Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Planting the rooftop garden

This week has been rather busy, with the planting in full swing at the Tribeca garden. Monday saw the soil being delivered and put into the planters, while a truck went out to Long Island to fetch the first large load of shrubs that I'd picked out a while ago. Above and below, the shrubs are delivered to the site in the early morning, Tuesday.

Although I'd been living with a plan (albeit morphing after the first watercolour rendering) for months, it is not really till all the plants are on site that one can see how they belong, or don't. It's a tense moment. All the planning, all the money, and suddenly it's here, in reality, not on paper or in one' s head, and it had better look good.

Scratching girdled rootballs helps.

Yesterday, Jason in Gardening Position No. 1, tucking in one of five Ilex crenatas. I like the graffitti.

And today, Kirstin in Gardening Position No. 2, bent over with some ferns.

Robert and the shopvac, the miracle terrace cleaner.

The terrace dance. We were on site with the irrigation and lighting crews, so a lot of footwork was required not to fall over each other.

Paulo at the watering stage.

No sign of the Russians? Oy vey. They were summarily dismissed. The story of The Missing Cilantro Pot will follow. I think.

Better graffiti.

Below, I like this view.

Furniture will follow, and the rest of the bamboos must still be planted in sturdy pots sunk in the other planters. It's phyllostachys ('running bamboo'), hence knows no bounds. No manners whatsoever.

Tomorrow I'll post a plant list for the one person who may be interested, but more for my own entertainment. It was lovely to be able to create a garden for people who are actually interested in plants, and in their innate, unique qualities. What blooms when, smells, what colours when...

I think I am happy with it. It's a strange experience seeing one's head-pictures become real. A lot of second guessing is involved. I think this will be a special garden, down the line.


  1. Gorgeous! I can't wait to see the bamboo, it sounds heavenly.

  2. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing the list as I'm guessing at some of these!
    (By the way, the Franklinia looks not unlike a Gordonia.But I doubt I'd have luck with either!)

  3. Please say more about the bamboo! When you use a pot inside a container does it shorten the lifespan of the bamboo? How big is the pot? Does it require periodic repotting, root-pruning? How often? It's a great idea for including Phyllostachys in a mixed border.

  4. Reading this made me feel good. thank you.

  5. A beautiful space. I look forward to the plant list too. If I ever do move to NY it will be good to know what I should dig up and bring ;)

  6. From the photos this space looks HUGE! It's going to feel so much more human and intimate with the new garden. Nice work!

  7. Somehow, removed from the perceived threat that comes from active graffiti, this graffiti operates like an art object. Doesn't it? It activates a blank, the brick wall. Its hard not to focus on it.

    What do the owner's think?

    I love bamboo, like all plants I enjoy, commands space!

  8. I like the graffiti. Like artwork... Hope ther is more to come... MA

  9. Marie, it looks great. You must be so proud!

  10. What a great career you've carved out for yourself. An artist first and foremost. Just lovely.

  11. Thank you, everyone...:-)

    Ellen, it's rather an experiment. I wasn't too keen on the idea of putting phyllostachys in with anything else. The original idea of an all-bamboo enclosure at one end of the terrace was nixed in favour of all shrubs, all around, but I was asked to still use some bamboo. So the client knows that we're trying something new...

  12. A really interesting article. Thank you for the photos and the inspiration. I am creating a container garden at the moment in Buenos Aires and am still trying to work out exactly what to put where.


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