Aaaaaah... The variety Oh the shapes Oooh the smells
I had every intention of getting this to you while bulb planting was at its frenzied peak, but been too busy doing just that as well as Speaking Shakespeare in my much-loved class, seeing extraordinary Shakespeare in NY, feeding the ducks and millions of other things.
So, it’s a little after-the-fact to tell you this new-found tidbit:
WHEN THE CRICKETS CEASE TO CHIRP It’s time to plant tulips!!! Or so they say... And it proved to be true too
Look at the little green shoots saying Plant Me Now Plant Me Now
Another clue is when the sweet doggies lie in the sun instead of under a tree and, of course, falling leaves is another sure sign.
But for most of us in the Northeast, bulb planting is out of the question once the wind begins to howl and the degrees dip down to below 30....like right now. What am I going to do with the few hundred bulbs just arrived? (couldn’t stop myself with 40% off from van Engelen... and shady lane border desperately needed tulips and you know, who can resist a really good deal?)
Well, I am going to wait for those inevitable few nice days, whenever they may be, and take the advice of smart Jack Larsen... who says it’s never too late to plant bulbs
In the meantime......here are a few ravishing images from the last few weeks before Thanksgiving
The always surprising luminosity and stamina of Monkshood, Deadly Nightshade that it is, and the closest I’ll ever get to the elusive delphinium look.
A totally white leaf on the Cornus controversa
The Japanese Rice Paper Plant (Tetrapanax) pushes out seductive new growth to the very last minute
Living next door to the 26 acre East Hampton Nature Trail has its distinct advantages
AND this is THE HAMPTONS most famous feature
That extraordinary pink evening sky ...
Our street (and our leaves)
Oh yes, and on November 12th we had our first dusting of snow...always magical, but not often combined with the gorgeous range of autumn color
SO SICK OF THIS
Following is a quote from a recent issue of the New York Observer describing Carine Roitfeld, once VogueParis editor and now one of the Fashion's Big Things
“Sultry. Decadent. Dusky. Unapproachable. Not the sort of person who would wear denim, even to do gardening. Not that she would garden.”
What kind of talk is that?
As if gardening is so bad? The concept here just despicable: who is to say that gardeners are not fashionable.
How dare they?
I, for one, consider myself quite glamorous .... Here I am last week at a Venezuelan Cultural Gala
at Lincoln Center accepting an award on behalf of Robert Wilson.
While Bob himself was very busy being toasted by tout Paris with his image plastered stories high on The Louvre (look at the people walking beneath for a nice sense of scale)
Laurie Lambrecht Photo
There is a fabulous show right now at The Brooklyn Museum, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. In this show there is a big wall placard describing a little bit of my (very fashionable) career...
In the New York of the 1980's, Dianne Benson was the first to carry such cutting edge fashion names as Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons and Jean Paul Gaultier. In 1983 she commissioned the artist Cindy Sherman to produce a series of photographs using designs sold at Dianne B. boutiques for an ad campaign that ran in Andy Warhol's Interview magazine...
And don't miss the Gaultier show. This is its sixth stop on a museum tour that has spanned America and Europe... The mannequins walk and talk...among other delights.
It is there through February.
WHAT CAN I SAY...how beautiful is November
The falling leaves accentuate the shapes
The yellowing maple monumentale against that super blue sky is just too much, isn’t it?
the last flowers and changing colors of Hydrangea arborescens radiata (this species confirmed by Ken Druse, no less). Note that the underside of the leaf remains white.
SIX different colorways on ONE LIMB
brilliant gold of that super Sumac, Rhus typhina ‘Tigers Eye'
A more distant view of it
And the startling red of the dwarf Japanese maple ‘Shaina’, I think
EVERYBODY LOVES SHAKESPEARE...
Maybe you just don’t realize it until you see it really well-done.
Don’t miss the fabulous Old Globe production of Twelfth Night. It is deserved of every dazzling word in every remarkable review.
The extraordinary actor Mark Rylance as Olivia.
Lys loved it and laughed through every scene...and she didn’t even particularly want to see it.
Then...when you’ve had the best (of the best) of comedy...
Go to see Macbeth at Lincoln Center. It is a full-blown electrifying production in which my great friend John Glover plays a (the) Witch. Ethan Hawke is Macbeth, but John is the star. (They even said that in the New York Times)
John in the middle...
And you might remember that last winter I was a witch in the Roundtable Production of Macbeth (therein the extra special spark when John told me about Lincoln Center ).
Both of the Broadway productions are running through January, but if you shouldn't get to NY or can’t get tickets... and, actually, even if you can...
COME see US next Wednesday night, December 4th The beautiful theater atGuild Hall, East Hampton 7PM Roundtable Speaking Shakespeare Scene Night. And unlike Broadway --- it's Free.
