NYBG 2014 Orchid Show; part 2 of several.
Is this really what Key West is like? If so, I’m on the next flight out.
NYBG has absolutely outdone themselves with this years’ show, which opens tomorrow, March 1st. Today was members’ preview day, and honestly, stepping into the doors of the Conservatory felt transformative. The warm, humid, scented air made the gusts of cold, dry wind outside feel a world away. It was nice.
And the orchids are magnificent. I took many macro photos of them, as is my wont, but on my second walk through after lunch (PS: the food at the new dining pavilion is quite good), I was done taking photos and reveled in the architecture of the whole thing. There are orchids on walls, in beds, hanging from the ceiling, on trees, on top of other orchids. It’s truly immersive.
Here’s the first of a few parts of my favorite photos from today. I feel warmer just looking at them.
Hey, orchids! Today is the members’ preview day for the annual orchid show at NYBG, and I’ll be there.
I posted my pictures from last year’s NYBG orchid show back when it happened. But somehow I never posted these photos (please forgive the timestamps) from the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show, which I may also go back to this year. I’d never seen anything quite like this, and looking at them now, I still remember how huge those paphs were. What beautiful, licentious flowers orchids are.
House finch (orange variant). The colors of male house finches vary wildly, based upon whatever they happen to have eaten during molt. While most of our two dozen finches are in the standard pink to dark red spectrum, there are a few yellow/orange outliers as well. But this guy, a more recent arrival, is absolutely the most bright orange finch I’ve ever seen.
Between my tomatoes and raspberries, June 2013.
There were basically two things that got me started gardening when we moved here nearly three years ago: the desire for homegrown tomatoes and string beans. All the other stuff is nice to have, but these were the essentials for me.
The string beans, once I found a good spot for them, proved fun and easy to grow, as I remember from my childhood.
The tomatoes were a different story. After a year of trying to grow them in pots (not worth the effort), the next year we built a nice big raised bed, filled it mostly with compost, and had so many tomatoes we were eating them (frozen) until July the next year.
Last year, however, was miserable. Despite topping off the bed with more compost, and only watering through drip lines, disease and pests were a constant problem. I started everything from seed in late December (!) and had ripe fruit by late May. But by July the plants were on their way out, and I lost the energy and will to keep up with them, and mostly let them go to an early grave (in doing so I’ve found that Amish Paste is the exception and remarkably resistant and productive.)
So this year, I am trying grafted Mighty ‘Matos. I have ordered five varieties: Pineapple, Brandywine, San Marzano Redorta, Green Tiger and Paul Robeson. The Green Tiger is a new one to me, but it’s the closest they’ve got to a Green Zebra (which have always died on me, three years in a row now). I’ll be receiving them in late April, and will certainly update Tumblr with my progress, and if they live up to their billing, and the bill (they are not cheap; about $11 each with shipping). To compare, I’ll be growing them in the same spots as previous years (I don’t have room to rotate anyway), and treating them much the same way, which is to say training them through stakes, pruning for airflow, fertilizing with liquid fish/seaweed fertilizer and compost, and watering infrequently but deeply. I do not spray except when necessary, and even then only organics such as Serenade. Hoping for a freezer full of tomatoes next winter! I need to go prune those raspberries now…
2/20: My first bulb of the year started to bloom (hyacinthus orientalis ‘Crystal Palace’).
Okay, so perhaps this doesn’t totally count as a FOTY, as I “forced” it (I brought it in from cold storage in early January), but I needed to do this. It’s almost March and not even the crocuses seem to have woken up yet. Even my amaryllises are only sending up their buds now, and they’re indoor plants! WTF?
Anyway, I was so taken with my Crystal Palace hyacinths last year that I had to get more. They’re my favorite of the dozen varieties I grow. The rest are in the garden, still in hibernation, but I decided to force one to remind me what spring is like. They don’t seem to turn out as large when grown in a pot, but they’re still glorious.
False Start. As I sit here in my office watching the snow fall over Manhattan yet again, I can’t help but to think that this has been a somewhat more vacillating fall/winter season than most. Exhibit A: the many spring bulbs that have prematurely sprouted in pockets around my garden. This photo is from November, but there have been plenty of others since. Was it always like this? Or am I just paying more attention now? Either way. Looking forward to spring more and more each day.
Mourning dove, “birdbath”.
Sometimes the most beautiful thing is right in front of you, if you only look.
We’ve been invaded by house finches, and I’m OK with that. What started as a family of three has ballooned into two dozen, and on some days even more. They make quite a racket from sunup to sundown as they vie for one of the four spots on my safflower feeder, but they are such a delight to watch, and brighten the bleak frozen landscape quite a treat. What’s more, they seem to cohabit with our native birds very well; if anything they’re getting the word out to all the purple finches and chickadees, too. Best of all, they chase away the house sparrows! And did I mention they’re beautiful?
I love roses and rose gardens, and would love to grow those incredible, elaborate, fragrant teas, but disease problems make them not worth the bother to me. Enter David Austin roses, that give you 95% of the fabulous with only 5% of the effort. Growing this one for a year now, I couldn’t be happier with the results, and when I move to a bigger space, I will absolutely have a whole lot more of these wonderful roses. In addition, this one has the best name of any rose I’ve found: "William Shakespeare 2000".