Monday, May 30, 2011

Laguardia Corner Garden

Laguardia Corner Gardens
at Laguardia Place and Bleeker

It was a sweltering Memorial Day and I held true to my self-assigned task of visiting community gardens. To my chagrin Laguardia Corner Gardens at Laguardia Place and Bleeker St was actually closed to the public so I wandered around it peering through the chain linked fence with my lens. Unfortunately NYU which owns the supermarket next to the garden plot plans to build a high rise which will block the sun needed for the flower beds! Currently the garden land is owned by the NYC Dept of Transportation and members have tried to have it transferred to the Dept of Parks and Recreation (makes sense) which would protect the gardens. For some reason it hasn't come to pass. Hmmm, who's your daddy NYC?...... NYU?

I digress...I felt like a kid locked out of a candy store. The gardens looked so lush and well cared for. Eventually I spotted a lone loyal gardener, Diane, who I asked to let me in to photograph for my flower blog. It's funny how saying you're a blogger now has nearly equal clout to a certified press pass!
Moral of the tale: If you wait long enough, you'll get in.

Which reminds me of my dear friend Sara Jones- florist and NYer extraordinaire whom I met while working at Greenwich Orchids years ago. Sara knows that rule only to well, having played by it at Studio 54 back in the day. Although I doubt she had any trouble getting in being the original hipster/singer/artist and a Warhol darling. Sara tends a parcel of the Laguardia Garden and has done so now for 15 years. On the concrete promenade alongside the garden Sara has also painted a torquoise mandala and I witnessed three young tourists meandering through it to pose for a photo once they reached the center. (see video).

I asked Diane where my friend's area was and she pointed to a shady spot under a tree. What struck me in general about this community garden was how lived in it looked. Truly, a gardener's garden attributing to it's unique charm. Under Sara's tree I found this fantastically weathered antique wheel barrow. with a wilting iris resting it's head on the wheel and plants growing up through the spokes. The rose bushes were just past their peak but it was still glorious in color and show.
Bravo Laguardia gardeners! Bravo Sara Jones!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

People's Garden

People's Garden
at Riverside and 90th st

This weekend I am visiting as many NYC Community Gardens that I can and bringing it back to you before the hot days of summer wilt away these achingly beautiful sights around town. The photos above are from the People's Garden at 90th St and Riverside on the promenade. The small plots each have a distinct style of their own (or their proprietor) like the rock garden, or the small and perfectly manicured boxwood topiary garden and the wild flower section. You can walk through the small stone paths and discover unusual and enchanting specimen. The handful of NY volunteer gardeners that make this possible are painstakingly dedicated and obviously know what they are doing.... and I want IN!!! Just wondering which one I'll be luck enough to have a piece of-yes, I'm doing my homework. Spring will be over soon enough, I hope you get out there and see some of this and if not, enjoy my small contribution- sharing the love.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crisp, Classic and Natural

Every client, event and locale require appropriate treatments for table top flowers. Approached by one of our blue-chip clients to design a summer event in Newport R.I., I immediately reached for the silver julep cups which are classic, timeless and work in a pinch when seeking vessels for events that require less frills and still aim to impress. Pictured above is a trio of various cup sizes filled with monochromatic crispy white summer flowers. The smallest cup is filled with grasses and wild flowers and the two larger ones alternately display solid and generous arrangements of peonies with viburnum and lisianthus arranged in a loose style which retain the classic mushroom shape and staggering the stems at different heights for more of a naturalistic aspect.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coral Compote

I've been collecting these dolphin compote dishes with the hope of using them at the right event. They are the perfect height and size for a pedestal vessel and imbue the table with nostalgia and romanticism.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Compositional Studies

Frozen stems
A whimsical summer arrangement of wild flowers, peonies, lisianthus, scabbiossa, dusty miller and grasses in an iron urn along with a curiosity from the fridge encrusted in ice.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Garden Roses from the Garden

Today I looked down at the rose bushes in my beloved border garden and the first roses of 2011 were holding court. Unfortunately, not for long. I nearly tripped running down the fire escape to grab my paws on them. Here they are with garden roses from the market and other specimen in antique bottles.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rambling On and On....

The weather was absolute perfection today. My sister and I walked through the park and I took her through the Rambles. I hadn't gone there in so many years that it was hard to recognize with all of the fenced pathways. Every time we saw a little side path we'd wander off the designated ones. I explained the history of as I knew it,
" It used to be where the guys would meet for unmentionable rendezvous hence nicknamed in the 20's as "the fruited plane"- then it became quite dangerous and several tabloid murders occurred there."
Personally, it was always my favorite destination in the park and I'm glad I experienced it before the fences were put in. When the park was originally designed Fredrick Olmstead created this as ........"as a woodland walk through highly varied topography, a "wild garden" away from carriage drives and bridle paths, to be wandered in, or to be viewed as a "natural" landscape from the formal lakefront setting of Bethesda Terrace or from rented rowboats on the Lake. The 38-acre (150,000 m2) Ramble embraces the deep coves of the north shore of the Lake, excavated between bands of bedrock; it offers dense naturalistic planting, rocky outcrops of glacially-scarred Manhattan bedrock, small open glades and an artificial stream, The Gill, that empties through the Azalea Pond, then down a cascade into the Lake. Its ground rises northwards towards Vista Rock, crowned by Belvedere Castle , a lookout and eye-catching folly.

