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Monday, February 23, 2015

SUNY Farmingdale


What could be better on a cold winter night than to go through photos of lush gardens? It's a fridgid 14 degrees outside but this topic is doing it's best to warm me up.

One of my favorite places to visit on Long Island are the trial gardens at the State University at Farmingdale. There are 9 or 10 distinct different garden rooms/themes there to see, one more spectacular than the rest. It's a hidden jewel, few people know where to find it. As you drive past the parking lot there's not much more than these gates to see.


If you are lucky enough to to stop and park your car, all you need to do is take a peek through the bars and you'll find yourself transported to another world.


Andy and I visited the garden this past September, it had been a few years for me and I was thrilled to find a whole new addition with vegetables and a wild spill of cutting flowers.


Zinnias are so easy to grow and so beautiful. We grew one solitary Zinnia here last summer, I expect to grow lots and lots more this coming year!


When touring a garden of this magnitude, it's hard to find one single thing that just rocks your world. This time though it was an easy choice, those big Dr Seuss like tufts are Cyperus papyrus 'King Tut'. Although I took a dozen photos, not one does them justice, I am in love with them.

One of the first gardens you will walk through are very formal beds but the plant material is cutting edge tropicals surrounded by perennial borders.


Of course there is a silver garden, it's such a restful place after walking through a riot of color and textures.


My happy place is the tropical garden room. I think I could sit there all day. Give me a foggy day like this and I could take hundreds and hundreds of photos too. The plant with the long red blooms is Amaranthus 'Love lies a bleeding'. It's so cool!


The tropical garden is not large but every single inch is planted. September is the perfect time to visit this garden, just before the plants are brought in to the green houses for the winter.


The color and foliage combinations don't stop, there's something amazing no matter which way you turn. It's hard to grasp all that surrounds you.


The rustic arbor and goldfish pond have been there since my daughters were young. It's still just as magical as it was back then.


If you  make your way to the back corner of the gardens you'll find a shade garden filled with wonderful plants that just thrive in our Long Island conditions. I love the combination of this fern and the Asarum (ginger).


Although it wasn't rose season this part of the garden was still lovely. We'll have to make a point to go back this May when the roses and peonies are in full bloom.


There were plenty of autumn perennials to see such as this Aster. I'll take a guess and say it's 'Alma Potschke'.


One last photo, a riot of yellow blooms. If you live on Long Island or are coming this way for a visit, try to get in to see these gardens. You won't be sorry!

melanie

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Photo's through the years


Being January, there's not much I can do about gardening right now. One of my new years resolutions is to rejoin the gardening world, plant a new garden and hopefully see some gardening friends again. Over the last four years I've continued to grow some things, visit gardens and take photos. My mind though is rusty, plant names that used to trip across my tongue are hard to remember. I've been reading my old posts and going through thousands of photos to loosen things up in my brain. 

Thousands of photos? Absolutely! Today I added up a few photos and found that in 2008 I took 1,656 garden related photos. 2009 was a banner year with 2,498 photos. 2010 was the last year I had my big garden, I was working at that time but I still managed to take 799 photos. Today's post will take you back through those years with a focus on what I want now for our new garden.

We have more shade than sun in our little cottage garden. This opening shot of variegated Lamium taken in 2008 shows the type of plant that will grow well here.


In 2009 this pink Symphytum combined with a very tall Thalictrum caught my eye. I won't have the luxury of many large plants but I think I can fit both of these in our back shade corner.


There will definitely be room for a few Pulmonaria. I like this variety without spots on the leaves.


Succulents were already a passion of mine. The first time Andy brought me to his home I was thrilled to find he grew cacti in his kitchen window. We will both have a nice little succulent garden out front.


Hosta "Liberty" was a show stopper. I'll be on the lookout to see if I can find it again. 


One small garden we haven't begun clearing yet will be the perfect spot for some cottage flowers. I'll be looking for handouts, hope somebody has an Iris or two to share with me. This was taken in 2010, the hot pink plant behind it is an annual that self sows, "Silene armeria".


Stokesia is another cottage garden plant that will do well for us. I remember being disappointed at first when growing it as it sprawled all over. Once I learned to take advantage of that trait, it became a favorite.


My life has been full of changes since 2010. For three years I rented a darling cottage in Centerport, just two blocks away from here. Early 2013 I met the love of my life, Andy. We spent many an evening that summer sipping a drink in my little patio garden. 

Andy loves the outdoors as much as I do if not more. We both love to travel, in 2013 we rode bicycles on Block Island, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, swam in Florida, rode a motorcycle all over Long Island and so much more. 


While visiting Andy's family I got my first glimpse of Green Lakes State Park outside of Syracuse NY


2014 brought a new change, Andy surprised me with an awesome new camera, a Nikon D5300. to tell the truth, it was so advanced from anything I ever used that it's taken me a year to begin to become comfortable with it. We love to visit all the wonderful parks and gardens around us, this was taken in September at SUNY Farmingdale. I have so many amazing photos from that day that I'll have to post them on their own.


The Peconic River Herb Farm was a delightful afternoon ride for us with the reward of visiting some delicious vineyards before heading home. The trips only escalated in 2014, Florida and Block Island again plus a trip of a lifetime through California.


Long Island isn't the only draw, we go in to Manhattan often. A fall walk on the HiLine was a mind blowing trip. Hopefully we'll go back there again around Mother's Day.

I can't tell you all how much I am enjoying sharing these photos and words with all of you, it feels good to be back.

melanie

Sunday, December 28, 2014

In a nutshell - 2014


With the year coming to a close I find myself looking through the photos I've taken this past year. Although I haven't been posting, it doesn't mean I haven't been gardening. Those of you who know me will recognize that the location of my garden has changed again. This time I think I'm really home.


The gardens here are quite different than anything I've worked with before. It's by far the smallest property I've worked with which actually turns out to be quite difficult. In the past I had a large empty piece of property to develop. The yards here were overgrown and quite shady. Luckily Andy
encourages me to make changes.


The existing beds still need quite a bit of work, this one is filled with the common ditch daylily. I've learned not to rip anything out until I'm ready to replant the area.


My first focal point was this small garden along the front porch. It gets afternoon sun, just enough to support most perennials. I'm trying hard to stick with a cottage garden theme.


This small area was already planted with a few perennials and bulbs. Although I thinned them out I tried to keep what I liked. I'm not sure but I think these are scilla, if you know better please let me know.


By June the plants filled in well enough. Maybe it's silly but I have the hardest time buying plants that I used to give away. These all grew in such abundance in my other gardens, I'm looking forward to having enough plants that I can trade some for other varieties. The Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) was a must have for me.


The next bed was the one inside the front fence. This is another key location as we see it when we sit on the front porch and walk out the door. It's also visible to the many walkers that fill this neighborhood. It will take another year before I have this filled the way I like. Andy replaced the globe light with a nice lantern just last week, it makes a huge difference.


In front of the picket fence along the street is a stretch that is just covered with pebbles. In a moment of genius I realized I had a spot to grow my succulents. While they'd like a little more light, they did quite well in this location. I was thrilled that nobody tried to help themselves to anything here.


The last garden which was the only one we planted in 2013 too is the small vegetable bed. We had tomatoes, eggplants and peppers here. The peppers did the best but we loved the eggplant so much that we want to plant more next year. The fence won't make it through another year so there'll be a new one before we plant our next crop.

Over the next few months I'll break these gardens down a bit. It looks like Melanie's Old Country Garden has become a cottage garden. Hope you don't mind!

melanie