Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pennsylvania: Phipps Conservatory

Phipps Conservancy, in Pittsburgh, was an immense conservatory -- but contemporary, efficient and built for holding events as well as being a botanical garden. It seemed endlessly large. They have heated sidewalks that don't require shoveling (or salt!). It's the opposite end of the spectrum from Longwood gardens -- and at the opposite end of the state. The original structure was built in 1893, but  its innovative additions and LEED-certification makes it a building for the future.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pennsylvania: Longwood Gardens

For spring break this year we went to Philadelphia, but not before stopping at Longwood Gardens. A trip last May to Pittsburgh, we stopped in to see Phipps Conservancy. I'll post on Longwood today, and Phipps later in the week. It's Pennsylvania week here at Art of Gardening!

Friday, April 23, 2010

No more brown!

The front yard garden is looking especially colorful right about now. Gone are the browns & grays of the last four months.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to lose $100,000...


Well, we didn't win the $100,000 21st Century Fund grant competition to help fund the annual National Buffalo Garden Festival. The winner was the Buffalo Museum of Science.

They won because they want to fund the design and planning of ten new Science Studios -- an immersive integration of exhibits and programming that will reflect current science, school curriculum, tiered content for various audiences, science being done in our area and various science career paths available.  It's an ambitious five-year plus plan that will find them fundraising ultimately millions more to create the actual studios. But it will modernize "every corner of the museum" - and be an asset for a generation.

That, and, they had cute kids in their video presentation. Next time, we use cute kids.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My $100,000 garden project

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 20), local garden guru, Sally Cunningham, and myself (along with slide show technician, Buffalo Convention & Visitors Bureau Director of Creative Services, Matt Steinberg) will be making a presentation to the 21st Century Fund, for a $100,000 grant competition.

Sally Cunningham is a columnist, book author, radio & TV personality, educator, Master Gardener. She's seen here in her role as Chanel 4 WIVB's garden contributor at about 8:20 a.m., Sunday mornings.

The 21st Century Fund is a local Buffalo granting organization made up of 350 members. To become a member of this fund, you just have to make a one-time donation of $2,100. This makes this a very involved, committed and diverse group. There are many young professionals and families in their membership. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Our proposal (Garden Walk Buffalo along with the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau) is to use the $100,000 to promote and help fund a five-week-long annual National Buffalo Garden Festival from June 18 to July 25. We plan on promoting all the existing great garden tours in the area (18 of them) and already-planned programming by garden centers and culturals in the area and wrap them in a garden theme. The culturals (at this point) include the The Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Buffalo Zoo, among others. Also wrapped in will be a visit from about 70 garden bloggers & writers from 23 different states and Canada.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Raking up is hard to do...

Raking's not hard, I just thought it made a good headline. When you have a nice garden, people most often assume you spend every waking moment gardening. My garden, other than the hanging baskets of annuals, is all perennials. and is really not that much work. Spring & fall cleanup, some cutting back, a little bit of weeding (though the perennials are so jammed in, there's not much room for weeds), compost and/or mulch on occasion. Watering is constant, but I've got soaker hoses spread throughout most of the garden so even that happens effortlessly. I can go weeks without touching the garden or giving it much thought at all. As I was doing some spring cleanup and raking, here is what I found in the garden.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I have a forsythia idea...

I'm not a big fan of forsythia. Too garish yellow. I think they look best when they're planted in large quantities.

My neighbor has a lonely half-formed bush. It does look great against the black house. But if it were mine? I'd do some creative clipping and find a nice metal base to wrap around the bottom of it. For now, I only have Photoshop to depend on, since I don't have a forsythia myself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Before & Afters


Okay, in this case, the top photos are the Afters, photographed this weekend. Below each, are the Befores, if you will, taken last summer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The REAL crown of thorns...

When we were in Israel this past January, our tour guide knew I was interested in plants & gardening. While driving through the Beatitudes, the hills along the Sea of Galilee, she suddenly pulled the car over so I could see the bush/tree of which Christ's crown of thorns was made.

Here's the tree we "sampled" by the side of the road. I was so taken aback by the quantity of banana trees in this area of Israel, that I hardly noticed these unassuming thorn trees that are all over the place. But I can tell you that the only thing Israel has more of than religious sites, is banana trees!

It's called a jujube tree (Ziziphus spina-christi) and it grows to about 15-20 feet tall. It is deciduous, has small yellowish-green flowers and produces small fruit with the consistency & taste of an apple. The fruit matures to dark red to black, wrinkled, and looking like a small date. The fruits are used in Chinese & Korean traditional medicines to alleviate stress. The dried fruits are eaten as a snack or with tea. I tasted the fruit (it was apple-y) and smelled the crushed leaves. Didn't relieve any of my stress, but it'd take more than a thorn tree fruit to do that.

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