August 30, 2010
I first heard of Paxon Hill Farm from fellow blogger James of View from Federal Twist. His post intrigued me enough to want to put this on my to-do list while I was vacationing nearby. When we got there I soon had the distinct impression that this nursery is one of those that sells plants to help defray the cost of maintaining their beautiful gardens and considerable menagerie. Besides animals, the gardens at Paxon Hill were full of great design ideas, water features, interesting focal points and great plant choices. Like James, I was also intrigued at how they mixed the common railroad tie with other materials in a very uncommon way. Some of the garden was still a work in progress, but seeing what has already been accomplished makes me want to stop here again in the future.
If you are ever near New Hope, Pennsylvania, you should stop by Paxon Hill Farm. Do not worry if there are non-gardeners in your party, even my normally garden-center-weary, yet tolerant wife and son enjoyed their visit.
August 24, 2010
August 20, 2010
Rudbeckia at Chelsea Grasslands
The High Line was constructed in the 1930's to elevate freight trains above the streets of New York's Meatpacking District. For half a century it delivered the milk, meat and produce that a hungry city needed. Buildings were constructed around it and took advantage of railroad tracks right outside, or in some cases inside, their second story. The last train ran here in 1980 and the tracks soon fell into disrepair. Mother Nature, who even in Manhattan abhors a vacuum, set seed in the railroad bed. Perhaps, this weedy growth, an unusual history and the need for open space inspired the park.
10th Ave. Square
Today The High Line is richly planted, mostly with natives that seem perfectly at home among the tracks. The landscape evokes what may have been growing here when Manhattan was just a wild island along the Hudson. However, this park does not deny its human history, in fact it is embraced. There are also many spaces where busy people can relax on benches and lounge chairs, enjoy the city view, listen to concerts and mainly take advantage of the totally linear nature of the park and simply stroll above the busy streets.
View Towards the Hudson
The Standard Hotel
Along the Tracks
10th Ave. Square
Helenium x ‘Ruby Tuesday’
This is one of my favorite photos from the day, with Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) blooms in the foreground and a well-known New York icon in the hazy distance. One of the reasons I published this post today was to be on time to enter the Gardening Gone Wild Picture This Photo Contest for August.
The High Line is perhaps the most unique garden I have ever visited, and few places so successfully integrate themselves into their surroundings. If you visit New York, put this on your to-do list. If you want to find out more The High Line has an excellent web site, that includes a month-by-month plant list, lots of historic and contemporary photos, a list of events, insight into its design and lots more. If you want to see how other photographers interpret this place, there is a Flikr group for The High Line where many other perspectives are shown, besides my own. At the end of my visit, I could glimpse the second section which will soon be open. We could see some of the plants where being installed to become another piece of the new New York.
August 19, 2010
This photo was from the Mercer's web site and shows the building under construction in 1915.
Ringing Rocks Park in northern Bucks County. The centerpiece of this park is a 5 acre field of boulders in the middle of the woods where one out of three boulders ring like a bell when struck with a hammer or another rock. The whole place is very mysterious and several web sources say that no plant will grow in the boulder field (though I did see a dead sapling), birds will not fly over it and animals will not cross it. The average depth of the boulder field is about 14' which makes the fact that nothing grows there not so mysterious and without plants you would not expect to see any animals. I do wonder though what forces brought these boulders here and concentrated them. As to the ringing, no one is exactly sure, but most believe it has to do with their composition and geological stress. Whatever, it was cheap fun.
Addendum: I thank my firiend Chris who found the following explanation of Ringing Rocks.
"The boulders are made of a substance called diabase which is basically volcanic basalt. This is one of the largest diabase boulder fields in the Eastern United States. The boulders have a high content of iron and aluminum and were thought to have broken apart during the Pleistocene Epoch probably about 12,000 years ago. The boulders were created through many years of freeze-thaw cycles that broke up the diabase into individual pieces, a process known as "frost wedging". The rocks may then have accumulated in this one area as the water saturated soil provided lubrication for the stones to "creep" downhill to their present location, a process known as "solifluction". This could have happened during the prior ace ages when overlying most soil literally slid over the frozen permafrost below, carrying the boulders with it."
August 14, 2010
Another annual I plant regularly is Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia), and I usually pair a dark purple variety with a chartreuse Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita').
For the past few years I have been planting a tropical Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica). This summer I was late getting them in and they are just now beginning to bloom, and I have also noticed that last year's plants must have set seeds which should be blooming soon as well.
One of my favorite summer plants is not grown for its flowers. The old-fashioned, shade loving Coleus (Solenostemon scutellariodes) never had much appeal to me, but I very much like the newer Sun Coleus, whose cultivar numbers seem to increase exponentially every year. I am currently having a summer fling with 'Big Red Judy'.
The Kong Series of Coleus came out several years ago and like the older varieties, prefers shade, but has much larger leaves (and a few blue flowers).
Most Lantanas (Lantana camara) are annuals for us, but until this winter I had several varieties that managed to come back. We lost all but the hardy 'Miss Huff', so I replanted with the less sprawly, more compact 'Ann Marie'.
Here is the unflappable 'Miss Huff'.
Another perennial that has proven able to withstand the heat and humidity, without any foliage issues has been Phlox paniculata 'Coral Creme Drop'.
Dahlias are more or less hardy here. The first one came from an assorted pack, and the second is one of the Bishops, but I'm sorry I don't know which one.
Blooming since June is Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'.
The recent rains have given the already long-blooming Crape Myrtles a second wind. They are so generous with their blossoms, they even give a few to plants that wouldn't normally have any, like this fern.
The last photo is of Golden Brocade Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Ogon Nishiki'). While it has no flowers, it is hard to miss that color.
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day occurs on the 15th of each month. Gardeners from all over the world post what is blooming in their gardens and send them into GBBD Central, deep within the green hills of Indiana, where CEO Carol @ May Dreams Gardens keeps everything in order. Please pay her a visit and be sure to thank her for the effort.