Do not Wither, Do not Fade, Do not grow old, implores Queen Elizabeth of the young nobleman Orlando, in Virginia Woolf's novel named after him. This is a notion that is at odds with the current moment as all around us things are doing exactly that. The season is currently delivering its annual reminder that things in fact wither and fade. And then I watched an Oprah episode which was all about the Blue Zones, pockets of civilisation with disproportionately higher numbers of older and very healthy people. Clips were shown of ninety something year olds whacking weeds, trimming shrubs, picking fruit. Wait a minute, I see a pattern here. Yes indeed, eating Pecorino in Sardinia and hand grinding your corn in Costa Rica were all coupled with gardening as part of the list of things that keeps these blue zoners perpetually healthy. Gardeners it seems have a better chance of remaining evergreen.

Still Holding

The Oak outside my window is going through its denial phase in a fight to hang on to its last remaining leaves. Like quite a few trees in the city, this one doesn't really do fall too well, its skips the fiery color phase that I enjoy with it's suburban cousins. Instead it goes from green to leathery brown and then dried shriveled up-ness. Most of the leaf 'fall' really being ripped from the branches by inclement weather. Here it almost seems as if a clasped budded hand might be about to offer a couple of leaves finally in surrender, but not quite yet.

Aqua Vitae

The window ledge in my bathroom has become a sort of glass and water garden. It began with a couple of succulent cuttings from an Indoor Gardening Society meeting. I never potted them, just left them in the glass container, refilling the water whenever it went down. Then a begonia bought on a whim from K Mart turned spectacularly ugly a couple of months ago. I salvaged the best part and it joined the succulents. The amazing thing is that they have lived for months like this. The Begonia has even flowered. I've since added random trimmings, there's taller stalks of Geranium and Purpleheart that you can't see in the vase on the far left. On the far right some recent clippings from the Cuban Oregano which I like to pinch evey now and then to release its lovely fragrance.

Autumn Gingko

I love the showy season of the autumn gingko every year. Leaves announcing its start fall just outside my apartment building. It's golden color contrasts sharply against the drab brick. It's pretty much done now, clinging on to just a few bright yellow leaves but the others in the courtyard are still going through their different phases, further down there's one that still has a little green. At night the courtyard lights showcase their arching branches and their golden display.

I saw a kid jumping onto the fallen fruit, popping them like bubblewrap and noticed a Chinese couple foraging for them in Central Park. "What do you do with them?" I asked the man. He was pressing the fruit removing some of the pulp. "We cook, with it, but it smells strong" he said. I peered into the lady's trolley bag full of fruit. This morning there was a Gingko leaf just outside my apartment door, having hitched a ride up with a neighbor. My dog sniffed it and I appreciated its single iconic shape against the dark slate floor.

The Road to Winter

Things are actually looking a litte worse than this photo from a few days ago. Wind and rain have begun to strip the trees. The path in the garden courtyard of my apartment building is awash with the yellow goop of soggy gingko leaves and the stench of the last of its fruit. A host of things keep me in the city and have made the last few opportunites for gardening up in Mamaroneck to disappear and now there's really no good reason to make the trip for a while. So my sights now turn to rethinking my indoor plants as they will be my only source of 'gardening'. I expect the indoor gardening society meets will be hopping at this time of year, I know I'm looking forward to the next one. And then there's all these botanical/gardening art projects that have been started and stalled, and all the new ones that I have seeds of ideas for. The road to winter in my case leads to the garden indoors.

More Pink and Purple too

The pink leaves here were probably flaming red and have now leached to this rich pink. They are a measure of the season, we are at the tail end of fall now. Some trees are barely clinging on to the last few of their leaves. But how about the smoky purple cast to those branches and the assortment of olive colors behind. The image on the left is just downright complex. I love the range and subtlety of all those color hues and those purple leaves just anchors the whole palette.

Pink Berries

I'm a big fan of pink in the gaudy autumn palette so I when I came across these pink berries at the NYBG I made sure to take a note of the plant. Its a Viburnum Nudum 'Earhshade'. The berries aren't just pink, they blush through white and some blue but the deepest pink ones catch your eye and the foliage is very attractive too. A little googling tells me there are other viburnums with similar pink berries, Count Pulaski, Winterthur and Pink Beauty.

+ Occasional Oasis:Fall Meadow

Down by the Water

Down by the water things are blurred, abstracted, distorted. The images are from a variety of places Central Park, New York Botanical and Mamaroneck but they all share the same sense of being counterpointed, clear shapes against ripples and blurs, organic lines against rhythmic ones. Something happens when you get close to the water and it changes in an instant.

Porch Chintz

I really love this chintz fabric that Heidi chose for their newly winterized porch. The word chintz usually conjures up stuffy images of traditional front rooms, but this one has a completely different feel. It has the traditional floral motifs, in this case roses and fuschias but printed on this coarse woven linen fabric in these warm aged colors transforms it. Then, using it to upholster a retro cane banquette gives it even more of a twist, modern and almost tropical.

A Bluer Rose

The rose is probably the most pertinent garden related symbol for this moment as the country is poised to make a choice of historic proportions. It is this nation's national floral emblem and coincidentally, its first president George Washington, also the country's first Rose breeder. The image above is actually named after a famous Illinois senator who became President, Mr Lincoln, except I tweaked the image and made this red rose a lot bluer. Lets see how things turn out for that other senator from Illinois tomorrow. A rose named after him should certainly also be a lot bluer.

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