Wintertime in New York! Check back here every weekday to find a new photograph of what's blooming - or at least floral - this week in New York City.
Dec. 10. The most beautiful winter greenery can be found in Manhattan's Flower Market District, West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Here are four-foot swags just perfect for topping the table or a sideboard. Prices are near wholesale; however the shops, which open before dawn, close by 10AM.
Earlier in the year.....
Sept. 16. "Wishbone Flower" is an apt name for these cute-faced annuals, less than a foot tall. West Side Community Garden, 89th Street West of Columbus.
Sept. 8. I didn't know that liriope is a bumblebee plant (see lower center). This whirl of color and shapes on a backdrop of common coleus rivals anything seen at Fashion Week. Brownstone planting onWest 81st, near Columbus.
July 15. Results of torrential rains and a wee bit of hail: these starry gems aren't whole flowers, just the sepals on a rosebush in a brownstone garden on my block. All the petals were blown off! We can expect another day of this.
June 12. The Upper West Side's garden supporters will be out tonight for WSCG's Annual Spring Benefit, honoring new City Council member Helen Rosenthal and two founding members of the 40-year old community garden space. 6PM. Tickets at the door are $60. I'll be wearing a blue hat.
If that's not to your taste, the garden hosts a summer concert series as well.
Sunday at 6PM, there will be a concert of Brazilian music (viva World Cup!) That event is free, with snacks available for purchase - including tasty samplers provided by Broadway restaurant Big Daddy's.
Highlights from Spring 2014
April - Annual Tulip Festival at West Side Community Garden. Notice the invitation above for June - same color scheme?
March - Foliage Garden on 28th is one of the few shops in the flower district that welcomes the general public. Visit the shop on Saturdays to check out their amazing selection of orchids.
Highlights from Last Winter and 2013
December 18. Many street gardeners rely on ornamental cabbages for winter color. Too often they are just stuck in and not part of a design. Here's a much more beautiful yet still inexpensive treatment - imbedding the plants in a sweet, seasonal mixture of evergreens and berried branches. Found on West 80th Street, south of Columbus Avenue, around the corner from Andy's Deli.
December 4. Warmish weather finds some crocus poking out, under a hedge on West 89th Street. But rest assured it is not too late to plant spring bulbs.
November 22. Rows of paperwhite narcissus ready for shoppers down in the Flower District (West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues). Discovered another source for "cybermonday" shoppers - Trellis Fine Florals, which has a small office here and a recently updated website.
November 20. A cascade of chrysanthemums at West Side Community Garden. These types are known as "button mums" - barely an inch across. Old school.
November 19. Asters in Central Park. Yesterday was unseasonably warm...
November 18...so the park was full of people strolling, taking pictures of the autumn leaves. Here are some tourists snapping a Liquidambar (no it is not a maple, don't make that mistake yourself!) by the Great Lawn Oval.
November 15. A tumble of yellow mums fronting the Museum of Natural History on Columbus Avenue. Taking this picture, I am standing in the exact spot where the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin - in two weeks.
November 12. Purple cyclamen are not deterred by 30-ish temperatures. You'll find several gala groupings in the tree pits along West 81st Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. Bundle up!
November 11. Cheers for the red, white and blue this Veterans' Day!
The Veterans Day Parade in New York City runs about 11-2 all along Fifth Avenue, one of several events for veterans we are honoring today.
This particular photo is from West Side Community Garden, which will have its own "parade" this weekend - a parade of people planting 10,000 tulips! This free event is open to everyone with a cheerful spirit and itchy trowel finger; gloves and tools provided - and lunch for volunteers as well.
Early Autumn Archive:
September 17. A riot of liriope, corner of West 81st and Central Park West.
September 16. Rose-of-sharon on the Broadway Malls, at 74th Street.
August 29. How many crepe myrtles you can spot these days in streetscapes? I count a lovely dozen outside the Beresford (CPW & 81st) in shades of red and white, and this blush pink (90th bet. Columbus and Amsterdam).
August 26. Backlit cannas at the Museum of Natural History (81st & CPW).
August 21. Begonias bedeck the New York Public Library main branch (42nd St) There will be a gardening class taught at the Seward Branch on August 28.
August 13. Orange trumpet vine on a chain link fence, West 82nd off Columbus Avenue. This former garden site appears to be abandoned now.
August 12. Some jaunty pink Knautia, with zinnias and bronzy Phormium, on the Broadway Mall at 66th Street, across from Century 21 discount store. The white butterfly was an added bonus (upper left)!
August 6. Late summer roses outside of Alachi Masala restaurant on Columbus.
Week of July 29. Ironweed is prominent in the schoolyard garden created by the Columbus Avenue BID. The overall perennial mix is textural but not terribly original, including some native plants and border stalwarts such as catmint.
That said, the benches and the shade trees are very welcomed by neighbors.
July 24. Windowbox Wednesday once again! Here's the new star of the show, white phlox 'David' which is now in its fourth year, a good container flower.
July 23. First tomatoes from my community garden plot. Yippee!
July 22. Blue skies and black-eyed-susans at Citifield in Queens. Go Mets!
July 18. The Mary Garden at St. Vincent Ferrer (64th and Lexington is always a welcome explosion of color. Lyle Steele is the horticultural artist in residence.
July 11. Tiger lily - an unexpected find in a tree pit planting, on West 55th.
July 10. Con Ed is jackhammering outside my window, so it's time to move the Wednesday views to a calmer, cooler spot. Here's the garden courtyard of St. Stephen's (West 74th Street) with swimming-pool-blue hydrangea. Ahhh!
July 8. Back to work - take it easy in this heat. Here's a cool view of a hydrangea (West 74th Street near Columbus) that's purple rather than blue.
