Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New York Spring: Congress Street

Here's the love-it/hate-it Chaenomeles japonica again. I have never noticed its fruit, but then again, maybe I have never looked. I'll report back in late summer. Apparently it makes nice jam. There are two more planted two doors up from this one, and with their backs against the stoop stairs, their shady spot means they produce considerably fewer flowers than their friend...(maybe they're not friends).

The colour against the brownstone? Cringe. Not so good. And its owner does exhibit a great love of over-mulch, which is a weakness of some garden owners. I sat next to a charming man on a flight to South Africa last December, weighing about 260lbs (an ex- football player) who was the head of security for a pack of WWF wrestlers (also, alas, in my section), and he told me proudly how his New Jersey mansion's garden had been L.a.n.d.s.c.a.p.e.d. "With red mulch and everything!" - he gushed. I explained red mulch to him. He was incredulous. So, no, mucho mulch is not part of the landscape design. It serves a purpose. But the plants themselves ought to keep weeds out and moisture in, by being planted nearer each other. Mulch just helps. No two-foot wide red or brown highways are necessary between your azaleas.

But up close these flowers are disarming, lovely, exhuberant. They just need the right backdrop.

Daffodils in Cobble Hill Park. This is the prettiest time in the park...

If your dog, on its nightly stroll with you, starts to whine and look up fearfully, it has good reason. The street pears (Pyrus calleryana) - note the red mulch in that link!- are about to bust out. And some already have: the buds closest to the houses are open - it's warmer there, from radiant heat, and they respond to temperature.

Magnolias are beginning to open - sunny southern exposures are ahead of the rest, and the BBG is the place to be. Click on their cherry blossom map, too, and it will show you precisely - down to the cultivar - what is in bud and what is open right now. My only gripe for the BBG? No picnics allowed. Have they seen the calibre of picnic I pack???

A helpful person, Ron B, on the Univerysity of British Columbia's Botanical Garden forum has suggested that the Mystery Cherry may be an "Okame" cultivar: it loooks very, very close, but still not the colour - could be due to climate and soil, perhaps...


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  2. I noticed that Congress burst today, too. Good strong color for a gray day.

    And the husks (?) of the magnolias by the hospital building on the east side Henry St. between Amity/Pacific have been flung off like the proverbial prom dress.

  3. Yeah but the blossoms at Burrard Station are failing and around Davie, Nelson and Comox, the magnolias are shy...

  4. I can testify that the picnic you pack has the highest caliber ever recorded... ;-)

  5. Howdy Arlene - no more business links please! Don't make me moderate...

    Thew - husks, shawls? I think they still have their dresses on.

    Anonymous - well boo hoo. Canada ain't what it used to be: you know you can't find an organic chickn under $100 in Vancouver? You should move.

    Picnic fan - well, that settles it. You win the secret prize picnic. Come an' git it!

  6. Secret, you said? I'm coming then!


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