A morning in October

A few days ago, I walked through the garden on a bright sunny morning. This is what I saw:


Fall roses and Japanese anemones plus the flower of garlic chives being visited by a bee.


Fountain grass, fall Crocus, Cleome and Fuchsia flowers


Marcia’s fantastic passion flower and some Clematis seed heads

Late season sunflowers

Summer is over now and the asters are beginning to bloom.


The bees love asters

But there are still sunflowers!


Did you know that there are about 70 species of sunflowers? Almost all of them are native to North America. The common sunflower is Helianthus annuus. It looks normally like the flower on the upper middle picture above. But as you can see, there are many fancy varieties in different colors and shapes and in sizes from dwarf to giant.

The photo below shows a different species, probably Helianthus debilis, the beach sunflower. These sunflowers have smaller flower heads and more delicate stems. They are my favorites.



Today, I noticed lots of mushrooms under the pine tree in the “North Garden”. I don’t think that we had mushrooms in the garden before. Maybe mulching with wood chips a few years back created the right conditions for them to grow now.


Some of the young mushrooms


The cap of this mushroom has a diameter of about 4 inches.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what kind of mushrooms these are and whether they are edible. They look like they could be. Wouldn’t that be exciting?


The rooster mysteries

On September 18th, we discovered yet another rooster in the garden. According to my records, this was the 16th chicken that mysteriously appeared among our plants.


The latest rooster

Almost every year since 2008, one or two roosters showed up over night. Some of these roosters were young and probably only started to behave “manly”. But others were fully grown and crowed loudly all day long. Some birds looked very healthy and well-fed, others were undernourished or even injured. Most of them were fancy chickens, often miniature breeds.


Some of the chickens that were found in the garden. In 2008, we got two hens, all others were roosters.

We have no idea where all of these roosters come from and who “donates” them to us. A rooster announces himself constantly as soon as the sun is up. There is no way to hide a rooster in Manhattan. Does someone from New Jersey or Long Island sneak into the city at night and dump chickens over our fence?

Keeping roosters in New York City is prohibited (one can have hens, though). So what to do?

Fortunately, there are organizations and people in our city who assist with this odd problem. The hens went to a private farm in upstate New York. The roosters were rescued by the Empty Cages Collective and New York City Pigeon Rescue Central with the help of dedicated volunteers. Larry the birdman from Washington Square Park helped, too. Last year he caught two roosters with an improvised trap made of a milk crate, a stick and a string, some bird food and a lot of patience. All roosters went to a new home outside of the city.

Let us hope that this was the last rooster for 2016, but I am not holding my breath.