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

      Showing posts with label fall. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label fall. Show all posts

      Friday, October 24, 2014


      The tourists flock to New Hampshire, where I now live, to admire fall color.
      They bump along this gravel road.
      Every pond reflects a story.
      Sometimes the reflection is more interesting than the original.
      But back in the city, the colors aren't shabby either,
      and the Boat Pond in Central Park reflects its own glory.
      The Great Lawn attracts lovers in every season.
      Climb to the top of Belvedere Castle in Central Park to admire the views.
      or admire the Bow Bridge. Every bit as good as New Hampshire.

      Monday, July 8, 2013


      Gardeners are generous people. We're delighted to share divisions of favorite perennials or seedlings we've grown too many of. Eudora Welty honored the custom of pass-along plants in her famous novel, Delta Wedding
      I used to host a day on my farm every spring called 'Plant Swap in the Barn', where customers where invited to bring five divisions in pots, (no mints please) and a covered dish for lunch. Everyone went home happy with precious new choices.
      Now gardening in NYC I'm thrilled to be on the receiving end but I'm finding it harder to find the space to cram in the gifts I get.
      Above, irises from Ellen Zachos, about five years old, planted with a rose 'Harison's Yellow'.
      This rose was itself a gift from rose expert Stephen Scanniello, President of the Heritage Rose Society. When I got this, it was but a cutting in a four inch pot.
      When Anne Kugel heard that I was looking for Montauk daisies, she promptly dug and divided some from her own NYC terrace containers, and gave me three clumps. Their bright white flowers are one of the last to burst into bloom in my fall garden.
      Last summer Linda Yang schlepped a huge mound of northern sea oats to my door. I managed to
      stuff it in an already full container. It's preparing to bloom right now and by fall should look like this...
      What gifts!!!

      Thursday, November 17, 2011


      Again, The High Line. Endlessly fascinating in every season. Join me on a trip to a hidden spot smack in the middle of Manhattan. See it before the third section, the Spur over the Hudson rail yards, is rehabbed.

      to view full screen, click on arrow, then on cluster of four tears, near bottom right of video.To hear my glorious narration, make sure your sound is ON.

      AFTER, on the second section, between 20th and 30th sts.

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      shedding evergreens

      It's that time of year again.

      Please don't panic.

      Instead, take a deep breath, put on a long sleeved shirt, a pair of gloves, and get ready to dive into your mugo pine, topiary chamaecyparis, or arborvitae.

      I'm going to let you in on a little secret: just because they're called evergreens doesn't mean ALL their leaves stay EVERgreen. It's normal for evergreens to lose about 1/3 of their leaves every year, and most of the browning and shedding happens in the fall. Clients who don't expect this tend to panic, and react with cries of "My _____ is dying!"

      But it isn't.

      It just needs a seasonal cleanup. Which requires no fancy tools and just the smallest amount of specialized knowledge. Ready? Once you've reached both hands inside the evergreen, move them around lightly and quickly in a rubbing/fluffing motion. Work from the top down and the inside out, moving around the entire shrub or tree. Occasionally you'll run into some stubborn brown needles, reluctant to give up their position on a branch. A quick snip of the pruners shows the recalcitrant evergreen who's in charge.

      A little trim and the restoration of youthful color...it's a hair appointment for your shrubbery.

      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.

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      Autumn in New York

      Technically, Other Ellen may be right, but today didn't feel like the end of anything. With temperatures in the 60's, I worked up a sweat deadheading roses, removing spent daylily foliage, and sweeping up autumn leaves. A glorious and colorful day in several vibrant gardens:

      Thursday, October 21, 2010

      THE END

      By late October the end is near for blooms in my garden. The last two perennials to peak are aster (Aster laevis 'Bluebird') above and Montauk daisies (Nipponanthemum nipponicum) below. When I bought the asters mail-order from Bluestone Perennials this spring, the size of the plants fooled me into thinking I'd have flowers when my 7 year-old granddaughter graduated from high school. Wrong once again. Plants grown and shipped in pots less than 2.5" turned into this by October, despite the root competition.
      (Double click on any image to enlarge.)
      Annual black-eyed Susan vines (Thunbergia alata) still wiggle their way among the asters, daisies and wisteria but soon will be blackened by frost.Even Some Roses
      The rose 'Home Run' sent to me by Proven Winners is proving to bloom more prolifically late in the season than it's parent 'Knock Out' but has no better aroma or taste.
      The Winter to Come
      Mine is a three season garden, as the 18th story roof in winter attracts only smokers out for a few quick puffs, no doubt discarding their butts on the pavers. I have zero interest in rewarding them with some special winter show-off. They'll have to content themselves with bare branches, a few evergreens and my favorite skyline view.

      Tell me what's starring in your garden right now?

      Monday, October 11, 2010


      By the end of September, my central feature was looking bedraggled and in need of a color punch to ride out the season. I bought a few pumpkins and prepared to 'plant' them in the empty spaces. Invariably when I work on the roof garden, whatever kids are playing there offer to help. I use this time for surreptitious garden teaching. While I wire some miniatures to dangle from the chair back, these twins find the perfect way to display some others.image © B.B. Platt
      I was inspired by the pumpkin house in the annual display at the Dallas Arboretum but thought I didn't need a complete structure because buildings surround our roof. In the Dallas Arburetum just by lining a path, they acheive a magical transformation of an annual garden.Back in the city, I make another still life of pumpkins, sunflower seed heads and stuff, inspired by the black-leafed Loropetalum I brought home from a conference. I know it won't winter over in this Zone, so why not have fun with it? In this garden, I don't expect small hands to re-do my masterpiece.image © Alan & Linda Detrick, all rights reserved

      The New York City Mayor shouldn't have to worry about the pumpkins in front of his home, with the security cameras focused on them and police presence as well.
      See pumpkin fun at the New York Botanical Garden and the Queens Botanical Garden.

      Sunday, November 22, 2009

      Happy Thanksgiving

      This afternoon I finished putting the last of my clients' gardens to bed for the season. It finally feels like November in NYC; I hurried to beat the rain that never came.

      Everyone is neatly cut back, well mulched, decked out with evergreen boughs and in some instances berries and gourds.

      Perhaps it was the knowledge that my season is done that made me wax sentimental (and sigh with relief), but as I walked home through the park I saw foliage colors and juxtapositions of needles and leaves that put my work to shame.

      It's all around us. At least till the first winter wind blows it away.

      Happy Thanksgiving, city gardeners.

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