Bloomin’ Update 37: Hazy Shade Of Winter


Rain Reflection

The forecasters have predicted all week about spring-like temperatures this weekend.  So when Saturday morning arrived, I jumped out of bed like a kid eager to hear news that school was closed for a snow day.  I know mild January temperatures are out of the ordinary — unless this is the new ordinary — but I had big plans for this weekend, even if it was just some basic tidying up of fallen twigs and leaves.

Imagine my surprise, though, when I looked outside and saw nothing but gray and wet.  I don’t know if the forecasters neglected to mention rain with the spring-like temps or if I just stopped listening to the forecast when I heard spring.

In any event, I decided to make the best of it — because when life gives you rain on your garden, grab a camera and take some pictures.

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Bloomin’ Update 34: Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Miss Thing


There is a certain sadness when I look about the waning October garden.  So many blooms have faded and turned to seed; so many leaves have dulled.

And then there are the red hot flowers, looking a bit out of place and overly made-up amid the first flush of autumn’s golds and yellows and rusts.

Celosia — a few plants from last summer reseeded themselves for this year’s garden. Surprise!

And that’s when my imagination takes hold.

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Bloomin’ Update 33: See You In September


Black-Eyed Susan.

It seems fitting that after an interesting amd intense couple of days, I have to extend my thanks to a few people.

First up is Cheri, a WordPress editor, who selected my previous post about 9/11 to be Freshly Pressed.  That means that my blog, for a few days, was one of the featured sites on WordPress — and the response, as you can imagine, was overwhelming.

That brings me to the other people I would like to thank.  You.  All of you.  All 2,400+ readers and the 200+ who chose to follow this site.  I cannot even begin to explain how much your comments and likes meant — and how absolutely moving your comments were.  I’ve had the chance to “meet” people from all over the world, to read of their memories, and to visit other amazing blogs.

And now that the rush has fallen off, it’s time to get back into the garden.  The September garden is an interesting place.  Some plants are worn out and tired, while others appear to be putting on quite a show — like a fireworks finale.  I’m not sure if the hint of cooler weather is rejuvenating their energy, or if they somehow know their end is near.

One thing is certain, though.  All of the plants — and this gardener, as well — are ready for a chance to re-energize for the next growing season.

So, without further delay, here is a stroll through the garden and a look at the blooms from the closing days of summer.

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Field Trip: A Greenhouse Hopes To Grow In Brooklyn


There is nothing quite like humidity in New York.  With its density and weight, it has a presence – and it likes to make its presence known, often making the blacktop-enhanced summertime heat seem that much more oppressive. 

And that kind of weather is perfect for a car-subway-walk field trip.  The idea was inspired by a recent article in the New York Times which focused on the Greenwood Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, and its historic cemetery.

Situated on 478 acres, Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in the 1830s and is now the final resting place for more than 550,000 souls: politicians, soldiers, actors, dancers, freed slaves, designers, and journalists among them.  At one point in the 1850s, the cemetery, with path after path named after plants, even rivaled Niagara Falls as a tourist destination.

On this very hot and very humid day, there are few visitors approaching the ornate gateway.  The sedum in the iron birdbath seems to enjoy the heat, but the big-leafed coleus is much more content in the shade of the enormous archway.

The only noise is the squawks from above.  The bird call sounds familiar but out of place in Brooklyn – but there, nesting in the center spire of the gate, is a flock of parrots.

Just across from the cemetery’s main entrance are the remains of a wood-and-glass greenhouse. 

The greenhouse once belonged to James Weir, Jr., who had also built more than 20 other greenhouses and nurseries throughout Brooklyn.  In 1971, the McGovern family, also in the florist industry, bought the property.

Over the decades, the greenhouse, now considered a landmark as the only Victorian-era greenhouse still standing in New York, has fallen into disrepair, with peeling paint, rotting wood, crumbling foundations, and missing and broken panes of glass.  A year ago, however, Green-Wood cemetery purchased the greenhouse and is in the process of turning it into a visitors’ center.  And so, this relic now sits behind security gates, waiting to be reborn.

I’m not sure how long this agave has been here, but I like to think that as I look through the hazy glass, I am looking at the ghost of a plant from long ago.

Next Post: The Brooklyn walking tour continues with views from the bridge and a parade of window boxes.

  

 

Bloomin’ Update 31: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


Before I get into this post, I wanted to send out a special thanks to those of you who took the time to add a caption to the previous post.  Your creativity and humor were  wonderful treats after I arrived home and logged in to catch up on blog duty.  I’m still smiling and LOL-ing!

I’m not a fan of the Western.  I have always found the film genre too gritty, too violent, and too filled with underhanded, unsavory characters.  I like comedy, drama, melodrama, a soundtrack, and always a happy ending.

But when Joe and I arrived home at 3:00 a.m. after a marathon drive from Fort Lauderdale, we entered the house as if we were a couple of sun-baked cattle rustlers in our own Western.  Unshaven.  Sweaty.  Delirious.  Exhausted.  Even our mouths were tired as we spoke to on another with jaws that were just shy of clenched.  Ironically, our newly repaired covered wagon — I mean the car — was in better shape than we were!  Any thoughts or worries about my garden would have to wait until daylight — or at least until I was prepared to see daylight.

The forecasters, however, had other ideas about daylight.  It seems that the next few days would be filled with heavy thunderstorms, strong winds, and possible hail.  What’s a gardener in search of a happy ending to do? 

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Bloomin’ Update 30: Night Fever


I know.  I know.  This was supposed to be the on-the-road post, the one where I post a picture and you write the caption and Joe and I drive back to New York.  The car, though, had other plans and is now sitting in a repair shop — which means the you-do-the-writing post will have to wait.

As will we — waiting for our car and for the arrival of Saharan dust.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A cloud of Saharan dust is making its way to South Florida.  Forecasters say the most noticeable effect will be a milky, hazy sky — nothing blue about it.  All I know is that it’s a little something extra to make the heat feel hotter.  I guess you could say it’s a dry heat, and how often can that be said in Fort Lauderdale?

So what should a couple of disheartened travelers do on a clear, dust-free night?  Take a walk, of course. 

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I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts


Florida?  In summer?  Are you nuts?

If you’ve read any previous posts, you already know the answer to that question.  But in this case, there is a reason to the madness.  In a nutshell — a coconut shell, that is — South Florida will someday be our new home.  About one month before Hurricane Andrew arrived in 1992, Joe and I purchased a house.  Each year since, we have traveled to Fort Lauderdale several times a year to do the most relaxing of vacation activities: yard work.  And as we go about our palm tree trimming and bundling and bagging of debris, we do a lot of planning and dreaming.

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