July 3. Allright, for the holiday week it's upstate New York in bloom. About 60 miles southwest of Ithaca; the forecast is for clouds of daylilies, cherry-picking, with intermittent thundershowers, followed by lobsters and ribs. Thanks, RS, for housesitting and watering the Wednesday flowerboxes today.
June 26. School's out but the summer garden at P.S. 9 continues with a celebratory burst of red monarda. (Columbus Avenue at West 84th)
June 24. Midsummers Day! One might be tempted to think this entryway garden is in London somewhere - but it's on West 81st Street (off Amsterdam)
June 19. At noon today the sun will conjunct Jupiter - which I'm told by astrology folks is a lucky stroke for millions on this planet. I felt lucky enough to come across this combination in a tree pit - just outside the City Diner on Broadway at 92nd Street. New Guinea impatiens with the caladium "Miss Muffet" - a dwarf caladium I used to grow myself. Good luck to all!
June 18. Central Park: a sunny day and sunny daylilies near Cleopatra's Needle, a genuine Egyptian obelisk. A nice place to eat lunch if you're there.
June 17. Another summer memory - camping with the Girl Scouts while the mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is in bloom. These were found in Central Park, near Belevedere Castle, and I've seen them for sale in the flower market on West 26th Street. I've also bonsaied one - the dwarf variety, 'Elf."
June 14.Happy Flag Day! The Weekend arrives...I was once told that Frederick Law Omstead felt that his Central Park landscape was inferior to designs he had seen in Europe, because it lacked majestic mountains as a backdrop. A half-century later the skyscraper magnates provided the missing element, seen here behind the Great Lawn.
June 13: Photographer and party guest Sarah Brooks provided this lovely souvenier of the rain-drenched gala fundraiser for West Side Community Garden. Many thanks to all the restaurants and local businesses who provided party food, drinks and raffle prizes - and to the volunteers who did it all.
June 12. Windowbox Wednesday! The first of the Asiatic lilies opened today.
June 11. Smells of summer growing up in Jersey: hot tar and privet in bloom. This one's across the street on 81st Street. The white flowers have a heavy, honey scent with just a touch of wet dog muskiness. I like it though.
June 10. Cheerful stand of yarrow in the P.S. 9 schoolyard (Columbus/84th).
June 6. Someone's trying an actual hedge of fragrant, tropical gardenias to hide their trash bins. (On West 83rd Street, next to the fire house). Bravo!
June 5. Windowbox Wednesday! Here's an array of roses at peak which I'm pretty proud of. (see May 22 for more info on this shade-loving rose).
June 3. Nothing cheers you up on a rainy Monday like a nice mani-pedi! Here's the floral entrance to Cindy's Nail Spa on Amsterdam (near 84th).
May 31.Okay, today we are indoors - at Bookexpo 2013 at Javits Center. Here's the busy booth for Timber Press, publishers of gorgeous and helpful gardening books! Small Space Container Gardens is one of their newest...
May 30. A blaze of rhododendron, in the Bronx, off Fordham Road.May 24. There are few plants that can stand up to major rainstorms, but alliums are all that and more. By the Museum of Natural History (81st St.)
May 22. It's Windowbox Wednesday, so now you can see that my rosebush is blooming in my windowbox. This is the durable 'Zepherine Droughin' bourbon - one of the few roses that will bloom in partial shade. So much in demand.
May 21. Iris are out. By the Museum of Natural History, near the dog run.
May 20. Three years ago a neighbor boldly planted a peony in her brownstone front yard. It has bloomed every year, but the blossoms last only a few days. Like spring thunderstorms, a peony blossom overwhelms but is too soon a memory. Here's a celebratory image, to honor intrepid gardeners of NYC.
May 17. A quick trip this morning to the Flower District. The mood was peppy at Associated (West 26th Street, West of 6th Avenue), where those in the know buy wholesale. You have to move fast! The store people are nice.
May 16. Pansies, for thoughts. (West 81st south of Columbus). Thought for Thursday: take time to enjoy small things, and look for smiles everywhere.
May 13. Cast and crew of Sesame Street shot a few segments at West Side Community Garden today. (West 89th Street) Schoolchildren from nearby P.S. 166 also got some time on camera; it was fun to watch them do their lines.
May 10. Heading to the 70's (the temps if not the cross-streets) but first a stop at Chelsea Garden Center, now fully loaded with annuals and vegetables for planting, plus the usual assortment of pricey but prime shrubbery. This weekend will be the best time to shop for plants - go forth and garden!
May 9. Another drizzly day. When things lighten up you might want to stroll this new section of the High Line. But see below as well!
On Sunday I went to see the new Native Plant Garden at the Bronx Botanical Garden. Do we see some similarities here?
The plant palette is practically identical: Eastern redbud, native phlox, birch trees, grasses, etc. Check out both and let's discuss!
May 8. This is still my favorite color combination of the spring (see April 22, below) and another nice tree-pit planting - on West 82nd Street.
May 7. It's been a great month for tulips. These grace a tree pit on West 44th Street, between 8th and Ninth Avenue (Hell's Kitchen).
May 6. Spent my birthday weekend looking at gardens, with my personal Garden Concierge. Stan K, my fiance (as of today).
April 24. Sunshine again, and warmer weather. By the weekend, the double-flower cherry trees at the Museum of Natural History (SW corner of 81st and Columbus) should be in full bloom. The show is brief, don't miss it!
April 22. The show continues at the West Side Community Garden's Annual Tulip Festival of 12,000 blooming tulips, West 89th Between Amsterdam and Columbus. Open daily - and new tulips blooming every day. Here's one of my favorite combinations so far:
Previously......Jan. 15. Witch hazel, this one with yellow flowers. At West Side Community Garden (89th between Amsterdam and Columbus).
