May 20, 2012
I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to come up with a topic for The Once A Week Page and here it is, the end of the week, and I have nothing. So what am I going to do? I’m going to cheat.
Instead of giving you a helpful suggestion for something you can do to live a more sustainable life I’m going to post photos I’ve taken. Some are of my work, some from my own garden, and some from a recent trip. Since these are all photos I’ve taken myself I ask that you let me know if you use them for more than just personal use. Thank you.
I took this at the Na’ Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kauai, Hawaii. I love the texture of the leaf and the way the leaf comes together in the middle.
So as to not bore you I am going to limit my posting of photos. But I did have fun sharing my photo adventures so perhaps I’ll do this again in the future.
February 24, 2012
When I was working in Brooklyn a lot of my clients had young kids and many would say the same thing to me, ‘I want something low maintenance. I’d love to have a lawn for my kids and some roses.’
Let me explain why these things are mutually exclusive. First of all we’ll talk about the roses. Most roses don’t like high humidity or stagnant air, two things Brooklyn is full of. I’m not saying you can’t grow beautiful roses in Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden does, but they are not low maintenance. Second, they have thorns. Kids are, by nature, curious. You can see where this could lead to a trip to the hospital.
Lawns. By lawns most people mean some kind of turf grass that is either seeded or put down as sod. A lawn requires a tremendous amount of work. Here, in a nutshell, is why. The vast majority of perennials, which includes grasses, has a natural life-cycle. It starts out as a seed, grows (hopefully) into a seedling and then into a full-fledged plant. It blooms, develops its own seeds which it drops and then goes into a resting period we call dormancy, although dormancy can take different forms with different types of plants.
Now, imagine you planted a perennial bed and every time it got to be a few inches tall you mowed it down. That’s what a lawn is. Every time those plants get to be 2 or 3 inches tall you mow them down and they have to start all over again. This is why turf lawns require so much water and so many nutrients.
My solution for people who wanted an area in their yard where their kids could crawl around or play but didn’t want the hassle or environmental drawbacks of having a turf lawn was to install what I call an Alternative Lawn. For sunny yards certain species of Thyme work very well; although it is important to choose the right kind. I’ve experimented and some varieties do not work but some work marvelously. My dad has two Malamutes – the male is 90 pounds – who roughhouse on the Thyme lawn I installed on their property. After three years it is holding up just fine. There are other options for less sunny locations and even areas in full shade.
If you are not ready to completely forgo your turf lawn there is a lot of good information out there about how to shrink your lawn or plant a native lawn. The Lawn Reform Coalition is a great resource. One of their founders, Evelyn Hadden, has just released a book called Beautiful No Mow Yards which has received rave reviews.
February 22, 2012
THE ONCE A WEEK POST FOR FEBRUARY 22 2012
I found this Vertical Wall on Urban Garden‘s site and chose it for the first Once a Week post because, well, not only do I love it, but it is made from cinder blocks which can often be found at construction sites; it is easy to build; won’t cost a fortune and is cool looking but not so hip it will make the rest of your garden look immediately out dated.
Zac Benson built the wall (and took the beautiful photographs of it) in his California home. He is a succulent collector and felt this would be a great way to display them.
You can read the full article here which has instructions on how to build it but it’s not that difficult. Plus, with this design you can start small and add on; either up or out.
February 11, 2012
Historically awas used to describe a row of hedges or low growing trees that were used to form a border or boundary. Theses days, however, the term has taken on a whole new meaning.
, also referred to as and Vertical Gardens, are basically gardens that grow up rather than out. Up a previously built wall or a wall that was created specifically for thee purpose of planting.
According to their facebook page it is made from old pallets. I love when recycling and great esthetics come together.
May 24, 2009
I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for some time. Mostly because, no matter how many times I tell myself I am going to keep a Salvia bloomed early this year,’ but by the time I get in the door I’ve completely forgotten.journal, I never do. And I know I should. So many times I’ll look at the garden when I get home and think ‘I really should write down that the
So, here we go…
I thought I’d start off my blog with an amusing story. When I was a kid my Dad always had a garden, a pretty big one by suburban standards. Weekends were when he did most of his work in the garden and often he would wake me up early in the morning to help him weed oror look for slugs. And it was always hot and humid and I was always sneezing and getting dirty and I swore that when I grew up I would never have a garden.
About five years ago I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and into an apartment that had a yard. The yard was a wreak. Three foot high weeds, chunks of concrete, broken bottles, a rusty screen door. The task of making this yard usable seemed daunting but I had specifically looked for an apartment with outdoor space so I certainly wasn’t going to waste it.
So, I started cleaning it out. Once it was clear I thought, well, if I have all this outdoor space I really should plant something. I got a few perennials at the Green Market at Borough Hall and planted them in the yard. A friend gave me an azalea, another a basil plant. The plants did okay but not great.
I called my dad and asked him what I should do. He said turn over the soil and add some compost. I started turning over the soil and went to the garden center and bought a few bags of compost and somewhere in there between chopping down weeds taller than I am and picking out a rusty screen door and digging inmanure I became a gardener.