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

      Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label trees. 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.

      Friday, August 23, 2013


      Join me on Sunday Oct. 6 from 10-1:30 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where I'll be teaching a collage workshop titled 'Branching Out'.
      The class description reads as follows:
      Whether you choose to create a forest, a copse, or a single tree, each student will make a collage to take home. Found natural materials like bark, twigs, pressed leaves, and specialty papers and photos will allow for individual expression. The starting point for your collage could be abstract or realistic: a tree of life, a favorite tree you climbed as a child, or a collection of trees here at the Garden.

      To learn details about registering, go to https://classes.bbg.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=13FAEARTBOC

      The collage at the top is made of two images of tree bark, crape myrtle @ the BBG and allspice (Pimenta dioica) @ the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, plus bark peeled from a river birch on my roof, white birch from VT, and sycamore bark from a street tree on E. 80th St., NYC. It's 9" x 9"on paper.

      This collage will be exhibited next month at the Alaska Pacific University's ConocoPhillips Gallery, Anchorage in a drawing show with a botanical theme. I can hear the multitudes roar, YOU CALL THIS A DRAWING? Well, turns out that artists have a lot of leeway, so yes, the writing on the bark qualifies.

      Tuesday, August 13, 2013


      The Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are in bloom all over New York City, just when most flowering trees and shrubs have lost their color and green foliage abounds. (above, the Conservatory Garden and below near the Boat House, both in Central Park)...
       by the side of the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, masquerading as a lilac...
      and welcoming us to the New Leaf Cafe, Fort Tryon Park, Upper Manhattan.
      I started my gardening life in Zones 5 and 6 and considered Crape myrtles as plants only for Southern Climes;now realize I must have one, two or three for 'my' NYC rooftop.
      Flowers range in color from white to red, pink, coral, purple and all shades in between. 

      I've just seen pictures of a potentially interesting new introduction with 'black' leaves, 'Black Diamond' t.m.. growing only 10-12 feet tall and 8' wide for smaller garden spaces. This cultivar is being introduced in five flower color choices. Hope to see it live at the Garden Writers symposium in Quebec starting this week.
      Crape myrtles look great in winter as well as summer, with incredably smooth but exfoliating bark, seen here in two specimen trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
      My last Crape myrtle sighting, just yesterday, on a terrace at the Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle, and me on the 31st floor of a nearby building caught without my telephoto lens. Look carefully for a splash of pink in the terrace garden.

      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 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...

      Monday, September 10, 2012


      Regular readers may remember that last fall, the city contractor finally (18 month delay) planted a new pin oak in front of my building, almost doubling the size of the planting pit.
      The tree languished with a full compliment of brown leaves until May, when in desperation, it finally made up it's mind to leaf out, as it's three old companions had done six weeks previously.
      Building residents were getting restless, would accost me on sidewalk or elevators asking me if the new tree had died. I advised patience, and to support my optimism, planted caladium bulbs in my roasting pan on a south-facing window.

      Notice that the pan is foil-lined and obviously has no drainage holes, but I was VERY careful not to over-water. When the outdoor soil had fully warmed in late May I planted a dozen caladium 'Kathleen', surrounding each tree trunk, just before the block association guys put in the coleus.
      It now looks like this.
      The caladium are barely visible, the plantings have a true tropical feel and there were enough coleus to dig a few last week, leaving no bare spots. I  put the mature coleus in two new planters until next spring when I do the official planting.

      Thursday, June 7, 2012


      I've been picking a crop of lettuce that self-seeded when I failed to rip out the tired plants July 2011. The lettuce went to seed, germinated and produced small leaves by Sept., then wintered over. It's a special treat to have free salads now.
      A River Birch has just turned its fall color, beautiful in October, but in June. One of my hydrangeas was also crying out "LN, LN". Investigation showed that the tap to the automatic drip system had been shut off by person or persons unknown. The tap now has full body armor and the birch has started to drop all of it's leaves. I'm hoping it will re-leaf to get it through the rest of the summer.
      One of my three Montauk daisies, usually the last perennial to bloom in my garden each October, is bursting into full bloom. It probably thinks that the pathetic season we went through in January and February was spring. After it finishes blooming I'll cut it back and hope for re-bloom in fall. Something strange is also happening in my boxes of annuals. Yes I knew my Calabrachoa had over-wintered for the first time in history, but now strange leaves are appearing both here and in the base of the flowering plum trees. My best guess is that a stealth gardener has planted pumpkin seeds. I'll leave them alone to see what happens.

      Monday, May 21, 2012


      What could they be?
      Rings of pink puff balls 'round a neighborhood tree.
      Doorman says they grew after pruning.
      Could be from multiple trunk wounding?
      Never saw such a sight in my life.
      Moral: think twice before you go under the knife.

      Thursday, April 12, 2012


      Then. ( 2/25/08) Remember what snow looked like back in the day?
      Now, or at least last Sunday in the Conservatory Garden, Central Park.
      (Click on any photo to enlarge)

      The two allees of flowering crab apple trees at peak bloom.
      As a girl, this is what I thought Fairyland looked like.Tired of crabapples in bloom? Admire the bulb display. Next fall I must order 300 grape hyacinth to startle the larger bulbs in my tree wells .
      Head north to the Harlem Meer, and see who's sunning themselves...and

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