Jan. 14. Mild weather brings out the frilly orange blooms in witch hazels in Central Park. This is at top of cedar hill, near the traffic light. The tiny dots behind are snowflakes, tiny bulbs normally in bloom this time of year.
Jan. 7. The folks at 925 Fifth (80th St) left the driedseed heads on their shrubby hydrangea as a counterpoint to the evergreens out front. Nice!
January 4. A slow start to the New Year. Not much out there - here are some ornamental cabbages outside of Parsons (7th Avenue at 40th Street). This is the site for Project Runway - Heidi I expect a bit more glamour! "We've seen this look before." Yes, it's not New School - it's old school. Landscape design challenge? Let's step it up, New York!
December 21. Seven dozen live white poinsettas and a myriad of potted live topiaries decorate the sanctuary at Holy Trinity Church, 82nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. Parish volunteers Joanne and Linda created this with plants supplied by Foliage Garden (26th Street). Some poinsettas are the size of bushel baskets! And the variegated holly is a marvel.
NY In Bloom will be taking a few days off for Christmas, but the holiday display at Trinity will continue through January 6th. Here are a few more views to get you in a holiday mood.
Past entries from Autumn etc......
September 14. Curb appeal: Nice effect in a brownstone courtyard on W81st.
A perfect autumn morning again. Next weekend I'll be teaching a class at West Side Community Garden on autumn vegetables. Flowers you can plant now to bloom till frost include these marigolds - yes, they're edible.
September 6 Fashion week starts today, so let's celebrate the texure and beauty of the world. This is the bark of a London plane tree, Museum of Natural History - how it looks in the rain like a Missoni sweater. You lichen?
September 5. Let's kick things off with Windowbox Wednesday - here's how my flower box "white garden" turned out. White phlox, New Guinea impatiens, white begonia, with hosta and heuchera (aka coral bells) providing the foliage framing. Later this week I'll be scouting the city for florals for Fashion week.
I'll be cleaning up the archive later. Here are some highlights from Spring:
April 13. An explosion of tulips launches the weekend Tulip Festival on West 89th Street in Manhattan:
Note: The floral display is a brief one, but the West Side Community Garden tulip extravangaza is open daily from dawn to dusk, and it's free. Enjoy the last week of April with this gorgeousness. Find it on 89th Between Columbus and Amsterdam, Subways 1, B, C to 86th Street. A broader view, below:
April 4. The garden at St. Vincent Ferrer (Lexington at 65th Street) contains many uncommon plants. This is Bishop's hat - a sunny spring perennial.
April 3. This festive entry is the Service Entrance to Trump Plaza, 62nd. St.
Mar. 28. Welcome to windowbox Wednesday - a weekly update of what's blooming in my own garden, a 2 x 5 balconette on the West Side. Unfurling now: blue periwinkles and the rosy foliage of coral bells. More to come!
Mar. 27. Star magnolia is one of several species of magnolia now blooming in Central Park. A large concentration can be found by Cleopatra's Needle (80's).
Mar. 26. You will see these white-flowered trees in bloom all over New York. Callery pear (P. calleriana) is sturdy and a good choice for a busy driveway too.
This grouping is along West 51st Street, near 10th Avenue.
Mar. 23. Cherry and plum trees are blooming now, again a bit early by a few weeks. This will be the weekend to enjoy them in their many shades of pink.
Mar. 22. This could be the hottest day of the year so far. Dress lightly and think cool thoughts. Here's a lovely trio of spring flowers - tulips, crocus and Lenten rose - spotted at the West Side Community Garden, which plans its Spring membership meeting on Weds. March 28. Come by and get info about the Giant Tulip Show scheduled for April 14-15, to include a photo contest.
Mar. 21. Another foggy morning marks the approaching Equinox. Here is more forsythia, blooming in the small frontcourt of a brownstown on West 81st. St.
Mar.20. Spring arrives today, officially. What better way to celebrate than the explosion of magnolia now in bloom in Central Park? Several trees are in bloom - just slightly west of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy!
Mar. 19. For many years I've noticed that almost exactly on the Vernal Equinox we get forsythia blooming along the transverse roads in Central Park. From the days when their cheery yellow blooms brightened my bus travel to the East Side, to the palmy spring rambles of the current year, it is nice to see that no matter how strangely warm the weather has been this winter, the forsythia keeps to its own schedule. Latitude - not warmth - spurs this hardy shrub.
Mar. 16. Begorrah, Central Park is starting to show a little wearin' of the green as spring approaches here. One of the best places to view the St. Patrick's Day Parade is north of 72nd Street on Fifth Avenue. It's less crowded and you can stroll in the park afterwards. I put together a little gardener's tour of Central Park for you, in case you're coming up the West Side (recommended again for less traffic!
Mar. 15 So many spring flowers are coming out now, it's no challenge to find something in bloom. So the new game is to find something unusual or rare. Central Park's Shakespeare Garden always has a few hidden gems. These are Iris reticulata, a true iris not more than five inches high.
Mar. 14. Sunny, warm, and daffodils everywhere. These decorate the Elementary School at Columbus at 83rd. King Alfreds, most likely.
Mar. 12,13. Once again we wake up in darkness, but the air is moist and spring-like, warming. Tiny treasures loom larger, such as this blooming heather, a surprise in the foundation plantings outside 230 Central Park West.
Another small white object is a quince, in Central Park, off the railings near the Swedish Marionette Theatre. Quince usually blooms before forsythias.
Mar. 9. At home today, waiting for a plumber to arrive. So here's a window view - the little greenhouse holds a new Clivia and some orchids I picked up at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Spring fever? see suggestions on the Events Page.
