Wednesday, July 9, 2014

All that Glitters is not Fireworks: Independence Day Sparkles in the Garden - and Above -- for 4th of July

Garden State Farm-ette readies for Independence Day festivities

 It was a true Yankee Doodle Dandy of an Independence Day holiday.

Not unlike Dorothy and her trusted traveling companions: the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion - who land in Oz and go through a day of spa-like primping ("Snip, Snip, Here; Snip, Snip There") the gardens throughout our country house neighborhood are pruned, plucked and readied for that most outdoor of holidays, Independence Day.

There is literally a buzzzz that permeates the neighborhood as the trimmers and blowers orchestrate their tasks.

Our garden is managed in a decidedly less buzzy way -- more hand clipping, weeding, and planting.

Along with a lot of client garden design and work, I managed to squeeze in, er, work till after dusk, more than a few times in order to be ready to showcase our gardens and greet our guests for our annual Independence Day Fireworks party we host there.
The fireworks are set off in the marina below us, as part the annual Fireman's Fair.

This year the Fireworks were scheduled for the same night as Macy's NYC.
Usually we get to view those spectacular sparklers from our perch; however this year they were the backdrop to our display.
But I'm getting ahead of things…

The Gardens

I have designed a number of garden rooms at our Garden State home: the arbor; the water garden, the new front border, the terrace herb garden, the shower garden and the Farm-ette and Compost Cabana.

Later I will detail the design process.

Here, enjoy the scenes of a garden-inspired 4th of July.

I had to trim the Coral Bark arbor again even though I just did it in late May - but glad to do it as it means the tree has covered the rebar - no more waiting for the limbs to streeettch to meet each other.
The red-twigged dogwood fronts the arbor and it too needed to be pruned again - after blooming.
Right after the roses bloomed in June, I sheared them for a second bloom that starts up right around fireworks time.
Due to the October flash frost and a late April one - the macrophylla hydrangea will not bloom this year.  I waited as long as I dared - and given the green growth coming from the bottom of the plant - I gave in and cut the old wood, spent buds still on them.  At least the hydrangea are alive and thriving.
I did the same for my garden clients.
hydrangea before cutting back

The arbor is red roses and red hydrangea in the summer and all red bark against the white snow in the winter. Gorgeous in every season.

This season, I planted mini box around the parterres in the Water Garden and added more lavender.
I also planted liriope around the outside border of the cherry laurel that frames the water garden.
Here too the shrubs experienced early spring frost issues.  We removed every brown leaf.  It made a big difference.
The fish survived the Polar Vortex just fine.
I over wintered one lotus. It did fine and will overwinter the two I bought this year.

The outdoor shower with its view of NYC skyline, got scrubbed & pruned, new pea gravel

A few, last minute additions to accessorize a few planters & terrace tables
We celebrated the season's 1st Jersey tomato!
And adorned it with homemade mozzarella & homegrown basil.

I couldn't wait to see the garden in progress in town @ThePaintedFrame Art Gallery. Nice work turning scrum space into a pretty place. Robert is using a sail for shade.  The Garden will host all kinds of art, including cinema & talks
The Party
Soon enough it was time for the Fireworks party.  
The BBQ was ready, the food was set out, the hostess drinks ready - along with the beer, wine, martinis! 
We played host to the best guests this year -- along with family from near and far as in the Tarheel state, there was Joanne Trout (whom I adore and have worked with forever) and her beau, Mike, along with EunYoung, of tea ceremony and Randalls Island rice-growing fame (and ceramics and Eni Puzzles and… too talented just for one!) EunYoung and I worked together designing and doing Fine Gardening with my Duchess Designs. 
Our Garden Muse, Maria - & EunYoung - and that Sex cake!

It's an honor to know EunYoung.  
She brought a very special guest with her, Koichi-San from the Japanese Consulate.  Double Honor!  He raved about Bill's "skill at the grill" and said the hot dogs were the best ever and the burgers were tied for the top with Gramercy Tavern's!  I cannot wait to tease my culinary friend: executive chef, cookbook author, James Beard award-winning chef and co-owner of Gramercy, Chef Michael Anthony -- ha!  I will challenge chef to a burger cook-off!

And the birthday cakes.  It's Mother's birthday July 3 so we celebrate this firecracker's special day every year after the fireworks display -- it's all for her, really :)  
This year my niece, Marissa, visited with her beau, - oh wait - that's her sister Lauren's husband's name: Beau.  Marissa's beau is Ed.  Now that that's all straight - ha. 
Anyway, Marissa's birthday is July 3 also so two firecracker celebrations this year.  
Marissa chose a gorgeous chocolate shell-strewn cake from James Beard award-winning chef Marie from the Flaky Tart.  
My garden client Maria made a scandalously good cake called, "Is it Really Better than Sex?"  
It got two thumbs up from all and everyone seemed to come back for more - and not just to repeat the moniker!  If you ask nicely, perhaps she'll share her secret recipe…  
Mother making a wish over the Sex cake !! This is so wrong but so delicious ! 

