Wednesday, June 17, 2015


DIRTIER ....The Monthly Garden Memoir
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Dianne B                                                                                Mid-June 2015               

Everyone has been talking about the whirlwind spring and how late it arrived.  I have found it extremely fecund
when it finally did.
But for me, the anticipation is usually as exciting,
if not more, than the actual thing.
So I couldn't be happier with its muchness
and having to wait a little for it.

The far...have been incroyable.
Yes, a little French here necessary to really get the overwhelmingness
of it all.

Let's face it...
50, well maybe 40, blooms on one Tree Peony
are really a LOT of flowers

and I had SIX
gnarled old-lookingTree Peonies
blooming at the same time.

To begin with, the buds.
They are the shapliest,
the most comely -
actually seductive -
and they are BIG.
Never before so numerous,
so fanciful or so fetching.


The individual colors are indescribably delicate


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                               photo: Skye Marigold
I love the way they nod before closing  up
for the evening.  And burst toward the sun
in the morn.

The tinges of color are just like little breaths...

there are those who might say...
"Oh, what nice pink peonies

But that would be missing the point, really, wouldn’t it?

Not to mention the hot magentas that the Japanese refer to as ‘blue peonies’

                                                                                          photo:  Brian Craig


Another thing not to miss...

As I write – the LongHouse Benefit is only six
weeks away.
Just as the pictures on this screen cannot capture the breathiness of the peony colors,
so, I cannot share with you in this digital manner
the ethereal nature of the evening we are planning
to honor Kiki Smith at our Benefit on July 18th.

If you would like a real invitation, one in which the
very paper swishes and whispers making you want
to fly away
On Gossamer Wings,
just send me your mailing address and you shall have one.


Come to LongHouse.
The sixteen acres have never been more beautiful, there are refreshing new paths and gardens at every turn and the art has never been better
and the Huffington Post included LHR on
their list of places to visit on Long Island.

As life goes, along with the exhilarating highs
there are the Garden BOO HOOs

The bigggest of which is the disappointment of disappearing favorites:

Last year it was my huge engaging Arisaema sikokianum that delighted everyone in its path for 4 or 5 years.
Just when I had come to really think of it as my own -

It didn't just skip a year, it is really gone
and to boot...
where oh where is Calista Washburn’s gigantic leather-leafed prehistoric- looking Mayapple?

Behold last year's...

Might not look like much in this picture,
but that baby was 18" across
and gleaming

Now nowhere to be seen
(but she did dig a little baby one for me at
The Garden Club Fair)

and so sign of Lupine...not one
and I had gone crazy and planted 8 or 10 big fat plants
last summer.

Now empty spaces and no lupine


and...hardly a sign of Eucomis, until just yesterday
when I spotted a few  blood-curdlingly deep red
new leaves

Fortunately,  I was able to fill in a few of those empty Eucomis spaces with strapping new ones from LandCraft

 Hot Plants --- always look for that enticing logo
at your nursery.
The stuff from LandCraft is really hot stuff ...
and really cool.

But you know, planting anew never oozes the
same thrill as nurturing
your very own from season to season.

But enough boo-hooing about what didn’t happen –
What the spring did bring was breathtaking.
This is how things looked on Garden Conservancy
Open Day:

The Big Picture:

                                                                                     photo: Ellen Watson



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Some Details:


                                            photo: Ellen Watson



and those of you who have tried in vain to get a
Persian Fritillary to rebloom know that this was quite
the show stopper


and for those of you who have not yet explored
the exhilarating world of Fritillaria...this one is
called Acmopetala

it is divine: on a two foot stem
it always sort-of looks wet
Very exciting


That was May 10, and this is now: 

The first of my V00doo Lilies have just emerged


look closely now

The fresh white leaves of a young
Acer p. ‘Floating Cloud’ against the
wall of white azalea and above Japanese fern ‘Ghost’


