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

      Showing posts with label poppies. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label poppies. Show all posts

      Friday, June 10, 2011


      (above, one pack of bachelor button 'Blue Boy' sown in 2006)
      Here in NYC of course we recycle paper, plastic, metal, the usual stuff: garbage to the compost, good clothing to one of the many worthy thrift shops, books to the library for their sale. But the ultimate form of recycling happens on my roof top with little help from me.
      Annuals that I've started from seed, resow themselves for the following year: Among the herbs, new dill, cilantro, calendula, viola and bronze fennel will sometimes emerge even in the same growing season. The flowers are well represented by bachelor buttons from the mother plants at top that show up here, and here
      and here.as do portulaca, California poppies, spider plant (Cleome), and cosmos. I got a particular thrill this year when, in the space occupied by the only hydrangea that died over the winter, emerged a plethora of cosmos seedlings, enough to dig a few and plant in other in other bare spots around the garden. I've had second and third generations of larkspur and love-in a mist (Nigella damascene) as well.
      Perennials also blow their seeds around the garden. Clematis found a home in the pot of black bamboo and in spring climb so rampantly that they cover the bamboo. Goldenrod, and blackeyed Susans are not weeds to me as they move from pot to pot on the wings of a slight breeze. I'm actually thrilled when I spy something in a new location and try to plot the path of the wind. I love to see seedlings pop up between pavers though I suspect it may not be the best for the roof membrane.This year I'm coddling two tiny seedlings that might be scions of my coral bark Japanese maple. (above) If they prove to be so, I'll buy new big containers and settle them in for a lifetime above 3rd. Avenue.
      The Dilemma
      Deadheading usually spurs the growth of both annuals and perennials. It's a task I thoroughly enjoy, the kind of mindless garden activity that's both productive and relaxing. My new spectacular lupines come with the instructions to cut off spent flower stems before the seedpods form. But if I do, they won't be able to seed themselves, as lupine are prone to do. Bigger, stronger mother plant, or potential babies? That is the question.

      Sunday, March 22, 2009

      City by the Bay

      Warning! This post is NOT from the Big Apple.

      I'm in California speaking at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, and I've spent lots of time on the streets, checking out urban horticulture in the City by the Bay. I'm sure I look like a child, marveling through my camera lens at the most casual street plantings. But the plant palette is so different here (San Fran is Zone 9), I just can't help myself.

      Which would you rather see by the subway tracks: rats or poppies? It's a tough choice, I know, especially for a New Yorker, but I'm going to say poppies.

      And check out the woody trunk on this prickly pear! This is a street tree that LOOKS tough enough for New York City, although I doubt it would withstand our freezing winter temperatures. True, there are perennial Opuntia (prickly pears) hardy to NYC, but I'm pretty sure this isn't one of them.

      Jasmine growing up a tree in the middle of the Mission district.

      Tibouchina in front of a nursing home.

      And in bloom right now, all over the Bay Area is Ceanothus (aka California lilac). Blooms are generally shades of blue and purple (there's also a white variety) and bees love 'em. The fragrance resembles that of Heliotrope, i.e. intoxicatingly delicious. Sadly, most of them aren't hardy for us back in NYC, although a few less blue, less beautiful relatives are listed for zone 6. It's a new shrub for me and I hate to say goodbye. Anyone know a blue Ceanothus for zone 6?

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