Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Finding green space in the City of New York is surprisingly easy.  A population of 8 million people speaking 800 languages it seems they all speak garden.  Trees, window boxes, flower beds, shrubs and vines reach for the sun especially on a beautiful September day.  New York Magazine describes it “The city is filled with amazing views, but few can top the ones from this scenic third-of-a-mile stretch along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Postcard-like views of lower Manhattan, South Street Seaport, the East River and the  Brooklyn Bridge draw photographers, couples on romantic walks, and New Yorkers who want an inspiring place to sit and think. “...   Continue Reading

A Winter Garden, Manhattan, NYC

We were in New York City on Sept. 11, 2011, the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  The city was busy, thoughtful and highly secured.  We walked to the site of the World Trade Center memorial and rebuilding.  The enormity of the space and an awakening sense of how intense the event was in this neighborhood grew as we explored.

In the World Trade Center there is an overlook of the construction site and the memorial.  We were directed to walk toward the “Winter Garden.”  Interior hallways link many buildings in lower Manhattan and we continue to follow the hall way until we came to this large open space....   Continue Reading

Up on the roof

Truly one of the great treasures of this country is the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens it is now one of the largest art galleries in the world.  There is 2,000,000 square feet of gallery.  This big building also has a large roof, known as the the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.  It offers views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.  The museum is open late on Friday nights and after an inside visit we went up on the roof to have a drink and watch the sunset in Manhattan.  The roof garden space to features a summer sculpture exhibition and so the garden is not the main focus.  But still there are pots, plants, vines and trellis to soften the space.  The view of the trees of Central Park quickly enhances the garden effect....   Continue Reading

Too hot to garden?

Furnace Creek Inn, Death Valley, CA

As the summer heat wears on I wonder if I might feel cooler thinking of places that are hotter and drier than where I am.  So Death Valley National Park and Furnace Creek CA spring to mind.  Just the names sound hot and years of record high heat support its reputation of the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the U.S.   Though Death Valley was set aside as a protected area in 1933, it didn’t become a National Park until 1994.  Always curious about this fierce  sounding  place I was completely surprised by  the flowers of the park and the oasis garden at the Furnace Creek Inn.  Travel really does break apart our preconceived notions of a place....   Continue Reading

Plant People

San Diego Botanic Garden

Just before the killer cold snap last January I had managed to prune my torch bougainvillea into a heart shape topiary.  It made me smile and I eagerly looked forward to it as part of the landscape for a Valentine celebration in February.  Then nature changed my plans and the shape was lost in the freeze damage.  A topiary is a fanciful thing,  it isn’t a garden style that appeals to everyone.  It is a living work of art that requires a vision, patience and an artist using the medium of plants....   Continue Reading

Los Gatos, CA, The blooming town square

A town square has long been a fixture in this country.  A small open green space surrounded by the shops and offices needed for the community to function.  Many have a band stand for what was a frequent summer tradition of concerts in the park.  Nearly all of these town squares are surrounded by trees.  Certainly the story behind the selection of the tree to plant would involve meetings, community leaders, horticultural experts (likely both certified and self-identified) and the decision would not likely have been quick or easy.  What ever the process I think Los Gatos has one of the best trees....   Continue Reading

Hakone Gardens, Saratoga, CA

We are all influenced by our life experiences.  Some experiences change the direction of our lives.  Such is the origin of this authentic Japanese garden built by Oliver and Isabel Stine. The 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition had such an impact on this San Francisco couple that Mrs. Stine spent most of 1916 visiting Japanese gardens in the Fuji-Hakone National Park region of Japan.  Where many of us would be content to bring back souvenirs of such a trip Mrs. Stine brought back an architect and landscape architect to design the 18 acre estate and garden in complete authenticity....   Continue Reading