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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Thursday, May 23, 2013


      In this year of impatiens blight, gardeners are finding other annuals for summer color. Have I gone too far? In the four treewells in front of my building I planted New Guinea impatiens which are not affected by the downy mildew. They're big, bold, more expensive than the stricken Impatiens walleriana. The shocking fuchsia color drew me in. But wait, I already have purple and orange pansies there, planted to augment red tulips and yellow daffodils now long gone.
      And I also bought coral/pink rieger begonias because I liked them. What a hodge-podge.

      Three species, four colors. The green of the ripening bulb foliage separates them a little and gives the eye a respite from my impudence. What will happen when the foliage dies off and the pansies wilt in summer heat?  For once I'm not trying to control every detail and I love the accidental outcome.
      Notice the top middle of this picture. The streets department has sprayed instructions in orange paint by the curb. How kind of of them to augment my raucous color scheme.

      Thursday, May 16, 2013


      This weeping cut-leaf Japanese maple has resided happily on my roof garden for five years. For the first time it's leafing only in some spots.
      It used to look like this...
      Now many spots are bare, some grey, dead-looking branches, some tantalizingly reddish.
       I'm sure it's because someone turned off the master water supply to the drip irrigation system last summer and I noticed it only when this tree started to shed leaves. I know I'll get grief from some building residents who think a tree is the same as a sofa; if it looks messy, throw it out.
      Any ideas on what to do for the tree ????? HELP!!!!

      Thursday, May 9, 2013


      If you live, work or drive on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, you already have a love/hate relationship with the 2nd Ave. Subway. Groundbreaking for the project started six years ago; the completion date keeps moving back, as residents and businesses contend with noise, dirt, dislocation and customers who stay away in droves.
      As we walked down Second last Sat. morning taking the torturous path around construction walls, I was charmed by this sight.
      Firenze, making the best of a bad situation, is growing a garden on the chain-link construction fence, just on the other side of the sidewalk in front of their restaurant. The entrance itself is flanked by larger, showy containers of annuals.
      The next evening found me at a table for two enjoying a delightful chicken with artichokes in saffron sauce with impeccably fresh vegetables while my BFF devoured a pasta special. Reasonable prices, attentive service, interesting menu choices, noise level that actually allows you to hold a conversation, charming atmosphere, all are worthy of a second visit. I went originally because of the flowers, but will return for the food. 1594 2nd Ave between 82nd & 83rd.
      All praise to Manuel Caisaguano, the owner of Firenze who designed and planted this urban garden.
      But note that between my first view on Sat. morning (three pictures avove this) and my visit the following eve, the top row of plants were changed from dwarf conifers to more annuals. I'll have to solve this mystery.

      Thursday, May 2, 2013


      No better way to spend a perfect spring day than in Central Park with a camera, a fine photo instructor and an enthusiastic class mate. We started at the Tavern-on-the-Green, now under total restoration but scheduled to reopen as a restaurant fall, '13, and meandered North and East from there, stopping at whatever trees caught our attention.
      When I shoot in NYC I love to incorporate urban and pastoral elements.
      This maple in flower sparkled, but the Leafsnap ap on my Iphone couldn't decide whether it was a Norway, silver or Japanese maple among other options. Some help!
       Early morning, sundown and overcast days may give you the best colors with fewers reflections, but sometimes life happens in midday sunshine.
      A close-up is one way to avoid glare. This bark image will surely emerge in one of my collages.
      We couldn't decide whether this specimen was late in leafing or dead. And yes, the sky was really that color.
      The duck cooperated by swimming right into the reflection of the small crabapple.
      Instructor Rich P. has Central Park birds well trained for his students to capture.
      Outdoors at the Boathouse Cafe, with a table to act as my tripod, these spring colors.
      Crabapples everywhere as I walk home schlepping camera gear. Forsythia is fading, magnolias have shed their petals, next up for bloom, crape myrtle.
      To learn more about the photo classes offered by Rich Pomerantz, visit...

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