It’s about this time of year that I’m completely starved for some color. The crocus are starting to peek out, but not much blooming is happening right now. In comes witchhazel. This beauty is a variation on the usual yellow ones. It is called Jelena witchhazel or Hamamelis x intermedia “Jelena”.
Today was a stunning day on the High Line. We were working hard to keep the park open, but nature won the battle.
I just started a temporary gardening job at The High Line. So far we’ve mostly been clearing snow and ice to make it safe for the park’s visitors. It’s great to see how many people come out to walk the line in the cold weather. I’m so excited to be a part of it.
Next week promises to be true Spring weather. Can’t wait to get in the plant beds! In the meantime, it’s fun to dig in the snow.
My latest class towards my horticulture certificate is plant propagation. We are learning many different ways to grow new plants from existing ones. In addition to the lecture portion, we have hand’s on work in the greenhouse.
We have learned about the different growing requirements for seeds. We’ve made leaf and stem cuttings. And last week we learned about grafting branches and buds onto different plants called rootstock.
Besides all of the great information, I’ve been able to pick some fun plants from the greenhouse at the Brooklyn Botanic garden (aka school) to bring home to propagate. I have many different succulents, a couple of geraniums, African violets, begonias and a dogwood.
The class has inspired me to set up my grow light and heating mat again. I mist the little cuttings several times a day while they are trying to establish roots. My setup is big enough that I’ve put some other plants under the lights. Already my pitcher plants and Venus fly trap look much happier.
Here’s a great article, which highlights how important and beautiful designing gardens with native plants can be.
Just got a little nudge to join the Instagram crowd. Here’s my info: http://instagram.com/brooklyn_feed/
There are only a couple of photos so far, but keep checking in!
Yesterday I attended a pruning workshop given to gardeners at Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is an exciting place to be a gardener as everything is so young. When trees are young, your pruning is crucial in the shaping (or destroying) of the trees. Mistakes you make now can cause weak limbs, and even the eventual death of a tree. The more acute of an angle the branch is to the tree, the weaker it is. The more branches you prune affects how the tree is able to photosynthesize and feed itself. The way you cut a branch can affect how it heals. It was clear that they take this responsibility very seriously and limit who is allowed to prune trees (no volunteers!). It was also clear that they love the fact that they haven’t inherited old trees with years of possibly bad pruning practices.
After the lecture portion, we went outside to look at some trees and assess what issues we saw that should be addressed, or left alone. Many of the trees are still suffering/recovering from Hurricane Sandy. There is also a tremendous amount of large-scale building going on down there, which is shading out some trees. And of course large delivery trucks parking often break branches facing the street.
Another factor that I hadn’t really considered before is the psychology of pruning in a public space. Leaving tree limbs that you would normally prune to block people from entering a bed. Or pruning a branch in a way that makes it uninviting for kids to grab on to and swing on. And of course pruning branches that are about eye-level in pathways.
The photo is the view of the sunset through the classroom window.
Finding unusual things while gardening today.Like this skull. I was cutting back herbaceous perennials today and stumbled upon this. No body attached. Probably a victim of Santeria. Likely a lamb. I’ve heard of people finding roosters nailed to trees in Prospect Park, but until this haven’t seen any sign of animal sacrifice.And I found this unusual egg case/chrysalis/whatever strung between branches of an azalea. Any idea what it might be? There were a couple and they all had a long tightrope with the case somewhere towards the middle. Not terribly well camouflaged. The size is less than an inch.
This lovely great blue heron decided to stop for a rest on the railing in the Native Flora garden at the BBG today. He stayed for quite a while, which was fun to watch.
The pond doesn’t have fish or frogs in it, so he was just hanging out enjoying the warm sun we had today. Maybe he had just eaten a nice, juicy koi out of the Japanese Garden and was stopping to digest a bit.