I am particularly excited because I get to play Gertrude to Tristan Vaughan’s Hamlet in the legendary ‘Good night, Mother’ scene. That Tristan is the perfect age, a professional, handsome and our teacher -- makes it that much better.
You are all invited...
GIFT TIME For the gardeners in your life, forget that dismal-sounding Black Friday
The solution for every gardener on your Christmas list is right here:
MAKE THEM HAPPY
Making this great deal is my present to you.
The tool belt The clippers The leather gauntlet For Only $99
Really distinct colorings happen most vividly in Fall, and this autumn has been a gala of perfect 60 and 70 degree temperatures, gaudily colored skies and gorgeous day following gorgeous day.
Autumn hues are not only about the usual burnished bronzes and red and golds... the blue-green and whites, perhaps my favorites, are really in their stride.
There is variegated and then, there is the really heightened . This is the almost-wholly-white leaf of Cornus controversa, an exceedingly graceful dogwood which grows in wedding-cake like tiers. (Yes, the one at Rosemary Verey's Barnsley House)
While, this is the coloring of its very close cousin Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’. It is somewhat less white and the leaves more wavy.
And this is how this kind of coloring serves as a perfect backdrop for other sensations, like the flowerhead of Angelica gigas.
Calla lily ‘Picasso’ at its peak
Blue-variegated-white plants make me swoon, and though there aren’t so very many of them outside of the Hosta world (and you know, I am not crazy about Hosta), this Euphorbia ‘Blue Glacier’ gets more distinguished each week
The painted ferns are whitening
Contrasts are more distinct
And the blacks just keep getting blacker
How can I mention Rosemary Verey, or think about Barnsley House without paying my due respects to
Jonathan Becker Photo
She was one of his best friends and his succession of beloved Norwich terriers were always named Barnsley.
We all knew that when he stopped drinking those Bloody Marys, it was a bad sign; and as his FABULOUS words appeared less and less frequently in the East Hampton Star --- I grew alarmed, and melancholy, along with his many friends. The only existential garden writer I've ever known.
But for me --- his totally unique personality and talents were such a part of what drew me to the Hamptons, and to gardening, that I can hardly believe he is gone and wonder how I might have appreciated him even more.
I first visited Madoo around 1990 when my early garden passion was in full throttle. Except for my big, very big, tawny Briard, I was alone when Bob Dash appeared in full muster and bellowed --- "no dogs allowed" ; but then he saw my enthusiasm and re-regarded Gorgeous (named so because she was) and became a puppy dog himself.
A wonderful eccentric --- keen for everything and so so smart.
I will really miss him.
But his legacy, Madoo, is a wonderful Sagaponack garden with a strong following and will keep him alive for us all.
WORTH THE WAIT
I know I have been taunting you with a NEW The Best @ Dianne B. entry --- a Gardening Glove quite unlike any other; but it takes a long time to get things right. And since I have the strictest criteria about what constitutes the TWELVE BEST... I knew this had to be just right.
Just in time for the rigors of Fall gardening. I have been thoroughly trying them out while pruning thorny things like Aralia, dividing stubborn Trillium and old Hellebores, and digging up the most precious Colocasias and Callas with big and burly tubers and roots.
Well, the gloves have behaved splendidly for me and now you can have them too.
And because they will make The Perfect Gift for all the gardeners in your life.... order right now for ever-memorable Christmas presents. Well, all of the female gardeners that is (I'm sorry I had to leave guys with bigger hands out on this first go round, but it was enough just to get three sizes ). I have discovered, though, that Women’s size L is equivalent to Men's size S.
So, in stock (though I don't have too too many) and ready for you
This is a good trick, and though tricks are not my usual bailiwick, I got away with this one for 2 or 3 months... Not one person questioned: Why is there only one? Does it winter over? or even Where did you get it?
This big white Calla lily was so perfect that all people did was Oooh and Aaaah
Fake Calla flower...real Calla leaves Ha Ha Ha Notice I even put a ‘plant ring’ around it, as if it might fall over from its heavy beauty. The stem, of course, couldn't be stronger. The living breathing Calla aethiopica plant refused to flower and I decided to help Mother Nature along.
I think it was a good, and good-natured, trick.
Notice, too, that beautiful variegated Callicarpa (beautyberry) behind it...I think it is C. dichotoma ‘Duet’ from Heronswood... it’s white berries are tiny, but abundant.
I never stop on the street to take phone photos of store windows, never, but there was something about this Hermes library window that called to me
If that gold-dusted figure with the bow and arrow looks familiar, it’s because it’s a classic one of my namesake, Diana, the Huntress...
and also, there is a bigger version of the very same at LongHouse
I love all the upside downiness of certain flowers... I love their gravity-defying insistence I love the way they always seem as if they’re about to fly away.. Like meteors...like Shooting stars
And especially, this one. Right now it has just waned, but for the last 6 weeks it has been blooming its head off --- all from one tuber. (Brent & Becky) Lilium Glorioso rothschildiana - the name is rather deific, isn't it?
