Field Trip, October 15, 2005: New York State Sheep & Wool Festival

My partner and I drove from our new home in Brooklyn to the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival, held each year at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York. It was a looong drive there and back, but the festival was interesting, and great fun. I hope the photos below convey this.


Notes from a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Late July 2005

[Transcribed from note book and amended. No date recorded. I was taking notes of plants which were effective or just caught my eye at the time of my visit.]

[From the Compositae/Daisy Family Garden]
Silphium perfoliatum: Large: 6'H x 5'W (supported). Large leaves.
Liatris pycnostachya: 2' tall
L. spicata: 3-4' tall
Helianthus giganteus

Epilobium augustifolium [Chamerion angustifolium, Fireweed, Onagraceae]

Unidentified "weed": ~2-3' tall, leaves opposite, cordate, fuzzy, flowers yellow, 3 petals/sepals

Begonia grandis

[In the Native Flora Garden, I was noting plants which could work in my backyard native plant garden. Several of those listed are plants I grew in the widlflower bed in Garden #1 in the East Village.]

Native Flora Garden
Solidago rugosa
*Allium cernuum
*Dicentra eximia
*Eupatorium fistulosum
: 8' tall
Viola pubescens
Vaccinium corymbosum
*Lilium superbum
: 8' tall
Polemonium reptans
*Lysimachia ciliata
Polygonatum biflorum
Sanguinaria canadensis
Asarum canadense
Viola striata
(same as home?)
Hepatica acutiloba
*Cimicifuga racemosa
: 5-6' tall, fragrant
*Allium tricoccum
(blooming w/out leaves)
Opuntia humifusa


Garden Diary, July 2005: Envisioning the Fourth Garden

[Transcribed from notebook. Specific date was not recorded.]

We moved into our new house about six weeks ago, the last Thursday in May. This will be my fourth garden in New York City since I moved here 26 years ago, in the Winter of 1979.

House and garden have both been neglected. Both are in need of maintenance, repair, and loving back to their full flower. Both will need work, time, patience, investment. I can envision the trajectories and futures of both.

Particularly, I can imagine bringing the house and garden(s) back together. Each want the other, each need the other. In time, the house will become part of the gardens, grwing out of them, sheltering them, providing the largest bones in the architecture of the garden.

And the house will change to fit and frame the gardens. The siding will be returned to its original design of clapboard and shingle, though how many years and $10K it will take I shudder to comprehend. In longer time, the back will be returned, I believe, to an open porch, the kitchen expanded and opened up to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor space, between house and garden, between the manufactured and the spontaneous.

Vines will climb up the sides of the screened porches, screening and sheltering them further, filling the porches with fragrance, filtered light, luminous color. Mature shrubs will shade the south side of the house in summer, and draw birds to their berries and hold the snow in winter. Flowers and foliage will spill from window boxes and containers ankling the paths, forcing one to stop to inspect, to smell, to feel, to slow down.

I can see all this as it will be, as it's coming to be.


Garden Notes, June 22, 2005: Envisioning the Backyard Garden, Four Gardens

[Text transcribed and sketch scanned from notebook.]
Sketch from notebook showing proposed design for backyard garden with renovation of the back of the house. The back of the house faces East. South is to the right, and North to the left, in this sketch. Changes to the house envisioned in this sketch include restoring the pocket doors between the dining room and living room, converting the two back bedrooms and half the current kitchen to a porch opening onto the back, and re-orienting and expanding the kitchen along the porch.

Four Gardens:

  • Front: Heirloom/Cottage
  • North: Shade/Path
  • South: Shrub Border, Wild Garden
  • Back: Sanctuary, Native, Habitat


Garden (and more) Diary, June 17, 2005: The Fourth Garden, Four Gardens

[Transcribed from note book. Written while on the R train to work]

My good deed for the day: Letting a fat man on the subway know his fly is open.

I can relate. I've done the same in the past week. It's not easy for a fat man to be aware of his appearance below the chest. Easier, more comfortable, to stay in the head. There I can be as thin as I remember I was.

John and I bought a house. I've written nothing for so long. Major events like that can just slip by without notice. It's a big house. So far, it's too big for the two of us. And it needs lots of work. I'm trying to do a little each day, but it's hard.

Got off the R at Rector Street. Now sitting on a bench in the graveyard of Trinity Church. "Here lies ..." "Sacred to the memory of ..." Even the bench is worn, low to the ground. To remind us, I guess.

I like to walk through here on the way to work. From our new home, my commute offers more opportunities to do so. Reminders of impermanence to help me keep work in perspective.

The gardens here - the cemetery is a garden - are simple and beautiful. Massive hostas, irises, past bloom. Daylilies, clouds of them, in fat green buds, just about to announce summer.

I'm starting my fourth garden in New York City. Some day it will be on the Victorian Flatbush House & Garden Tour, probably years before the house itself is. I can aim for 2008, the year of my 50th, three years away.

There are at least four gardens to be developed: two sides, the front, and back. All have something different to offer. Each can welcome visitors in its own way. All will relate to the house, and relate the house to the grounds. It's already happening, as I come to understand the house and what it wants.

Well, off to work ...


Garden Notes, June 15, 2005: Plants for the Native Garden

[Transcribed from notebook and amended.]

  • Cercis canadensis, Redbud
  • Hydrangea quercifolia "Little Honey", Oak-Leaf Hydrangea cultivar
  • Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Ilex verticillata, Winterberry
  • Viburnum (native species)
  • Cornus canadensis, Bunchberry
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Bearberry
  • Gaultheria procumbens, Wintergreen
  • Rhododendron (native species)
  • Kalmia latifolia, Mountain Laurel
  • Prunus (native species)
  • Rosa carolina, Pasture Rose (possible other native species)
  • Trillium
  • Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • Viola (native species)
  • Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger
  • Lilium (native species)
  • Solidago (native species)
  • Lobelia (native species)
  • Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells
  • Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp-lobed Liverwort
  • Aster (native species)