Mar. 1. Daffodils, somewhat early, but welcomed on a blustery day in NYC.
Feb. 27.The most striking image today is winter bark, this paper birch (Central Park, by the Marionette Theatre). Not strictly a bloom but apppreciated.
Feb. 23, 24. When we have mild winters it is helpful to realize that violas are biennials, wintering over from fall till spring. So I wasn't surprised to find these. The blue one's near a condo in Philadelphia, the yellow one from the Shakespeare garden in New York's Central Park. Unusual but not rare.....
...to be in bloom in late winter. I was happy to see the blue one today.
Feb. 22. Mild winter or not, this is the season we start to see snowdrops. Here's a nice grouping by the Diana Ross Playground (8lst and CPW) but you'll see them all over Central Park this week. Bot name is Galanthus,very hardy.
Feb. 21.Well another week gone by and I've yet to identify our mystery vine. Narrowing it down, it is either Jasminum nudiflorum (winter jasmine) or Gelsemium sempervirens (Confederate Jasmine). The yellow flowers have six petals and are quite scentless. The vines are long and trailing. Any ideas?
Ever notice how so many early bloomers are yellow? Here's a shot showing its habit, on the Winterdale Arch near the Bridle Path:
Feb. 16-17. Philadelphia again - this time enjoying the new landscaping around 30th Street Station.The new plaza has planters full of winter season interest, including some stubby witch hazels that are now in bloom. I had no idea you could get them this small! It's about 2 feet tall at most:
Nice touch to pair this coral bells (Heuchera) which I have in my windowbox. Witch hazel are truly nice plants for an urban landscape (see Feb. 1, below) I'm more familiar with the ones in Central Park. Those are blooming now as well. I put a weekend walk together for you...enjoy the weekend!
Feb. 15. Just a reminder that berries provide winter color too, something obviously not lost on the owner of this brownstone (82nd, between Amsterdam & Columbus). This holly brightens a dreary day. Look below for an orange-toned burst of berries from the small hawthornes planted in the courtyard.
Feb. 14. Valentine's Day. Love is as changeable as the price tags at the roses stand at Penn Station. Wherever you are headed, take time to tell that special person how much they mean to you!
Feb. 10. It's Friday, so you deserve roses for lasting the week. But it's below freezing today, so the only thing decently in bloom are these ornamental cabbages at the Museum of Natural History (by Subway entrance, 77th Street). This is a look we are tired of -- but the use within a framework of traditional carpet bedding looks appropriate given the monumental architecture nearby.
Feb. 9. A few signs of spring to come: this is andromeda (Pieris), a winter hardy shrub related to rhododendrons. The buds open pinky-white; these were planted last fall in the small front courtyard of a brownstone on 81st. Street.
Feb. 8. In Philadelphia today, seeing my first crocus of the year, by the green of Christ Church in the Old City (2nd and Market). Founded in the 1770's, the churchyard is a burial ground for famous Revolutionary War patriots - and the green itself is an active and cheerful dog park!
Feb. 7. More mild weather, encouraging purple hellebores, by the Diana Ross playground in Central Park. There's so much around I put together a little tour for you, and put it on Yahoo:
Feb. 6.I've spent most of the weekend trying to identify this flowering vine I found in Central Park. It's a bit fragrant and clearly an early bloomer. Caroline Jessamine (Gelseminium?) A type of Scotch broom? Jasmine nudiflorum?
Can anyone help me out here?
No, it is not forsythia. The location is near -- appropriately - the Winterdale Arch bridge, west side near the 81st Street transverse.
Feb. 3. These are snowdrops (Galanthus), blooming on the crest of Cedar Hill in Central Park. Tiny little dots of white where we'd normally be sledding. Hard to believe that was what we were doing last year at this time!
Feb. 2. "Staten Island Chuck", New York's celebrity groundhog, didn't see his shadow this morning, and I wonder why - when I got up it the sun was shining nicely. With Michael Bloomberg presiding, the city declares it will be an early spring - not that we've had any winter so far!
So your flower of the day bridges two seasons - it's a winter aconite coming in to bloom in Central Park's Shakespeare Garden. Typically it comes out before the crocus, a little spot of gold best suited for rock gardens. It's tiny.
Feb. 1. Here's a plant I got into a argument with, on Cedar Hill in Central Park. One of two ladies admiring the rusty-red blooms of the Chinese Witch Hazels kept insisting the blossoms were "way too early" as were the snowdrops blooming beneath them; lived in NY for 65 years, never saw this, yada yada:
Well hey. Cedar Hill is on my normal morning walk (CPW to 5th and back) and please let me assure you the witch hazels pop out every sunny winter day, that is their habit, even when the ground is covered with snow. So do the snowdrops (Galanthus). Now, if she'd mentioned the daffodils over by the path from Great Lawn to Shakespeare Garden, I'd have agreed those were waaay early:
These are two months early, and that's pretty odd. A bit like the hummingbird over at the Museum of Natural History (see Jan. 30th below).
Jan. 31. First up: Black hellebore (H. niger). A normal winter bloomer in much of the U.S. Quite a few around the Shakespeare Garden, and a big clump off the men's room by the Delacorte Theatre. I grew this in San Francisco also.
Jan. 30. This morning I saw a HUMMINGBIRD! It was taking nectar out of the blooming blossoms of Mahonia on either side of the entrance to the Planetarium (81st at CPW). I wasn't able to get a good picture of the bird but here's what the yellow-flowered Mahonia looks like:
Mahonia is a normally winter-flowering shrub, with spiny leaves. It's not used much in Eastern landscaping and I often wonder why. As for the hummingbird, I had been alerted to it from an article in the West Side Spirit newspaper.
