Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Red Hook's gardens

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Enjoy this post while we pick up condoms in Prospect Park. Long story.

Van Brunt Street in Red Hook and an unintentional green wall cools the south face of building.  And a yellow cab in Red Hook? The end is nigh.

We walked to Red Hook. I needed to check on some nurseries in person, and the results were richer than anticipated. The Gowanus Nursery, above, had a wonderful selection of plants available. Truly unusual,well chosen and inspiring stuff (I'll do a post about them later - open only Friday through Sunday. Worth the trip). 

Further on, sidewalks and windows sprouted flowers. This mullein.

Wild onions, below, grew in the blue oil drums near the water at the Red Hook Park, beside Fairway's parking lot.

I wanted to see what was in bloom in the Lynden Miller-designed park (Pier 44 Waterfront Garden). I was not expecting too much - I have only seen the garden in late fall and late winter. We had last been here for a chilly February picnic.

I was wrong.

Yucca. If you want to see the finest yucca display in New York, see this park, now. I was really surprised. Beautiful against the yellow-leafed spiraea (probably S. thunbergii "Ogon") and the blue and grey nepeta.

Tall, luscious, voluptuous, creamy flowers...

And guess what? Yucca is edible. Flowers, pods, tuber.

Happy day.


  1. I had no idea yucca was edible.

    I grow a few here. Each spring I cut the old ragetty frost damaged leaves off the stem lower down with a bread knife. They look really architectural with the stems/trunk exposed and just new leaves at the top.

    Picking up condoms???

  2. I had never heard of this garden, looks beautiful, will check it out. Red Hook trip long overdue.

  3. I've been reading your blog for a short time and enjoy it so much! Have been fascinated that daylilies and yuccas are edible (among other things). I'm the one that stops on the side of the road and picks wild apples and raspberries but you've opened up even more possibilities. Postapocalyptic visions of me NOT starving have been flashing through my brain.

  4. Yucca is -- extremely hardy. Years ago, when I terraced part of the garden, one of the yucca plants was buried under about three feet of soil. Some little while later, spiky leaves started pushing up through surface. "I didn't plant daffodils here" I thought. And I hadn't -- it was the yucca.

  5. we have a yucca that i never really appreciated. i have tried to kill it by digging it out--next to impossible. the roots are way deep. but now i see my revenge--i shall eat it.
    we visited friends in red hook about 7-8 years ago and it was very different. i remember buying one of those steering wheel locks for my car to use there. they moved before it became totally "hipsterfied."

  6. You absolutely amaze me with your visions of city living. Having been born there in NYC and lived there for a time growing up, I never saw the beauty that you have so aptly photographed and described. Love it! Wish I lived closer - I'd come visit! We could have yucca pancakes...

  7. I'm going to taste mine this afternoon.

  8. Rob - a new plant for me to appreciate. They were so common growing up that I paid them not enough attention. Yes, condoms, you haven't followed the saga? :-)

    F Word - thank you!

    Lambert - it is worth an evening trip for sunset...good view over Harbor.

    Floridagirl - That's funny. 'Into the Wild' will not happen to us...

    melanie - I know, only recently a client asked me about yucca for a terrace and I was forced to dive into books.

    betsy - let me know how your yucca seeds (inside pods) taste. They can be cooked as a vegetable.

    Thank you so much, Lola - it's what I try to show. So it is very gratifying to know that it sometimes comes across well.

    Brian - tell us how they tasted, please!


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