airy Fothergilla. I did a slight extension of the space to the right to amend an area that was once lawn and taxus. Two butterfly bushes and some yarrow are already flourishing in this spot.

In my mind I can see how lush this space will look when the perennials kick into full gear next year. In reality, I am always a tad disappointed when I approach the garden and see just how new it is. Next year seems like a long way away as I look at this freshman garden.

6.16.2012

A Quiet Stroll in the Park

There was not much work to be done in my gardens last night at Ault Park. Bindweed was out, of course, and a few spent flowers needed cleaning, but all-in-all, the gardens were in nice shape.  I did notice though that the sun garden, my flower haven was starting to look like it was reaching its peak. I left a few open spaces in the garden for this exact reason.  I can still add more plants for that extra color and texture that may be lacking.

With my gardening complete, I let the sprinklers run while I explored the the garden on the other side of the great lawn.  Here the plants grow tall and bold, towering over me. As I walk along the outermost path, I feel as if I am in my own world, far away from picnickers and playing children in the center lawn.

This garden space has a wilder, freer style. If I even had a large yard, perhaps one that reaches far away from the house in the back I would want to install a garden like this, my personal wild oasis.



6.13.2012

At Last ..We have Blooms!

At last the Echeveria Arrow Setosa is in bloom! I was hoping I wouldn't miss this new bloom in the rock garden. I added five annual succulents to this garden that is now under my care; plants that I have never grown before. I know I could simply look in one of my many garden books to see what the bloom would look like or do a Google image search but what fun would that be?

I almost skipped my morning trip to the gardens yesterday. I was worn out, just not feeling like myself and it was soupy, muggy outside and the idea of starting my day with a walk in the gummy morning air was not too enticing. But then I thought, What if the blooms last one day and I miss them? What if the plants are stepped on? (they are flush with the walkway, a very busy walkway at that) What if .....  When did I become such a worry wort?

I blame being a landless gardener. I cannot pop outside for a quick inspection of the garden, nor I can I keep deer, pests and careless people at arm's length from my gardens. There is simply too much out of my control when it comes to gardening at the park. So I worry a bit more than I would if the gardens were in my own backyard. But on the flip side, I would not have a lovely excuse to see the park in the morning before work if I didn't have my gardens!

6.10.2012

Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden


If you are lover of roses this is the garden to visit. The garden which encompasses just a smidge over an acre displays more than 4,000 rose plants and over 600 varieties. The garden is comprised of 83 beds radiating from the central gazebo as well as beds along the perimeter with iron lattice fencing for climbing roses.

The award-winning Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden was designed by American landscape architect Beatrix Jones Farrand, the niece of Edith Wharton. The garden was not built in one fell swoop but over time. In 1988 the garden was finally completed to its original design; a very generous gift from the David Rockefellers in honor of his wife Peggy made it possible. In 2006 & 2007 bluestone paths were added, paint was re-freshed and irrigation installed.

As we all know, roses can be a bit demanding to say the least. The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden is helping to change that perception for it is being transformed into one of the most disease resistant rose gardens in the world.

The rose garden is a casual 15 minute stroll from the visitor center (which has a smashing bookstore) or a quick ride one of the trams.




6.08.2012

Blooms Galore


I was hoping to see the Achievers Arrow Setosa in bloom this morning but the status is unchanged. Perhaps tomorrow, when I have several hours free to work in the gardens and surrounding areas I will be treated with a new flower. All was not a loss with the morning visit. How could it be when I have four gardens I am tending and dozens more awaiting me each morning in the adopt-a-plot gardens at the park? There is always something new to behold.

The sun garden is full bloom. Some plants I inherited and many others I installed this spring. The garden is thick and lush. The few open areas will fill in this year and by next year at the latest. I want to hold some open space to account for late summer and autumn interest. I fear this garden will peak in early summer and I am sure more plants must be added to create some year-round interest.
Lysimachia punctata- yellow loosestrife is blooming nicely as are the Liatris, and Daylilies- just to name a few.

6.07.2012

Waiting with Breath that is Bated

The rock garden I adopted is a diva of plot if I ever saw one. Constant weeding (although I feel like I am making progress), lots of deadheading and special water requirements make this a needy garden. And just when I think I am up to here with it she flashes her lovely smile at me. New blooms are coming, blooms from plants I am growing for the first time, like this potential beauty pictured here; Echeveria Arrow Setosa.

I will admit that with all the grief this pile of rocks has been giving me this spring, it is also a lot of joy. Its quirky nature keeps me interested. It is not quite a true rock garden with its lavender, mint, shrubs and spiderwort, but the new plants I added, such as the annual succulents and the re-work of some of the rocks is giving the garden a rock-ish look.

I am eager to see what this bloom looks like. I saw the buds for the first time Wednesday night. I wasn’t sure if they were closed for the evening, like the Ice Plant’s flowers do when the evening shade reaches the garden or if they were simply still waiting to open. So I returned to the garden early this morning to see what was to be seen. All was still the same with the buds. I will return Friday before work and will be in the gardens Saturday. Hopefully the new buds do not open on Sunday when I cannot access the gardens!


I know I could Google the plant to see the blooms, but what fun would that be? Why live via the internet when I can experience the flower in person, in my own rock-ish garden!

Returning to the Gardens

I am not sure why last night’s trip to the gardens at Ault Park had me filled with trepidation. Sure there was a chance that deer had made a heavenly feast of my gardens while I was away or that Bindweed had taken over the rock and sun gardens like Kudzu Vine on a North Carolina hillside. It was more likely that things would be slightly overgrown and in need of a good deadheading.

But when you are away from your gardens for a week (a garden trip to New York City!) you never quite know what surprises await you.

Before I could reach the top of the stairs to the gardens I was peering to the left in anticipation. Ah, nice—all was well. The gardens and the deer had behaved themselves while I was away. Not one plant had given up the ghost in protest of my absence; the deer had not nibbled the just-about-ready-to-bloom hosta flowers and the Bindweed was remarkably feeble looking.

Wednesday nights are bike races at the park. Bicyclists race around the circle loop at ridiculous speeds, while chatting and laughing I might add! The streets are full of cars and access to the park is a bit limited which meant after a wonderful, yet sensory overload trip to the Big Apple, I had a very quiet night at the gardens to myself.