Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Legend and Lore

June 30, 2010

Friends, I guess today is about as late as the June installment of the Toonmoose blog can be, and still be the June blog! This is a function of so much taking place in the garden this time of the year. Routine maintenance and weeding could easily consume most days, but I have also found time for special chores, like scraping, sealing and repainting the cast iron urn that is the jewel in the crown of the potager. I try to make time each day, (three times a day?) to see what “new” is happening in the garden. The gladioli are at their peak now, though I treasure those moments when I am in the garden with no agenda or goal other than to experience it fully, with all of my senses. Recently, I have also had occasion to ponder the role that certain elements of Nature have played, either in ones personal history, or in a broader cultural sense. Let me be more specific;
A couple of days ago, after hours of simmering, humid weather, we experienced a torrential thunderstorm that over the course of an hour, pelted us with nearly an inch of rain, even as the sun shone through the clouds. As I stood watching the contradictory effects of rainfall and sunlight, I was immediately transported back to my childhood in Prospect Village, (Trenton, New Jersey). There, the accepted knowledge among us pre-school kids, was that “if it rains while the sun is shining, that means the devil is beating his wife.” We accepted this information as readily as we did the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Santa living at the North Pole. I don’t know who first put forth this idea, but more than once, I recall stretching out on the warm, wet sidewalk, the better to place my ear to the ground while I listened for Mrs. Satan’s wails, like a neighbors wife on a drunken Friday night. Yes friends, Nature is a powerful mnemonic device!
Which reminds me, Last year, I returned to Trenton, to join my family in celebrating Easter at our church, Cadwalader-Asbury United Methodist, on Styvesant Avenue. Reverend Medley’s sermon was full of the hope and promise that radiates from all Christian pulpits on this day. Still, after an early start to the day and a long drive, it wasn’t long before ones thoughts turned to food, since the music and repast are the highlights of the day. Now, it is a given that on these occasions, the ride home from church will be punctuated by a stop at some shop - 7 Eleven or Halo Farms – for some last minute dinner ingredient. Wanting to be helpful, I offered to take my sister Roslynn for the ride, to lay in iced tea and fruit juice. Now, bear in mind, Roslynn had not long returned from an extended period living in North Carolina, during which, she picked up a distinct Southern drawl and more than a little of the “folkways” of Hamlet, NC, our mothers home town. As Hamlet is a rural community, (in addition to being the hometown of jazz great, John Coltrane and a host of professional ball players,) I took advantage of our ride together to tell Roz about what vegetables I hoped to grow in the garden that year, including “Crimson Spineless,” Red Okra. Roslynn, like me, grew up a city-girl, (another Toonmoose?) and like me two years before, didn’t realize there was such a thing as red Okra. Nonetheless, she proceeded to give me instructions, learned in Hamlet, on how to grow Okra. “Now Ehh-vritt,” she drawled, “you know you got to spank your okra,” she stated with great conviction. Startled at the notion, I shifted my gaze sideways from the road to Roslynn, just for a moment, to confirm what I had heard. “Spank my Okra,” I repeated, disbelievingly. “Yes, chile, you got to spank it, if you want it to grow right,” she insisted. “O.K.,” I thought, lifting my eyes to the heavens, “now I’ve heard it all.” Then, she went on, “As it begins to develop its’ leaves, you get a switch, and spank the leaves, not hard enough to tear them, but just enough to startle them, as if you were spanking a small child’s hands to keep it from touching a hot stove.” I cringed behind the wheel, at this advocacy of what was clearly child abuse. “Really, Ehh-vritt” she went on, “ you got to do this if you want a good crop,” she assured me. We were at Halo Farms by then, and turned our attention to Iced Tea. Still, the idea of spanking ones okra had planted itself, like a broken off splinter just beneath the surface of the skin.
Well, as my okra seeds grew, I decided to test Roslynn’s theorem. In my experiment, half of the plants, I spanked with a slender bamboo switch, being careful to “stimulate” but not tear, their leaves. The other half of the plants I left unmolested. Both groups of plants grew with the same watering, light and soil. Well friends, as unscientific as it sounds, I am here to verify that this technique worked! The plants that were “spanked” produced almost twice the amount of okra pods as those that were not spanked. I can think of no other explanation for the dramatic difference in their output. How it ever occurred to anyone to spank their okra plants in the first place, I can’t imagine, and yet, the results were clear. At the risk of sounding like a tout for garden bondage and S&M, I say stake and cage your tomatoes, and by all means, spank your okra!!!
So, there is all of this to consider, and I haven’t even mentioned my new commission, to rehabilitate the gardens of The Winter-White House, a historic residence in Brooklyn, NY., or the new miracle of the bees! Stay “Tooned,” and keep gardening!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Old Friends and New

