While composing this painting of the light blue irises, I began to visualize the rhythmic composition in the famous painting “The Dance” by Henri Matisse. I often visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC where his work is prominently displayed.
I find his painting joyous. Buoyant. This is how I felt while creating this painting.
In October of 2012, Superstorm Sandy felled 4 large Oak trees in my woodland garden. We were lucky that was the only damage we suffered in that severe storm other than loss of electricity. Instantly my garden went from full shade to sunshine a dappled shade. What a transformation for it and for me.
After a period of mourning, I started rethinking, planning and studying what to do with this newfound daylight.
One of the mighty Oak trees was left with an interesting sculptural remnant which I originally planned to keep in remembrance of what had been. As usual, I changed my mind as I started designing and replanting. I change my mind all the time as I work in my garden.
I decided to plant a Heritage River Birch, Betula nigra “Heritage” in memory of my Uncle Teddy who introduced me to gardening. As a child visiting him in Schenectady from my treeless home in Brooklyn, he one day found me peeling the bark from one of his many white birch trees. When he asked me to stop as I was pulling the “skin” from the tree and hurting it, I looked around and realized that the entire garden was alive. I was transformed!
So this tree is for him, Theodorus Hendrik Gerrits, 1914 – 1991. Thank you!
Recently I was asked about replanting trees after the destruction of Storm Sandy. I’ve given a lot of thought to this issue since my garden lost 4 large oaks which were living here before I moved into the shade they kindly provided me.
Following the storm, my arborist Ron Strauss of Tree Believers, (631-864-5514) sent his newsletter , “The Root of the Matter”, with recommendations of what to and what not to replant. Here is what he said:
We recommend that you do not re-plant using the following species of trees (all commonly planted in LI landscapes) that did not endure the storms well.
- Emerald Green Arborvitae
- Leyland Cypress
- White Pine
- Red Oak
- Norway or Crimson King Maple
- Flowering Pear
- Douglas Fir
- Weeping Willow
Now to the question of planting recommendations his list included:
- Sugar maple
- White Oak
- Dawn Redwood
- Green Giant Arborvitae
- Weeping Cherry
- Hollywood Juniper
- Crape Myrtle
For our smaller gardens, trees that I recommend and have or will be planting are:
- Dogwood ‘Stellar Pink’ (this is one of the disease resistant Rutgers hybrids) 15-30’ ht & spread. Pink flowers in early summer.
- Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana. Quite slow growing 30’ht, 20’ spread. Decorative bark. White flowers in early summer. Single or multi-trunk.
- Heptacodium miconoides, Seven-son flower. (recommended by Katherine Tracey of Avant Gardens) 15-20’ ht by 8-10’ spread. Full sun. Bloom time:Sept.
For more particulars of each of these trees, don’t forget to search Google for more information to help you make the right investment choice for your own garden.
For the past 25 years I’ve cultivated my woodland gardens. For the first decade I cleared the tangled woods, studied the indigenous plants, planned paths and materials. I worked on creating a natural looking shade garden focusing on the large oak trees and Kalmia that inhabited this spot of land before I showed up. A lot of thinking and sweat went into this garden. I selected what shrub trees, like the untold numbers of small … Continue reading →
Here are some tidbits of information about some of American’s favorite pies. Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins are vining annual plants that are part of the Cucurbitaceae or Cucumber family. They are actually winter squash named Cucurbita pepo with the oldest pumpkin related seeds found in Mexico dating back to between 7000 & 5500 BC. Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica but the traditional American pumpkin that we are familiar with is the Connecticut Field … Continue reading →
BULBS Bulbs (which are referred to as “true bulbs”) grow in layers, much like an onion. At the very center of the bulb is a miniature version of the flower itself. It is composed of a shortened stem covered with modified leaves called scales. Helping the bulb to stay together is something called a basil plate, which is a round, flat area that are the beginnings of the roots on the bottom of the bulb. … Continue reading →
Daffodils are classified using two parts of the flower. For the purpose of this description, the daffodil is divided into two regions, the perianth (petals) and corona (cup). In further classifying daffodils the perianth (petals) is described by identifying first the outside edge of the petal, then the middle, and lastly the inside part next to the corona. The information I am providing in this article is gleaned from two sources, The American Daffodil Society … Continue reading →
The question was posed as to why some Hellebore’s can be entered into Flower Show judging and others are rejected. Here’s the long answer. Understanding the botany of the Hellebore will help explain the answer to the Flower Show suitability. The attraction and colors of the Hellebore, Figure #1, are not supplied by petals but rather sepals. Petals are usually lost after a flower is fertilized but sepals and bracts don’t suffer the same fate … Continue reading →
My thermostat read 10° last night so when it’s that cold I tend to warm myself by planning what I will be doing this coming year in my garden. It is the calm before the storm. I like to read so with a hot cup of coffee and sometimes a blanket over my lap I settle down to a good book of how others tend their gardens seeking inspiration and camaraderie. I read new books … Continue reading →