At Wave Hill garden I happened to take this photo of two gardeners at work- a perfect image to illustrate a post about the sidebar links to "Other Gardeners". They are of course links to two great blog directories- the first being Garden Voices - a great selection of posts from an interesting list of Gardening Blogs and the second being the Garden Blog Directory of Cold Climate Gardening- one of my favorite gardening blogs. Gardeners I've also found, are such nice people always ready to lend a hand, and this was no different with Caren of A Gardening Year and Karen of Cold Climate Gardening who were kind enough to include me in their directories mentioned above- so this a thank you to them for bringing many new visitors to this site and also for their kind and encouraging words.
I happen to know that the gardener on the right is John Emmanuel- the Assistant Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill. I know this because I picked up a copy of the Wave Hill News and there was a story and photo of him inside. I learnt that he was to retire at the end of 2007 and as an interesting layer to this post about other gardeners, on his very first visit to Wave Hill as a young man, he met by chance T.H.Everett founder of the New York Botanical Garden School of Horticulture, taking photographs in the Wild Garden- who advised him that he could make a good living as a gardener.
And in a really good way- the kind that you can only sort of plan on happening by putting certain juxtapositions of plants together and then nature does its own hocus pocus and you get a magical arrangement of color and texture that's just spellbinding in its balance and coordination. I love the dark Wiegela leaves, the long stems and fluttery petals of the Japanese Anenomes and the jade tint of the Sedum leaves. The flowers of the Bronze Fennel add a sharp citric accent. I can't wait to see what the Sedum flowers are going to do to this picture next week when they mature and turn a rosy pink.
I went to the Wave Hill gardens today and coincidentally I noticed that their Japanese Anenomes are paired with a darker wine colored sedum. The gardens of course had their fair share of magical combinations- I love the the colors of the red Penstemon and maroon leaved Perilla combined with the lime green Nicotiana or the texture of these grasses framing a colorful assortment in their Wild Garden.
My first real score of the season- a bowl of cherries, almost, and thats cherry tomatoes with plenty still on the vine. I'm never completely sure about cherry tomatoes- I love how they look but I don't know if I prefer a big slice as opposed to the flavor pop of them whole. Strangely I don't like them cut either- it sort of loses the point. While waiting for the train back to New York I snacked on a couple and it seemed almost the perfect thing to do with them. Nevertheless they are my first bounty and I want to eat them fairly simply with just oil and vinegar perhaps but maybe not that simply so I decide on a little maceration. I learnt to macerate a little chopped shallots in balsamic vinegar to spark up a dressing a while ago, thanks to Alice Waters and I decided to use the basil blossoms that I trimmed off along with some sliced garlic to do the same with my olive oil. That was yesterday. Today I had half of them for lunch with some Pita bread-perfection-the basil flowers gave the oil a little extra pungency that worked really well.
Finally after an unavoidable three week abstention I made it up to Mamaroneck. A lot happens in three weeks so I have of course lots of things to show and tell but I have to start with the Judges Hostas. Remember my photo of them back in May- yards of cool green pristine foliage. As you can see they are now in full flower or should I say almost past- the blossoms show signs of wear and the leaves are tattered and lacy their edges singed. In the weeks previous there was a small nagging thought that I might miss them- which I don't like to do. I like to see them every year- these white flowers in August-planted by the original owner of the house-the Judge- hence their moniker.
He planted them because they flowered in August -his wife's birthday- and there's a lot them so it makes for quite a show. This knowledge, that they were planted specialy for her, is probably why they are left intact - allowed to perform their yearly greeting. I am touched every year to see this gardener's sentimental gesture, appreciated and honored beyond his lifetime.
More herbs were added to join the lonely Thai Basil. An Italian Basil, a Greek Oregano and a Spearmint. And there's more to come -yesterday I got a peppermint, an Italian parsley and a Lemon Verbena- I'm all set. These are herbs I actually use - apart from the Lemon Verbena but I just like the smell of that. I've grown rosemary and thyme and marjoram here before - but they don't really feature in anything I make regularly. The peppermint's specially for Eti- it's good for digestion. That and oregano, fresh ginger and garlic are good to add to his food now and then. Its particularly nice to look at the fresh green leaves against a backdrop of NYC brick and fire escapes especially on a gray rainy afernoon.
The strange weather we're having here deterred me from going up to Mamaroneck this week so all gardening efforts were home based. First of all the picture above is the geranium that is thriving at the dining room window- the leaves do additional color duty when the afternoon sun turns them into all kinds of limey shades, perfectly complementing the magenta flowers. I would love to have the Geraniums in this window end up looking like these- in the kitchen window of a house in Provincetown. My first kitchen window plant of the season - a couple of different thai basils. Over at the studio window where I originally thought I might be doing something vaguely mediterranean has perhaps been sidetracked by this East Indian Lemongrass. I like how much the arching blades of grass look against the window grid that I might rethink this. In fact the first thought I had was perhaps adding one of these and going sort of South East Asian courtyard.
Its a busy time for me at the moment, work wise and I've not been up to Mamaroneck for a couple of weeks. So no gardening updates to report . I did however remember that I took some photographs at the Provincetown Museum of Art of a gardening themed exhibiton they had. I was delighted to see the watercolor detailed above of Rhododendrons by Constance Black. A couple of years ago I had taken a series of watercolor classes at the Provincetown Museum School. The artist teaching that summer school session- Constance Black. I do intend to work on some botanical themed pieces soon to feature on this site so this is a memo to myself to get going on that. Tomorrow I go to the Union Square market to see what I can find to do a last mintute planting of my kitchen window garden (its never to late for herbs right?) and on Thurs I'll go up to Mamaroneck to see if there are tomatoes to be had.
What a sorry sight this is. Proof of a window garden that didn't happen this summer. Most of these pots were used to grow herbs outside my Kitchen window on the fire escape. Didn't happen this year- never got round to it. But that's going to change, late as it is I intend to do something about this. The pots are all lined up in a new piece of gardening real estate that just opened up in my apartment. The front facing window. This window is usually filled with a huge air conditioning unit which I decided to try this summer in the window on the other side of the apartment. Works just fine over there too - so I now have an open window sill that gets a lot of sunlight in the day. All those pots are nicely aged, some with interesting shapes and markings that I got from a store in Chinatown and this is what I'm imagining they will be filled with- succulents. Maybe some gray leaved herbs mixed in with lots of granite/stone mulch- sort of a mediterranean desert or beach. Stay tuned.