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Showing posts from October, 2011

Nature’s Time in a Garden and Einstein's Dreams

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Anyone who has lost themselves to a daydream on a sparkling afternoon in a garden knows intuitively that time ebbs and flows.

We ‘lose track of time’ while raking dry crunchy leaves or snipping old hydrangea blooms. And we see it stretch as we sip tea and marvel at the colors of our roses or the dance of the clouds.

Gardens tell us the time – daily time, seasonal time and yearly time – by unfurling leaves and bursting buds, by nascent seed pods and light frost on glistening leaves.

garden by Jan Johnsen
This is ‘Nature’s time’, a quiet spiraling of experience that envelops us wholly. What a contrast to its counterpart, our human mechanical time.

Human time hangs heavily around our neck, like an unbreakable locket.  It is “as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth…unyielding, predetermined...” (Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, p.23).



Mechanical time puts constant pressure on our lives, superseding all else, and forcing us…

Black and White in the Garden

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Black and White, the oh-so-chic color combination that we see adorning all the hippest living rooms in all the coolest urban settings is just as alluring in a garden...and perhaps even more so because the colors are not from Benjie Moore but from Mama Nature....
(black walls anyone? This is from apartmenttherapy.com, a great website!)
Black and white tulip combinations create a luscious contrast especially if they are surrounded with green, green and more green...White Flower Farm combined the 'Queen of Night' tulip, as close to black as a flower can get, with the white delicate Lily-flowered Tulip, 'White Triumphator' - that is the photo at the top of this post.

I too planted Queen of the Night black tulips with a white tulip to create a late tulip show that is also a wonderful cut flower combo.

Another black tulip you must consider is the heavily frilled and feathery-edged Black Parrot tulip which is especially beautiful -  it is dark purple outside and almost black on …

Lynden Miller and her Central Park Conservatory Garden

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A while back I took my landscape design studio class from Columbia University (I teach there)  to a powerpoint presentation given by the 'grande dame' of New York City gardens, Lynden Miller.

 It was a fabulous talk about the various gardens she has installed all over New York and the impact they have had on city life..

(BTW, we saw Lynden at the N.Y. Horticultural Society, which has a fantastic horticultural library - open to all - on 37th Street at 7 Avenue.)

Wow! What a legacy Mrs. Miller will leave.  She specializes in glorious mixed flower and plant borders which you can find in all parts of the city.

Lynden calls her gardens 'sanctuaries for the soul in the city' and that they are.


Lynden Miller has been, in my estimation, the modern driving force behind the beautifying of New York.   Her first commission was to restore the aged and forgotten six acre garden called Central Park Conservatory Garden....

As Director, Mrs. Miller raised an endowment for this grand g…