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

      Showing posts with label aronia. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label aronia. Show all posts

      Friday, January 10, 2014


       Mid-November, flowers on my 18th floor roof garden are fading away, and I want to capture the scene in a New York City garden collage.
      When Other Ellen sees the finished piece she asks about the view of the twin towers in lavender on the left. Straight out of my unconscious mind, totally unplanned, but now I can see nothing else.
      To start, I pick a few last blooms before Thanksgiving and bury them in the same silica sand I've used as a desiccant for 25 years. Clusters of hydrangea 'Endless Summer', marigolds I raised from seed on my windowsill, blooms and buds of the rose 'Knock Out' will be covered by an inch of the silica for about a week.

       On a piece of black foam core, cut to fit an old frame painted black, I lay out some pressed flowers and leaves, photos of plants in the garden, and papers with a lavender design.
      I want the elements to burst out of the frame and not be constrained by it. I move stuff around and try another version, with the image of 'New Dawn' roses at the top of the frame and some cut hydrangea pics at the bottom left.
      I add photos crumpled with glue for a 3D effect, then start looking for berries in the garden.
      Clusters of dark blue Virginia creeper berries, rose hips, and red Choke cherries will dry in the arid air of my apartment.
      Below, a detail showing dried rose hips, choke cherries and marigold  petals.


      Tuesday, November 8, 2011


      Other Ellen's post last week reminds me of the value of berried plants in the fall landscape in NYC. In our winter enthusiasm to get immediate color in spring, we often give short shrift to fall interest.
      Here are 5 shrubs with berry interest, planted with fall and winter in mind. Above, chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) in container on my roof garden, and below, a few clusters of the berries 'pruned' for decoration indoors. Firethorn (Pyracantha) has small white uninteresting flowers in spring but shines in autumn and throughout the winter. In small spaces, prune it as an espaliered tree in a container against a wall. Below, it appears in a built-in planter in front of a NYC townhouse.
      Fall flowers/spring berries, a reverse of the usual plan.
      Above, Oregon grape-holly at the Central park Zoo last Dec. 31. The flowers are followed by blue-black berries in spring, below. Note to Other Ellen: I've read that the berries are edible. True? have you tried them?If you have a larger garden, smooth sumac berries are a fall mainstay, and last all winter.
      I've always coveted a Beauty Berry (Callicarpa dichotoma) for the surprising color of its fruit. Maybe 2012.

      Monday, April 19, 2010


      It's 7am on my newly replanted rooftop. The chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is in full flower, promising a huge berry crop for fall. The dwarf lilac
      'Bloomerang' is at peak
      and will continue to
      bloom throughout the
      summer if I'm
      assiduous about dead-
      heading, a task I love.
      All is serene.

      But there's a snake in the Garden of Eden, a 150 foot garden hose, long enough to reach the far edges of the garden. It's just waiting for me to water in the transplants. I'm thinking of how I'll saw up the black bamboo and plant it in two containers, what I'll use to fertilize the roses, what variety of Monarda to order. I trip on the hose. I teeter and crash into the sharp edge of the new planter.Barely able to move without stabbing pain I finally go to my doctor, an avid gardener. He finds tears in the cartilage connecting my ribs to my sternum. We agree on the diagnosis, 'Garden Klutz'. He says he'll find the code in his directory of medical diseases so he can bill my insurance for the x-ray. He doesn't yet know if there is a sub-code reserved solely for New York City Garden Klutzes, but he rather thinks there is.

      I've been called by many epithets, of course: ' herb lady', ' garden lady', 'wreath lady', 'lavender queen', and while still a psychologist, ' trouble maker' for whistle-blowing on the County Mental Health Administrator who was derelict in his duties.

      I think 'Garden Klutz' has a certain ring to it. Daughter Jen says she once followed the Abbot & Costello routine and actually stepped on a rake and was hit on the head by the handle.
      Have you ever been a Garden Klutz? Tell me please.

      There's no picture of the actual accident. The image below is after the fall. Those planter edges look totally innocent don't they?

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