Longing for spring

Heather Champ’s pictures of the flowering trees in San Francisco never cease to amaze me. Simply lovely, and make me long for spring when our trees in New York City aren’t close to blossoming yet.

If you live someplace snowy

I've been a Martha Stewart Living subscriber for years now, and there's always something neat in each magazine that I want to do. This month's magazine (December 2005) has a great snow pillar idea. You pack snow into a Bundt pan and make "cakes" then stack them and put a candle inside! The pictures in the magazine are better than the single one shown online, but you can get the idea. In the mag, they have several pillars lining the walkway up to a house. If I had a nice walkway to a house, I'd totally do this!

The joy of the outdoor shower

Outdoor ShowerA common feature at beach houses in New England is the outdoor shower. (It may be common at other beach houses in other places too, but I don't have experience with that.) It's supposed to keep people from getting the inside of the house all sandy after a day at the beach, make it easy for a quick rinse off of salt, etc., and probably also handle the extra bathing requirements of a house full of guests. But beach day or not, hot day or cool, I use the outdoor shower whenever I possibly can! Because there's something so pleasant about taking a shower outside — watching the trees bend in the wind and the clouds move across the sky and listening to the birds twitter and squeak. Unlike the indoor shower, which is dark and cramped, outdoors the feeling is expansive, almost wild. I feel it lends itself to the best shower thinking and day dreaming. It's just such a nice start or end to the day. The true end of summer for me is marked by the day when I have to return to the indoor shower.

The miracle of life in a dead garden

With all my travel, my fire escape garden has been sorely neglected. In fact, nearly everything out there is dead. Most stuff did not survive last summer/fall, and what managed to hang on died this spring. Everything that is except my pinks, which are growing well and on the verge of exploding with blossoms.

So yesterday I leaned out the window to clean some dried dead stuff out of the container (old dried pinks from last summer) and as I did so, I moved a dead rose plant out of the way. All of the sudden, there was a huge fluttering of wings and lots of cooing, and right there, nestled between two containers was a momma dove and her nest of eggs!! I hadn't noticed the nest because it wasn't visible from my window, but there it was once I moved a pot. I quickly replaced it, and momma dove settled back onto her nest.

Now I just need to figure out a way to view the nest and watch the family's progress without disturbing them. Perhaps a small camera mounted on the railing of the fire escape? Last spring a dove family created a home in my neighbor's window box. I wonder if it's the same family, this time relocated to have a nest with more of a view? I can't wait to watch and see when the babies are born!

A new Nantucket perennial garden

cranesbill geranium from gardenOne of the things I did while on Nantucket was plant a new perennial garden along the edge of the lawn. My Nantucket Perennial Garden gets lots of sun, so I picked plants that would thrive with sun. I also selected plants that were relatively tough, since the soil is sandy and during the summer it can get pretty dry.

It took about three days of work to get the garden completed, and my mom helped me get all the plants into the ground. It was lots of fun, and if I had more money to buy plants, I'd keep extend the garden along the rest of that edge of the lawn. For now, what's there will suffice. And who knew I could make a stone wall? Not me.

Gardens cool and trendy now

"The Blog Generation Takes Up Its Trowels" is a New York Times article on young urban gardners, many of whom are artists. The article describes, "a passion that is blossoming among a certain segment of culturally plugged-in urban 20-somethings and early-30-somethings. They may not own backyards, but they are determined to make things grow." Why that sounds just like me! Alas, I found the article annoying and hipstery, but I'm happy that more people are discoverying the joys of gardening.

Also, what? "The Blog Generation"? Egad.

Garden ahoy!

The Bountiful ContainerOne bitterly cold weekend day in January, I sat on my bed with McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container at my side and began sketching my plans for this year's fire escape garden. The goals: everything (or nearly everything) would be edible so I could cook with it; good smelly flowers, so cuttings could be brought indoors; and hardier specimens, such as a lavender that's hardy to 0° so many plants will (hopefully) survive the winter. Yesterday, I reworked some plans and placed orders. And during a scouting expedition to the garden center, I purchased a pink primrose. It now sits on my windowsill, harkening spring.

You too can begin your garden now (where now equals planning and ordering but not necessarily planting since I don't know where you live and what you're planting!), and I cannot recommend the Bountiful Container more strongly. This book has proved so useful time and time again, and I constantly return to its pages for the handholding that I, a novice green thumb, require.