Monday, July 27, 2015

No plant left behind


One of the herbs planted in the built-in wooden boxes on the edge of the Harlem terrace is Calamintha nepeta.  It has been planted in my city gardens ever since I learned how long-blooming it is: few perennials will flower from June till frost.


Honey bees and other insects love the tiny white flowers.


The leaves are intensely minty, and the cut stems last well in water. The plant tolerates some drought, and loathes to have wet feet. Here, it receives only four hours of direct sun, and it has grown huge. The specimen above traveled with us from Brooklyn in late 2013, and it is now going...all the way back (we just signed a lease on a garden apartment in Carroll Gardens). I have transplanted it and another into a galvanized bucket. Calamintha, on the move.


So - there is the same wooden planter, empty of perennials ( we are still eating the parsley), and there are the two calaminthas on the deck, waiting for moving day. The bees do not mind the change in elevation. But in a week or two they will be buzzing hungrily.

How we move those tall Nicotiana mutabilis without snapping them is another story. Tears before bedtime.


The buckets. Why? They are quite cheap, and they are light. And I find them inoffensive aesthetically, once the stickers are off. Much better than plastic, and lighter and cheaper than terra cotta. I am worried about moving-weight for the big terra cotta pots. In our new place we may want to house plants for a while in their containers while we settle in, and I won't mind looking at galvanized metal.


There's a hole in my bucket, dear... All the buckets need to keep plants happy is a drainage hole. Easily achieved with a hammer and a pointy thing. This unscrewable hammer with smaller screwdriver heads within the handle is the kind of tool that makes real craftspeople wince. But I've used this one for about 15 years and I refuse to be shamed. The smallest screwdriver head makes the hole and the larger ones wiggle it wider.

I'd have made an excellent caveperson. As long as people let me stay in my cave until I was ready to leave.

23 comments:

  1. I have 3 4ft round galvanized livestock tanks that I use for my vegetable garden (no kneeling down) and I love the way they look. You new outdoor space looks intriguing.

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  2. I recently moved from Milwaukee to Portland and took 17 plants and about 1000 books, but minimal clothes and furniture. I get it. The buckets are a great idea. And if my plants (including orchids and violets) can survive three days in an un-air conditioned car and blazing sun, yours will too. Fingers crossed for you and your mobile jungle.

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  3. Marie! You found a new home! That was a very subtle announcement but am happy for you. Now the slog begins and I know that's going to be challenging. Congratulations.

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  4. Great news! I hope garden apartment implies some kind of outdoor space for a garden? Which way does it face? Best of luck in your move.

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    1. Sorry, Jack, I Announced on the blog's Facebook page (there is now a link in this post). The townhouse whose ground floor we will rent faces north-south, with a long garden in front, planted with clipped evergreens. But our garden will be in the back, so facing north, but with what I think is good eastern and western exposure, as well as sun in summer. Not sure about winter and early season, yet. Thank you!

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  5. Back to Brooklyn! Can't wait to see the new garden come together. Congratulations.

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  6. So happy you found a new home. I hope it's an even better outdoor space and landlord. My heart was aching for you and your garden.

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  7. Wonderful news, Marie! Best of luck transporting the garden to your new home!

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  8. Back to Brooklyn. Hooray! Hope the new space is everything that you would want.

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  9. Congratulations on your new apartment!

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  10. Very glad to hear about your new Brooklyn apartment -- congratulations! I look forward to seeing pictures of your new garden, which I know will be beautiful.

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  11. PHEW!
    Thank goodness for this wonderful news!
    Sending you and Vince best wishes for as smooth and uncomplicated move as possible given the situation.

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  12. Congrats! Looks heavenly :)

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  13. way to bury the lead ;) congrats, can't wait to see, I kinda feel like I'm moving too!

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    1. Jajaja. Well, since we're speaking journalism, I scooped myself on the blog's Facebook page, and so, yes, neglected to make the large announcement here.

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  14. Where might one find Calamintha nepeta? It looks lovely and I think it might work well on my terrace as well. thanks!

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  15. Where might one find Calamintha nepeta? It looks lovely and I think it might work well on my terrace as well. thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Try your local nursery or ask them to order it for you.

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  16. Fantastic news. I wondered, but hardly dared to ask, if going back to Brooklyn was a possibility -- am so happy for you. Your Harlem adventures were very interesting and enjoyable to read, but this just feels right. Can't wait to see what you do with your new outdoor space. Mary

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  17. This is very good news and congrats. I've just looked at the Facebook photos and it seems you'll have plenty of room for pots and otherwise. Am looking forward to the transformation of the new garden space.

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  18. Yippee! Relieved and excited for you both. From what I can tell, you found a new, better place in record time (yes, you sort of had to!) Hope the move goes with minimal hitch. Like everyone else - can't wait to see what magic you do with it!

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  19. Excellent news! I'm sure your new place will be a marvel when you're done replanting. I'll look forward to watching your garden grow.

    I very much like the galvanized pot solution. They are much more attractive than plastic. My step-father insisted on using a screwdriver set identical to yours. You've used them correctly - as hole punches. I found, however, that they were equally effective at punching holes in the palm of your hand. Surely you will have screws to turn in your new home. A very nice 10-piece set of real screwdrivers can be hand from Amazon for $13. Save your hands!

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    Replies
    1. Worry not, we do have real tools, too. But I remain loyal to this hole-punching set :-)

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