Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nicotiana fix

Ornamental tobacco...In the new Herb Garden, but scattered around Brooklyn Botanic. There's some in the Fragrance Garden I was deadheading last week, the Rose Garden and the Annual Border. The Osbourne too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Turning Japanese

The wrists may ache from pruning wisteria and one learns the essence of impermanence when raking leaves out of pebbled pathways only to watch more leaves and needles fall or be blown in by the wind, but the Japanese Garden cannot be beat for breathtaking loveliness. Every view is killer. You can look up, down or sideways, no matter.

And an Oriental Lily just blooming in my box at the children's garden..

Monday, July 26, 2010

Katsura Tree

Interesting cracked bark? Check. Dainty heart shaped leaves? Check. Pendulous branching form weeping down towards the water? Check? Amazing fall color? Check. Is there anything this tree doesn't have? Nope. Then it's got to be Japanese. Cercidiphyllum japonicum. There are two really pretty specimens bordering the southwest corner of the Japanese garden at BBG and at least one more smaller one in the Japanese garden.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Heavenly Horse chestnut

A favorite of mine we are learning in Woody ID. I'll always think of my nephew and bringing home that sharp pointy nut to ID together in the fall. This spring at BBG, standing and looking up under the trees you could almost think they were a tropical plant with their giant leaves and flowers. Here is Aesculus hippocastanum at Brooklyn Botanic on April 30, 2010 and a red-flowering hybrid, in all their glory and bloom.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Butterfly weed of Flatbush Avenue

It's exactly how that Brooklyn Botanic publication title puts it...tough natives for tough places. Flatbush Avenue in a blazing hot summer is a pretty tough spot. Joe spotted this Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) near the bike path on our way to Jacob Riis. It wasn't spotted last year, but Joe's noticed some growing in just about the same spot in other years.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Columbine take two

A reminder of spring...Mike's white columbine reblooming now.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monocot border

The weather has been tough this year, but I never need to remind myself what is good about being outside and working outside and experiencing this year at Brooklyn Botanic. It was hot today in the Monocot border, but that border is out of this world right now. It's so different than it was with all the alliums and bulbs of spring. Now it's outrageous with the Cannas and lilies and daylilies and flowering grasses. It's all big leaves and bright colors and fragrance. It reminds me of Hawai'i with it's almost unreal loveliness.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

and one large zuchinni...monday night at the garden. It doesn't take much.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Walk to Shakespeare Garden

I love how everything always leans this way or that or spikes up to surprise you as you get near the Shakespeare Garden. I'm working with Anne this week, so I'll have these visions to delight me. I remember when I first saw all the foxgloves blooming here earlier in the spring and how absolutely stunning it was. Anne tucked them in everywhere, so they were just kind of lurking wherever you looked.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday School

My camera doesn't have the capability to capture something so small as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, so I'll wait to see Ayana's pictures when she goes live with her blog. Good thing, because looking at diseased leaves and bugs doesn't make for a pretty post. We went into the children's discovery garden to scout for potential pests though today in our Integrated Pest Management class, and I managed to snap just a few pics. This really is a lovely garden, designed so well for children with all these little passages for kids to wander through and explore. Who wouldn't want storytime under the shade of a weeping mulberry?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Where I'm calling from

Looking out at Plumb Beach and across the water toward Breezy Point from the bike lane beside the Belt, a little before sunset on my way home from the garden. This doesn't look like what people think about when they imagine New York City or Brooklyn, but it's a piece of this city and this long island that's pretty dear to me. I wonder what part of what I see is real and how much has been manufactured. I know the terrain of this southernmost part of Brooklyn has been drastically altered for road construction and other reasons.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Something larger than life

and something smaller.

The first picture is actually looking up at a Bonsai from the vantage point of weeding under the tables, which I was doing this afternoon. The second really doesn't exaggerate the size of the hibiscus. If anything, it understates it. That hibiscus is the size of a dinner plate.

First woody ID class

wandering the grounds in the cool evening temps and light and instead of paying attention to the trees, I'm checking out the different colors of the lotus flower seedheads and Caleb's Hibiscus coccineus, which is fixing to bloom. It's a good thing we were covering some ground already covered in Botany and Soil Management or I'd be in trouble. Next week we start learning the specific trees we need to ID.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some things cultivated

and some things not...

