Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plant therapy

At the end of a long and varied day I took myself to Hoyt Street, on the other side of Smith Street (east of my stomping grounds) for some retail, plant therapy.

I persist in promoting GRDN, despite their uncanny use of our Holly, Wood and Vine colours in their signage and business cards. Hm. I'll take it as a compliment. The owner has superb taste if a rather charmless manner, and I always find something I want when I visit.


Charm, you ask. I'm not sure. Perhaps it is a readiness to be pleased. Closely associated with a smile. That is charming.

Anyway, I found a lot of little perennials from Jim Glover, a wonderful grower out on Long Island's North Fork. He grows Interesting Things, things that inspire and educate. And he is charming! It's really worth coming to GRDN to see his new sedums, groundcovers, and what are billed as "steppables", in other words, alternatives to lawns. I do have a quibble. Steppable implies that it tolerates foot traffic, and in my experience nothing does except ye olde turfe, though the principle is laudable. It's just frustrating having to explain to eager lawn-substitute enthusiasts that no, you can't have garden parties on your woolly thyme or rock arabis. They will be squashed. But very, very attractive to look at and with many other applications, greenroofs not the least among them...

Lovely cut flowers - spot the agapanthus, Safricans! And a reminder to New Yorkers to take yourselves to the Flower District on 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, to Fischer and Page, for example, to buy bunches of sweet peas, or water lilies from New Zealand, or dogwood branches from the South, or Lilies of the Valley in fragrant, slender bunches, or, or, or...You will find walls, literally, of flowers. Colour coded sometimes, simply stacked, others, but inspiring and breathtaking, and not always terribly expensive. I think it should be a regular tourist destination, but it's surpising how few people know about it. Go early. In some cases the gates come down at noon.


Back in Brooklyn, I was very happy to find this blue corydalis. I became fond of its yellow cousin (C. lutea) in Alexandria, Virginia, when I had a long narrow garden contained by high, old brick walls, in whose crevasses the little yellow corydalis seeded itself in successive summers.




Jessamine: Gelsemium "Margarita". Killing your noisy neighbour has never been so easy. Apparently is roots are deadly poisonous. Also used in tiny does in homeopathy, for, amongst other things, fear of falling. Perfect for me and for those whose gardens I design in high places. I hope to use it this season, possibly for the Pink Building. So we'll see how it does on my little terrace. This one was quite potbound and I used my new favourite tool, a chopstick, to tickle the roots loose.


1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't mind being the roots... Ok, seriously, I love the concept of "steppables". Mother Nature sure knows everything about it and I feel better now understanding that for instance on my trail run up Table Mountain when I took that shortcut after going to the edge to see the house, the plants biting my legs to the blood were in fact only steppables. I should have known. It was all too pretty to be random. ;-)

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