Archive for the ‘Summer 2009’ Category

The Hanging Basket Report: Better Luck Next Year


We went through two hanging baskets this summer. We had this pink, perfect mini-petunia in June. Once the petunia baked on our roof garden, we swapped it out for this yellow lantana. By the end of August, the lantana fell to the dry windy heat too. (A neighbor criticized us for growing lantana, a plant he considered a weed.)

We’re thinking about new ideas for the hanging basket/pole for next summer.

The plant in this picture, living on a light pole high above 34th Street, near the midtown Manhattan flagship Macy’s made me think more about our hanging basket problem. If a  hanging basket can make it there, seems like a hanging basket could make it anywhere. I wonder how often these pots are watered.


Finding Abundance Over Our Heads


This last cold day of September is feeling like the end of roof garden season to me. So I thought we’d take a look back to where our garden started. This is a photo I took of our roses and herbs that we planted in early in June for R*’s birthday. Back then I worried that these little plants looked ridiculous in those huge pots and I didn’t think they’d survive the summer.

Well, here’s how the same posts looked in the end of August:


I suppose I knew that our plants would grow, but I wasn’t expecting this lushness. While I was busy keeping my expectations low, our plants were tripling in size. Is this a small taste of what parenting is like? Watching something grow and being a part of it — that’s a little tiny miracle with lavender flowers — right up on our roof.

Now for the less ethereal part of this lesson: Herbs love growing on sunny roofs in Brooklyn. Plant lots. They will flourish and flavor your food all summer too.

The growing season is just about shot and we’re a little sad.

Garden Going In at Crosby Street Hotel


The “spacious leafy courtyard garden” is going in today at the Crosby Street Hotel. The taller metal pots seems to have been inspired by garbage cans, but I like them. Nice contrast between the rough carved wooden low planters and the cooler black metal.

Terrace and Roof Gardens in Rome


R* and I have been back from vacation in Rome and the Greek Islands for a little over a week. We’re downloading our photos and reflecting on all that we saw.

We discovered that Rome must be the urban container gardening center of the world. R* and I spent a week wondering through Rome and made a game of pointing out amazing window boxes and roof gardens all over Rome.


Rome’s container gardens focus on greens, more than flowers. This must be because of the heat — it was nearly 100 when we were there in late August.


We stayed at the Hotel Torino in Rome. We felt right at home on their  roof garden where a complimentary breakfast is served to guests — and pigeon passers-by — every morning.

Check out Philip’s Garden Blog for a poetic post about roof gardens in Rome. I wish I would have known about these Secret Gardens of Rome before we left the Eternal City. In case the food alone wasn’t reason enough to go back to Rome, I also have to go back to check out more gardens.

Best Roof Garden Plant: Portulaca


Our pansies are past their prime and the lantana languished in the heat . . . but our portulaca is still perfect.

Portulaca is low maintenance (no dead-heading required!) fast growing drought-tolerant annual. As fall approaches, the portulaca is still pumping out flowers so we’ve moved this container to a high visibility perch on our roof garden. See how the portulaca is taking on a burgundy tint with lots of small red flowers? The only down side of portulaca, also called moss rose, is that the flowers are not open in the evening.

Portulaca seems to be out of style? I don’t see it sold often and I don’t see it growing in other NYC gardens. I’m wondering why … maybe because it is related to the weed purslane?

Here’s more information about growing portulaca.

My Hens and Chicks Look Sick


Bon Voyage! Thanks, Plant Sitters.


We’re heading out for vacation soon. We have a great friend to check in on the cat for us and he’s a very indepent sort anyway.  The plants on the other hand . . . after tending to our garden every day since May, we’re having a bit of separation anxiety.

Two friends in our apartment building have graciously agreed to water the plants for us. They need to be watered once a day, twice a day when it is above 90 and dry. Hauling the water up there every night is a big job so we appreciate the help.

To be on the safe side, we’re also using the Plant Nanny. We put recycled soda bottles screwed into terra cotta spikes into our most thirsty pots. They should self-water our favorite plants. The roses and herbs in particular take a lot of water, so this should be a good back up system.