Both cakes played well with the homemade ice cream too. 


Next day was Bloody Marys after massage on the porch terrace overlooking the bay and gardens.  This is heaven. 
Here our house guest, Wendy, is enjoying the spa treatment massage therapist, Sharon Chessman, Integrative Healing. Sharon is also an aromatherapist and gave me some potent rose and lavender oil that I love. Do you know about the metrics of the healing oils?

We even got to the beach for lunch and a tour of Sandy Hook park - we showed Ken & Wendy the lighthouse there -- the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States and along with the Twin Lights, guards New York harbor.   
As hort trivia: where there is poison ivy on Sandy Hook, the hort rangers have brought in goats to reduce or eliminate the spread of the virulent, noxious weed.  
Sandy Hook National Park Lighthouse framed by graceful trees
It was back home for cocktails and delicious leftovers as the sun was starting to fade to orange and pink… and we sat amid the red, white, and blue - flowers...

With Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island winking back at us, we said farewell to a truly wonderful Independence Day weekend and the official kick-off to summertime.

And all that sparkled this holiday weekend wasn't in the heavens but right here in our own Glamorous Garden…
Come to think of it, gardens are a bit of heaven on earth.

Enjoy your sweet, glamorous gardens this season.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Register for NYBG Second Annual Hortie Hoopla

NYBG's Fran Coelho, explains Plant ID to 2013 "Horties"
Last year The New York Botanical Garden and the School of Professional Horticulture hosted the first-ever, NYC-area, Green Industry Intern Field Day, "Hortie Hoopla," to increase awareness and inform young people interested in a career in horticulture, ecology, landscape design, and ecological restoration.
Geared toward people who want to improve our environment and the world by working with plants, the event gathered more than 80 attendees from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and even North Carolina, proving that horticulture is alive and thriving.
NYBG and the School of Professional Horticulture invite you once again to join us on Wednesday, July 23, at 10 a.m. for Hortie Hoopla II.
This free event is more than just fun and games. 
It includes informative and inspiring sessions throughout the day,
Director of SOPH, NYBG, Charles Yurgalevitch welcomes Horties to 1st Hortie Hoopla
including remarks from top horticulturists and garden designers, a career info session, a plant ID contest, and numerous tours, plus time to network and create contacts in the industry.  

This free event is for horticultural interns (18 and older), accompanied by no more than two staff members from your organization.
Registration is required. Please R.S.V.P. with the names and e-mail addresses of each person attending to Eric Lieberman, or 718.817.8580.
Space is limited, so register early. If you registered by June 30, your name was  automatically entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate.  I learned from NYBG’s Charles M. Yurgalevitch, Ph.D., 
Director, School of Professional Horticulture, there are just about 100 "Horties" already registered and the event will be capped at 125 – so don’t delay. Register now.
Just look at the extraordinary line up of talks and garden tours. And Hort “stars” including my garden idol, Lynden Miller, and Ken Druse - a true Hort treasure (I am a card-carrying member of the Ken Druse fan club!), along with Hort "Rock Stars" Uli Lorimer, BBG (we’ve had some grand times on the Martha Stewart Show- showcasing Uli’s plant knowledge for the domestic diva); and Nick Storrs – a smart, eloquent speaker and farmer who I’ve had the great pleasure of enjoying his talks at The Hort, this year’s Food Tech Conference and a tour of the Randall’s Island farm and rice paddy!
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Welcome – Charles M. Yurgalevitch, Ph.D., Director of the School of Professional Horticulture
My Stories – Four inspiring bios by successful horticulturists who started as interns:
Uli Lorimer, former intern and gardener at Wave Hill, now Curator of the Native Flora Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 

Lynden B. Miller, public garden designer in New York City and director of The Conservatory Garden in Central Park. 

Annie Novak, co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Manager of NYBG's Edible Academy. 

Nick Storrs, former intern at the Last Resort Farm, now the Urban Farm Manager at Randall's Island Park Alliance.
The State of Horticulture in 2014 - Ken Druse, award-winning garden writer, photographer, author of 20 books, and host of the weekly radio program "Real Dirt."  
Ken Druse, 2013 Keynoter, Hortie Hoopla

Keynote Speaker - Joseph Tychonievich, freelance garden writer/speaker, plant breeder, and author of Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener.
12–1 p.m. – Career Information Session and Lunch
1–4 p.m. – Tours
Native Plant Garden, Azalea Garden, and Thain Family Forest
Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Home Gardening Center, Perennial Garden, and Ladies' Border
LuEsther T. Mertz Library, William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory

Plant ID Contest throughout the afternoon
5:30 p.m. to dusk – BBQ, fun and games in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden  

Early Registration for this year’s Green Industry Intern Field Day ends today.
By registering early, your name and the names of your interns will automatically entered in a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate! 

