Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mossy cool and exotic blooms at the Caribbean exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden

Warm and tropical. Oh so relaxing.

The Caribbean exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden Conservatory

More NYBG Caribbean exhibit deliciously vibrant colors.

Lush tropical gardens at the Caribbean exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden

In the conservatory at the Caribbean exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.   I visited last week after my class with my friend, Anne, and we enjoyed the warm humidity on a gray February day.  Unfortunately, the show just ended, but the orchid show starts soon.                    

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cherry tree in full bloom in my neighborhood last spring 2010

IMG_0329, originally uploaded by cindy.juliano.
Just like everybody else around here, I'm feeling a bit of spring fever with this 50+ degree weather. The crusty, gray-ish (ok, black-ish) snow is finally melting and its resulting rivers are pouring down the sides of our street. But most telling that spring is on the way is my eight year old wearing shorts to school today. He said to me after school,  "mom, I was the only third grader in shorts today!" I didn't know whether to share his excitement or feel a little embarrassed that I was the only mom who let their eight year old out the door in still 30 something degree weather this morning to head off to school in shorts. But, hey, these northeastern kids are tough, right? They play outside in much colder weather for hours skating on backyard hockey rinks, so why not give the kid a little freedom to express his "sick of winter" spirit? And as I sit here writing now, at 5:55pm, he's still outside in shorts with his brother and our neighbors playing street hockey. We're all so sick of winter at this point, and even though we had a little relative warmth today, we know we have at least another month of frigid, windy weather before the days really start to warm up. So I'm posting this photo I took last spring of one of the countless cherry trees that adorn Fairfield every spring. I love their fluffy, plump pink blossoms that last for a couple of weeks until the wind kicks in again and blows their petals, like more snow, all over our streets. They are a sure sign that spring has arrived, consistently warm days are fast approaching, and shorts will soon be worn by all to school!

The butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in NYC

IMG_0128, originally uploaded by cindy.juliano.

What a beauty this one didn't want to leave Mark's hand. He wants to be a cartoonist and a marine biologist when he grows up -- tough decision since his two loves are drawing and animals. He also loves gardens, thank goodness, because I have a companion to come with me to explore and play in gardens all over New York and Connecticut!

Butterflies everywhere...

IMG_0146, originally uploaded by cindy.juliano.

This tropical exhibit, although very warm and very humid, was such a nice respite from the snow and cold on a gray January Saturday.

The butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in NYC

IMG_0159, originally uploaded by cindy.juliano.

Mark and I visited in January, and as always, the butterflies flocked to him and his bright green shirt. I'm not sure if it's the green or just the fact that he is such a critter lover. All animals who come in contact with Mark, whether four, six or eight legged, seem to love him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hydrangea fever in February

I'm going to use this post to give a hydrangea grower and seller in Palmetto, Georgia a much deserved review.  Wilkerson Mill Gardens, simply on the web, is one of the best sources I've found to buy my favorite plant online.  Their website,, has the most beautiful and varied collections of hydrangeas I've found anywhere.  I've bought unique varieties for my mother in law when she lived on Long Island, NY, and now in North Carolina, and also for my Mom and Dad who live outside of Atlanta.  Each of the plants has been strong and gorgeous and has grown into a mature, consistent bloomer.  One of my favorites is the 'Ayesha Mophead'.  Go to their website and check it out.  It has the most adorable little cup shaped petals and its blooms last all season and dry perfectly.  There are just too many cultivars to go on about here.  I urge you to go to their website and see them all.  They are also so gracious and helpful on the phone if you need to call them and ask them any questions at all that you have about hydrangeas.  And they know what will grow in all zones and regions of our country.  They grow the plants themselves and lovingly care for them all, so they aren't open all the time.  But they do open to the public in late February, so if you live in Georgia or are passing through, you should go visit.  I've never been able to visit myself, but I am hankering to and can't wait until I can.  Maybe this year....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Talk about using your imagination...

The ice covered tundra outside the conservatory cafe courtyard at the New York Botanical Garden on Monday...we were sent over to observe and measure (which proved impossible with all the snow) for our design project.  We are charged with creating our own designs for this courtyard - which is a challenge with all the snow covering the landscape. Talk about a blank slate!