Over the few weeks from April through May, a tremendous transformation takes place here in zone six. A barren landscape, of leafless branches, is remade by Natures’ unseen hand into a lush green habitat. The icy silence of winter gives way to a cacophony of birdsong as woodpeckers and robins, sparrows and wrens, titmouse and cardinals set up housekeeping amid the new growth. We have reached that point in the growing year when each day heralds the appearance of something new in the garden. One experiences the joy of greeting “old friends,” established perennials making return appearances, as well as the chance to become acquainted with “new friends,” “ingĂ©nues” on the gardening stage that one is introducing to ones garden for the first time.
At Penrose bungalow, the “old friends” include stalwarts like Lilac, “Syringa Vulgaris,” and peony, Festiva Maxima, poised to open their blossoms in time for Memorial Day. There is a thicket of Irises, short, tall and bearded. A variety of Lily’s have broken the surface of the ground. Poppies, including Papaver Somniferum “Drama Queen,” are returning to beguile me with their saturated color and silken petals. Monarda, Jacob Kline is back, thicker and more robust than ever, a favorite of the bees. Then, there is Echinacea and lavender, Leucanthemum superbum “Becky,” and Geranium “Johnsons Blue,” among others, all of these appearing right on cue to fulfill their roles of supplying color, texture, beauty and fragrance and even sustenance. This “resurgence” extends to the potager, where the “Fish”peppers that over-wintered in the basement “limonaia,” have finally been brought back outside, and the Rhubarb has sent us scampering for our recipe books.
In the “new friends” category, there is excitement in both the flower and vegetable beds. Thanks to a generous free seed program from , for the first time we have heirloom Italian Kale “Lacinato,” Snow peas, “Oregon Giant,” and lettuce “Sea of Red” sprouting in the potager. In fulfillment of one of last season’s resolutions, “J” has introduced Kniphofia “Red-Hot Poker” to draw ones eye to the far end of the north flower-bed, as well as a profusion of gladiola bulbs. I cannot forget that growing up, Mother disparaged these as “funeral flowers,” prejudiced I suspect, by their use at her father Lemuel’s burial services more than sixty years ago. Today, I am optimistic that they will provide rich color and tall growth in the back of the mixed border, free of any unpleasant associations.
I had almost given up on the idea of starting plants from seed indoors this year, preferring to wait until it was warm enough to “direct sow” seeds into the ground. One plant however, changed my plans, and I am glad that it did. Do you recall when and where you first encountered a plant that you just “had to have” for your garden? I experienced just such a sensation last year, when, for the first time, I encountered Leonotis Leonurus, or “Lion’s Ear.” This was in the border at Morven, the ancestral home of the Stockton Family in Princeton, New Jersey, and for a time, the residence of New Jersey’s governors. This plant, a native of South Africa, had such presence and such a striking growth habit, with tall, erect stems supporting whorls of orange blossoms, that I risked being pricked by the nearby rose thorns in order to read the tag explaining what it was. Then, a few weeks later, I again encountered Leonotis, this time in the flowerbeds of Temple University ‘s Ambler Campus, outside of Philadelphia, where it was grown to appeal to bees and other pollinators. Yet, no garden center I visited offered it for sale. What was I to do? Thanks to the miracle of the internet, and Google, I was able to locate a company in Apple Valley, Minnesota, that offered Leonotis Leonurus seeds for sale. It took some weeks before the seeds arrived, and then, in the depths of a snowy winter, I doubted that I would ever see anything green growing again.
Then, as April came on, and the profusion of daffodils gave me reassurance that Spring would prevail, I decided to give germinating the Leonotis Leonurus seeds indoors a try. They, along with seeds of Tomatillos (Toma Verde and Heirloom Purple), (thanks again Renee’s garden!) were placed in sterile seed starting mix, “moistened but not wet,” under close-sitting florescent bulbs. The tomatillos germinated so quickly, in less than forty-eight hours, that I became doubly hopeful that the Leonotis would quickly pop from their tiny seeds, as well. But, I had no such luck. A week went by, with me hovering over the tray, making sure that the moisture level and the lighting remained constant. Eight days, then nine went by with no indication of life. By day twelve, I had just about given up hope that anything ever would come of these tiny seeds, that could have been grains of sand for all I knew. Then, on day thirteen, something happened. The morning started as usual, with nothing to report. But, In the afternoon, when I flopped down on the floor to peep into the seed-starting tray, I immediately noticed a “bump” in the soil of one of the “nine-packs” containing the seeds, and, there was just a hint of the pale green that is the color of botanical “life” poking above the soil. SUCCESS!!! The next day, another seedling emerged, then another and another, so that so far, eight Leonotis Leonurus are growing, slowly but surely. According to information on the web, these plants can reach six to ten feet tall, and with care, they may even survive the winter. We will see. Meantime, I predict that these plants are poised for much greater popularity.

