Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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Everyone is in such a good mood suddenly. 
Must have something to do 
with the unexpected thrill of seeing  the first 
Christmas lights appearing on 
Main Street and knowing our beautiful village 
will soon be at its most endearing.


Or maybe it is the effect of the throngs of 
wonderful people continuing to
 pitch in in The Far Rockaways and Breezy Point 
and the many places hard hit by the storms. 
(Friends – you know who you are)

So, in the spirit of the season…
I suggest the following:

Be extra kind.

In the rush of preparation - don’t forget to pay extra attention to your dog(s) and all pets of any nature.

If you are interested in Shopping Local, one consideration should be LongHouse's InStore.


We encourage these ideas: 
BUY Local – BUY Small – BUY Independent

And in that same spirit of feeling good and sharing 
with the gardeners in your life...

Our Dianne B Christmas Deal is made in heaven 
for those of you who want to give our handmade  
but pricey Dutch Tools and – and it goes 
without saying – the Monogrammed Shovel.  
(If you want to actually put the shovel under the tree, 
the order must be in our hands by December 3rd to guarantee delivery by Christmas).


15% off Gift Certificates up to $50 and 
25% off Gift Certificates over $50.

We will (real) mail to you our smart looking  Gift Certificate if your Order is received 
before December 19th.

You can wait till the very last minute if you prefer everything electronically…

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2012

That Sporadic Look....


So easy to imagine but so much work to achieve.
This word has
an entymological meaning – coming from the word spore
(you best know it from the underside of ferns)
where every little random dot might become another fern.

Well, planting the spring bulbs so that they look well,
here and there – a little irregular -
sporadic, if you will, takes patience
and precious garden space…





Last month I received 10 Cyclamen plants from
Edelwiss Perennials in Oregon –  the state
(thank God it's a blue one)
 that seems to produce the best plants.
This is the 3rd or 4th attempt in my two decade plus gardening
career to re-create a field of blooming cyclamen once
seen under a great spreading tree in autumn
 somewhere in a wine region of France.
This somewhat hazy apparition haunts me.
My 1st order from Edelweiss looks very good and included a nice
personal note from the proprietor Urs Baltensperger,
which is always a turn-on .
The young plants were lusty…the leaves well-mottled and
I have a very good feeling 
that this time is the charm...

This is what I've got...


This is what I want--


You can read this issue of DIRTIER in its entirety HERE!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Please Vote Today!

Remember to VOTE today!

This 20 foot wide 12 bottom plow is what makes our Favorite Farmer, John Hoff, just simply go over the moon.


He is our endeared Pure Steel Shovel maker and has gallantly made time in this hectic autumn season of planting and plowing to fill a superfast order for us…
If you are thinking of our one-of-a-kind lasts-forever
monogrammed high-gauge stainless shovel for your
gardening beloveds for Christmas …put in your orders now
and we will all be ahead of the game…

Nothing says
"look how I thought of you"
as endearingly as a Monogrammed Shovel

Dianne B Best Products 121

But Preen Organic Vegetable Garden weed killer really works.
One of the few perks of being a garden writer, this kind of
company sends me big containers of its products to try.
Well – I figured if it is OK for vegetables, it would be OK around
my varied plantings, so I have tried it in some unlikely places, in almost full sun and almost deep shade – and it works.
The trick is that the area must be weed free when you sprinkle the 
little pellets on
(it doesn’t smell and it doesn’t kill weeds that are already there)
and sure, a few unwanted things peep up here and there but by
and large – it really works.


MORE  GROUNDCOVER – don’t wince…

In preparation for my new book, on the unlikely subject of Groundcovers: The Garden's Carpet,  on and off I have been
giving you a few sneak previews of favored and enthralling combinations…Here are a few more:

Painters Palette and Epimedium are a smart combination
because they are interesting at opposite ends of the
seasonal spectrum.


And, of course, Lamium, everyday violets, Japanese Painted
Fern and variegated Petasites go with everything


Combinations are absolutely endless…more next time as this
idea knows no end...

And who said Groundcovers are boring....