This nicely interviewed the Museum folks who had spotted it a few weeks ago. It's a rufous hummingbird, normally it would have flown south but our strangely warm January has kept it here, and the Mahonia is keeping it well fed. Just another day in our strange winter paradise in 2012.
This week I'll be looking around for more winter blooming plants in the city.
Highlights from previous days:
Jan. 9. Last chance to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree this week!
I like that it's not a fake tree. This is also the last week to view the fabulous holiday display of pink (!) poinsettas at Holy Trinity Church, 82nd street between Amsterdam and Broadway, open weekdays 2-6 pm, Sunday all day.
Jan 2. Ornamental kale and cyclamen are a classic combination, wonder how long they'll stay given the current freezing temps! (Bwy at 81st St).
Oct. 28. Halloween decorations abound in the brownstone neighborhoods; here's a cheerful entryway on West 84th (off CPW) that deploys flowers.
Oct. 27. An autumn planting outside the Cindy Nail Salon on Columbus Avenue. This replaces their summer design (See June 22, below). Nice work ladies!
Oct. 26. Fall foliage update: Central Park is approaching peak, people! Here is a fine oak coloring up, on the path beyond Diana Ross Playground (81st Street).
Oct. 25. My upstairs neighbor Cara tried all year to make these black-eyed-susan vines train up a street tree. Well, they're finally in bloom - in time for the first frost.
Oct. 24. A Brilliant Monday view from the windowbox:
Oct. 7. This website was created on an Apple computer, and all the photos on it were taken on an iPhone. Rest in perfect peace, Steve Jobs....
Oct. 5. Wake up early, or take a long lunch to take in the "Green City" special event at Union Square Market today! Info here:
Oct. 3. "Mary Garden" at St. Vincent Ferrer, Lexington at 65th, in fall bloom.
Sept. 30. Your Friday rose, at the door of Cafe Lalo, famous for the movie You've Got Mail. The weekend arrives, make it a romantic one!
Sept. 29. A cascade of late petunias on steps, West 83rd Street. Girly. Curly!
Sept. 28. Farewell to baseball's regular season at Citifield in Queens. At least the landscaping will still continue into October! And there's always next year.
Sept. 27. Pocket landscape complete with maple tree and Liriope (See 9/13) in front of Noodle House, Prince Street, Flushing. The Feng Shui must be working, they have a Michelin recommendation for their handmade dumplings.
Sept. 26. Here's a lovely blue aster to reward you for accomplishing Monday. OK, it's a little fuzzy. You probably are too. (Central Park, close to 72nd).
Sept. 23. Autumn arrived at about 5AM this morning, shrouded in dense fog.That's the cue to start decorating with seasonal plants. A tip from party hostess Joy: get down to the 23rd Street Home Depot before they run out of those mini hay bales at $7.98. Check your local farmer's market for potted mums this weekend, and let's hope the Mets beat the Phillies in the moist air. Pumpkin orange and blue rules as we say farewell to the boys of summer.
Sept. 22. A last lone 'Betty Prior' rose twinkles above blue salvia and Zinnia angustifolia. Central Park, at the 72nd Street entrance. Cue the rain.
Sept. 21. It's Windowbox Wednesday! This gorgeous display of potted mums, dracena, ivy and potato vine is on West 83rd, west of the Post Office. Check out my gardening tips for making something similar here.
Sept. 20. Cool weather brings out the best in begonias. Here's a nice pair.
Sept. 19. A laundramat branches out: a newer sign above announces "Charlie's Plants and Cut Flowers." Thanks, Charlie, for brightening up West 80th (between Broadway and Amsterdam) with this pretty display.
Sept. 16. Sun is shining and it will be a beautiful fall weekend. Enjoy!
Sept. 15. The main attraction of Sweet autumn clematis (C. ternifolia) is its ability to densely cover a chain link fence in a few seasons, which is why I see it all over the west side. The starry small flowers that open in September are a wonderful bonus. Note: sometimes this is sold as C. paniculata).
Sept. 14. Ah, Liriope! This little autumn surprise on W81st looks tidy enough all spring and summer with its tuft of striped leaves; September triggers the flower stalks, typically in shades of lavender-blue. Happy Fashion Week!
If you are new to the city, check the link above to find your polling place - and pick up a registration form so you can vote in November's general election; the last day to register as a new voter is October 14.
Sept. 12. Autumn comes to the streetscapes: marigolds in the morning.
Sept. 9. Last night, the skies parted, the celebs partied, and we found out that Madonna hates hydrangeas. I thought for sure she'd like the oakleaf kind:
I snapped this one at The Plant Shed, it's for sale along with fall mums, very pretty display on West 96th Street and Broadway.
Sept. 8. Will Fashion's Night Out be a washout? I'm trying not to take a dim view, but it's pretty dark out there for these monardas, in the park.
Sept.7. Are you blue? This is Salvia guarantica (no common name, sadly) in Roosevelt Park. It's frost tender, so let's enjoy it while we can.
Sept. 6. Hi! Still on vacation. New flowers tomorrow!
Sept. 2. Last rose of summer? I think not - you can see some buds in upper left. And some breaking news: from Sept. 6 on, you'll find weekly reviews of gardening books here, and an expanded events section for New York City.
Have a great Labor Day, fellow worker bees - see you next week!
Sept. 1. This is sedum 'Autumn Joy' at Roosevelt Park. Best is yet to come...
Aug. 31. Harvest time: a fine crop of sunflowers on the bike path median, Columbus Avenue at 84th Street.
Aug. 29-Aug. 30. Back to normal! Or what passes for that in NYC. Quiet calm.
