Thursday, September 18, 2008

September flowers and fruit

We went out to the nurseries on Long Island yesterday to shop for a garden which is being planted today and tomorrow in Chelsea on two levels on a townhouse roof...Up six flights of stairs.

I spend a great deal of time choosing and placing plants in planting layouts, and then more time drawing and painting them, and it all can go suddenly wrong when I get to a nursery. Because I will see something that wasn't available before. Or something new. And then I quickly re-shuffle everything around in the plan in my head and take out one thing and tuck in another, knowing that it will add a glow to the spot it will occupy...

A perfect case in point is the daphne above. Daphne's flowers have a scent whose deliciousness is hard to describe. The earliest daphne's bloom in the freezing cold, when their unearthly perfume seems to come from nowhere in the otherwise stricken garden. This one is the hybrid Daphne x transatlantica "Eternal Frangrance", which continues its bloom through the year. This will go near a door on one of the terraces, so that it can waft though the upper floor of the house over the noise of 23rd Street traffic, possibly muting it.

Rudbeckia "Henry Eilers": I had decided that my choice of rudbeckia in the meadow planting on one terrace was a mistake: too loud. Too much yellow. At this time of year rudbeckia yells at you and I have daisy-fatigue. And then I saw this one. So we stuck to the plan and bought some.


While David helped load a standard hydrangea into the truck I walked into the bushes and came back with some Cornus kousa fruit, ripening now. I like them. Then again, I like anything that can be eaten out of hand from a tree or shrub - to which Vincent can attest if given the chance. The insides taste a lot like papaya. The skin is tough and not nice. The large fruits have pips which you either, ah, swallow...or spit.

Then again, clients of ours in Tribeca suffer for and from dogwoods: their upstairs neighbours have a beautiful row of dogwoods on their parapet, whose branches hang over their terrace. So right now the terrace is being showered with orange fruit bombs. Placement is rather important.


  1. Ah, daphne! Among my earliest memories.
    Yes, I suppose dogwood fruit from above could be a problem!
    Nice to see you back.

  2. I attest, I attest! Children, don't try this at home! Nor outside.

  3. I need a bush or three with non-poisonous fruit for shade for the south of our chicken run. I was thinking a Saskatoon bush (cause I know the ladies love the berries) but would a Cornus Kousa do the job? We are zone 5 Okanagan Valley, BC, CANADA. Thank you!

  4. Hi Princess Zelda - Cornus kousa is edible and is a small tree. Should do well...


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