To read this entire issue of DIRTIER--Click Here!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Want to open by saying that our thoughts are with all of our readers 
who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. This enormous storm brought devastation to many communities and we hope that the road ahead will 
not seem insurmountable. 


If you are among the ultimate watchers of the amazing turning
of the autumn leaves who travel for the pleasure,  then you might be soon visiting New England.
If so – head straight to Salem, Massachusetts
and the Peabody Essex Museum.


There you will find the divine
Stephen Jones who has been my favorite milliner since I carried his marvelous chapeaux in my Dianne B. stores in the 80’s.
I’ve seen this show
(he curated, and there are many great hats) –
it is excessively stylish…
and funny too.

Bet you never knew where the word "milliner" came from, did you?


...increases by leaps and bounds at summer’s end and during
these weeks while the leaves begin to turn.
It seems the variegation is at its richest…


 Caladium Aaron at its peak.


 This gorgeous Euphorbia is aptly called ‘Glacier Blue’ and
for me seems much hardier and more dependable than the
trying-to-be-popular ‘Tasmanian Tiger', which looks great at
nurseries and in catalogues, but hasn’t survived for me
after many tries.
E. ‘Glacier Blue’ from Forestfarm – who else?

This time of year is when the historical old
Iris pallida ‘Variegata looks its finest too.


And what is there to say about
Colocasia Nancy’s Revenge?
This giant elephant's ear


takes patience  – the white central markings don’t begin to
appear until mid-August -
but -  then  - it is spectacular.


As is this Fatsia - stongly marked with one just-emerged,
gorgeous, all-white leaf tucked behind
Adam Kurtzman’s bronze hand.


More wonders from LandCraft HOT Plants.


 Apocalypha  -  a real tropical.
Not only a white picotee edge, but a scalloped white picotee edge


Aralia elata Silver Umbrellas dies down to
a stick of a trunk in winter...
but look at it now.
I got this one from Broken Arrow in 2008.
It's a good thing too, because now I think they are condemned?
I read that they are dangerously invasive, but it seems to me
if you keep after the runners -
no problem - only beauty

And to veer off the white track for one moment …this melange of
green and gold is definitely inspired…


Pinus densiflora ‘Oculis Draconis’
(quite a big title for this Tiger’s Eye pine which had withstood
much maltreatment as I moved it from spot to spot until it arrived
at this one in hospitable full-sun)
underplanted with Farfugium  ‘Crested Leopard’
and the best  gold ground cover (even better than Lysimachia nummularia ) is Sedum ‘Angelina”.

It makes me proud.
And certainly reinforces gardening as my singular favorite therapy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Another beautiful thing about the Beautyberries, aside from their name  (Callicarpa to be botanical) is not only are their pendulous  branches beautiful to our eyes, but the birds just go mad for them…especially these red-breasted robins.  The great thing is the abundant  berries provide plenty for them to eat and for us
to swoon over…


What began as another dreary, grey, gloomy day suddenly took
on autumn splendor around 2 in the afternoon. 
Suddenly too warm for a sweathshirt (yes, I have two beloved
old Issey Miyake sweatshirts) but perfect for the rigors of digging in.  After three days of rain the earth yields to making holes and is pliable
enough to welcome weeding – all this corresponding with the
arrival of Spring Bulbs – can anything be better?

First to go in the ground are the premium tubers from
Odyssey Bulbs. They are deservedly more expensive because
they are fatter and more alive with roots and growth tips
than any of the others.
Look at these Arum pictum I planted last year –


So luscious.
These glossy leaves have just appeared -
exactly when you need something fresh.
So, this year I am planting Arum discoridis
to grow nearby.

Plus this year I am giddy with several new colors of Corydalis and
an Erythronium called ‘Purple King’.

You see, Odyssey has the odd specie and color unavailable
anywhere else ( that I’m aware of) and the owner
Russell Stafford converses with you personally
(which I adore – even when he tells me he is sold out).
There are a few pictures on line, but the descriptions are very visual.