It is plenty exciting when plants emerge where one has intended them to grow. Yet, Nature often does her own arranging, placing volunteers in locations of her own choosing. The question is, “how does one respond?” Does one relocate these unintended plants to a more “appropriate” location, or leave them to thrive where Nature has placed them? I asked myself this question, weeks ago, at the first sign of Acquilegia leaves emerging from the crack where the back steps meet the garden walk. An attempt to move the tender new growth would probably have killed it, prompting me to leave it where it was. Now, it has matured and developed a cluster of the most beautiful pink flowers, Natures’ own bouquet, that greets one coming and going. I could not have planned anything so perfect.
Keep gardening!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring is Popping!!! (copyright Everett H. Scott, 2010)

POP, pop, pop!!!!
(April Toonmoose Blog) April 7, 2010

“Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!!!!!” Hear that? It is the sound of Spring, erupting in a torrent of blossoms, in response to the spectacular warm weather we here in the Northeast are enjoying. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the appearance of the Spring Ephemerals like Sanguanaria Canadensis, (Bloodroot), Tussilago Farfara, (Colts Foot), and Erythronium Americanum (Trout Lily).
Today, we have reached 92 degrees with no humidity and clear skies. The daffodils are going full tilt, their trumpets raised to the sun. In the course of an afternoon, the peach and cherry trees have formed clouds of pink, silky petals tremulant in the slightest breeze.
In the potager, the peas, snow peas, kale and spinach seeds have germinated and are leaping out of the ground. What a difference a few weeks have made!? When last I wrote, there was still snow, mounded up in the corners of parking lots. Now, it is mounds of green, as in the tendrils and leaflets of seedlings and, (unfortunately), weeds, that are covering the Earth. Who could fail to feel rejuvenated by all of this botanical activity?
One sad discovery this Spring, was the loss of my bees over the winter. Whether they succumbed to the harsh weather or some illness, I cannot say, though I will report this information to the Apiary Inspectors of America and the USDA-ARS Beltsville Research Laboratory, who are doing their best to keep track of these developments. It is my hope to replace the bees by the end of the month. I already miss their presence, buzzing about in the garden. In the interim, wasps, bumblebees and butterflies, Nature’s volunteers, form the vanguard of this seasons pollinators. The exciting news is that I also made the discovery, as of some abandoned treasure, of honey, in each of the two hives, making for my first honey harvest! How thrilling!?! Truly, it is the best honey I have ever tasted, invigorating to the palette. It is exciting to eat something so absolutely pure, in that it has come to me just as Nature made it. In fact, I got not one, but TWO honeys, since although the hives sit quite close to one another, the honey in the hive on the left is distinctly more amber in color, with a unique flavor profile, while the honey of the hive on the right is visibly more golden in color, and has yet another flavor profile. I could swear that the amber colored honey displays hints of citrus, though there are no citrus groves to be found near us, here in zone 6. Both honeys have a beguiling floral aroma, compressed from the millions of blossoms it required to produce the pounds of honey the bees made. Still, it seems clear that each hive found different foraging grounds – information they did not share with their neighbors. I am more committed than ever to including pollinators, particularly honeybees, as a vital part of this, or any garden. When I presented my neighbor Scott with a jar of honey, he declared that he had a better tomato crop than ever last year, an improvement he attributed to the bees. I think of it as a privilege to host these marvelous creatures.
Although it is early in the season, already I can see certain patterns emerging that bode well for a productive gardening year. “J,” outfitted in his “holey kneed” gardening jeans excels at weeding and preparing the beds with applications of manure and wood ash (nitrogen). Then, I come along with my interpretation of a Navajo “gish,” or planting stick - in this case, a multi-branched length of syringa vulgaris (Lilac) to make furrows and plant seeds, creating my own “planting prayers” as I go. If you would like a Navajo planting song to get you inspired, here is one you can try. Happy gardening!

