Saturday, October 17, 2015

The last garden bouquet of the 2015 growing season,…….

     October 17, 2015

     If the temperature plunges below 30 degrees tonight, as forecast, this will be the last fresh bouquet of the 2015 growing season. It was fun while it lasted. Time to plan for next year.  It is composed of:

Japanese Anemones (Andria Atkins)
Coreopsis (Moonbeam)
Gomphrey (Fireworks)
Leonotus Leonurus
Verbena Bonariensis

Photograph copyright Everett H. Scott 2015. All rights reserved. This image may not be reproduced without express written persission of the photographer. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Appreciating the Autumn Garden

     The honking of Canadian Geese, winging their way southward, draws one’s gaze overhead. The geese are joined by Great Blue Herons, gliding above the treetops.

     The leaves have begun to fall. Where they still cling to the branches, they are changing color from lush green to shades of rust, gold red and orange. Nearer the ground, feral bees work the dwindling supply of blossoms, seeing that no grains of pollen escape their baskets.
     The same flowers that once enchanted us with their pastel color and soft petals, have transformed into dried brown seed-heads; a botanical interpretation of sea urchins, held aloft on wiry stems. Entire flocks of migrating birds – Goldfinches, and “confusing Fall Warblers” – alight in the garden to partake of the free buffet. There is a seed shaped to accommodate every beak shape and size.
     In the potager, Cherry tomatoes continue to form and ripen, as though unaware that their season has passed. The last of the (Bartlett) pears has been harvested and shared with appreciative friends.  The Collard Greens, Brussels Sprouts and other brassicas are flourishing in the cooler weather, and will extend our edible harvest into November, at least.
     That same cooler weather alerts us to the need to find space indoors for the tender, potted sub-tropicals whose sojourn in the open air is coming to an end – for this year. “The ferns’ swan-song is the mosses reveille,” as a poet once said. 

All text and photographs copyright Everett H. Scott, 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this blog or any of its contents may be reproduced without express written permission of the author or his designated representative. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I am missing the garden something awful!

     I am missing the garden something awful! For weeks now, it has been necessary for me to be here in the city, without a break, and even though I am blessed to live on a park and have spectacular river views, I miss being in the garden that I have helped to create. Just before coming into town, I was working on a blog entry that was to have been all about the importance of “ditzing about” in the garden, with no agenda other than to absorb its atmosphere. This was motivated by a comment I received from another gardener in reaction to a photograph I posted of tea being served in the garden. As a gardener, in high season, she asked “How can you find time for tea?” And in response, I thought “Now, is when it is needed most. One must make time for tea, and to enjoy the garden, not just labor away in it.” It is O.K. to put down one’s trowel and watch a bee scour the flowers for pollen. That said, I miss the gardens “life-affirming green-ness.” It is the welcoming interface between us and the Natural world. I miss its colors, and sounds and the wildlife that it attracts.  The city is such a hard, paved,
manufactured environment, with each surface one encounters designed to withstand the imprint of millions of handprints and footfalls. The garden on the other hand, consists of thousands of fresh tender leaves, curling tendrils, silken flowers and blades of grass each day. These elements cushion ones steps and stimulate ones senses. The environment literally grows before ones eyes, and by observing it one is renewed. Our connection to Nature’s cosmic rhythms is reinforced.
     Don’t get me wrong. I love the city. The talents and skills that it attracts make for a dynamic environment where extraordinary things become possible. It is a privilege to have access to the intellectual accomplishments on display here, say on the 21st floor of any given building in midtown, come rain or shine. Without leaving the neighborhood, I continue to make fresh discoveries about buildings that I have looked at for years. And, there is a lot of Nature, right under our urban noses, when we take the time to sniff it out. For some things, you don’t want to be anywhere else.
     Still, I am missing the garden. I miss its surprises. I miss separating stalks of Echinacia to discover that a Delphinium is asserting itself among them. I miss the feel, in my nitrile-gloved hand, of a weed relinquishing its roots’ grip on the soil. I miss having the leaves of the Collard Greens brush up against my pants legs when I am wading through the potager. I certainly miss eating and tasting the produce from the garden. What a far away dream it is here, to think of a freshly dug carrot, washed clean, its creamy crispness giving way to my bite! I miss being “in” Nature, not just looking out “at” it.  
     City life is all about collaboration and scheduling. Once you have managed to arrange to see – or be seen – by a highly skilled urban professional, you don’t want to miss the appointment. This alone usually requires several weeks. Then, when you have devised a course of action with said professional, there is nothing to do but see it through. So, if that means sitting tight in the city, that is what you do. Of course, there is a lot to do in the city. There are concerts and performances for every taste. All of the movies are playing. There are even bookstores, that endangered species. The museums are the best. Just taking a walk down Broadway can inform one’s view of the current world order.
     All I can do is think of the garden that awaits me. That there will be tons of weeds to extract, goes without saying. Meanwhile, everything needs to be watered: The North and South borders of mixed perennials and annuals, The potted Farfugium, and Lemon tree. The“Deborah Gregory Memorial” Lespedeza and our Leonotus Leonurus, all of them need a good soaking. Likewise, everything in the potager. Lets not forget the strategically placed Pink Crepe Myrtle that has just been introduced to the garden. We hope that it will provide additional screening between us and our neighbors to the North. Then, what are the vines doing? Is the Thumbergia continuing to climb up the leg of the swing? I guess the date palm, grown from seed, is surviving the sunny dry weather safely. I hope that I haven’t lost anything.
Country Mouse reports that the pears are ripe and falling off the tree. These need to be gathered up, stored and cooked in every way imaginable. In the potager, the Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages and Carrots are all thriving, as is the Basil, the Kale, and Squashes. So, despite arriving at the last big holiday of summer, there is yet another seasons worth of produce to nurture along, until a chill November frost finally cuts everything down. Which reminds me, will there be enough grapes to make jam this year?