Aug.26 - Hurricane edition! Well, let's take a last look at the Windowbox Phlox, since they probably won't survive the expected weekend wind blast. I have some tips on how to keep your plants safe - see below the pix:
Hurricane suggestions: move all the small outdoor plants in pots (the ones you can lift, and certainly any hanging baskets) indoors for the weekend. They may go flying -- I've had windowboxes whooshed off my lintels when they weren't screwed down. If any pots are too heavy for you to move, water them deeply for some good reasons. First, the extra weight of the water will keep them stable. Second, this may prevent the high winds from dessicating and drying them out. Third, if your power goes out, you'll probably not be able to use your apartment faucets, so get a jump on watering for the sunny Monday we're supposed to have. I'll be anchoring the bigger planters in my windowbox with florist wire as an extra precaution.
To keep yourself safe, remove any indoor plants from the windowsills so they won't blow over. Close your drapes to protect yourself from broken glass. Don't get crazy, New York; you will probably have most of Saturday to get it together.
Aug. 25. Black-eyed-Susans can be seen all over Riverside Park, in time for the West Side County Fair. It will be a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll....
Aug. 24. For Windowbox Wednesday, here's the last hurrah from the white phlox. I've noticed the potted chrysanthemums are showing up at the markets now, want to pick a nice color this weekend to autumize my window view.Aug. 23. Yellow impatiens caused quite a stir when introduced in late 1990's. Today the crosses between I. walleriana and I. pallida are stabilized to smooth colors, and today they are featured in huge plantings at Verdi Square. See below for an interesting map of when this part of Broadway was country lanes. Upper West was once a farming community called Harsenville. Who knew?
Aug. 22. More New York native wildflowers...this is Lobelia cardinalis, also known as cardinal flower. It's planted all around the ponds in Central Park, attracting butterflies and the occasional hummingbird (yes we have them too).
Aug.19. Dahlias in bloom at West Side Community Garden (Amsterdam at 89th)
Aug. 18. Angel wing begonias outside the Theory store on Columbus (74th St.) are the same color as the tops in the window. Those must be on sale, as the fall line is completely black, white and gray. I love their pants, but let's get some cheerful color going....autumn in New York is iridescent blue and gold.
Aug. 17. This is moon vine (Ipomoea alba) decorating a street tree on 74th St.
The flowers really do start to open up after August's full moon (a few days ago) and actually pop open in the evening as you watch. This makes the plant a favorite of photographers - you can find several live or time-lapse videos online. This video, about a minute and a half, tells the story very well.
Aug. 16. Japanese anemones in Roosevelt Park. (81st & CPW) This is the species, and is lightly fragrant.
Aug. 15. Caladiums and impatiens enjoy the rain, in a tree pit outside a Cook Travel office (81st/Columbus). Travel agents still exist. But airline peanuts? No.
Aug. 12. This delicate thing is a Japanese anemone in Roosevelt Park.
Bonus point to you if you now recognize it's planted near a hosta. Extra bonus points if you think it's H.albomarginata. Let me know - have a great weekend!
Aug.11. Autumn around the corner means longer shadows in the afternoon, and the first appearance of our native New York aster, (A. novi-belgii).
Where can you find these in the city? They have been thickly replanted by the parks department in many places. I see them all along the drives in Central Park. The flowers are less than an inch wide, but a crowd makes a party.
Aug.10. My windowbox hosta inspired an article in Yahoo! Shine. They really have been the star of my summer mini-garden.
Aug. 9. Another study in texture from the Conservatory Gardens at 105th.
This is Queen Anne's Lace, a common weed most places, with a coleus.
Aug. 8. today, a little abstract. This was taken over the weekend, on the French side of the Conservatory Garden in Central Park, 105th Street at Fifth.
For more photos of this garden - check out the archives page. It's kind of a secret garden, but full of birds, butterflies and photographers...I picked this shot for today because it's a bit like a clef - in the garden we met Marni, a photographer/bike enthusiast we who manages Leonarda.com, a record label in the city. I think we are both attracted the musicality of flowers!
Aug. 5. Times Square is full of tourists, and they're redone the plaza pots. This is a bloom from a red crepe myrtle, a small tree that shades pavement nicely. Common in the U.S. South, we don't see much Lagerstroemia up here!
In case your wondering why I was in Times Square, it was to pick up the free Andrea Bocelli tickets for next month's Central Park Concert. This is why we live in New York!
Aug. 4. This kind of salvia was one of the first annuals I successfully grew from seed when I was 16 years old. You see the common red kind everywhere but I think the purple has a certain elegance. BWY and 68th, outside Pottery Barn.
Aug 3. It's windowbox Wednesday! The white hosta is in bloom finally.
Aug. 2. More server issues...but time to take a few more shots of the Verdi Square plantings. Pennisetum and salvia, two late-summer stalwarts.
August 1. Sorry but the server was down this morning! Today's flowers were spotted on Broadway at 65th Street. Red begonias remind us that these bedding plants, with their fleshy stems, can stand up to late summer heat. Planting is courtesy of the nearby Mormon Temple, according to an iron plaque.
July 31. You made it through the end of the work week and work month. You deserve a rose - and perhaps champagne. Celebrate yourself today.
July 28. A windowbox view this morning. This is why foliage plants should always be included in your city garden. It's all about texture...July 27. Meanwhile the hosta stalks are getting bigger, but have yet to bloom.
July 26. Rose-of-Sharon is a winter-hardy hibiscus that blooms as the summer turns. I'm not the only one who remembers making dolls out of the flowers?
July 25. Congratulations - you made it through the steamy 104 weekend, as did these vinca, in a street pit outside the Halstead storefront (79th Street).
