Friday, April 18, 2014

What am I going to do with her?

My in-laws are downsizing. This masthead/bow-maiden/figurehead was bequeathed to us in the process. She spent many a year on their balcony overlooking Bristol Harbor on Canandaigua Lake. While I don't have such an august view, I have to find a place for it in my garden this summer. My fences and house walls are all pretty much filled up, but this is a challenge I'm up to.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Buffalo's gardening summer III


Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Wind-Blown Asters, 1951, watercolor on paper, 30 x 40 inches,
Burchfield Penney Art Center. Gift of Dr. Edna M. Lindemann, 1968
And exhibitions! Not only are all the usual suspects (the Botanical Garden, garden centers, garden tours, garden groups) hosting garden events, but the local art galleries and museums are hep to gardening this summer too.

This gives visitors a chance to see more than just pretty gardens and can round out a weekend in Buffalo, and possibly extend visits for longer stays. It also makes for a greater visitor experience for traveling gardeners, not to mention the locals.

Here are the local exhibitions going on this summer:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Buffalo's gardening summer II

There's just so much going on in Buffalo. Here are the talks, seminars, and workshops happening this summer (that I know about).

SEMINARS, TALKS & WORKSHOPS

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My favorite houseplant (this week)



It's my Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata). I guess it's not really a palm, but is actually in the lily family. An evergreen perennial native to Mexico, it is the perfect houseplant for me because it doesn't require frequent watering - or much watering at all. I've had it for about four years and it has grown to keep pace with the size of the planter it is in. I've seen (in Mexico) that were 15' or more tall.

It's bottle-shaped trunk is cool, and looks kinda' like an elephants foot. The bulbous end is where it stores its water. I like the hard strappy leaves. It looks like it's exploding. It gets a summer vacation outdoors and ends up in the Harry Potter Garden because it's an odd looking plant and that's where they go to hang out with each other.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sagrada Familia, an indoor forest

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, the Catholic basilica, designed by "God's Architect" Antoni Gaudí, is unlike any other man-made space in the world, let alone other churches.

Gaudí's influence was always nature, whether it came to decoration, engineering, or symbolism. And it is most obvious from the interior of this church.
The lighted "knots" way up on the columns mimic healed
wounds on a tree when a branch is pruned close to the trunk.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sagrada Familia, nature in a church

The Sagrada Familia, a church in Barcelona Spain, by "God's Architect" Antoni Gaudí is a man-made marvel of nature. Started in 1882, it's expected finish is somewhere between 2030 and 2041. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's construction got a major boost when the 1992 Olympics were held in Barcelona. Funding comes from its donors and visitors.

The central tower, which is not yet built will poke out of the center of the church in the photo above. It should be taller than the tallest crane you see in the photo – just under 600 feet tall. It will hold a four-armed (three-dimensional) lit cross, the highest cross on any church in the world.

There is just so much to this church, which was consecrated as a basilica in 2010, that I could never give it its due. In order to appreciate it, you have to stand inside it.

It makes my gardening blog because of Guadí's influences in its design – nature. There's an exhibition within the church showing Gaudí's organic architectural inspiration in seedpods, leaves, fruit, minerals, vines, tree knots, tree branching, honeycombs, oleander branching, basil growth patterns, passion fruit, buds and spikes of cereals and grasses, the fruit of the cypress, and dozens more. They can be observed both blatantly and subtly, as well as unseen – the structural engineering of the church incorporates engineering Gaudí also found by studying his natural surrounding.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Parc Güell, Barcelona


Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi had a great patron and advocate in Eusebi Güell (pronounced guay). The two of them hatched a plan to build an upscale English-style housing development in the Gracia District, just outside of Barcelona (radical in 1900) that included a park and 60 plots intended for building homes. Only two were ever built – but so was the park. And it is the park that has endured and enveloped by the city of Barcelona. It was taken over by the city of Barcelona in 1922. It is now one of the top five tourist attractions in Barcelona. It is now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The property is on the side of a hill and Gaudi laid it out with curving paths that followed the land. The park has viaducts, colonnades, fountains, a winding staircase, a large open pubic area, garden areas, picnic areas, performance areas and much more.