I like them both. Lucky for me that the first is a border around the gazebo at Floyd Bennett planted over the years by Bob and the second, a passing glimpse off the bike path on Flatbush Ave., my route to the garden.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the way to the dump

with Ann & Susan to unload the catmint we'd been hacking away at all day...out the truck window we catch a glimpse of this blooming crepe myrtle. Man, I love these trees. We didn't quite finish cutting back all the catmint in the border east of the rose garden, but we made a big dent in the project. I like when we do something that forces me to be less precious with plants and today we performed quite a shearing on the catmint.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jen's rooftop tomatoes

and peppers and zuchinni, armed to the teeth against the dreaded squirrels and birds and the occasional wandering cat produce weeks earlier than our crop down at Floyd Bennett. Maybe both gardens are microclimates, Jen's with the hot baking sun and ours with the cooler ocean breezes and temperatures. Who knows? I do know that watering her veggies put the bug in Joe and I to try our hands at our own vegetable garden, so we have her to thank for the inspiration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The trees of youth

I know this first tree, a japanese maple, and all it's branches so well. I don't remember a time when I was too young to climb it. The branches were so low and perfect for a kid to scale easily. I spent many hours in this tree with my brothers and sister. The second, a giant beech I simply knew as the initial tree, was a tree for the future. I remember always imagining the time when I was old enough to get up in it and carve my initials plus my future boyfriend's, but never having the skills or strength to conquer it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

White flowers

planted in Caleb's annual border this year..Strawflowers and Flower of an Hour, a hibiscus that blooms for less than a day, but has plenty of blooms and cool seedheads. I'm glad I added some white to my flowerbed this year even if a woman recently told me how much she dislikes white flowers as she looked in my garden. Sometimes a daisy is all the charm you need though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best Day At the Garden Ever

This day was so good, I barely have any pictures of it. I was so excited, I couldn't stop to find my camera. I'll have to rely on everyone else there who captured the moment. Thanks to two of the best produce harvesters living on both sides of the Mississippi, this day at the garden will go down as my absolute favorite. These two helped pull my garlic and beets and potatoes and carrots, even the stumpy gnarly ones, which turned out to be favorites of Aaron. It was my biggest one day harvest and a long time in planning and waiting and imagining. Thanks Lou and Aaron for the super good time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Field Trip to Chanticleer & Longwood Gardens

Chanticleer charmed us all right away. Even in the parking lot, we were admiring the plants and the place. I loved how this garden had all these little pockets of awesomeness, whether a handmade wooden bench or fence or plants growing in pockets carved out of stumps, all made by the gardeners/artists working there. Longwood was perhaps its perfect contrast..a serious machine of a place with a nightly lightshow and fountains and hoses that pump out fertilized water or treehouses shaped like cathedrals and beehives. The gardeners working at both places though were pretty generous with filling us in on their doings. The only complaint really was the weather, which was blazing.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's a scorcher

When it hit 90 on the second week of this internship, (April 7), I knew it didn't bode well for tolerable new york city summer weather. Today is the third day into a 90+ degree heat wave and the first time gardeners were sent home due to excessive heat. It's garbage night too, so my walk home from class tonight was pretty foetidus, to put it botanically. Here's a picture of a lotus flower to conjure up cool, sweet smelling thoughts. These plants are pretty outrageous. The spent seedhead looks a lot like a fancy showerhead.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pumpkin patch

Sometimes I think Joe ought to be doing this horticultural internship instead of me. His garden plot looks pretty amazing this year. He's always building some new contraption to string beans or vines on. And the children's pumpkin patch at FBGA is going pretty well too this year under his care (fingers can't count your produce until you harvest it). He'd never grown pumpkins before volunteering to take on this job, but he seems to be a natural pumpkin farmer. I hope all his hard work (and the rest of the crew helping out) pays off and there are lots of pumpkins and gourds for the kids come Halloween.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quite a show

Susan and I were completely knocked out walking by this section of the Rose garden's north border. It's like textbook garden planning: the various alliums in different stages of bloom and post-bloom, with the coneflowers and echinops, which should also hold interest long after bloom. One of the many perks of this internship is the opportunity to see the techniques you read about in gardening books actualized by a talented gardener. These aren't the best pictures and they were taken in full noon-day sun, and yet you can still see just how fantastic these plants are together.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Joe's beautiful garlic

Harvested a few days ago and left out in the garden to sun dry. No worry of any rain this year. When I saw it last night at the garden, I couldn't get over how beautiful it looked. And it's going to taste so good.