The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden

While we were in New York, we also visited several museums: The Neue Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. On a warm evening last Friday (free to the public on Friday evenings), I spent some time in the recently restored Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. The modern bronze pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti and other artists were not the only sculptural elements to this public space which has been called the social heart of  MOMA. The selection of trees and their arrangement added to the allure of this oasis in the city.

The bark of Ulmus parvifolia and Betula populifolia 'Whitespire' and the structure of Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula' contributed to the overall experience in the garden in early spring. I especially liked the way they were plated in small groves of a single species.  Ulmus parvifolia contrasted particularly well against the light gray stone walls of the space. Another example of the importance of the how a plant looks during the long winter season when all our plants are dormant.

Henry Matisse The Back (I) 1908-09, The Back (II) 1911-13, The Back (III)1913-16 Bronze

Katharina Fritsch. Figurengruppe/Group of Figures. 2006–08 (fabricated 2010–11). Bronze, copper, and stainless steel, lacquered.

Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula'

Ulmus parvifolia

Betula populifolia 'Whitespire'

Pablo Picasso. She-Goat. 1950 (cast 1952) Bronze

Max Ernst, "The King Playing With The Queen" (1944, cast 1954), Bronze

Elie Nadelman, "Man In The Open Air" (c. 1915), Bronze

Henry Moore, "Family Group (1948-1949, cast 1950, Bronze)

Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983) | Moonbird | 1966 | Bronze

Renee Sintenis Daphne 1930 Bronze

Aristide Maillol. The River. Begun 1938–39; completed 1943 (cast 1948)

Gaston Lachaise, "Floating Figure" (1927, cast 1935), Bronze

Alberto Giacometti. Tall Figure, III. 1960 Bronze

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wave Hill's Structure

We also visited Wave Hill while were we in New York City. It was unseasonably warm, in the high 70's, and many of the flowering spring trees were already in bloom. I ran in to an old friend, Brian McGowan, the former owner of one of my favorite nurseries, Blue Meadow Farm, in Montague , MA. Brian and his wife, Alice, had a gem of a small nursery that I was fortunate enough to frequent during the first decade of being a serious gardener. Some of the most interesting and choice plants I have in my public and private gardens originated from Blue Meadow Farm. Since closing the nursery in 2005, Brian has become the Assistant Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill.

Wave Hill has a lot to offer the inquisitive gardener in late March. I always find the structure of the hardscape and the arrangements of the plantings particularly informative before all the trees, shrubs and perennials leaf out later in the season.

Three views of the structure in the Flower Garden outside the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory

A luscious saucer magnolia loaded with blossoms

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taking the High Road to Class

I have just returned from a weekend of continuing education classes in optometry at the Javits Center in Manhattan. This year, I brought along my entire staff. We stayed at the The Jane Hotel in the West Village which was perfectly located near the southern entrance to the High Line at Gansevoort Street.

Each morning, we walked the full length of the High Line to 30th Street, just a couple blocks from the Javits Center. Here are some photos of our 1.45 mile walk to school:

Grasslands leading to the 14th Street Passage

Diller-Von Furstenberg Sundeck

The beginning of the new section at about 20th Street

The Chelsea Thicket

23rd Street Lawn

Falcone Flyover

Wildflower Field

This was my first visit since the 20th St-30th St section was opened last June. The staff has been working on what they call the "Spring Cutback." For about six weeks, the gardeners and volunteers cutback the perennials, grasses and shrubs to make room for the emerging growth of spring. I would say they were about 3/4 of the way finished, just in time for the early bulbs. If you are interested in what's growing at the High Line, they have an excellent Plant list on line.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mexican Prickly Poppy in Haiti

Mexican Prickly Poppy Argemone mexicana

I returned last night from a week-long eye mission to Haiti where our group, VOSH PA (Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity) saw about 900 patients. One of the villages wher we stayed was called Jacquesyl and is near the Dominican border in northern Haiti. While in Jacquesyl, I came across an area, near our compound, that had drifts of a yellow poppies with glaucous foliage with sharp edges.

The prickly seed pods and foliage reminded me of a plant called Argemone grandiflora which I grow as an annual in my own garden. Argemone grandiflora has elegant white, papery poppy-type flowers. I was fortunate to collect seeds from a plant while I was visiting the garden of Robert Jakob and David White on Long Island several years ago. It adds a nice texture and provides a note of spontaneity as well as being a reminder of an inspiring garden.

Argemone mexicana is also an annual and is found in Mexico and has naturalized in the United States, India and Ethiopia. It is used medicinally by Seri of Sonora, Mexico to relieve kidney pain. The Spanish settlers used it to treat migraine headaches and the seeds are used as a laxative while healers in Mali use it to treat Malaria. I won't be using for anything other than a punctuation plant in my upper border and a reminder of a country that I have come to love.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Very Civilized Order Confirmation

Front: Less civilized, but humorous...

Back: Very civilized...

Dear Mr. Gordon,
Thanks for your
order. I can't do
'Gloria' but will find
a good alternative as
you suggest unless I
hear from you.
I'll send your 'drops
this month, I think.
Best, H. Lyman
7 Mar 12

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snowdrops from the Temple Nursery

I finally got a cell phone last month. I have been dragging my feet for several years now and my lack on personal communication devices has been a family joke for a least a decade. The final straw for me came at an optometry conference at the Javits Center in Manhattan last year. I went to the lower level to the hallway with dozens of pay phones and found it was empty; not a phone in sight. Everywhere you look these days, phone booths are disappearing. Talk abound endangered species. So I broke down and got a brand new iPhone 4s. It has so many bells and whistles it will take a me years to figure out what the thing can do.

With my arrested developemnt on the communication technology front, it is not surprising that I still like to write an old fashioned letter, but even more, I love receiving them. So you can imagine how excited I became when my first Temple Nursery catalogue arrived in the mail last year. The owner, Hitch Lyman, addresses each catalogue personally in a very elegant longhand script. This is the 16th listing of Galanthus from the Temple Nursery which specializes in solely in snowdrops. The five-page booklet, with a lovely detail of a painting of Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart' by Gerald Simcoe on its cover, lists about 30 different cultivars of snowdrops priced from 5 G. nivalis for $15 to a single G. nivalis cultivar called 'Walrus' for $50. Mr. Lyman describes 'Walrus' as follows: "I am able to offer again 'one of the great eccentrics of the snowdrop world.' Three long, thin outer segments like tusks; inners regular and splayed. A short plant, with the whole flower washed green. Oliver Wyatt's find."

It is probably too late to order snowdrops for this season because Mr. Lyman divides his clumps after they are done flowering and sends them Priority Mail to your door in early April. You'll recognize his handwriting when they arrive. Each plant is labeled and wrapped in a moist paper towel with instructions to plant them immediately.

If you are a snowdrop connoisseur of if you long for the days of small nurseries owned by passionate plantsmen send $4 to Temple Nursery, Box 591, Trumansburg, NY 14886 for the 2013 listing of Galanthus.


Related Posts with Thumbnails