Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I wish I could figure out how to make my blog wider so I don't have the green margins.  I'd love to see my posts and photos go all the way to the edges of my blog so they'd be bigger.  I would also love to know how to make the photos on the right hand side bigger -- the widget photos.  If anyone reading this has any ideas, please send me an email or a post.  Thanks!  And if it's anything about editing html, it'll be lost on me.  I've tried that, and I can't figure it out.  Uggghhhh...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fairfield beach area scenes on a warm fall walk this morning

And more from my walk this morning.  See below two posts for the rest of my photos from today.  Amazing, perfect day.  This is the kind of day when I love New England best.  Talk to me in January...

More Fairfield beach area scenes today

Scenes from the neighborhood on my walk this morning.  I love the moss on that wall, and no matter how many Falls I experience, the intensity of the colors always surprises me. I can't get enough, and my daughter (to my total amazement after almost 17 years of hearing me say "honey, look at that tree!) even said to me this morning that she was looking out the window at school noticing the beautiful colors yesterday.  She  said, "I felt like you, Mom!".  It only took almost 17 years of pointing the Fall leaves out to her!!

Fall trees this morning...glorious

Fall trees on my walk this morning - I know my blog is about gardening by the Long Island Sound, but these trees are only a couple of blocks from the beach.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rosa Rugosa is loving our Autumn

Still going strong with our cool, almost cold, nights.  Roses up here love the chillier night air and 60+ degree days of October. Maybe that first frost will hold off a little while longer so we can soak in the scent and pretty pinks of these lovely, hardy anchors of our Fall gardens.

Irises in the Fall?

Ok, this is a new one for me.  I took this photo of these Fall blooming irises - actually re-bloomers I figured out after a little googling - at a neighbors' house a few streets over.  I've never seen them around here, and frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about them. Seeing this periwinkle hued iris in the Fall is kind of like seeing Christmas stuff in the stores in July...unsettling, unwelcome, and well, just plain wrong.  I admit though, when I first saw them they did give my blue flower starved heart a happy jolt, but then I got that feeling of "what are you doing here?". I'm just going to let my beloved irises continue their long nap so when they pop their new green tips up next March in our first warm spell, I'll know Spring is really on the way back to New England.

Hydrangeas' Fall colors

Here are some views of my various hydrangeas' Fall hues.  I just love their flowers and their foliage in every color they grace me with from Spring til Fall and even Winter when their brown, crispy flowers hang on through fierce winds, sleet and snow.  They are the most appreciated symbol of hope for yet another Spring in my garden.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My visit to the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC on October 10, 2010

I visited the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday, and since I didn't expect too much, I was actually fairly blown away.  I've visited this museum before, but not in a long time, and I probably scooted right by the sculpture garden on my last visit with not much thought on my way to some more traditional art exhibit, I'm sure.  But since I've been studying at the NYBG, I've learned there are so many kinds of gardens, and they don't have to have flowers or many plants at all to be considered a "garden".   This sculpture garden was the perfect example.  There wasn't hardly a plant in sight, except for clumps of trees here and there and a few annuals thrown in for a little waning color.

In my Landscape Design History class we have to write our first paper on a visit we make to a public, historic or well known garden.  We aren't supposed to talk about how we feel about the garden or use qualitative descriptions, but instead we are challenged to describe the garden directly and let our reader make the judgment about whether the garden design is a success.

This garden was full of all kinds of sculpture from very modern to classical.  There was also a "wishing tree" designed by Yoko Ono where visitors could take a white tag and write their wish on it and hang it from the tree.  But what I think I loved best is how the garden came together as a restful spot for visitors to sit and relax or reflect, along with a playful area for children.  I saw several kids running and playing and enjoying the garden's design's fountains, paths and even taking in the sculptures.

I also loved how when you looked up you could see above the trees in the garden, into the blue sky and admire all the different architecture around the garden and the museum, from stark office buildings, to apartments and even to a church.  The design allowed the visitor to feel as if they were in an oasis in the middle of the crowded chaos of the museum and of course, the busy streets on a Fall Sunday in the city.
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall's Holdouts

More holdouts in my gardens. After an early spring everything is at least three weeks earlier fading, dying back and going to seed.  The black eyed susans have re-seeded all over from previous summers, and they keep the garden looking alive in the middle of the usual fall mess and detritus. The Russian sage  and catmint always revive themselves, too, in the cooler weather. An even though I hate how the goldenrod falls over on my pink phlox every summer, and I have to tie it up and trim it back, its bright yellow spires are so pretty right now - and they just glow in the late afternoon sunshine.

These tropical succulents are liking our cool Fall weather

Mark's tropical rock gardens are even loving the change to cool weather.  

Delightful Dahlias

These dahlias survived our extended summer heat and now they're loving the cool nights and warm, low humidity days. I just love them.  This color always makes me smile.

These greens and pinks are almost as pretty as their summer colors

My hydrangeas in their glorious fall shades.

Oh how I love thee coleus

Last coleus holdouts.  We'll get a frost soon and these annual beauties will be gone til next spring. I'll miss their varied colors and textures.  But I can't wait to get to the nurseries and pick out new and different ones - so many to choose from each year!

Fall scenes by Ash Creek

Scenes by Ash Creek yesterday.

Ash Creek as it leads out to the Long Island Sound

Ash Creek right by my house...this water is a calm oasis for kayakers, white egrets, blue herons and scores of fiddler crabs .  The tide is in when I took this photo yesterday but when it heads out, it empties into the Long Island Sound a couple of hundred yards away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Landscape Design vs. Garden Design

I've been taking courses at the New York Botanical Gardens for a year or so now with a focus in the Gardening track, hoping it will enhance my knowledge for my fledgling garden design business.  But I've made a big decision, after much debating (with myself) and worrying and anxiety, to switch to the Landscape Design track.  My first two courses started two weeks ago -- Graphics 1 and Landscape Design History.  After only two weeks I can tell already that I can't coast through these classes like I did in my Gardening classes.  Don't get me wrong, I still studied and read a lot in my Gardening courses, but now I am way deep (some might say over my head) in serious drawing and reading and writing.  Who was I kidding that I could handle two classes a week?  I have to drive all the way down to the Bronx and back -- a minimum hour and a half commute each way and more if accidents -- and take my three hour class on Monday and Wednesday, and by the time I get back it's almost time to pick up my kids at school.  So that's two days of my menial, but oh so necessary, housework, grocery shopping, laundry and kids' school stuff that doesn't get done.  And then there's the studying and drawing, which I am quickly realizing is going to take the other three days.  Oh my God!  But it's so much fun!  I absolutely love the graphics class -- today I learned how to use an adjustable triangle and a flexible ruler and also square off my angles on a slide ruler.  Last week we learned the intricacies of an architect's and engineer's ruler.  It's fast and furious, and we pack so much into our three hours, but I can actually use this stuff in my designs.  And the history class is incredibly interesting.  We are studying landscape design all the way back to Greek and Roman times and even further.  We will be visiting gardens on our own and writing papers about what we see, how we feel about the design and the designer and develop our own points of view based on it all.  My final project for graphics will be a full landscape plan and design that I will draw to scale and present to the class.  I think I made the right decision...if I can only keep up.