It will still be possible to register for this exciting event after today. 

If you know of other organizations with interns, please forward this to them.

I wrote about the successful Hortie Hoopla premiere last year – see the Garden Glamour post here:

Sponsors of this year's Hortie Hoopla include Rodale Press and Town And Gardens.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gardening as Therapy - submitted by Garden Glamour's First Guest Blogger

Therapy Garden at Merwick: photo courtesy Design for Generations, LLC

Gardening as Therapy 
Written and contributed by Garden Glamour reader, Emma Noble.
Emma first wrote to me in May asking to write a guest blog post after her research led her to Garden Glamour.  Emma explained she is a business and finance writer and that after working for several medium-sized businesses, motherhood saw her switch to freelance writing on those topics – as well as her interests in transportation and conservation.
Lucky for us.
I think Emma’s piece on Gardening as Therapy is engaging, informative and peppered with helpful tips on creating healthy, sustainable, beneficial gardens.  Hope you agree.  Looking forward to your feedback for Emma and me. 
Gardening as Therapy
That gardening is good for you seems an intuitive truth, and one embraced at Garden Glamour
What can be more restful and invigorating than picking fresh corn from your beautiful yet productive 'three sisters' bed, or reaching only so far as your window box for a handful of herbs to pep up a salad or make a cup of tea. Add to this the physical element of gardening, as well as the joy of being outdoors and appreciating the world around us, and you have a satisfying combination. 
The health benefits of gardening are well recognized, and include long-term health improvements through moderate exercise and increased levels of vitamin D from being outdoors.
Gardening is an inherently social activity - garden lovers like nothing more than swapping tips with others, debating the weather and the likely successes of new plants. The sense of community - real or virtual through web forums and discussion groups, can contribute significantly to mental well-being and happiness.
Add to this the benefit of growing your own vegetables and fruit, should you choose to, and the local, fresh and organic crops that can be produced in even the smallest of areas are an added bonus to physical health.
Gardening is an endeavor requiring long term commitment and therefore it lends itself to lifestyle changes over years and decades rather than the short bursts of activity associated with attending a gym - meaning you end with gradual changes made in a sustainable way towards better mental and physical well being.
What is therapeutic horticulture?
In addition to the everyday benefits of gardening as a relaxing and energizing hobby, there lies the branch (excuse the pun) of therapeutic horticulture.  

According to the American Horticulture Therapy Association, treatment with horticulture therapy has existed in one form or another since the 19th century, although its use broadened following the end of World War II, when it moved away from the realm of treating mental health issues exclusively and was used to support returning war veterans. This form of therapy is now used in a variety of community, rehabilitative and vocational settings, and can help in both physical rehabilitation and in supporting the cognitive development of individuals struggling with memory loss, problems with socialization or other issues.   
Healing Gardens at Kimball Medical Center: photo courtesy of Design for Generations, LLC.
This therapy is also used in social and charitable organizations across the world, helping those who are isolated through physical or mental disability or social exclusion.
What makes a garden therapeutic?
Here at Garden Glamour, we are all for beautiful, relaxing, well designed outdoor spaces. A therapeutic garden is a specifically designed space, and will depend on the purposes and visitors for whom it is intended. Gardens may be designed with access, rehabilitation or healing in mind, and include a focus on sensory planting, for color, fragrance and to attract life into the garden. Therapy can be as simple as individuals spending time outdoors and appreciating the beauty of nature, building strength for rehabilitation through the gentle exercise of gardening, or specific talking therapies carried out in the outdoor environment to improve comfort and make participants feel more at ease with the conversation. Although many therapeutic gardens are specifically designed, such spaces do not in fact depend on elaborate garden design or architecture, but can be created more simply to suit the individual needs of gardeners and their families.
How to get started?
If you're a complete beginner, a great place to start is through reading for inspiration, either online resources or print texts that will help with step by step details and design ideas.
Further ideas and advice can be found through talking to fellow gardeners - friends and neighbors will know what will flourish depending on your local weather and soil conditions, and can be a great source of inspiration and ideas. 
Local gardening supply stores such as Mecox, can also help when planning your garden, both with necessary products, including specialist planting and design ideas, and words of wisdom. Alternatively you can contact local Master Gardeners, state cooperative extensions, Garden Clubs, or the American Horticultural Society
And of course, don't forget to look through the Garden Glamour archive for ideas too.

Further ideas and advice can be found through talking to fellow gardeners - friends and neighbors will know what will flourish depending on your local weather and soil conditions, and can be a great source of inspiration and ideas. Alternatively try the wealth of internet resources for ideas and planning tools.
Kudos, Emma!  
Many thanks.  Looking forward to your next Guest Blog post.