Sunday, December 22, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
We will probably never know whether or not this Celosia Spicata was growing in the gardens of Sunnyside when Washington Irving wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but I like the thought of having that type of connection. While studying the Hudson River School and Early American Literature we took a field trip up the Hudson and stopped at Sunnyside. It was the end of the season and most of the garden had gone to seed. We collected a few dead heads and this is one of them. It turned out to be fantastic in the summer heat and was one of the last blossoms in October. They lasted for 4-6 weeks until a storm snapped the stalks.
Monday, September 2, 2013
say that plants will show up in your garden or property for a reason. They come to find you when you need them. So there I was walking in the Conservatory Gardens in Central Park when I found these interesting-looking seed pods in a pile of brush. I took a few home to plant. They grew vigorously and by August were up to 9 feet tall. Although they looked like a hibiscus, I didn’t know what they were so posted photos online and discovered the name, Abelmoschus manihot. It turns out that this plant is widely used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and relates directly to my own health issues. WOW, they were meant for me! They were initially classified in the hibiscus family, but are now considered in the Malva family. The blossoms reach up to 10” across, and bloom only for one day. They catch the light beautifully and remind me that each day is filled with it’s own excitement.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
WOW the sunflowers were just amazing this year. They are such reliable, quick growers it is nice to watch their progress daily. This year they grew to 15 feet tall. I had two varieties – one was Mexican, and the other was something sunny. They looked stunning against the dark metal wall of the stairwell. And the blossoms lasted for several days and attracted a lot of bees.
Monday, July 15, 2013
The Rose of Sharon is like a reliable and steady friend blooming throughout most of the summer and into the fall. Although the flowers only last a day, they are a constant source of color and beauty. These medium sized shrubs do well in containers and bloom when the garden is used the most - mid-summer. This makes them a great choice for the rooftop.
I started using the blossoms as a point of focus during my morning Tai Chi exercise and noticed that bees get drunk on the pollen and fall down inside. What a way to start the day, drunk on flower nectar.
Friday, July 5, 2013
It’s always so exiting to come up to the roof in the Spring and see what survived and what needs to be replaced. The winter wasn’t too harsh and most things survived. We lost our tall grasses, an echinacea, and some coreopsis.
Some of the perennials are three years old now and coming into their own. The Honeysuckle still doesn't grow like it does down on the High Line, but we had some lovely blooms early in the season. The Wisteria bloomed for the first time this year, which was awesome! We have had it for three years now. They say that a vine has to be 7 years old or more before it will bloom, so I am glad that we got blossoms after three. In the mid-summer the leaves were looking wilted and shriveled on the edges. This turned out to be a virus they can get from aphids. According to the internet, we could lose the whole plant. So I cut back all the branches that looked infected and it grew forth quite vigorously. I am sometimes impatient with both of these vines. I envision them twining around the water tower blooming profusely throughout the summer, but so far, they don’t grow that much in one season. Despite the fact that I see honeysuckle growing along train tracks in harsh conditions, mine succumbs to the heat of the roof and powdery mildew by mid-July and I spend a lot of time tending the diseased areas. I still love them both and hope they survive this winter.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Our Co-op building has been creating a rooftop garden for the past 4 years. We are located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a 10-story, 100 year old pre-war building. This garden has become a tranquil respite from the crazy pace of New York City, and has created a peaceful sense of community for all who use it. It has been a labor of love for those of us who make it happen. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find dirt on the Upper West Side, not to mention large planters and garden hoses. But the effort becomes worthwhile during those balmy summer evenings when the sunset clouds are reflecting off the skyscrapers and you can lean back and feel a breeze off the river while catching a few stars in Orion's belt.