Monday, July 27, 2009

The High Line

A fabulous public park found in the Chelsea and Meatpacking districts of New York City, The High Line, is open for strolling.The High Line is a wonderful garden path that has grown up on a decommissioned elevated rail road track, which was saved by community groups and the city.Visitors climb up newly renovated and created access stairs, to the walking path, at 20th street and Tenth Avenue, or 16th street for persons who require an elevator.The design of this city phenomenon was the creation of the James Corner Field Operations, with consultation from planting designer Piet Oudolf. Plantings are positioned between and around rail road ties and concrete staves.Grasses are coupled with perennials such as Cone Flowers, Sedum, Astilbe, Joe Pie Weed, Hydrangeas, Rudbekia, perennial Geranium, Mallow, Butterfly Weed, many species of ornamental shrubs, and flowering plants. The design was inspired by original volunteer green growth, that seeded in over the 25 years during which trains stopped running.Many of the plants are varieties that are slightly different from the usual stock shown in most gardens. The are multi petaled, taller, a different hue, or completely new to most gardeners.The tracks, gravel, plantings, and the views from above, are just the beginning of the High Line experience.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Barn Maintenance Removing Climbing Eounymus

A project of trimming Climbing Euonymus from the front of the Jarvis House barn turned out to be a week long marathon.
The front of the barn has a raised loose stone ledge that provides a very nice area for planting. The barn was moved and re-erected early in the 1980's. At that time Climbing Euonymus was planted around the foundation. Over time, other plants such as Iris, Day Lilies, Cone Flowers, Winter Jasmine, Bleeding Heart, and Astilbe were added. With all of the rain that the North East had this spring, the Euonymus grew out of control. It climbed up the facing boards of the barn, and attached itself as high as four feet.As the Euonymus was removed, and that took three days, a drain pipe from a corner gutter was uncovered. Trying to unplug the pipe, which was filled with a tangle of roots, it became dislodged. A forceful stream of water wouldn't clear the pipe.A mole nest was discovered under the triangular stone on the corner of the rock wall. Care had to be given not to disturb the nest, but fortunately the pipe was originally placed in a ditch to the right of the nest.A new PVC pipe and elbow were needed. The pipes, 4 inches in diameter, at the Orange Home store came in 2 foot or 10 foot lengths. The first problem was how to cut the pipe in half.At first a saws all was tried, but the saw moved in the wrong direction. Then a skill saw was pulled out which worked really well. Five foot marks were made with a dark black marker on the white pipe, and the saw followed the marks all around until the cut was complete.A specific two part glue is needed in order to join the elbow to the length of pipe. The purple can holds a cleaner and surfacer, the gold can holds the glue. A rubber hammer, then a ball peen hammer were used to tap the elbow onto the pipe.When you start something, think of the end. The diameter of the elbow connection was larger than the downspout end. In order not to allow anything, soil, roots leaves, etc. from dropping into the pipe, a loose cover was needed. A new use for re-cycling a bleach bottle came to mind, and the bottom was cut down and fitted to the down spout end. A perfect shield. To make a dry well, a large black plastic flower pot, formerly holding a young tree, was notched to accommodate the 4 inch pipe. The pot actually stabilized the pipe. Using old garden tools, especially the row maker, a huge hole large enough to fit and drop the black pot into was made.The pot was filled in with large stones from the excavation of the hole, and topped off with pea gravel.After raking the pea gravel, the ditch and new drain pipe were backfilled with the soil that came from digging the hole.Although looking quite severe, eliminating the Euonymus from the base of the barn, reduced the possibility of board rot and the work necessary to keep this rampant grower in check. Think of the fun of re-designing the rock garden so that the new plants will not negatively impact the wood siding on a historic old barn.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is It A Weed or a Keeper?

Purple Phlox. Is it a weed or is it a keeper plant? That is something that gardeners have wondered about. Phlox re-seeds everywhere and is very hard to control in a garden. But its does bloom and provide color late in the summer when other plants seem to be drying up.This is a plant that grows at the Jarvis House in wet boggy areas. I called it a wild Impatiens. The leaves look similar. but these are very tall and have striking orange-yellow blooms. Fortunately they are easy to pull out, but they always seem to come back, year after year.A viney plant that spreads readily is the wild strawberry. I hope that the birds like it because it likes to cover any empty space, and it sends out runners which develop into new plants.Clover is pretty and the rabbits like to chew on it, so I guess it stays.Another spreading vine that was in the garden before I came along, is a creeping Jenny. It's green with very yellow flowers. I have noticed that a golden version of this plant is sold in garden centers and used in planters.Butterfly weed has beautiful pompom blooms and beautifully formed leaves. Plus it does attract butterflies. ( If any of these names are incorrect, please supply the proper titles.)A ferny mounding weed came into the Jarvis Garden a few years ago, doubtless an involuntary transplant with a purchased potted perennial. This spreads under all bushes and had tiny purple flowers. It does provide cover for spots of bare earth, seen here under a yew bush.A very tall fuzzy leafed weed popped up amidst my Hosta boarder. It looked interesting and so it grew. Now it measures about 6 or 7 feet tall and has a long spike of yellow flowers. There are many varieties of ferns in the Jarvis Garden, but unlike the mounding nature of the other ferns, this fern is a vigorous spreader. It is very hard to contain and shades and crowd out other more desirable plants.Loosestrife has been the topic of many garden talks regarding invasive plants on Long Island. Varieties of this shrub are sold in garden centers and used extensively in home garden and commercial designs. In upstate New York, it grows by the mile in the drainage ditches of the New York State Thruway. Its does re-seed readily, but it can be removed easily when young. This weed was growing in poor soil across the way from the Jarvis House. It's a transplant. But the flowers are the whitest white and they bloom all season. It does spread in sunny areas.Another white flowering weed blew into the side garden. It is tall with tiny daisy-like blossoms. I left it .These are the leaves of a Rose of Sharon bush. It is too soon for its late summer blossoms, but beware. This plant is pretty, but it re-seeds effortlessly. The flowers come in purple, maroon, white and maroon & white. The Planting Fields Arboretum has a pair of Rose of Sharon shrubs that are white and multi-petaled. Seen in a lot line boarder, late in summer, Rose of Sharon looks like a keeper.A variety of Mallow, volunteered on the side garden. It looks like it puts out many, many seed pods.Covering many of my azaleas on the south driveway garden, are Morning Glory vines. Birds probably transferred this pest. It comes back each year, although I try to remove it. Herbs like Mint, may spread like weeds, but you can always make mint iced tea. Cutting them back and bringing the stems & leaves into the kitchen, boiling them with the tea bags, keeps them in check. I haven't even gotten to Violets, Golden Rod, or Ivy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day Lilies at the Jarvis House

A wonderful large ruffled yellow variety.A new day lily this year to the garden.A deep maroon halo inside this bloom.A deep purple.
This is my favorite day-glow yellow plant.These are very large and great bloomers. They remind me of the skirts on ballerinas.A new addition this year.Very sweet and small with a blush at the center.The darkest and most velvety day lily in the garden.The lightest day lily, almost white, and is iridescent in the evening.These are tall yellow species day lilies and they also come in butter yellow color.Old fashioned, but very effective in mass plantings, the double roadside day lily.New to the Jarvis Garden this year, purchased from the Long Island Day Lily their annual plant sale.Yet another new variety to the garden.