October, like last year, was full of garden chores and much digging. We planted 1000 bulbs and dozens of new trees and shrubs, moved a few dozen more perennials and roses, and cleaned up all the beds and mulched. In between we argued about everything from edging type to bulb planting techniques, moved a billion wheelbarrows full of dirt, and generally enjoyed the warm temperatures. When I left on the 22nd there were still a few struggling sweet peas, while the anemones were happily turning out several flowers a day. It was hardly recognizable as fall in Edmonton.
But I had no regrets leaving for NYC. October is a beautiful month there too. I hit up all my old haunts – the Conservatory Garden, High Line, NYBG and Wave Hill. Of course it rained while I was at the NYBG and was entirely too sunny by the time I got to Wave Hill, but that’s just par for the course. I also had a little nap in the sun in the Conservatory Garden before proceeding over to my friends’ place – just like old times. Sorry for the purely phone photography.
Returning to a place in New York City, and not for matters of convenience or necessity, to me reflects respect and value. There are so many ways to occupy your time, eyes, ears, palette, that choosing the known takes some commitment. It seems fitting to end my New York series of posts with the image above, taken on September 28th, in the Conservatory Garden. If I offer any apologies for my frequent photographs of this jewel of Central Park, they are only to those I have discouraged from visiting because they feel they have already seen it (a hundred times, in all seasons, in good light and poor), or worse, disliked my view of it! However, it is here that I have formed my understanding of East Coast seasons, and walking spirals through the garden has become a habitual, meditative act. I am deeply appreciative of the work the Central Park Conservancy puts into the garden.
My last two free Sundays in September started in the Frick Collection, with long pauses in front of the Comtesse d’Haussonville and Rembrandt, followed by a long walk up Fifth Ave to the Conservatory Garden for a lingering stroll, before cutting across and down the park to my friends’ apartment for our weekly dinner. That’s the New York I would return to: rich in art, gardens, and food, but made home only with good friends.
Sometimes I cross Park Ave on 71st or 73rd on my way to the park and immediately transport to London. It’s all grand townhouses, fancy European shops and the trees looming in the distance. Tonight the air was heavy with the scents of late afternoon rain, linden and honey locust. I wandered to the Shakespeare Garden in honour of the occasion.
I think this time of year is most romantic – the lush spring green of the newly-leaved trees returns softness and intimacy to the landscape. I love them more every day.
Lots of crocuses at the Arnold Arboretum
It’s finally spring in the northeast. Once it comes it seems to be here all at once. The cherry trees and magnolias are blooming full on in Central Park along with the daffodils. The tulips are slower to come but many are already blooming, especially in the tree wells that line the streets of the Upper East Side. One thing that’s nice about living in one of the richest zip codes is that many people and businesses put effort into maintaining their beautiful old facades, window boxes, planters and small front beds.
Last weekend I went up to Boston with a workmate and stayed with her family. Her neighborhood of Jamaica Plain is full of gorgeous old homes, I wanted every other one of her street it seemed. Lucky for us, it was a gorgeous spring day and we saw the nasturtiums at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and then wandered over to the Arnold Arboretum. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to visit again in the summer to see the trees leafed out because the collection at the Arboretum is extensive.
Last snowdrop picture of the year – this one was from a rainy day visit to the NYBG
Hamamelis at the NYBG
Magnolia stellata ‘Waterlily’ at the Arboretum
More crocuses at the Arboretum
Evening walk through the Conservatory Garden
I’m tired of this weather but trying to find solace in Galanthus. I need a book on them, with a lot of pictures, so I have some hope of being able to identify them correctly. These are all from the Conservatory Garden and I love some of the delicate markings.
Using thermal mass to create climate zones – may be useful for us low zone gardeners
Tips on hellebore growing
Quite like these new outdoor chairs from Crate and Barrel
Gorgeous photoshoot from Sarah Winward
Kim Wilke’s Franklin Farm
Probably viewed this 100+ times now – really looking forward to seeing San Fermin again this weekend!
Fall again – the northern third of the Conservatory Garden finally shines with a riot of mums. Glad that even though there will probably be no tulips here in the spring, at least this tradition continues. Could they do lots of other things in this space? Yes. But I have to say it’s an impressive jumble and certainly preferable to some of the highly trained chrysanthemum displays you see. I’m in awe of what people can do with some members of the family but the thousand-flowered plants and wired cascades don’t speak to me in the same visceral way.