Friday, October 30, 2009

Spring Awakening

There is nothing that makes a gardener more excited than seeing a beautiful carpet of color beneath a budding tree's branches. Winter's cold and grey days are finally rewarded with early spring bloom of crocus or hyacinths. With some initial fall labor and care, there is little effort but to enjoy the spring show. Bulbs will also naturally set seed and produce offset bulbs that will continue to increase your display.

If trees and bulbs compete for food, light and water, trees will always win. Give your bulbs a fighting chance by planting them under trees that:
  • Are deciduous, this allows sunlight to reach the ground when the bulbs are sprouting before leaves are formed.
  • Have deep root systems or large surface roots like oak, redbud, hawthorne, magnolia
  • Have limbs that start high on the trunk, casting as light shade
To minimize potential damage to trees:
  • Choose small bulbs, they require smaller holes which means less disturbance
  • Plant between the tree's roots
  • Avoid tearing roots; never cut into a root
  • Don't pile soil on top of roots to plant bulbs, the extra layer will stop necessary oxygen from reaching the roots.
Avoid planting bulbs under trees that:
  • Are evergreen
  • have shallow or fibrous root systems, such as maples and rhododendrons
  • Are allelopathic (meaning they produce chemicals that hinder the growth of neighboring plants), like black walnut, black locust, southern waxmyrtle
After planting the bulbs water them in. There is no need to fertilize, just mulch them with ground-up leaves or compost.*

The best bulbs for planting under trees*
Crocus, crocus
Iris reticulata, dwarf iris
Narcissus, early daffodils
Chionodoxa, glory of the snow
Muscari, grape hyacinth
Cyclamen, hardy cyclamen
Puschkinia scilloides, Lebanon squill
Scilla sibirica, Siberian squill
Galanthus, snowdrop
Leucojum, snowflake
Anemone blanda, windflower
Eranthis, winter aconite

*Organic Gardening, Aug-Oct 2007

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lawrence Halprin

In the news… and in the Library…

Lawrence Halprin, the Brooklyn born, California-based landscape architect who designed the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington as well as other important public works around the world, died on October 25, 2009.

In its obituary, The New York Times calls Halprin “the tribal elder of American landscape architecture…” noting that he “used the word choreography to describe his melding of modernism, nature and movement.” (NYT, 10/28/09)

The Dec ’07 issue of Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes focuses on the private gardens that Halprin designed with a catalogue of 36 gardens including photographs and maps, and a listing of 393 commissions. The Jan ’06 issue is devoted to his public projects.

The Library also owns Sketchbooks of Lawrence Halprin published in Japan in 1981 featuring delightful color illustrations dancing across the page in Halprin’s signature style. The works represented are Sea Ranch, Portland Open Space Sequence, the FDR Memorial, Levi Plaza, and Jerusalem.

Skyline Park, Arapahoe Street from 15th to 18th Sts, Denver, CO

Lawrence Halprin: The choroegraphy of private gardens
Studies in the History of Garden & Designed Landscapes, Oct-Dec 2007, Vol. 27 Issue 4 p258-270

Lawrence Halprin's Public Spaces: Design, Experience and Recovery. Three case studies
By: Hirsch, Alison, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, Jan-Mar 2006, Vol. 26, Issue 1, p1-93, 8 diagrams, 5 maps, 17 cartoons, 119bw

information from Katherine Powis, HSNY Librarian

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Toad Lily

I was hoping someone may be able to help in identifying a flower/plant that sprung up in my garden.
I have attached a few photos. The flower is 2 - 2 1/2 inches across and the stem is about 10 inches high. The stem is very strong, it feels like a twig. I live in Jericho, NY (Long Island) The photos were taken yesterday, so you can see the flower is in bloom now even after frost. The leaves are hard to see in the photos but they are not like day lily leaves. I have looked in as many books as I can and on line but have found nothing.

Please let me know if you can help. Thank you for your time.

What you have discovered in your garden is a Tricyrtis hirta, or Toad lily. A member of the lily family (Liliaceae), with a beautiful cascading growth pattern. Plus, the blooms last up to 6 weeks.

No fall garden should be without toad lilies. These Asian curiosities bloom with orchid-like flowers that demand a close look, when the garden is winding down in fall. They do best in light shade in humus-rich soil that retains moisture, and are suitable for borders or less formal parts of the garden and among shrubs gradually becoming large clumps. Some self-seed but not aggressively.

Light: Part Sun, Shade
Zones: 4-9
Plant Type: Perennial Plant Height:1-3 feet tall, depending on variety
Plant Width:1-2 feet wide, depending on variety
Flower Color:White, mauve, yellow flowers, depending on variety; variegated leaves, depending on variety
Bloom Time:Blooms late summer through to late fall, depending on variety
Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders Special Features: Attractive Foliage, Fall Color, Cut Flowers, Drought Tolerant, Tolerates Wet Soil, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow*

Here is a look at some of the amazing color variations and shapes of the Tricyrtis hirta.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Conservation Counts

You can immediately cut your own gasoline use by following these recommendations from Organic Gardening and the U. S. Department of Energy:

  • Drive sensibly (obey the speed limit and avoid rapid acceleration and braking)
  • Replace your car's air filter when it's dirty-boosts gas mileage by 10%
  • Keep tires at the recommended air inflation: 3% improvement
  • Use the recommended grade of motor oil: 1 to 2% improvement
  • Buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Drive less; carpool; plan car use. Take the train
talk about going green.....