A few Farfugiums made it through the really rough winter, deserving high praise for their  insistence...
especially commendable is ever-faithful F. Leopard, although even Plant Delights suggests they are only good ground plants for Zone 7b and up

I beg to differ

A new cone on the Abies koreana ‘Silberlocke’ is cause for rejoicing
second branch from the top on the right...see it...
stops the observant few dead in their tracks

AND...particularly of note here in Zone 7a...
Lys’ fig tree ‘Brown Turkey’ is showing signs of life
only because of her ever-tender wrapping



Variations on PURPLE

Allium ‘Akbulak’ (the very first to bloom) and Cammassia

Allium karavatienesse is purply-red and a
really special one from Odyssey

This velvety german Iris purple with a big orange tongue
is so out-there it looks fake

how about tie-dyed purple

or this really flash purple-fuschia honey

almost can’t-go-wrong Tulip combination

even better some times when singled out

and this tulip is called Blue Amiable, but it too is
And though it isn’t a bloom at all, as blooms go,
look at the first exotic Jack-in-the-Pulpit of the season.

Its spathe serves the same sexy purpose
as all other flowers,
but  it certainly has its own unique come-on .
Even if you are not dying to know, it is
Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima.
Isn't it the muskiest, dustiest most divine purple of all? 


(This one came from our Marder’s, but most recently the best selection is at Sunlight Gardens in Tennessee and Plant Delights, of course.)


To garden is to motto.
It is the gardening side of gardening that makes me feel that way, not so much the business side.
You might have noticed that my
Twelve Great Gardening Essentials
have dwindled to about 6 or 7,
as I make a slow dance out of this
once-more-interesting commercial platform.

But if it is gloves or diggers or peeping sticks
that you’re after...come to

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There are still a few tool belts and diannebbest is still the conduit to the one-and-only hand-crafted monogrammed shovel made in Idaho by Farmer John.

Garden Gauntlet Glove

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Dig Deep Weeder


Poetic Potting Trowel

Finnicky End-of-Spring Will Summer-Ever-Start Sale:
15 % Off on Everything

(but please, don’t just order one or two pair of Little Black Gloves – it’s just too much trouble to ship)


Oh yes, a Gardening Event of Interest begins this weekend and concludes in August...
one of a kind.
The Guild Hall Garden as Art Tour is the only tour that takes place at summer’s end, which means gardens have reached their lush fullness and of course
edible gardens are at their frenzied peak.

This year's theme: Garden to Table has many events
Co-Chair Response Formnews

Although quite pricey, The Co-Chair ticket buys a lot, (and after all, it is The Hamptons):
two lunches in private places (one in the original Devon Colony, the other at the home of one of our coolest restaurateurs), one glamorous cocktail party at an East Hampton estate, a great symposium with five fabulous chefs and garden-style speakers, plus a knock-out garden tour.



Little Tip:
Best way to water orchids, by far, is in the bathtub


how can I resist showing off Mother’s Day flowers in front of garden-picked tulips?
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and sometimes I find the tiniest things irresistible...
a brave little species tulip bursting through the fallen
(and brown and mushy) magnolia petals after all the other tulips had said goodbye


and I continue to learn that if you have the patience to wait for the right things  they will often happen...
The striped-leaf lily-of-the-valley finally bloomed


AND – and this especially for all of you who trusted me enough to believe
in the impending bloom of the $50 Tree Peonies I imported from China five years ago (maybe 4)  here is proof. 


There were three flowers, all on the one plant that survived and no, not White with Burgundy Centers
as I had promised,
but they are GORGEOUS

But I promise, I will never try to import plants of any nature from Asia, or anywhere, ever again...





One last blessing:
This is our Church the evening of The Garden Club Fair,
Memorial Day  May 2015.
The Fair was held next door on old Mulford Farm
(which I must give Ralph Lauren credit for
paying to have much of it restored).

This is a real picture.  It is not fake or touched up.
We live in Heaven.

                                                                               photo:  Peter Olsen


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