A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Straw Hats at NYBG

This seems to be my month for field trips. Today I made a flying visit to the New York Botanical Gardens with "M" and "A". We've noticed that everywhere we go we always seem to see ladies from the Red Hat Society. We decided that gardeners need a similar group so we have formed the "Straw Hat Society" for gardeners. The only requirement for membership is that you must be a gardener. We elected "M" as the Head Hatter (or Madhatter, as we affectionately call her) since she always leads the tours. The Straw Hat Society made its debut today. Unfortunately we were in such a rush to see as much as possible in a short time that we didn't have time to have a picture taken of our inaugural event.

There is a special display of glass sculpture by the artist Dale Chihuly in the conservatory and a few pieces outdoors in the gardens. We didn't have time to tour the conservatory today. Here are some of the outdoor pieces:

Rose Crystal Tower

The Sun

Rose Garden Fiori

The sculptures are incredibly beautiful but I felt that they were out of place in a naturalistic setting. Our first stop was the Home Gardening Center which contains display gardens of plant trials, fragrant plants, a cutting garden and a veggie garden, to name just a few.

The Trial Garden

This is the Fragrance Garden. I love the little gazebo.

This is rosemary!

The Cutting Garden from the outside.

The Cutting Garden inside

The Vegetable Garden is planted in raised beds. There is even a bed raised high enough to be comfortably used by a gardener in a wheelchair (not pictured).

Care to guess why this was my favorite garden? It's called the "Country Garden". It is a series of pools and streams planted with shade-loving plants.

Straw Hat Sighting!! Straw Hat Sighting!! Straw Hat Sighting!!

I was trying to get a photo of these reeds. If you enlarge it, you can see the Head Hatter on the right checking out the compost demo.

This was a lovely walk planted with annuals. Further along were these containers:

The Perennial Gardens were breathtaking. . .

There are a surprising number of trees considering this garden is in New York City. Here are two that caught my eye. The first is a pear tree. The fruit is about the size of my thumb.

The hotly debated topic among the Straw Hatters was, since this is New York City, would there be a partidge in the pear tree or a pigeon in the pear tree?

Don't you love the trunk(s) on this conifer? Unfortunately, the ID tag didn't come out well so I can't tell you what it is.

We hopped the tram to the Family Garden which has ethnic and children's gardens. Can you spot the caterpillar?

The Korean Garden even had a Korean Gardener!

The photo doesn't do her justice. She was extraordinarily kind to us. We were each given a gorgeous leek from this bed.

In another bed, there was rice growing in water-filled containers.

A whimsical raised bed

I loved these containers

This seemingly chaotic scene is actually veggie beds planted by children. Each bed is labelled with the child's name.

I'm considering a hyacinth bean tepee for my garden next year. Don't you just love it?

Just a friendly reminder!

Our last stop was the rose garden. It was HUGE!

Straw Hat Sighting!! Straw Hat Sighting!! Straw Hat Sighting!!

It wasn't easy prying OldRoses away from the roses!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Weirdness Chronicles 2006 Chapter Seven

I am new to hostas. All I really know about them boils down to two simple facts. They grow well in the shade and they bloom either in July or August. So far, so good. When I purchased the above hosta at the end of June and planted it on the Fourth of July, it was blooming. Not surprising. What is surprising is when I went out today, I noticed it was sending up another flower stalk.

Do hostas bloom twice a year?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Longwood in August (last)

Having already seen the herb beds at Davidson Mill Pond Park and Rutgers Gardens, I was eager to see them at Longwood Gardens. I loved this little knot garden. Unfortunately, I didn't make note of the plants.
The herb beds themselves use the same scheme as Rutgers Gardens. The herbs are grouped by use: culinary, medical, industrial and scent. There are four corresponding beds arranged around the little square.

It seems that I only took photos of three of them and in only one did I capture the identifying signage. That just means that I'll have to go back! There is a lovely little rose garden next to the herbs. The roses were past their prime but the container plantings were magnificent.

Each corner of the square has a container like this:

Aren't these water plants wonderful?

My favorite was the succulent containers. Don't you just love the pots?

Who knew peppers could be so attractive?

The vegetable garden is the largest I have ever seen. This is half of it:

What are they feeding these tomato plants that they got so big?

They practice companion planting. Beautiful as well as effective.

The sunflower house in the children's garden is an actual "house".

The signage in the children's garden is appropriate for all ages.

Then it was on to the display gardens where we could get ideas for our own plots in the display gardens at Rutgers Gardens.

Again, I was fascinated by the unique combinations of plants.

A trial garden . . .

In the butterfly and hummingbird garden I saw my first monarch caterpillars. I've never seen them in person before.
I loved these lilies.

This was definitely the most interesting fountain I saw. It has a sign on it saying that the water is drinkable. I'm not sure that I would want to.

It is situated at the entrance of another rose garden whose roses were also past their prime.

Beyond that was the entrance to the Topiary Garden.

The topiary are trimmed every July and August.

And a final piece of sculpture as I bid goodbye to Longwood Gardens:

I know I will be returning someday soon.