Song in the Garden of the House of God (from the Navajo corn-planting ritual)

Truly in the east

The white bean

And the great corn plant

Are tied with the white lightning.

Listen! rain approaches!

The voice of the bluebird is heard.

Truly in the east

The white bean

And the great squash

Are tied with the rainbow.

Listen! rain approaches!

The voice of the bluebird is heard.
From the top of the great corn-plant the water gurgles, I hear it;

Around the roots the water foams, I hear it;

Around the roots of the plants it foams, I hear it;

From their tops the water foams, I hear it.
The corn grows up. The waters of the dark clouds drop, drop.

The rain descends. The waters from the corn leaves drop, drop.

The rain descends. The waters from the plants drop, drop.

The corn grows up. The waters of the dark mists drop, drop.
Shall I cull this fruit of the great corn-plant?

Shall you break it? Shall I break it?

Shall I break it? Shall you break it?

Shall I? Shall you?
Shall I cull this fruit of the great squash vine?

Shall you pick it up? Shall I pick it up?

Shall I pick it up? Shall you pick it up?

Shall I? Shall you?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Chomping at the bit!"

Patience, my gardening friends, patience!
I share every gardener’s restiveness, bordering on frustration, at not being able to get into the dirt this time of year. What, with the record breaking snowstorms this winter, it has been a long time since many of us in the Northeast have even seen the ground, let alone been able to work it! When the snow does finally melt, there are likely to be floods and boggy conditions that will further delay getting to work in the soil.
Still, take heart! There are subtle signs that that Chimera, “Spring,” may be real after all. Take the actual amount of sunlight we are getting. It wasn’t so many weeks ago that as early as 3:30 PM, a certain darkening began to creep over the earth. Now, it is nearly 6:00PM before the sun slips beneath the horizon. It is a little brighter, a little longer, every day.
In New York, a reliable sign of the approach of Spring is the appearance in local markets of daffodil, hyacinths, tulips and crocuses, either potted or in cut bunches. Of course, these are flown in from somewhere, or forced in some hot house, but no matter. Just the sight of them warms my heart, without regard for their origin. These flowers are the majorettes of the botanical world, heralding the parade of blossoms that is getting under way. Once one sees them, one knows it is only a matter of time before they are pushing their way out of the ground, locally.
Another sign of Spring, was the sight of pigeons on West End Avenue, gathering twigs for a new nest. Surely their internal clocks are on schedule?
But, for those of you who crave chlorophyll and color, now, without the bother (or expense) of flying south, here are two excellent ways to satisfy your “green” desires. From now till April 11, visit the New York Botanical Garden where they are presenting The Orchid Show: Cuba in Flower. There is just one more week, until March 7, to catch the famed Philadelphia Flower Show. This year’s theme is “Passport to the World.”
Keep gardening!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rally for the Bees!!!