And speaking of bulb sources – it only
makes sense to go with the best.
Here is proof:


These are Anemone coronaria tubers.  The three fat ones
on the left are from John Scheepers  - the three puny
scrawny withered ones on the right are from another source.
It shall go nameless, but it begins with B and they
send millions of catalogues.
Get your bulbs from the good guys:
John Scheepers and VanEngelen (for quantities of 50, 100 like that)
McClure & Zimmerman
And Odyssey, of course

Don’t forget to plant the fleshy tuberous things first as well as the more fragile Fritillaria...and lilies .  Oh yes, and do soak those funny looking anemones overnight before planting – I think it makes
all the difference.


An Easter Lily is absolutely the paradigmatic
essence of spring, is it not?
Here is one is blooming like mad from the beginning of September! 


That calls for an exclamation point.

Our congregation is invited to take the potted lilies from the altar on the Sunday after Easter, which is what this happens to be.
Of course, I looked for the plumpest tallest one and immediately
came home and planted it in an unlikely spot where I never expected
it to flourish…you never know when the next little miracle might occur.

And today - the 17th of October -
there are 2 big fat new buds !


This is a fantastic Lily squagmira, and although I have never had
much luck with them -   at LongHouse they are flourishing.


As is the gargantuan and divine Tropical Garden installed by Dennis Schrader of the great LandCraft Environments.
You cannot appreciate these pictures without understanding the scale…This dark banana leaf is probably 10 feet tall.


This Colocasia ‘Thailand Giant’ may be 7 or 8 feet across,



with color nuances that are divine:
Look at the way the Purply shine of the Strobilanthes picks
up the purple in the thorns of that crazy jagged-edge chartreuse
thing. Wild. …and to think at the beginning of June it looked like, well…nothing.
Oh, the jungle is a
 powerful place...
think of how it almost devoured all of those Mayan temples.

And for the first time ever -
everyone is invited to watch the spectacular season change
at LongHouse

Now open every Saturday from
12 - 3:30  PM 

To read the full text of this latest version of DIRTIER, Click HERE!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just leave them in the ground?


Our country is now enduring it’s warmest year on record and the
13 warmest years for the ENTIRE PLANET have occurred 
since 1998. That is 13 out of 14 years.  And this according to the
NYTimes based on data gathered since 1880....

Thank God Wind Power and Solar Energy are getting cheaper
 and renewable energy use is rising…but
in the meantime  -
What are we gardeners to do?

We're already getting used to
adapting to the new seasonal calendar,
but should we just consider the Eucomis eternal?
I mean,  leave the all Pineapple Lilies in the ground?
Here see an over-wintered one bursting forth and full blown.



 Do I dare expect another so-mild-you-can-hardly-call-it-winter?

What to think?  Because on this very day
(it is September 3rd as I write)
I have just spotted THREE HELLEBORE BUDS!


Lespedeza and Beauty berry in nearly full flush –
Pinky Winky already High-autumn pink –


Isn’t it unimageinable?  What happened to autumn?


I like to chitchat with you every month but as one month slurs into
the next -- who can keep up?  Though last month was exceptionally eventful – starting with a grand birthday party
for Jack Larsen at LongHouse -
Seating 75 people  in the amphitheatre
was, of course, his idea...


and it was wonderful...


Punctuated by 2 very different weddings:

My stepdaughter Wendy’s wonderful wedding on a Sonoma
precipice at twilight.

Image 2

This is just a little taste of the Australian civil ceremony,
the real thing in the next issue.
Hold your breath...

In her brothers’, Marc & Charles, gorgeous sprawling garden
that put on a special show for the event:


Hairy cactus.


Cactus about to bloom.
Cactus in full bloom.


A towering yucca stalk.


And subtle modulated desert colors...
Blues that are really blue


and color combinations
that are too chic for words.


Peach trees.


And gorgeous tomatoes, this black one
called Indigo Rose.


Bountiful and wonderful.


Then a few weeks later were the nuptials of
Rufus Wainwright + Jorn Weisbrodt
right here on Long Island in their Montauk garden.



These big events mixed in with Lobster Bakes and Circus
Parties ( Big Apple Circus is the circus that gives back -
to schools, to hospitals)- and a trip to Baltimore to
celebrate dramatic old friends in new times - some
more theatrical than others.

So, I am a little late in getting
this summer's end DIRTIER
out to you...

To read the full text of this issue of DIRTIER click HERE.