The Park's most varied and intricately-planted landscape was planted with native trees— tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), American sycamore, white, red, black, scarlet and willow oaks, Hackberry and Liriodendron, — together with some American trees never native to the area, such as Kentucky coffee tree, Yellowwood and Cucumber magnolia, and a few exotics, such as Phellodendron and Sophora.[1] Smaller natives include Sassafras. Aggressively self-seeding Black cherry and Black locust have come to dominate the Ramble.[2]

The 20-acre (81,000 m2) Lake unified what Calvert Vaux called the "irregular disconnected featureless conglomeration of ground".[3] It was excavated, entirely by hand, from unprepossessing swampy ground transected by drainage ditches and ramshackle stone walls.[4] Through the low-lying site the Sawkill flowed sluggishly from sources under the present American Museum of Natural History and in the prospective park south of Seneca Village, originally exiting the park under Fifth Avenue about 74th Street, where Conservatory Water lies today, on its way to the East River.[5] To create the Lake the outlet was dammed with a broad, curving earth dam, which carries the East Carriage Drive past the Kerbs Boathouse (1954), at the end of the Lake's eastern arm, so subtly that few visitors are aware of the landform's function. After six month's intensive effort, the Lake was ready in the winter of 1858 for its first season of ice-skating. Its center was seven feet deep, with terraced shorelines to lower levels for skaters' safety.[6] Originally, in other seasons a tour boat picked up and dropped visitors at five landings with rustic shelters: four have been rebuilt and rowboats are rented at the boathouse.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Applied Arts


Saturday, May 14, 2011

You Can Get It If You Really Want

Japanese Painted Fern and White Garden rose
Climbing Garden Rose Bush
Sweat Pea Seedling
Clematis and Wisteria amongst Hydrangea and Peony bushes
Finally I was able to work on my border garden behind the studio. It was a perfect day for it with the cool damp air beckoning oncoming showers. I went to Crest Garden Center at Crest Hardware in Williamsburg on Metropolitan where I loaded the cart with all the essentials and more and more and more! Some people have a problem when they go to the mall, my impulse shopping is in its full glory at the flower market and garden centers.
Let me start by explaining that my backyard border garden is not really "MINE". It's the closest thing I have to a garden in NY but it does me well. When I moved in I immediately spotted two abandoned and polluted borders below the fire escape in the car lot that had a few hostas and sedum tragically making the lamest show one could ever imagine for any border- even for a back lot to a raw industrial building.
One summer I made friends with local construction workers nearby who told me there was a garden up for grabs before they levelled it with a bulldozer. I threw my back out on that one uprooting heirloom climbing rose bushes, peony bushes and even a large pear tree. The only survivors of the lot were the climbing rose bush which is now a monster invader and the small peony bush which has yet to show it's potential. Both must love Williamsbug in any of it's toxic soils. My loft neighbor explained that the ground that I was so lovingly tilling and planting was contaminated from the building's former life and wished me luck. That was several years ago. I never gave up and kept hauling bag after bag of fresh new garden soil. Since then I have made homes to two more rose bushes and hydrangea bushes. The past month I have been germinating seeds and nurturing them into seedlings which are also in residence downstairs. Today I fed and pruned the rose bushes and tied them up to start training them over the door and eventually into an arbor to shame all arbors! I cleaned the ground and transplanted the sedum to make way for some haut toit members of the crew which include wisteria, clematis, Japanese painted fern and lace-cap climbing hydrangea all obtained from my favorite neighborhood garden center(Crest Hardware) where Finn the bird always talks to me and the staff know their shit. It's an exciting day at the car lot!!!!!!
As Jimmy Cliff says:

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you'll succeed at last..........

............Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It's the sweeter the victory, now..........

.............You can get it if you really want - I know it
You can get it if you really want - though I show it
You can get it if you really want
- so don't give up now

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sea, Sand & Stars

I spoke to my mom early on Mother's Day. Her spirits were high as she and my dad were in a rush because they had a day ahead of celebrating her and the other mother's in my family. She was most excited to be going to the beach and I was happy that the day ahead was filled with family , sun and her favorite thing which was to watch my brother's dog go nuts in the sand and water! After talking to her I went to the studio reading a Constance Spry book. I felt inspired to make something with both her spirit and related to my Mother's Day. This is was my long distance gift to Mom with love. I hope she had a very happy day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


A few gift arrangements delivered today for Mother's Day- tomorrow. I love you mom!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Late Long Loving Spring

Central Park

Allegheny Mountains; NW PA
Photo by Paco Rodriguez

Jersey City back yard and massive old magnolia tree.
I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.~ e.e. cummings

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Were All Yellow


I swam across
I jumped across for you
oh what a thing to do
'Cause you were all yellow......