When my friend Maria presented me with a small bag of Muscari bulbs as a gift years ago, I had no idea that that would be the start of a beautiful relationship. My first thought was, “How cute. Grape hyacinths — even the name sounds petite and demure.” Nothing, though, could be farther from the truth.
Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category
A year ago, April temperatures were warm. This year, it’s been cool — especially the overnight temps, which have approached the freezing mark. As a result, my patience to get my hands dirty and to get my tropicals into the ground has grown thin. My solution? An experiment.
Since I did not start any seeds in the potting shed this winter, it’s quite empty. My plan is to plant the Elephant Ears and Canna in pots, place the pots in the potting shed, and then let the heat get their juices flowing. And that’s the purpose for this repost — I’ll be doing exactly as I spelled out a year ago. Happy gardening.
Attractive, aren’t they?
The last time I saw my Elephant Ears, they were clipped back, packed into peat moss, and stored in a cement bunker. With the very warm April temperatures, I couldn’t resist opening up their winter palace. But unlike Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vault, I found my treasure.
Of course, I’m referring to leaves — what on earth were you thinking — because my yard is, once again, overrun with leaves — which is strange, since I have very vivid memories of autumn weekends with a rake. I’m positive I raked this yard a few months ago. In fact, I’ve written extensively about my love of raking, and the peace and nostalgia that this chore delivers.
But as I look out at a yard buried under as many leaves as I raked in the fall, I have decided that I am not a fan of spring raking. It’s bothersome and it gets in the way of what I really want to do, which is prepare the beds for actual gardening — not this maintenance stuff. I’ve waited through all of winter for this first warmish weekend to work outside — and raking is not on my list of things to do.
It was a gut-wrenching, heart-aching goodbye. As we drove north on I-95, we watched spring disappear, its greens and blooms falling away with each passing mile. And now, on a very cold spring day on Long Island, I am once again looking at a world of brown with only a few patches of green growth — a far cry from South Florida’s lush jungle. So as I re-acclimate to my climate, I am thinking of a post from last year when I gardened in two zones in one week.
Please, forgive me for this repost, but I am a sad gardener. Just days ago, I tasted renewal — and this morning, I scraped ice from my windshield. It hurts. It really hurts.
One day, you’re on vacation in South Florida, gazing at the pattern of a banana leaf sunlit from behind (above) — and the next, you’re bundled up against the wind chill of Long Island. After arriving home, I went through some random Florida photos and then walked around the yard on Long Island to make a comparison. Can you guess which photos came from which zone?
Joe and I made the drive from New York to South Florida, and in 24 hours, we experienced three seasons. We began our journey in winter and then arrived in spring by the time we reached South Carolina. Once in Florida, it was all-out summer.
This trip is why I didn’t start any seeds in February. There would be no one to take care of my seedling babies during the final week of March. Needless to say, I missed working in the potting shed and watching geraniums and impatiens and petunias make their debut onto the world stage.
It’s the main reason why I’m taking this walk down memory lane, a repost of last year’s seed starting experience and a chance to reminisce. By the way, seeds will be started when I return to Long Island: zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos — seeds that like to be sown where they’ll grow. Now that I read that sentence, I like to think of myself in the same way. I like to be planted where I can grow.
With a name like Dante the Comic, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a funny guy. The name, though, barely scratches the surface of all that he does on screen, behind the scenes, and in his yard.
Dante first came to national attention on season five of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” where he received each audience favorite award and a standing ovation in the semi-finals. Ever since, awards and honors have continued to roll in, including the grand prize on ABC’s “America’s Funniest People,” the most comedy awards ever presented by BET, and performing for more US troops than anyone since Bob Hope. And if this isn’t enough, he also writes for E Network’s “Fashion Police,” with Joan Rivers, and hosts a podcast, “Stimulus Package,” which is available through iTunes.
Dante’s newest project is co-starring in the film The InAPPropriate Comedy, slated for a March 22 nationwide release. Directed by Vince Offer, the Sham Wow guy, this sketch-comedy movie follows the mayhem of a tablet computer fully loaded with offensively funny apps. Taking part in the irreverent and raunchy humor is Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, Rob Schneider, and Dante’s girlfriend, Rebekah Kochan, an actress/comedian with her own loyal following.
For gardeners, though, the most impressive piece of Dante’s resume is the work he does in his yard. Dante the Comic, you see, is also Dante the Gardener.
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner and me tuning up my bagpipes, it suddenly occurred to me how appropriate it is that this most Irish of celebrations, where green is the color of the day, is held in March. This third month, after all, is the time when green returns to the landscape.
Irish eyes may be smiling, but on a recent walk through the garden, as I brushed aside brown winter leaves, I found my gardener’s eyes smiling at the excitement and promise of once again seeing green.
Snow has melted, fallen, and melted again — but winter’s debris is still there. I don’t mean the fallen leaves and broken twigs that litter the beds and lawn. I’m referring to actual litter.
Due to a combination of winter winds and my home’s location at the head of a T-shaped intersection, my yard is the final resting place for not only the leaves from the intersecting street, but also for my neighbors’ garbage. Whether it’s been set free from cans on garbage pick-up days or dropped on the street by passers-by, trash loves my yard.
At last, we have arrived at the big reveal — the announcement of the winner of Margaret Roach’s most excellent book, The Backyard Parables. So without any further delay, the book goes to . . .
Now did you really think I would jump right in with the winner’s name? Not only am I nitty and gritty, I’m also wordy — and a post just wouldn’t be complete unless I added a few hundred words of my own (as well as a few photos, each one dedicated to a season in my garden in honor of the chapters in Parables).