July 22. If you're looking for a garden experience, don't miss the 'Hot Harps' concert at WSCG - see events page for details for this free event. Meanwhile, a black-eyed-susan leans humidly against the gates of St. Vincent Ferrer, Lexington at 65th Street.
July 21. This whirling rainbow of blooms greets you at the door to the Shake Shack on Columbus & 77th. Featured: Tradescantia 'Purple Heart' - a tropical relation to spiderworts - amid tumbling lantanas.
July 20. It's Windowbow Wednesday! Check out the emerging blooms from the white-flowered hosta. The white phlox (see July 13) is still going strong.
July 19. Pansies blooming in this heat??? A closer look suggests they are violas - probably this one -- and well watered by the owners of this tree pit planting on West 89th Street.
July 18. Hope you enjoyed the weekend...I was out at the beach, harvesting zucchini and checking on a weeding experiment. Newspaper mulch makes it soooo much easier to keep weeds out of a vegetable garden. More here:
Really, we found it much easier to pull weeds out of the newspapered part of the vegetable beds - a small square left unpapered was a tangle. But the automated watering system helped this weekend garden perform. I did another installment of my low-maintenance techniques for you here.
July 15. Petunias in the Broadway medians, clustered like so many midwestern tourists. Head of to your own garish weekend - have fun!
July 14. This airy plant is Verbena bonariensis,looking very uptown on a Broadway median. Nice if you like purple!
July 13. Wednesday Windowbox Update: Phlox paniculata is in bloom in my windowbox now. The variety is 'David' - short in stature, resistant to the mildews that often plague phlox in hot weather. Read more about Phlox below:
Beloved in estate gardens, phlox are fairly easy for containers and will take a bit of shade. Two caveats: pinch the tips of the plants in early spring to keep them bushy, and give them a lot of water. All phlox are night-fragrant, and this one has multiplied stems over three winters and shares space with the Asiatic lilies that bloom before them (see top photo for what they look like). My windowbox area is just 12 square feet, this goes to show what you can do with a small space. Phlox can be planted in autumn: to buy some go here.
July 12. In Philadelphia,the boulevard medians are planted with giant bushes of lavender, yarrow and grasses, a long term project that beautifies the city. We saw these while visiting there a weekend or so ago, and came back to this: new plantings on the buffer of the new bike lanes on Columbus Avenue. Phormium, hot tuna (Houttuynia), impatiens, begonia. Hot mix or hot mess?
July 11. Are you feeling tropical this week? Get into the island mood like this trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) decorating a fence on a vacant lot (82nd St.)
July 8. This week we looked at container plantings with some tips on color combinations, choices of container, and how to keep them alive in the sweltering city. Here's a combination you might not have thought of: a Japanese maple with impatiens. Orange flowers compliment the green lacy maple leaves, and both are high-water-maintenance plants. The cast concrete planter will keep the small tree's roots cool, and matches well with the limestone base of the apartment building. (CPW)
July 7. Below is an elegant take on foliage plants, with species very suited to the southern terracotta exposure on this brownstone (81st St.).
Combined here: blood grass, coleus and the ever-popular sweet potato vine. The urn is ceramic, painted to match the wrought-iron railings - flaking a bit.
July 6. Cool, calm and collected - that's the theme of the hosta garden in containers you can see from the corner of Columbus Avenue and 76th Street. Notice the matching terracotta pots, and the variety of colors and sizes of hosta here.
How to duplicate? The large, golden-edged hosta in front looks to be 'Frances Williams' and I see the old 'Aureomarginata' in the back. The blue one may be 'Halcyon' - it looks like the one in my own window box (see June 16 entry). If you see hosta in a nursery, buy it - they don't mind transplanting at any season, and are elegant perennials that thrive in shade or near house walls. I see the owner has prudently kept these behind a fence!
July 5. Like a lot of Manhattanites, this lofty planter is high maintenance! The choice of pink impatiens, sunny marigolds, and a healthy dwarf Alberta spruce evokes a summer garden - but it will need to be watered deeply once or even twice a day to survive. Love the shoes though! Um, I mean terracotta container.
July 1. Happy long weekend to everybody!
The above are recently planted marigolds at the 90th Street Community Garden.
June 30. Woke up to this: (thank you and enjoy!)
June 29. Daylily blooming in my window box! This dwarf variety is 'My Sweet Rose' and this is the third year it has bloomed (and wintered over) in 8" pot.
June 28. Heliotrope in streetside planters outside Hayden House, CPW & 81st.
June 27. Carpet bedding by the Museum of Natural History south entrance, 77th Street. This stiffer design replaces a butterfly garden and adds a fountain.
June 24. The weekend slides gracefully into midsummer's eve, a period of mystery and subtle magic. Are there fairies in the bottom of your garden? Daylilies are decorating Roosevelt Park - we'll be there later, hunting fireflies.
June 23. Tropical hibiscus, in front of the Pizza Uno on Columbus Avenue.
June 22. A nice planting of summer annuals in front of the Cindy nail salon on Amsterdam Avenue. Something cheerful on a cloudy day!
June 21. Summer solstice! The longest day of the year. A stand of salvia on the Broadway malls at 82nd Street. Can you spot the honeybee in lower left?
June 20. Who doesn't like daylilies? They are blooming all along the fences at the Museum of Natural History (CPW and Columbus Avenues, at 80th)
June 17: More mountain laurel in the city! This was snapped at U.S. Evergreen, a wholesaler of cut foliage in New York's flower district (6th Avenue and 28th Street to 7th Avenue). There are quite a few hotels there now, which have displaced some stores, but this area is where New Yorkers in the know get their cut flowers (and we never pay retail!). The market is closed on Sundays, so the best time to shop is Saturday mornings, after 8AM.
