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Monday, November 12, 2012

November colors

Today was a day long in coming, I finally had the itch, the uncontrollable urge to explore the world around me once again, camera in hand. While my world has changed quite a bit in the past two years, my camera and computer have changed too so it is a true lesson for me.

Just a mile or so from my home here in Centerport, Long Island is Twin Ponds Park. I've passed the parking lot countless times, today I finally pulled in and went for the short walk. On the north side of 25A is mostly sand and scrub, basically an uninteresting walk unless of course you are looking at the world through your camera lens. I found a large stand of Opuntia (don't know the rest of the botanical name). Another quick lesson was learned when I tried to remove a leaf for this photo and found the entire tip of my pointer finger stabbed with teeny tiny but painful thorns!

Bittersweet is the gardeners nemesis, many is the time I cursed this plant as I pulled it's vivid orange roots from the ground. In the wild though, it can make your heart sing :-)

The south side of 25A was much more scenic albeit also a very short walk. I was fascinated by these points coming up out of the ground. They look similar to Hosta shoots when they first emerge. If anybody knows what these are, please leave a comment. My guess is skunk cabbage only because I really have no other idea.

The moss was everywhere and it literally glowed in the autumn sunshine! If you look close you'll see those spiky growths coming up right through the moss.

Walking along I remembered why one has to dress in plain jeans, hiking boots and an old sweatshirt. Lots of clambering over and under with whippets of thorns just waiting.

Now these are roots! I tried not to hear the tree cry as I gently tiptoed my way through them.

A final note for today, we are still in the thick of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I took this photo several times over and had fun playing with my i-photo enhancements. If you want to see the result it's posted on my other blog, Melanie's Old Country Garden

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mystery Plant!

One of the fun things about moving to a home with an established garden is discovering new things. Many of them I knew about before coming here even if I never grew them.

This grass is familiar to me but I have no real idea what it is. A Carex? Acorus? It looks like this year round and you can see the little spent bloom heads from last season.

It's not that impressive right now but I think it would look great near my little pond. I'd love some ideas on what it is and how to treat it. As you can see, there's lots of common orange daylilies growing around it and through it.

Believe it or not, in all my years of gardening I've never had pachysandra! Can't say I love or adore it but at least right now it's green and Claus my garden Gnome is quite happy.

Up close the blooms are actually quite nice. I'm going to try to take some more shots this weekend with my new camera.

For those of you who want to see my little cottage, I just posted some photos on my sister blog, Melanie's Old Country Gardens.

Love to hear your suggestions about my mystery plant!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big Plans

With a whole new garden, complete with different growing conditions than those I had in the past, planning is key. Having spent much of the last year moving and making career changes, I did not do much gardening at all at my new cottage. In fact, in retrospect I wish I had done a bit more and moved some of my prized plants to my new location. A few of my Epimediums came here with me, I hope the one in this opening photo was one!

One good thing that came of that year off was the chance for me to watch what was already growing at my new place. I was able to learn quite a bit about the soil and growing conditions here.

The time to begin working in the garden is almost upon us, most neighbors are already busy in the clean up stage. Luckily for me, my landlord does an amazing job on that. This weekend though we are expecting wonderful weather and I will be out there inspecting the newly emerging growth.

You see, not only did I down-size drastically but I also went from being a home owner to a home renter. Being a tenant changes my whole focus. I have the whole cottage and garden to myself and my landlord has been totally open to allowing me the freedom to do what ever my heart desires.

When you don't own a home and don't know how many years you'll be there, you are more reluctant to spend large amounts of money on plants that might take years to mature.

Photos of my cottage will be posted soon, a new camera is being shipped to me as I write this :-)

The cottage I live in has been in the same family since it was built (way more than 50 years). The gardens are darling, chock full of heritage perennials. Many of them are slightly (if not more than slightly) invasive. Plants that need TLC just wouldn't make it there.

I will have to find a few slips of the violets from my old garden and tuck them in here. Enough of my friends have pieces, so it's just a matter of time.

Container plantings will become much more of a focus. Especially since I will now be gardening in shady conditions. My inspiration will come from the many photos I have of containers in my friend Gianna's garden. She's one of the most talented container-designers that I know.

Accents in the containers are also an addition that I will be looking at. Anything to add more interest from day one until well after the growing season has finished.

So as my title says, I have "Big Plans"!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

ABC's - Start at the Beginning

Well, it's been quite some time since I've posted here on my blogs. In the past year my life has changed drastically. I've moved from my large country home on 1.3 acres to a tiny cottage 2 blocks from the beach.

My oldest daughter Lauren moved in to New York City, Emily began college at Wagner in Staten Island and my divorce has finally been finalized. So suddenly Calie the wonder-doodle and I find ourselves as instant, true, empty nesters.

Very few plants made the trip here with us but a few accents came along. Couldn't resist the shoes with succulents although finding sun is a struggle on this Oak filled property.

Luckily, I'm surrounded with the most amazing neighborhood (and neighbors too) in this storybook town of Centerport. The gardens are small but filled with many different plants and I try to walk every day.

We've had a mild winter and the proximity to the water probably pushed me one zone warmer. As you can see, crocus are already in bloom here along with lots of snowdrops (miss mine so much).

Instead of days filled as a stay-at-home mom and gardener writer/lecturer, I'm now a banker. The best part of every day is driving home. The very end of my commute takes me across a small scenic bridge and almost always seems to happen as the sun goes down.

As for my morning commute, this is the first thing I see. Not too shabby!

Be back soon, promise!