Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Do You Plant Pansies In Your Roof Garden?

We’re so excited to see showy annual plants back at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. These pansies and the smaller-flowered violas were for sale by Phillip’s Farms on Saturday. I see many Brooklyn gardeners growing pansies in this early spring period and then pulling them out by May. We’ll probably put some violas in the pots on our stoop. Pansies — part of the Viola family, as are violets — thrive in cool weather and die back in the heat of the summer.

I’m not sure if we’ll go to the expense of putting short-lived annuals up on the roof. Pansy season will be over before it is consistently warm enough to spend much time on the roof. Still, we’ll probably pop a few in our roof garden since we’re too excited for spring.

I love this detail from Tulsa Gentleman: Superstitious American pioneers thought “a handful of violets taken into the farmhouse in the spring ensured prosperity, and to neglect this ceremony brought harm to baby chicks and ducklings.

Learn more about pansies on About.com

Rosemary, Begonia and Pelargonium Window Boxes at Hotel Delmano

There’s a lot to swoon over at Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: the cocktails, the yuppie snacks, and the steampunk smashed with speakeasy style of the place. Me? My favorite part was their window boxes.

They serve a drink here called the Granny Polite – white port mixed with fresh lemon and tonic.  Pelargonium and begonias, usually thought of as polite granny plants, are mixed up with mint and thyme for a fresh look. Skinny silvery rosemary leans out of the boxes, kind of like the hipster dudes walking past the sidewalk bar. (I haven’t seen a local Brooklyn source for Perlargonium geraniums; I might order some of these geraniums from Logee’s next year. Read more about scented geraniums on design*sponge.)

These creative plantings do an amazing job of echoing the mood of the bar. I’d like to ask the garden why they also included dalhias in these boxes. They stood out as the one off note to me.

Creating a Full-Sun Hanging Basket for Our Brooklyn Roof Garden

The hanging basket on our roof garden faces some big challenges. The hanging basket has to be able to withstand strong gusts of wind and direct, drying sunlight for most of the day. Last summer we went through three different hanging baskets. The lantana performed the best, so we knew we’d make lantna the center of this summer’s hanging basket.

I ordered the three plants from White Flower Farm for our hanging basket last night, working from the thriller, filler, spiller model.

For the thriller I chose Phlox intensia in white. We try to put white flowers in almost every pot, since white flowers are visible late into the night, when we often visit our roof garden. “Even when the heat made other plants start to flag, this Phlox performed admirably. Lovely in window boxes against a dark background,” say the pros at White Flower Farm.

I don’t think the Lantana is precisely a filler; last summer our Lantana was thrilling with the flowers blazing, unwilling in the sun and wind while attracting butterflies. Still, I am counting on the Lantan to fill up this pot all summer long; so let’s call it a filler. I’ve usually seen yellow Lantana, often called “ham and eggs”, sold locally. I decided to try something a bit less common – this purple and white Lantana montevidensis Lavender Swirl. Lantna is one of the best roof garden plants we’ve tried.

Finally, the spiller. Our hanging basket is hung high up on an air vent pole, so I wanted a spiller that would thrive in full sun and grow Rapunzel style to hide the ugly pole. I picked Dichondra argentea Silver Falls because it grows fast and it “[e]njoys sun and drought. Unique.” I don’t think portulaca would trail this long.

We’re planting this in a self-watering hanging basket.

What do you think? Will this hanging basket survive the summer on our roof?

Images: White Flower Farm

Tulips in the Tree Pit, Brooklyn Style

Tree pit gardening is tough on my Brooklyn block. If the dog pee doesn’t get ya, the flower pickers might. Congratulations to this Brooklyn gardener for a beautiful springtime display.

Spring Window Boxes in the West Village

>> More window boxes.

Stoop Sighting: First Flowers on Park Place

Today is the first day of spring!

We don’t know the name of this plant (do you?), but we love how this bush brightens this Brooklyn brownstone stoop.

The Hanging Basket Report: Better Luck Next Year

hangingbasket_macys_midtown

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.

Just Ordered Crocuses for Our Roof Garden

crocus_pickwick_whiteflowerfarm

Last night I bought Our Life in Gardens by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. This morning, after reading this passage from the end of the first chapter, I ordered 75 crocus bulbs:

“Our first autumn in Pepperell, we also planted bulbs, daffodils of course and crocus and tulips and hyacinths. The day in March when the hundred or so species of crocus we had planted near the doorstep bloomed was then, and remains, a curiously blessed moment in our life together. It was something we vowed would happen each year we were together, forever.”

I love how this couple is able to talk about their garden and their relationship with such tenderness without turning treacly. I’d been wondering if I could grow bulbs on our roof for a while and this book was just the kick I needed.

An experienced gardener I found on the New York City Roofgarden Meetup message board told me “the rule of thumb is that anything in containers on a roof or deck needs to be 2 zones hardier than the growing area.” We’re in zone 7, so I’d need bulbs that were hardy to zone 5 . . . and these crocuses are all good to zone 4, so let’s hope this works.

Thanks to Band of Thebes where I first heard about this terrific book. The New York Times also reviewed the book.

Image: White Flower Farm

Best Roof Garden Plant: Portulaca

roof-garden-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.

Growing Bulbs in Rooftop Containers

orca_tulip_whiteflowerfarm

I’m looking for some advice on growing spring bulbs in rooftop containers. Can you help? We want to play some bulbs this fall and let them sleep up on the roof all winter and then bursting with some early color up there.

Since our pots are 12-16″, there’s not much soil there to insulate bulbs over the winter. We plan on keeping out pots right along a white wall on our roof, which will provide a bit of insulation, but still it will be cold.

And then if the bulbs survive the winter, it can get windy on our roof. It seems like we will need bulbs with sturdy flowers and short stems. Does this mean French tulips, a favorite of mine, are out? Seems like we’ll need hardy, short stemmed flowers.

I’m planning on using the bulbs only once and then discarding them. This is not the most frugal way to garden, we realize, but we don’t have the space to keep the bulbs in our pots and there’s no cool dark place in our apartment to store them.

I really like the varieties of tulips that ColorBlends puts together, though their site seems to be down right now.

crocus_whiteflowerfarm

I also remember loving crocuses when I was a young child, so I think these would be fun. I was originally thinking of a pink and white color scheme, but I couldn’t find any short stemmed pink tulips . . . then I started liking these orange Orcas.  They’d be great to cut and bring in the apartment and the color is great with purple crocuses.