While I'm in a blogging mood, I thought this pic from the slope garden at school would interest readers who like me abhor formal garden design. Here a riot of color with diverse species unfolds before the camera, keeping the eye moving as more interesting flowers appear on closer inspection. The sharp eyed among the readers will note the long curved fading flowers of Mirabilis longiflora in the foreground. Its a cool plant I picked up at Annies Annuals last year, and kept going in a pot all winter. It really took off in the garden, making showers of long white funnel shaped flowers. Unfortunately they open at night and begin to wilt soon after sunrise, so you need to catch it early to see it. It is also wonderfully fragrant, as I found when I brought a branch home and put it in water. The calyxes are sticky, and the plant grows large and sprawls, so it is not for a small garden, but it is distinctly interesting for those that can accomodate it. Also visible are some very undwarf "dwarf" marigolds, close to the wild species, I image. They came into flower fairly late, and really were at their best in Sept. Some pelargoniums, including my own creations, among them a Nieuwe Pad (spelling corrected from an earlier post) in the foreground fill in the center, while nicotiana alata and salvia farinacea can be seen in the back. Also visible are a couple of small purple flowers of Ipomoea carica, which grew so rampantly I had to remove it later on. It also has showy bright orange seeds, but needs too much space to grow, shooting out horizontal stems in addition to the vertical ones so as to conquer the earth as fast as possible. I have read that it is a menace in Florida, and now I understand why! A friend gave me some seed he collected in Texas, which turned out to be annual Gaillardia, which is barely visible in the foreground. Another vigorous plant that required roging after most of the flowers had faded and seed was set, but unlike the ipomoea it was much appreciated by butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.
Thought you'd like to know about the first of our 2009 Horticultural Lectures, on January 21. Photographer Mick Hales will be speaking about what catches the eye in a garden and how that affects what we see and experience. The lectures are at the New York School of Interior Design (170 E. 70th St.) and general admission is $25. More about the whole series at http://www.wavehill.org/about/press.html
All the best!
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