Category Archives: plants

Vintage landscape: Union Square

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressBuying Easter flowers, Union Square, New York City, April 18, 1908 (the Saturday before Easter) by Bains News Service, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of Congress

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressThings look pretty calm in these pictures, but only a week and a half before, on March 28, the park was the scene of a demonstration by the unemployed and then a bombing, which killed the bomber and a bystander.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressSince 1976, Union Square has been the site of a thriving greenmarket (every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday), which includes flower sellers.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of Congress

You can scroll through larger versions of these images (and several more) by clicking on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under American gardens, architecture, culture and history, landscape, life in gardens, nature, plants, vintage landscape

Vintage landscape: lilac bush

Lilacs, between 1905 and 1915, by  via Library of CongressSirenʹ  or lilacs – an early color photograph taken between 1905 and 1915 – by Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love. . . .

– Walt Whitman, from “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

Leave a comment

Filed under art, culture and history, design, nature, plants, vintage landscape

Our garden: bird droppings (sort of)

On Friday morning, I looked down from our upstairs porch and cursed the hawks.

For about a year now, they have had a huge nest in the tree right next to the house – and they have “feathered” it with all sorts of garbage, particularly dirty pieces of cloth and scraps of paper.  They regularly redecorate by pushing some of their treasures out over the side.

Whenever I look up, I take in the sight of what looks like someone’s old underwear lapped over a branch.

This appeared to be the worst yet — chips of styrofoam (?) all over the ground.  They really were flying pigs.

Tiny mushrooms in the grass/enclos*ure

A closer inspection, however, revealed that I had to take it all back.

Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Thousands of tiny, tiny white mushrooms were in the grass and the planting bed.

Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Below, the white grains under the mushrooms are yet more mushrooms.Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Sorry, hawks. . . until next time.

Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid

In more news from the same tree, the weaver birds and their amazing basket nests are back.

The yellow-colored males have been building and re-building for several weeks now, chattering loudly as they work.  According to a guidebook, the males weave and the females inspect (and destroy any subpar work).

Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure(There are much nicer photos of last year’s nests here.)

I guess the girls — who are plain brown — were finally satisfied, because it recently got much quieter up there. Then, a few days ago, I started finding halves of eggshells on the grass under the tree.

Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure

Here’s my collection so far.Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure

 

There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. . .

Jamaal May, from “There Are Birds Here

5 Comments

Filed under African gardens, nature, our garden, plants, Rwanda life, Rwandan gardens

Foliage Follow Up: Eden’s curls

Our garden in Kigali/enclos*ure: the cycad's new leavesOne of our cycad’s new leaves – there’s more about this plant here.

Our cycad is a sago palm or Cycas revoluta, a species of gymnosperm with origins in the Mesozoic era.  Revoluta refers to the “curled back” leaves.

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. . .

– Gerard Manley Hopkins, from “Spring

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Follow Up is the 16th of every month. Check out more beautiful leaves at Digging.

6 Comments

Filed under African gardens, nature, our garden, plants, Rwandan gardens

Bloom Day in April: purple irises

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th of every month. To see what’s blooming today in other bloggers’ gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

The iris is one of those plants that may as well be spectacularly well grown as not. Properly done — and it is at least as easy as growing tomatoes or corn or roses or things of that sort — the bloom will be so thick you cannot believe it at all, and the colors will be so sparkling and fresh you will jump (as it were) up and down.

– Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under African gardens, nature, our garden, plants, Rwandan gardens