In 1797, Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge may have had an especially vivid opium dream that resulted in the production of a now-famous poem called “Kubla Khan.” One memorable stanza described Kubla Khan’s estate:
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
In1880, a tubercular New York robber baron and latter-day Kubla Khan named Jay Gould bought an estate in Irvington, New York and began adapting its existing gardens and structures to match his own grand vision. Last week I went to see the ...
The late Joan Rivers often started comic riffs with the words, “Can we talk?” It’s time to follow her lead and talk about getting through the winter.
Some of us give thanks when hard frosts arrive, because we can take a well-deserved break from garden chores. We tend our houseplants, decorate for the holidays and eventually—usually about January—start dreaming of spring. A few of us even grow desperate enough to attend to household chores that we neglected during the growing season.
As daylight hours diminish, even sloth-like gardeners yearn to peer into the winter gloom and see something interesting in the landscape. Evergreen lovers have long added such interest by installing all kinds of large and small evergreens. ...
At the end of the garden season, I cling to my roses, at least figuratively. Even as night temperatures begin to dip and the geraniums on the porch shiver, I deadhead the roses to keep them producing flower buds. No one knows if the weather will cooperate long enough to bring those buds to bloom, but as long as the possibility exists, I refrain from trimming back the canes. This restraint means that some years I have full-blown roses to add to the Thanksgiving centerpiece. The flip side of that coin is that the shrubs may not get pruned until spring. Usually I can live with that tradeoff.
Rose hips are an excellent reason for letting roses do what comes naturally. Hips, which are sometimes called “heps,” are the seed vessels or fruits of ...
There was a time when I had no asters in my front garden. Then I planted one small pot of tall, pink-flowered ‘Alma Potschke’ asters. ‘Alma’ prospered—so much so that now, if I didn’t pull out the seedlings every year, I would have hundreds of ‘Alma Potschke’offspring. Not only do I pull out the seedlings, but the deer crop the young plants regularly during the summer months. Each and every deer-besieged ‘Alma’ responds by branching out and producing more flowers, which ultimately produce more seeds, which in turn germinate and become next year’s seedlings. It’s a circle of life kind of thing and the circle that keeps expanding.
As the result, my yard fills with pink asters in fall. A few years ago I decided that I wanted ...