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!