NYC Rooftop Gardner big photo

NYC Rooftop Gardner big photo
September, 2013

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wondering about Wisteria

I wish I knew why I got so excited and heart-filled-to-bursting whenever I see Wisteria blossoms hanging down from arbors in the spring.  Perhaps it dates back to my earliest Wisteria memory.  I had recently learned how to ride a two-wheel bike and had earned the privilege of riding alone beyond the safety of our block.  It was springtime and I ran home from school and got on that red bike.  I pedaled all around the somewhat hilly neighborhood called “Wooded Estates” that bordered our flat street.  It was dusk and I was trying to remember the way home when I came to a double dip hill.  Before I knew it, I was speeding straight into a patch of sand and the bike spun out of control.  I hit the pavement with shock, indignity and a skinned knee.  I pulled my bike out of the road and sat down to collect myself.  Big girls don’t cry.  There, right next to me was a beautiful stand of wisteria along a fence.  I had never seen anything like it, and the fragrance pulled me out of my panic-stricken pain mode into a world of wonder.  I just sat on the grass smelling that almost grape-like-lavender smell and feeling the cool freshness of the blossoms.  AAH, the healing power of Wisteria.  Plant Medicine.  Her spirit was working on me and I didn’t even know it.  Soon the owner came out and asked me if I was OK, and by then I really was OK and recovered enough to get back on the bike and go home.  From then on I changed my route walking home from school so that I could pass by and smell the Wisteria.  It became something I looked forward to every Spring.


I bought this wisteria vine at the farmer’s market 4 summer’s ago - locally grown, 3-4 years old. I didn’t know much about wisteria and assumed it would grow and bloom profusely since that’s the impression I’ve had when I admire it in public gardens. Our roof has tall railings and beams around the water tower that would look nice covered in purple blossoms. I had no clue that this would be a long-term realization, as it is still not very tall.
Last year it bloomed for the first time with 8 clusters. Then it became infested with aphids and caught a virus that made the leaves mottled and wilty. I read online that this can’t be treated and the plant would likely die.  In a panic, I cut it way back – all the unsightly areas got snipped off and it recovered. The winter was so harsh but I wrapped the pot in foam packaging and this spring it has about 20 blossoms. WOW. The fragrance is divine. And the mullein fills up the bottom of the pot beautifully like a gentle soothing anchor. I love Mullein for it’s medicinal properties, clearing the lungs, lubricating joints and moisturizing our internal organs.  Perhaps the Mullein helped the Wisteria heal from it’s virus.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seedling Identification


I am determined to learn how to identify seedlings so that I don’t get my hopes up over something that turns out to be a weed.  We’ve had some great plants arrive on the wind or from birds, but also a lot of weeds.  This will be my official weed identification page for future reference.


If anyone here knows… please comment.

P1060931  P1060932  P1060938  P1060939

#1 - I had zinnia’s in this box last year but these don’t look                    #2 No clue what these might be. Came on the wind I think.
like zinnias.  I suspect this could be fleabane….



P1060933  P1060934  P1060936  P1060937

Tall Yellow Coneflower                 Mexican Hat Coneflower              Probably Celosia Spicata            Pretty sure this is Gallardia


P1070063  P1050972  P1070056  P1070154

Salvia                                        Euphorbia (snow on the mountain, self seeded)     Ailanthus tree from seed (3 leaves)



P1070068  P1070126  P1070131  P1070076

These are all morning glory seeds that sow themselves.  I love the way their leaves unfold.


P1070240  P1070243  P1070244  P1070245

Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranth that grows long red tendrils)                  Shoo Fly                              Mystery plant (tobacco?)


P1050981  P1070249  P1070252  P1070290

Elderberry in April, and now with buds coming soon.                Tobacco or Elecampane?        Petunia (left) and Tobacco (right)


P1070262  P1070266  P1070270  P1070250

These are Convolvus Ensign or dwarf morning glory.  In late April I soaked the seeds and they did not come up. These are mid-May.



  P1060935  P1060444  P1060446  P1060448

Datura --came on the wind              Virginia Cup flower                  Feverfew (re-seeded itself)       Groundcover – Henbit blew in on wind


P1060445  P1060450  Mullein  P1050965

seeds planted in March                 Yarrow                                       Mullein                                      Sedum


P1050968  P1060011  P1060016  P1060003

Tansy                                           Elderberry                                  Mint                                          Gingko (from seed)


P1060035  P1050985  P1050990  P1050993  P1050999

There is nothing more hopeful that buds coming out of a twig or branch.