Winter update

So far, this winter has been extraordinary mild, two short cold snaps with truly icy temperatures notwithstanding. There has also been no snow to speak of (yet). Thus, the first winter aconites bloomed already a couple of weeks ago.

We have some sad news: On the 18th of January, a team of tree specialists arrived to cut down our good old apple tree. The poor tree had been ailing for many years. Branch after branch succumbed to a fungal infection and died. Unfortunately, fruit trees are not like oak trees that can live for centuries. Most apple trees are healthy and productive for only about 40 years. Our tree was probably planted more than 50 years ago (we don’t know for sure since it was already there when LaGuardia Corner Garden moved to its present location). It was thus really at the end of its life.

Sadly, the same fate befell the peach tree. It, too, had been sick for a while. Last year, we still harvested a small crop of wonderful peaches, but one branch cracked this fall. Upon closer inspection, the arborist found a fungus near the base of the trunk. There was nothing we could do to save it.

We will surely miss the peaches and apples. However, we also have the opportunity to redesign the area next to our front gate and plant something new. As gardeners, we are aware of the natural circle of life. A seed germinates, the plant grows, flowers, bears fruit and finally dies. Both trees brought us much joy and will not be forgotten.

Make Music in the rain

Last Tuesday was the summer solstice. All over the world, this day means music in public spaces. In Europe, the event is called “la fête de la musique”. Here, it is “Make Music New York”. Our garden participates regularly. We usually invite our favorite band, the Nevermind Orchestra. This year, we had also scheduled a performance by Wesley Coll, a Brazilian guitarist and songwriter.

The last days had perfect weather, but just as our performances were about to start, it began to rain. First, there were just a few sprinkles. Wesley was able to play, albeit for a very small audience. Then it really rained. What to do? The musicians of the Nevermind Orchestra had already arrived. They took shelter in a nearby bar and waited. They love to play together and didn’t want to give up as yet. After about one hour, it cleared up a bit. Fortunately, most of the instruments of this brass band are water resistant. Thus, the decision was made to go ahead and hope for the best.

As always, the fun, music of the band quickly drew a small crowd of listeners. Some neighbors came out of their apartments once they heard the first few Nirvana songs (the specialty of the Nevermind Orchestra). The drizzle returned, umbrellas were opened, but the band played until it got dark on the longest day of the year.

We decided to invite all musicians for another concert later in the year when it will hopefully be dry.

The roses, the roses!

In the last post, my focus was on irises, peonies and clematis. Maybe you wondered why roses were not mentioned, it being late May after all. However, roses deserve their own post. They also steal the show in the garden. Last week, abundantly blooming roses drew in many visitors whenever the gate was open.

The early blooming bourbon roses are particularly gorgeous right now. Look at “Souvenir de la Malmaison” and “Zephirine Drouhin”.

Souvenir de la Malmaison

And then there is Joe’s beautiful Canary Island Damask with its purplish-pink blossoms. Which of these is the prettiest?

This year, we will be offering our traditional “Annual Rose Walk” again, after a 2-year hiatus when the pandemic kept the garden closed. Our visitors can find a label with the names of the rose next to each bush, and shortly, we will post a little guide to to a walk around the garden on this site.

Who can, should come for a visit. We show photos on the internet, but the lovely fragrance of the roses can only be experienced in person!

Don Juan

A July day in May

Last weekend, New York City experienced the first short heat wave of the year with temperatures in the 90s. Boy, it was hot — and humid, too. This was a little taste of what’s to come.

Some of our gardeners were not deterred and resumed spring planting of herbs and summer flowers. These will take the place on the stage when all the irises, peonies, clematis and roses have finished their show.

Of the herbaceous peonies, only the first few were open yet. Fortunately, their flowering time is a little spread out, giving us a chance to enjoy them for longer than a few days.

The irises are also spectacular. The elegant blue Siberian irises were at their peak on the weekend but many bearded irises are still to come.

Sunday night, a little thunderstorm moved into the area, and temperatures changed back to seasonal. This gives us time to adjust and keeps our pretty May flowers around for a little longer.

Art in the garden and columbines

May is when our garden is probably the most beautiful. New gorgeous flowers open in rapid succession. The pink tree peonies are done, but now our yellow Itoh peony and the first irises are blooming.

However, mid May really belongs to the columbines. They show their graceful flowers all over our garden. Where they grow is their own choice. Columbines self-seed readily. Therefore, they come in many different colors from dark blue to light pink and white. In addition one can find the red-and-yellow flowers of the native Eastern red columbine Aquilegia canadensis.

The gate is now open every day, including on weekday evenings, and we have many visitors. Some people come in to look at the flowers or to enjoy an ice cream on the patio (excellent ice cream parlors are nearby). Other visitors bring the tools of their art: Recently, a musician played the violin under our rose arbor, and a painter brought her water color set to draw a portrait of a pansy on the patio.

Our member Sara also made a fun little piece of art for the garden. Yesterday afternoon, her movable sculpture of a flying duck was installed in the crab apple tree.

There is something new to see every day!