Friday, April 25, 2014

Circling the wagons

It's a modest little thing: birch poles to offset the fishbowl effect on the Harlem terrace. They will support Gloriosa lilies and Clematis and hyacinth beans. It is not a real screen. All in the head.

I put the posts in a week ago (they are six feet  long and go all the way to the bottom of the wooden planters, two feet deep) and yesterday afternoon the Frenchman helped me attach the cross pieces. As soon as we had finished, the four-strong flock of mourning doves came to visit, walking up and down the birch poles on their little rosy feet. They approve. 

There will be more interesting pictures to come, I hope, with plants.

I would like to stay here longer. There is a lot to like. 

The sour cherry down below is in bloom. 

And the Uvularia grandiflora came up and flowered in record time. I would have planted them with woodland phlox and ferns, to take over in their dormancy, if the terrace budget had been bigger. As it is I've splurged on good potting soil and some pots, and those birch poles.

Our time here is uncertain. Tell that to a gardener, whose pleasure is investment in the future.

And uncertainty is my demon with the longest tail.


  1. Those "screens" will look marvelous with covered in climbers... And I absolutely love gloriosa lilis, I wish they were more common, so that giving them a try would not feel like such an investment. I relate to struggling with uncertainty about where one will be in the near future when as a gardener one always wants to plan or at least dream ahead. That feeling has been the bane of my existence through college and into graduate school, and even now that I have a place that I love and will not give up any time soon, there is the looming threat of field work for my dissertation that will probably take me away for many months at a time a year or two down the line. I decided that for the time being I will just accumulate plants and supplies and accessories as if I am never leaving, even if I will at some point have to give them all away and start over.

  2. The optimist in me hopes that you will be able to stay -- and that next winter will be so mild that your heating bills will plummet. So want to see what you do with this space. Mary

  3. The Gardener's Dilemma ('mna). And of course, our time here is always uncertain, so garden hard.

  4. Uncertainty. One long tail indeed.

  5. I can imagine your pretty garden blossoming already. I wish that you'll be able to stay and post more pictures of these plants as they bloom. Best of luck!

  6. Greetings from Germany!! I just want to say hello and that I have been quietly enjoying your blog for a little while now. It's very inspiring as I have recently moved into a flat in a town called Wiesbaden. Until now I have mainly lived in houses (two of them were in Cornwall, England and my childhood home was in a house in the forest in Finland) and had direct access to the ground, so planting herbs and a small kitchen garden has been relatively straight forward. Now I find myself in Germany in a climate with temperatures more extreme than the temperate southern peninsula of the UK!! Also, my big challenge is to start trying to grow a few things on a balcony in containers which I've never done before!! I'm determined to make this work some how… That's why I'm so very inspired by what you are achieving in a city like New York. I don't have a roof terrace but have one quite large balcony of about 10 m2 (107.6 ft2) and a tiny one of only 2 m2. I'm hoping that your blog & book will give me pointers that are relevant to my current climate? I love how inspiring and thoughtful your blog is!! I'm a newbie and only getting started…
    Kind regards, Anne

    1. Hi Anne Maria - sorry you tried several times to leave a comment. You'll see that on older blogposts the comments must be approved before they are published (to limit spam).

      Your balcony is a very good size. I look forward to seeing what you grow.


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