February 6th, 2010

Gardening Friends,

From my vantage here in the Northeast, as well as for a large swath of the South, this morning, the idea of “Spring” may seem far off. Yet, despite the arctic weather conditions we are experiencing, take heart! Warmer, brighter days are coming, sooner than one might imagine! If you haven’t done so already, get your seed orders in soon, so you will be ready!
Meanwhile, other, related activities are underway, that will contribute to a sort of “infrastructure” for the coming gardening season. On Wednesday, February 3, 2010, I had the honor of addressing the New York City Board of Health, speaking on behalf of proposal 161, approval of which will overturn the current ban on honey beekeeping in New York City. Here is the text of my speech:

To the New York City Department of Health, re: Legalizing beekeeping:

I would like to begin by thanking Councilman Yassky and the Board of the New York City Department of Health for giving me the opportunity to speak for the record in support of Article 161, legalizing honey bee-keeping in New York City.
Who can say what it is that first attracts one to honey bees? Is it the subtle complexity of their honey, the sweetest natural substance known to humans? Or, is it the social organization of their hives, ruled over by a queen who devotes herself to laying generations of bee eggs? Whatever it may be, the more one learns about Apis Melifera, the honeybee, more one wants to learn. The more one craves to know.
Today, around the globe, and across the United States, people are increasingly aware of the benefits and necessity of living in closer harmony with the natural world. Likewise, I believe that New York, the embodiment of a modern, urban metropolis, wants to do all it can to nurture a greener, more healthful environment for the millions of families who call it home. I come before you today, as a resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, who for more than twenty-five years wanted to keep bees, but because of the existing ban on bee-keeping, could not. I can think of few measures the City can take, that would be easier to enact, yet do so much to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers, as lifting the existing ban on honey beekeeping in New York.
Man’s relationship with the honeybee, represents the oldest sustained collaboration between humans and the animal kingdom. That relationship got a big boost 200 years ago this year, with the birth of Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, whose innovation of the “movable frame” hive, in the 1850’s made beekeeping possible for both home and commercial apiarists. That is why the 200th anniversary of Langstroth’s birth this year is an event being celebrated around the world!
There are other reasons to honor the bees. It is well established that bees play an invaluable roll in the production of our food crops. It is because of the pollinating that bees do, that many of the foods we enjoy are available when we go to the market. We are often reminded of the benefits of eating locally grown foods, although for we New Yorkers, virtually all of the foods we eat are imported from well beyond the city limits. Meantime, for reasons we don’t entirely understand, in recent years, honeybee numbers have declined, putting our food supply at risk. People everywhere need to do all they can to promote a healthy bee population.
There are many examples of successful bee keeping in urban environments. In England, the London Beekeeping Association boasts over 2,000 members. In Paris, the city sponsors a bee keeping school at the Luxembourg Gardens, an idea that New York might well adapt for local use. Perhaps some day, each of New York’s parks will have community hives and “Bee Rangers,” examples of the green jobs and economy we hope to develop. And let us not overlook Mrs. Obama’s White House apiary, which this year produced a bumper crop of organic honey.
I also come to you today as someone who, for two years, has had the challenges and satisfactions of keeping honeybees – legally – in nearby Pennsylvania. I can testify firsthand to the unexpected lessons learned, as well as to the complex sweetness of wild, natural honey. No wonder, in ancient times, honey was considered the food of the gods! All of this, and it is shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of allergic symptoms as well! The demand for bees wax, a valuable substance in its own right, far outweighs the supply. But more than just the value of the commodities it produces, honeybee keeping, licensed and monitored, offers many intangible benefits. I have observed how honey beekeeping is a catalyst for community building, bringing together a diverse group of people united by their fascination for the bees. For apartment bound New Yorkers, who may not have access to the country, urban beekeeping offers a wonderful way to engage in a dynamic relationship with Nature, that is part science education, part art, and part spiritual quest. The individuals and families who share this passion take their cues from the hive, sharing experiences and making the world a little sweeter in the process.

Copyright 2010 Everett H. Scott

I am thrilled to report that the speech was very well received, (followed by enthusiastic applause), and led to my meeting the president of, a honeybee advocacy group in New York City. It was exciting to connect with the local “hive” of people who share my enthusiasm for the honeybees and appreciate how essential they are for pollinating a healthy eco-system. Stay “Tooned” to learn if the proposal to legalize honeybee keeping is approved.
Take note! Another sign that Spring is on the march, is the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count, from February 12th through 15th.
One of our ongoing projects involves restoring/preserving the cast iron urn that, in season, sits at the center of the potager. For decades, the urn has been painted over, so that now, after countless layers of paint, the details of the casting are harder to discern. So far, we are using sandpaper and steel wool to reveal the designs underneath. At times, it seems even brushing with a wire brush won’t be enough to get through the many strata of oil paint. Chemical strippers, while effective, are messy, caustic and require special handling to dispose of properly. Our ultimate goal is too paint it white – again. “Toon” in to watch our progress.
Keep gardening!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy New GARDENING Year!!!

