Wordless Wednesday

Visits to the park never disappoint; even when the gardens begin to close up for the season. A well designed garden space has interest year round.


Orchids of the Krohn Conservatory

I have shared photos from Krohn many times on this blog. The conservatory is so close I can jog there and back so it is not surprising that I find myself there, camera in hand, quite often.  This week I visited as part of a different project I am undertaking; exploring Ohio with the Blue Blazes as my guide. Krohn is very close to the southern most terminus of the Buckeye Trail- marked by blue blazes.


The Beauty of the Fall Garden

Sometimes it is hard to get excited about a garden that is no longer in bloom, especially if one is a new gardener or garden visitor. Fortunately, as we develop our garden skills we learn that there is an abundance of plants that lend beauty to the garden every season.

The adopt-a-plot gardens, in Ault Park where I garden, are pretty much closed for the season. I know for my garden plots I must add more winter interest. It is simply unacceptable to have so much garden space at this most popular park lacking fall and winter interest. Garden space is too valuable to allow large areas to become garden voids for five months of the year.

The Old Rose Garden, designed and maintained by the park, is still stunning. While many of the plants have been cut back as needed, the plants that remain provide structure, movement and lovely colors.

The fall garden, at least here in the Midwest, asks more from us. We will not be entertained with large blooms, expanses of vibrant colors weaving around a garden or the flutter of butterflies dancing about the plants we so carefully selected just for them.

The fall garden asks us to redefine what makes a garden beautiful. Instead of deep reds, we are presented with copper and bronze. Seed pods, some already absent the seeds they nurtured within, are our new flowers and grasses, trees with interesting bark take center stage.


The High Line, New York City

The plan was to spend an entire day exploring the High Line and the neighborhoods through which it passed. I pictured a day taking far too many photos, stopping at far too many delis, pubs and corner bakeries and enjoying New York City with the High Line as my guide.

Unfortunately, the weather promised to be quite foul the day I had saved for the High Line. So in the morning I took the train to Wave Hill and the afternoon and early evening, I spent with the High Line.

If one were ever to doubt the power of a garden or green space, you only need to spend the afternoon with the High Line to understand the need for such places. The energy in New York is palpable. The energy is fast, exciting, throngs of people, and a constant hum of go-go-go permeates the streets. But there are places where the energy shifts to rejuvenating, energizing and relaxing all at once. The High Line is such a place.
All gardens, the High Line included, are great equalizers. When you are in a garden space you are no longer a executive, model, writer, student, retired teacher or homeless man. You are simply a person, a human being, enjoying time with nature and the company of others. We all have the same paths to walk, benches to rest our weary bodies on, views of the city and sky above and sun on our shoulders. In a garden we are one.

Vibrant blue sky is a striking backdrop for the the High Line. A raised rail track given a second life with grasses, perennials and small tress softens the hard edges of  the city.


Tis' the season, already??

Two weeks ago my Christmas Cactus decided to cut loose and start blooming. I think it heard me griping about the ads on television for Christmas, or the new PC term, 'Holiday' sales, before we have even had a chance to enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey. I would  like to think the little plant was saying, Hey, it's not that bad, look I am blooming, Christmas will be here in a flash!

The truth is, the cactus is as lost in time as I have been lately. I was shocked to see Thanksgiving is next week- YIKES!  Where does the time go? Luckily I have two more Christmas Cactus plants in the house so there is a chance we will have blooms or Christmas.


Ferns Save the Day in the Shade

Every garden as a few plants that pull the garden together when the days grow shorter and the nights grow cold. Sometimes it is a dwarf conifer, or perhaps a handsome stand of grasses that add movement and grace in the fall and winter garden. For my shade  garden, this time of year it is the ferns and stately Oakleaf hydrangea that are saving the day.

Ferns are one of my favorite plants and each year I add a few more to my tiny garden. I will admit that in the late spring and summer the beautiful broad leaves of the hostas and the majestic leaves of Rodgersia capture my attention and the seemingly endless colors offered by new heuchera introductions make my eyes widen with delight, and let's not forget the beauty of the toad lily. 

But it is on days like this when the hostas are all but gone, the beautiful blooms of the toad lily just dried flowers with a tint of purple and the Rodgersia has already crumbled and fallen to the garden floor that I am quite happy to see the ferns, dark green, standing tall against the backdrop of the oakleaf.


A Few Bright Spots Remain

The rock garden is definitely closing up for the season. The yellow blooms of the lantana are now brown and the soil and rock are taking center stage; pushing the plants to the side. There were a few areas of color and little groupings to make me smile and remember how lovely the garden was not so long ago.

I was absent from the gardens for a while. I knew they were closing down and part of me simply didn't want to face that it was the end of the season. As I suspected, the remaining annuals were dry and brown, the hostas had yellowed and were starting to drop and the huge lantanas that dominated the sun garden and bloomed all summer without fail were now just faded blooms and dried leaves.
The first order of business for the sun garden is winter interest. With the plants pulled and perennials cut back it is simply a sad garden patch with a few accent stones. Spring calls for some grasses to add fall and winter interest and perhaps two or three dwarf shrubs. I want the birds to have a place to sit in safety and coverage for the lizards that scamper about the park. The butterfly bushes are on the 'cut' list. I simply am not in love with them; they are straggly, and dull. Next year I will investigate the newer, more compact varieties to add color, structure and nectar for the butterflies.