Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Tribeca Terrace

This was an enclosed, dark terrace in Tribeca before its make over. The akebia (chocolate vine) was actually doing quite well high up, and I would have liked to have kept it, as this is an impossible situation for plants, with no direct light, confined by tall buildings on four sides, but the tough vine was not wanted. The old, shellac-ed planters were falling apart. Do not paint wooden planters in shellac. You will live to regret it.

After the planters were broken down and moved out (through the apartment, into the elevator, down to the street), the soil - under the tarp - was stored in giant grow-pots to be moved into the new custom-made planters, yet to arrive.

Cedar planters being delivered...

Then the trees arrived. The useful thing about birches is that they are bendy, and suffer corners better than, say, a crabapple, whose horizontal branches scratch expensive walls unless well wrapped in a clean, soft drop cloth. I make myself deeply unpopular by nagging that all trees be swaddled for delivery.

The clients wanted to keep their old trellis and to spruce it up I decided to add some more vertical pieces.

Which I really wanted to paint green and blue, alternating.

Blue was settled on, and it really lifts the whole terrace. I think.

Here the new birches are in place, planted a little over a week ago, with yews behind to show up their trunks in winter, and with hardy begonias (Begonia grandis) and lady in red (...) ferns (Athyrium angustum 'Lady in Red') at their feet, and some Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet' flanking a bench. Climbing hydrangea to go up the trellis.

I'll check back in a week to see how everything is doing.


  1. I love the concept of birches in planters. Would love one for my back deck. I can already hear J groaning about this idea...

  2. I think I'll use the same concept here. It looks amazing!

  3. Very delicate; I love it. Birches in planters - I'll remember that.

    There is a cold wind blowing here in the North east today, and leaves are falling everywhere. Autumn is coming....

  4. You're right about the blue; it really gives an extra something.

  5. I wouldn't have thought of birches in planters! They look beautiful and provide a wonderful screen. Birches are my favorite trees, so someday I'll steal this idea for myself!

  6. Ok, ok, how did the trees fit through that door? - I know they are bendy, but that's a bit much...

  7. an if the fellas ain't crazy fer that idea, thrr's no accowntin fer tste.

    Mine's thinkin bowt the yoo behind the brrches. she's liken it, i kin tell.


  8. That looks amazing! And indeed, the blue 'lifts' it up. And I love the planters! They are beautiful!

  9. m.heart - water water water :-)

    Thanks SA...

    Rachel - thank you...When you said NE I thought it was our NE for a second...no cold wind here. Yet.

    It's a bit scary, Ellen, seeing colour come to life in someone else's space...it's so personal. But I like it, too.

    Hi Gigi - it's funny, we think of lots of things, but we mostly always have to stuff them into planters! Needs must.

    Beence, well. Tipping them so that they're parallel to the floor surface is fraught, especially if there is a pedestrian behind one. Thwack! In the door is easy. One person in front, steering, one person carrying the container. Corners are ...eenteresteen'...

    Halloween! Have you ever climbed a tree, young man? Because that is what Estorbo is asking for in his new digs...personally, I think he'll drop out of it like a rock...but...^^

    Thank you, Martin. The carpenters are very good at what they do. So much of a roof garden depends on the craftspeople involved. The West Indian master carpenter on this job had just come back from a short reward-vacation with his children, who had all scored 90% and over for their school year.

  10. i been up in treez alot. thatz whrr the brrds ar. [doan tell Mine i sed that] yer rite that upz not the problem so much, down iz the tricky bit. that gravitee thing, man, itz evrrywhrre. es'd need ta noe that them bandido rakunes can go up a tree pretty eezy, too. not much negosheeating room if ya get wunna them behind ya -- gives noo meenin to talk abowt yer frumious bandersnatches -- so a kwik way down's usually the smart choyce.

    Mine's gettin grumpy abowt tamorra beein a work day, so i gotta get off the pewter. but it's bin nyce tawkin to ya. [im gonna be 10, i think, in novembrr]
    go well.


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