     The city is about rapid, if not instant gratification. The garden is about patience and imperceptible progress. Evolution. These days, as I wait to cross the Hudson, I am challenged to summon patience, in an environment that is celebrated for only having 45 seconds per minute. I am missing the garden something awful!  

All images and text copyright Everett H. Scott. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be copied reproduced or used in any way without express written permission from the author.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"A Sense of Place"

 Our garden is young, as gardens go, just approaching ten years old. Yet, it has already begun to take on a certain ambiance and atmosphere, conveying a “sense of place,” that both comforts and energizes a visitor. Personally, I find it to be a reliable source of nurturance to my creative spirit, as well as my palate.  This is due to several factors, mostly, what we have chosen to grow and where those plantings are placed.

Zucchini blossom


Kale, Lettuces, Greens

Swiss Chard

Bowl of Cherries

Urn of Pansies

Echinacia in the border

Druid on the Bunnies trail

Rose-colored Day lilys

Mango Day Lilys

Peach Day Lilys

Lemon Day Lilys


Sun Gold Tomatoes, ripening

Strawberry pot

Fresh-baked Cherry pie

More greens

Grus An Teplitz roses

Scalloped edging stones

Teatime in the garden

Bartlett pears

Sour Cherries on the branch

Macintosh apples

Pipening peaches
Bare in mind, we are speaking of a combination of trees, shrubs, perennials and constantly rotating annuals. In turn, the choice of plants has been determined based on a desire to have the garden reflect harmonious interaction between its human inhabitants and the Natural world, with a particular   emphasis on the edible landscape here in zone seven.  This year, the vegetable gardens selection of edibles ranges from Artichokes to Zucchini, thriving within its boxwood borders. Elsewhere there is an Italian-style “bosco,” or grove of fruit trees, a grape vine, evocative of one I grew up with, and a separate herb garden close to the kitchen door for seasoning our cooking. There is even a lawn suitable for games like badminton or croquet as well as simply sun-bathing. Thus, color, texture, scent and taste collaborate to produce “a little slice of Heaven,” right outside the door!

     The plantings are complimented by a variety of furnishings that in tandem with the plant material help to define and refine the parameters of the garden. As I recall, the earliest of these (acquired at a flea market), is a late 19th century, American cast iron planter with large symmetrical “ears,” that now sits atop a brick plinth at the heart of the vegetable garden, like a bow on a lavish gift, or a punctuation mark.  Each season, some new element seems to find its way into the mix - an urn or a teak bench in the style of Sir Edwin Luytchens, a planter or a set of cast stone lions to guard a path - each of them in its way helping to identify a passage, to draw the eye, to direct (or stop) ones steps. Thoughtfully juxtaposed, these elements augment the “bones” of the garden, remaining constant throughout the seasons, even as the plantings themselves evolve by the hour.  They help to nurture an experience of serenity. The newest addition is a number of scalloped edging stones that we are using to delineate the edge of the long flower border. They look deliberate, intentional, and appropriate, (as opposed to hap-hazard) belying their origins as a neighbors unwanted cast-offs!

( All images and text copyright Everett H. Scott 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, or copied in any form without specific written permission of Everett H. Scott, or his authorised representative.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Summer Solstice, 2015

June 21, 2015

Dear gardening friends,
     Last Winter, we gardeners endured cold, snowy conditions, the brutality and duration of which threatened to erase all memory of the color green from our minds eye. Today, as we celebrate the Summer Solstice, with the most hours of daylight we will experience in the Northern Hemisphere this year, I offer you a slide show of what has happened in the garden, since then, with the assurance of much more to come. Enjoy!

(All photographs copyright Everett H. Scott, 2015. All rights reserved. No image may be used without prior written permission from Everett H. Scott.)