Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring beginnings

A walk around my hood, which I'd estimate ranges from about 3 to 6 blocks in each direction, revealed that spring is taking hold, in advance of March 21st, its official springboard. Above, primroses on Pacific above Court Street at the carriage house with the beautiful, subdued-turquoise door.

Now, about neighborhoods. How big is your hood? I measure mine by unconscious borders that acquire street names when I think about it. To the east, towards Boerum Hill,  I cross Court Street and I'm in a lower hood, I cross Smith, and I'm still in the hood but an extended one. Cross Hoyt and I'm in deeply familiar territory but it is not really mine anymore. To the north and Brooklyn Heights, it is Atlantic Avenue, then Montague, then the Brooklyn Bridge. To the south, and Carrol Gardens, Union Street, then the BQE. West, only the BQE in its thundering eight lane trench before you hit the wharfs, Columbia Street and water. This is because we walk everywhere. If you drive, is your hood bigger?

Witch hazel on Pacific below Hoyt.

The beautiful camellia on Pacific below Henry.

Below. Argh! What happened!? This was one of my favourite brownstone gardens on Amity Street. No one gardened actively there, but red roses grew up the steps and flowered at the same time as the old fashioned orange daylilies that dominated the patch, making an explosion of June colour. Then last year I noticed a young man actually gardening. He pulled out some day lilies, planted variegated hostas and catnip, side by side, behind the forward daylilies which would hide them, and then spread mulch. My guess is he came from a suburb with trimmed hedges, where the art is one of taming the Landscape.  Now this. The sprawling rambling roses have been cut to the base. They are stumps at the foot of those trellises.What was he thinking?

Time for a note under the door. I must know.

Below. What was.


  1. That Camelia is beautiful. What was that chap thinking??!!!! Nice hood you live in. Happy St Patricks day tomorrow from Ireland..Sinead

  2. Oooooofh. That before and after pic of the stoop garden is sad.

  3. So. Let's put the best possible face on this. He's trying, but he's untutored.

    Anyone know an excellent Brooklyn-based tutor, you know someone that can grow a wonderland on a small - say 66 sf - terrace? If one could find such a tutor, perhaps she would ooh and aah over his [pathetic] attempts and offer some, er, advice???

    A note under the door might be a place to start. Such a tutor might need to be a bit diplomatic...

    It could yield a disciple in the hood?

  4. God, my heart sank. But then I remembered how I started out. The first time I read to trim the lavender by 1/3 I carefully went around the plant and cut off what I estimated to be 1/3 of it's width.

    God looks after fools, drunks and gardeners.

    Slip him a note, make it funny.

    xo jane

  5. Yes, to the note idea. He definitely needs guidance and who better to give it?

  6. i don't have a car and my world extends about five blocks to the east a few north, about a mile south and a mile west...everything i need is close by except work which is about a 4 mile bike ride which i don't's raining here in portland and i want it to be sunshiny

  7. hi marie

    i love the seeing gardening you do and notice in brooklyn

    back in july, i was amazed to find your comment "deserted 3rd Avenue, a strip that remains undeveloped and pleasantly derelict" and a picture of the place where two of my sons live

    small world in the hood


  8. and p.s - maybe somebody told this guy
    "you should be pruning your roses now!"

  9. Urbanstems - we'll raise a pint to yer :-)

    Chris - it doesn't help that the daylilies haven't come up yet, either...

    webb...I know, I know. I would never make it at the UN. Thank you. Don't you think it's possible to tell someone's politics from the way - and what - they plant? :-)

    Jane - And I pruned my climber the first year...but not down to the ground!

    Monica - :-)

    EcoGrrl - were car-less, too. A bit chilly in winter. Hope your sun comes out soon.

    Hi Pat - and I meant derelict in a good way! But how funny, yes. I also think he may have read to "prune roses hard", so did. But stumps? I feel so bad for them.

  10. No need for a note, just make a print of the last photo and slip it under the door this June with a note that says "What were you thinking?"

  11. I like the 'before photo' note idea. but don't make him feel cross and bad. maybe a gentle challenge, something like 'I see you gave the roses a buzz cut, hope you have plans to keep some of the wildness and beauty that I used to love here'...a note at any rate. a note.

    my sympathies. I heard chainsawing in the georgian street opposite this morning. I anticipate pollarded plain trees. ugh.

  12. Rob - yes, excellent title.

    Ellen - I know, but then he would be Alienated, and we'd lose him to the dark side forever. In response he would plant red and white begonias in a trench of red mulch.

    Hi Tanja - I like your cats in mattresses :-)Funny, I hear chainsaws, too, and for a second I thought you lived next door. But our houses are not Georgian! Not mad about pollarding - it looks like it hurts.

  13. Perhaps a kindly note along the lines of..." You seem to be re-vamping your garden.I have a few extra plants left over.I'd be happy to give them to you."
    Or something.
    Of course, what I really want is to take him by the scruff of the neck and give him a good shake. Or prune him.
    But I've made more than one mistake in gardens...

    Side thought - if those roses were grafted I wonder what the root stock is?

  14. Sug. Dit is vreeslik sad. Gaan jy hom aanspreek?


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