And that heart-shaped bud just before it opens is to die...
Growing it up through this tiger’s eye pine was not a bad move either The Tiger’s Eye is another of the fabulous species that revel in intense variegation as autumn sinks in
Some Columbines (Aquilegia)
Shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia)
Even this giant size sunflower on the wane...
MORE ABOUT CYCLAMEN
15 unabashedly cute upside down Cyclamen flowers in one day.. well – that’s almost a drift if not a meadow. FIFTEEN
And it is Cylclamen hederifolium, the one I least expected to prosper, and not Cyclamen coum, which they say is "easier". Hederifolium is the more interesting one with the jagged and highly variegated leaf.
When I went on my cyclamen tear last year, I ordered some C. purpurescens too, but nothing much seems to have come of that
DIANNE'S Dos and Don'ts
DON’T give up on Colchicum. More or less – I have just ignored the several already planted because the flowers flop over the day after they open and generally look like a mess. BUT – this year, you see, I decided to try cutting some - to my surprise because the petals are fragile-looking, they lasted for days and days in a vase
So now I have a new found appreciation. The last one to bloom was this perky one with a brilliant pink middle stripe
DO be inquisitive. Can anyone identify this charming creature?
DO trust the dark. Arisaema ‘Black Mambo’ has never been grander (see her dwarfing Magnolia)...or more productive. Perhaps it looks light in this image, but it is really dark under that Sargent’s hemlock
DO always be on the lookout for surprises...this Arum pictum fromOdyssey was completely off my radar when it suddenly appeared last week.
DO look closely
At first glance, you would think this is a staunch tree trunk with pretty variegated foliage, but if you really look you will see that it is a mighty old leafy vine that has wound its way around the big old tree trunk. It sits near the picturesque pond-front home of Bryan Hunt and Lucy Winton and they don’t know what it is... not the tree or the vine... but it sure is nice ...
and DON’T jump to conclusions. 4 or 5 years ago, Jack Larsen gave me a willow tree and though put in a good spot, befitting the giver and its source (the great annual plant sale at Wave Hill), I just wasn’t that crazy about it..didn't get it. Suddenly, finally, this autumn the branch tips have burst into these charming white catkins and now I get it. Salix Bockii
Speaking of Jack, he hosted a glorious LongHouse Horitcultural Award weekend last month. Wish you could have all joined. The Saturday events began at, of all the wonderful places to choose from in East Hampton, the “elegant St. Luke's Church Hoie Hall." This is a quote from Martha. Some of these pix, in fact, came from her blog.
Me welcoming everyone Topiary at Great Dixter
Plant tapestry at Great Dixter
Fergus Garrett, our honoree and guest speaker
The Luncheon at LongHouse
Warrie Price of the Battery Park Conservancy
Jack and Martha
“Be the first to not do what nobody has ever thought of not doing before”
He is not a garden guy, he is a music guy, but he has a good way with words.
Instead of raking and doing over-necessary tidying – this is a GREAT TIME to divide your plants to increase your own garden or GIVE THEM AWAY.
They came to my garden and dug up ONE HUNDRED plants, which they will sell at the the Great May 2014 HAH Plant Fair.
Can’t believe I gave up all those green and gold Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, But it’s such a good cause.
That’s Bettina Benson (no relation), she master-minds the whole thing...
I hate that word, but this is without question My very favorite of the few I take the trouble to move in and out with the season. It has been with me so long (at least 15 years) that I don’t really know what it is...a Farfugium of some sort... but I don’t think they were even called Farfugium in the 90’s Anyway I love it.
Do we dare to eat a FIG!
Can you believe...
we had a SECOND flush of edible figs!
THE ELEGANT GARDEN
Is a beautiful book. Not merely another pretty picture book about unattainable landscapes that can’t we relate to or afford...
but an interesting take on garden history as depicted through works of art and architecture...the three totally intertwined. A great gift for the garden library connoisseur. It taught me, for one, that there are Reitfeld houses... thought it was only chairs. Illuminating By Johann Kraftner.
DON'T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH
But I will never get enough of a precisely not-only-variegated but architecturally bicolored leaf like this
It's that X plant Xanothososanum No, that's not right..
well, it's something like that
A good thing when she sees one
She is looking at my ever-lasting solid stainless monogrammed shovel... mine is engraved DIANNE B 2004
Sometimes I remember to store it in the shed, but it has spent many winters outside.
If you order yours now --- It will give Farmer John plenty of time to make the beautifully eternal steel thing – engrave it exactly to your liking – and get it to you from Idaho in plenty of time to put it under the tree.
From now until November 15 we can promise you not only on time delivery, but the great Special Christmas Price of $120 instead of $145 for this engraved heirloom exclusive (discount appears in Shopping Cart)
Dog’s eye view on Pet Sunday at our beautiful St. Luke's Church on the Village Green