Tradesmen working on Gaudi projects throughout the city were encouraged to collect bottles, plates, glass, porcelain, and anything ceramic, in order to create the winding benches that surround a wide, level performance area. The bench is said to be the longest bench in the world.

Two fantastic tile-roofed, gingerbread-looking gatehouses open to an immense tiled stairwell complete with built-in planters, fountains lead to a roofed area with 100 columns supporting the large performance area above it.

The tile work throughout, with broken plate and tile  fragments is called trencadis and is considered a Catalan Modernism style of working with tile. It's also called pique assiette. Parc Güell is the first extensive use of this style of tile work.

I will definitely be looking to add a broken tile project to my garden this summer. I need some Spanish influence on my garden, and who better than Gaudi to provide it?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kill the wabbit, KILL THE WABBIT!

Silly rabbits. There's been so much snow cover this year that they've taken to eating the bark off my knee-high apple espalier that surrounds my raised bed vegetable potager.
Bit the branches right apart. Above is a pile of their evidence.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Villandry Garden of Love


Almost nowhere can you find a garden with so much symbology - and nothing more romantic for a Valentines Day post - than the Garden of Love at the Loire Valley Chateau of Villandry, France. this is the sexiest use of boxwood you may ever find. The garden, obviously dedicated to the topic of love, is divided into four sections:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let there be (green) light


To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo, I'm turning the city green Friday-Sunday, July 25-27. 

Last year I requested the 1966 M&T Tower (20 stories, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the same architect that designed NYC's original World Trade Center) and the 1912 Electric Tower (13 stories) in downtown Buffalo as well as the 1873 International Peace Bridge– the main local crossing between the United States and Canada – be lit green for the Walk. All three generously accommodated the request.

This year, being a special anniversary, I requested the American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls be it green, as well as the 1899 Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens domes. All have said yes!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A garden magazine from the country's largest garden tour...

I'm so excited. My two great passions are combining to produce a real live gardening magazine to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo – gardening and design!

The Garden Walk Buffalo board has sanctioned a commemorative 20th anniversary annual. It will be a (roughly) 60-page, glossy, over-sized, magazine-type publication. Technically, it is not a magazine because there are no further issues planned. It's more of a commemorative annual. Though it's not an annual project either.

I'm excited because the articles/topics we'll be covering – as well as for the contributing writers preparing those articles. The writers are well-known area garden writers, like Sally Cunningham, Elizabeth Licata, Connie Oswald Stofko, Rochester's Jane Millimen and more. Even though they're local, they all have national garden publications in their writing portfolios. The lead feature article will be written by a significant writer in the gardening realm, TBA.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The plugs are here, the plugs are here!

 I'm super excited! I've laid my succulent frame down flat in an area of the garden where it'll be undisturbed (and hopefully comfortably snow-covered). And the succulent plugs from Mountain Crest Gardens have come by mail. All look  healthy. My wife says they look like a delectable box of chocolates. Can't wait to plant them.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Succulent obsessed, another frame made

And so I build a second succulent frame. I received a few succulents that are not winter-hardy. I love them because they come in a greater variety of colors than the hardy succulents. And varierty of plant types too. Nearly all of the hardy succulents for my large succulent frame are Hens & Chicks. They'll be nice too, but the variety of colors and structures should make this much smaller frame more interesting. And this one I can bring indoors to enjoy over the winter.

Looking over other succulent frame projects spread around the web, I really like the rough-hewn antique look of other people's frames. So I decided to not spend any money on this one and challenge myself to only use items I had around the house already.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The truculent succulent gardener

Geez, I haven't written a post since December 10. Someone may come and take my garden blogging license away. I have however, been very busy with garden-related things, even though it's the heart of winter.
There're succulents as well as sedum.
I had put zone 5 hardy succulents on all my Christmas and birthday lists for anyone that cared to ask – all both of them. My daughter came through in spades, as well as other family members. Below are some of the plants I got for birthday/Christmas. I also got a gift certificate to Mountain Crest Gardens - an online store for succulents where regular folks can order wholesale trays of hardy succulents.

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