So, gardening friends, I'm baaack!! I admit, I got a little sidetracked, what with the holidays and being in town. In December, I satisfied my "green" urges by reading The Intelligence of Flowers, by nobel prize-winning author (1911) Maurice Maeterlinke, who wrote a compelling and intriguing analysis of why and how flowers do what they do; decorating a 7½ foot Frasier Fir, (which demonstrated remarkable needle retention) and keeping the plants in the basement “Limonaia,” well watered. I am happy to report that, so far, the Fish, Jabanero and Peruvian Purple pepper plants that I am overwintering are doing well. Now, surrounded by my favorite seed catalogues, I am ready to get down to the serious business of ordering seeds and planning for the coming growing season. Some plants are always on my growing list - Fish Peppers, Bloomsdale Spinach, Red Cored Chantenay Carrots, and Detroit Dark Red Beets - though I also try to grow something new each year. This year, it will be Kale, Nero Di Toscana. In any event, one of the most fun challenges of gardening is deciding just what plants one will attempt to grow. Some plants, say, tomatoes, might seem to be a given, but, choosing which varieties of tomatoes to grow can be hard work. (Best to plant a selection, with different traits, sizes and ripening times if you can). This decision-making is one of the factors that forms the mysterious “successful gardening” equation, which includes (but is not limited to) a. what your plot of land - or windowsill - can support, b. any given seasons' weather conditions and whether Priapus, the ancient Roman god of Horticulture decides to protect your plants from marauding rabbits!
Actually, before ordering new seed, I have taken stock of viable seed left over from last years garden. A good thing, too, as I found an ample supply of Spring Peas, (Progress # 9, a favorite and one of the first things I plant, on St. Patricks day, March 17th.) There is also a supply of seeds of Bush Beans, "Blue Lake" and "Triumphe de Farcy," Lettuce "Burgundy Red" Mix, and both White and Red varieties of Okra. Then too, friends from Europe, brought me flower and vegetable seeds, knowing how these rarer strains will appeal to me. Those packets include, Papaver commutatum (Ladybird), Raphanus sativus L. (Munchner Bier), and Aster Alpinus (Hellblau), one red, one white and one blue!
A very interesting plant that I became aware of just this past growing season is Leonitus Leonurus, or Lions Tail. It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, and native to South Africa. Still, in zone 6, it makes a handsome specimen for the rear of a mixed bed, where its tall growth (3 to 4 feet) and unusual orange flowers, arranged whorl-like around erect vertical stems will be sure to attract attention. I will be very pleased if I can germinate some of its seed.
Of course, some things will do better than others. It is by experimenting that we learn what plants and vegetables our gardens can support. Bottom line, support your local nurseries and plant people who are experienced and stock plants and seeds that will succeed where you live. Wish me luck, as I do all of you who take to the soil to beautify the world and participate in feeding yourselves. Write and let me know what you plan to grow this year.
Other news of interest to gardeners, includes a National Honeybee Bicentennial Event, on January 21, 2010, in Mount Airy, PA. Sponsored by the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, The Montco Beepkeepers and the Chester County Beekeepers Association, everyone is invited to start celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, (born December 25, 1810), inventor of the modern bee hive. His creation makes possible the pollination of over a third of the crops we eat! Go to,, or for more information and directions.
Also, those of you, who, like myself, love a water feature, should be sure to check out the Jan. 11th edition of the New Yorker Magazine, for the article by John Seabrook on fountains designed by WET, (Water Entertainment Technologies) whose principal designer, Mark Fuller, was in charge of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas as well as the redesign of the fountain on the plaza at Lincoln Center in New York.
Finally, let us tip our gardening hats to Dave Murbach who passed away on December 23rd, 2009, of heart disease, at age 57. Mr. Murbach bore the responsibility and distinction of maintaining the gardens of Rockefeller Center, the quintessential urban landscape design, and was especially noted for choosing their famous Christmas tree, a process that he devoted himself to 365 days a year.
Keep gardening!!!