June 16. Sorry this is late! But I thought you would like to see a cooling view of the foliage plants (Hosta, Heuchera) in my windowbox. And there's a story involved! See below:
I had houseguests from California today - Jeanie and Dusty: they are traveling across the country to a family reunion in South Jersey. Norm the Gnome is one of those Travelocity Gnomes, Dusty has been taking photos of the object everywhere - Yosemite, South Dakota, you name it. But a garden gnome needs a garden respite once in a while, so while we were eating sushi he took a break beneath the leafy shade. I hope this cools you off as well!
June 15. The front "yard" at 155 West 81st Street has a real suburban vibe.
June 14. Someone on West 76th street is planting a rock garden. The rose campion is an old-fashioned flower, with fuzzy grey leaves, not often seen these days. Easy care, blooms all summer - and there is a pure white flowered version that is quite elegant. Sun or shade.
June 13. Two young gardeners planting spring annuals at the West Side Community Garden, which holds its annual Garden Party this Wednesday, June 15. Details here.
June 10. The summer weekend is coming up - get out and smell the roses! These pretty hybrid teas were planted on the lawns by the Planetarium (81st and Central Park West):
June 9. Interrupting this week's focus on natives to show you the lilies blooming in my window box. With this heat, they won't last long, so enjoy!
June 8. This week, we are looking at New York's native flowers in urban habitats. Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) is native to the Eastern U.S.
The species has been hybridized for larger flowers and is now very popular as a landscape plant (it is related to the blue-flowered hydrangeas, which are an Asian species). This is one of several dotted around the Museum of Natural History, a lovely garden and one of the first places I always see lightning bugs.
June 7. Have you ever seen a tulip tree?
These magnificent hardwoods were the climax deciduous tree for Manhattan when the Dutch first came to the island; there is still a small "forest" of tulips in Inwood Hill Park - some hundreds of years old and all at least 200 feet tall! You can also find a smaller one at the southern end of the Great Lawn in Central Park (near the waffle wagon). Easily missed, the bloom time is short (now!) and you must look UP, as the flowers are held on the tallest branches.
June 6: this is Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia):
Early English settlers to New York named this plant "calico bush" for the spotted blooms. I'ts a pretty shrub that likes afternoon shade and blooms through June. Mountain laurels are blooming in Central Park, you can find some planted a few yards west of the Delacort Theatre (which by the way is serving coffee again - yeah for summer!
June 3. You made it to Friday! You deserve a rose for that!
This red rose is one of several blooming in containers along a modern apartment house on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 78th Street. For more views of this exuberant garden, see the archive page.
June 2. Planning to plant a windowbox? These nicotiana 'Nikki' hybrids are short-stemmed, lightly fragrant and adaptable to shade, so they're good for north-facing windows. Spotted at the Plant Shed,Broadway and 96th. For some other garden centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, click here.
June 1. What is so rare as a day in June? It's a good day to go hunting heirloom roses. These are a centifolia (aka Crested Moss?) in WSCG's garden. St. John the Divine has the remains of a fine old stand, and of course Brooklyn's Cranford Rose Garden is well known for its antique roses, blooming now.
Tuesday, May 31. Hope you enjoyed your weekend! These are double white peonies blooming in the West Side Community Garden (89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues).
I was happy to be able to show this garden to a visitor from Switzerland, we were both around the corner with cameras trying to capture a nice stand of 'Simplicity' hedge roses fronting a nearby housing project. These hardy hedge roses bloom on and off all summer:
Speaking of photography and nature in the city, don't forget today is a peak day for MANHATTANHENGE- the twice-yearly alignment of the sun along Manhattan's manmade street grid. Head out to a crosstown street around 8pm to view this fun phenomenon.
Friday, May 27. Why is Allium giganteum so popular for public plantings in the city? They're pretty, yes - but also less likely to picked or stolen - the flowers smell like onions!
Yes, alliums are everwhere - this stand is in front of Lincoln Center:
Thursday, May 26. Believe it or not, this is a photo taken of my windowbox in bloom. The rose is Zepherine Drouhin, a hardy Bourbon (1850's) known for not being too thorny and accepting some shade. It is lightly fragrant. In the background are some hosta and a dwarf Alberta spruce.
This is the second year for the rose; about four years for the spruce and the hosta, a mixed bag from Gurney's catalog. The rose came from J&P.
Wednesday, May 25. Warm, summer weather arrives. The iris are blooming in the church garden at St. Vincent Ferrer, Lexington Avenue at 65th street. Desite the ongoing construction in the area, the flowers here are well-cared for and exuberant in their bloom. See more of this garden on the archive pages.
Tuesday, May 24. This looks lush and lovely, doesn't it? Even the common yew looks fresher with new growth. This evergreen hedge plant grows all around the city, is impervious to soot and tolerates shade and poor soil. (West 83rd St.)
Monday, May 23: Iris native to New York city include the common blue flag, which is blooming around the perimeter of the Turtle Pond in Central Park. If you walk by this week you will see some yellow flag coming into bloom as well -- and quite a few turtles. Some will be in the water, some will be on the lawn, digging holes to lay their eggs. Species include the red eared slider and the eastern painted turtle.
May 20. The rain is abating, and busy gardeners are everywhere. Here is a photo of some peonies opening in a brownstone's streetside garden on West 81st Street in Manhattan, West of Columbus Avenue.
May 13: The sky is overcast, but the birds are singing. This is a Chinese dogwood in full bloom in Central Park; you can find it on the path that leads from the 59th Street/6th Avenue entrance to the skating rink, on your right and opposite a gnarly wisteria that's blooming too. Dogwoods will be in bloom in city parks through most of June.