Tag Archives: City gardening

Fenway Victory Garden Tour July 27th!

Hello City Gardeners!
Here’s a great opportunity to see some wonderful city garden spaces!
On Saturday, July 27th from 2 – 5pm, more than 25 Fenway Victory gardeners will open their FenwayVictoryGardenwithPrugates to visitors.

Come view beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, picnic in the meadow, play bocce, learn new gardening tips and get inspired!  Sounds like great fun!

There will be a sprinkler for kids of all ages to run through…come on down!  The gardens are located in Boston.  A map will be available at the flagpole.  Rain Date July 28th.
For more information, call 617-267-6650 or visit www.fenwayvictorygardens.com.

This Wednesday, May 15th – Plant Something!

This WednesdGetting Ready to Gardenay, May 15th, people all over the Commonwealth will get busy planting something beautiful in every city and town. Come join in!

It’s all part of Plant Something MA, a joint project of the Massachusetts Flower Growers Association and the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. The goal is to have a public planting across the state and encourage residents to plant something – anything!

As Lady Bird Johnson once said,
“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

So get yourself to a local garden center, find some fabulous flowers and then get out your gardening gloves!Daffodils in Rain Boots  My plan is to use an old pair of rain boots as my containers and put in calla lilies and ivy.  My inspiration comes from a fun planting (pictured right) I saw at the 2012 Boston Flower Show.

I’ll post pictures of what I plant.  If you plant, please send your photos so we can all see what you did!

Vertical Gardening Lecture – ‘Transforming Naked Walls with Nature’ – Enter to Win Tickets

Hello all and happy 2013!
Are you familiar with vertical gardening? The practice has been around for decades but interest in it has been growing for the past several years.

Living wall planter by Pamela Crawford

Living wall planter by Pamela Crawford

Vertical gardening differs from walls of ivy.  We’re talking about self sufficient living walls of plants that get their water and nutrients within a vertical structure and not from the ground.

I’ve loved the idea of vertical gardening for years… even before I knew it had that name.  Perhaps it’s because Boston has so many flat brick walls facing the alleys in the Back Bay where I live.  I always imagined something beautiful could be done with these blank canvasses.  Wouldn’t it be great to see the walls flowering in the summer with morning glories, mandevillas or hibiscus?  Ah, what a delightful sight that would be!

Vertical Garden by Patrick Blanc

Vertical Garden by Patrick Blanc

So when I read about Patrick Blanc, the inventor of the Vertical Garden, speaking on April 24th at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston called “The Vertical Garden: Biological Design and Urban Architecture”, I immediately bought tickets to attend.   I also bought another two tickets to give away to one lucky City Garden Ideas reader who is interested in vertical gardens.

That’s where the contest comes in.  Here’s what to do:

Hanging Gardens in Miami by Patrick Blanc

Hanging Gardens in Miami by Patrick Blanc

Comment on this post by March 15th and tell me – in 100 words or less – why you want to attend this vertical gardening lecture.

  • Tell a story about an experience you had with vertical gardening
  • Share something that inspires you about vertical gardening
  • Let me know why you want to  learn more.

Patrick Blanc says he’ll reveal ‘his methods for transforming naked walls with nature.”  This I have to see!  Hope you’ll enter to win or just buy tickets through the MFA.

And remember, Spring begins March 20th and it’s getting closer every day!

Other contest information:
One entry per person.  Entries will be reviewed and one winner will be chosen on March 22nd.  The decision of the judge (that’s me) is final.

City Garden Planting #2 – Daisies, Petunias and More

Daisies, petunias and garden supplies on the stoopChoosing plants for my garden is a creative and exciting process.  Visiting a garden center, discovering healthy plants with great colors and textures, arranging them together until they look just right…  that’s fun for me.  It’s a good thing I like this process since I have to do it at least three to four times between April and September.   City life is hard on plants.  
Last week I had to do something quick.  All of the impatiens in my tree garden and containers were wilted, leggy and needed to be replaced. 
I drove to Allandale Farm in BrooklineAllandale Farm Logo to purchase plants to add new color and variety.  If you don’t know Allandale, it’s Boston’s last working farm and worth the trip.  You can get fresh produce in the main building and usually they have a terrific assortment of flowers that thrive in city environments – vibrant pots of dahlias, daisies, impatiens, petunias and more.   Unfortunately, the flower selection this day was slim.  White Shasta Daisies and Yellow Petunias in Black Container It took some looking but I found six pots of lively white and yellow Shasta daisies and two hanging planters of yellow, purple and red petunias.   I thought I could easily break up the petunias and plant the flowers in the containers and tree garden.  Overall, the daisies look great and are doing fine.  The petunias… well, they are more of a mixed bag.   About half of the transplanted petunias are doing well.  The other half are struggling to thrive in one container and the street side tree garden.  Ugh.  I thought they looked hearty.  My bad.  My counsel would be to buy potted petunias.   Using flowers from a hanging planter as a shortcut might seem like a good, money saving idea but I don’t recommend it.  More replanting this weekend.   Need to get my pictures off to the Mayor Menino Garden Contest by July 13th!  Will visit Wilson Farm in Lexington to scope out their plant selections.  Really want dahlias.  More on Wilson Farm and my plant choices next time.  Enjoy!

Enter Mayor Menino’s Garden Contest – Deadline July 13th

Want a little recognition for your beautiful city garden or a neighbor’s garden? Is there room on your mantle for a Golden Trowel?
Come on, take a chance and enter Mayor Menino’s Garden Contest!  Simply take a few dazzling photos of your buds in bloom and fill out a nomination form. The contest is open to all Boston residents, businesses and organization gardens with amateur status.  Deadline is July 13th!  Five finalists are chosen in 10 categories.  Site visits are conducted to determine the winners.

I’ve entered the Garden Contest for the past two years.  Year 1 – my garden was a finalist. (I was so proud.  Even laminated my certificate)  Year 2 – nothing.  (I was robbed!  That’s my tree garden entry below.  Wasn’t it pretty?) 
So it’s Year 3.  And I’ve got my eyes on that Golden Trowel.  
I’m planting a few more flowers in my garden bed this week.  Need to expand the color palette.  There is currently way too much purple in my garden – purple pansies, purple petunias.  Going to spruce it up with some yellow and white daisies and red astilbe.  Maybe even a pink mandevilla or two.  I’ll share my submission photos in a few weeks.

“Boston’s gardeners work long and hard to beautify their homes, businesses, and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “This contest recognizes and honors these green thumbs who are helping to improve our city with their talents.”
Click here to get a nomination form.  Deadline for entries is July 13th.  For more information, call Lauren Patrick at 617-961-3051.  Good luck!

Urban Gardening Ideas for Small Spaces

Hello Friends: 
I hope your gardens are growing and filled with beautiful, colorful flowers!
If you’re looking for more  information about small space gardens, check out this article, Urban Gardening Ideas for Small Spaces. ” 
I was interviewed for  the article and am quoted in it.  The article appears  in House Logic, the e-newsletter for the National Association of Realtors.   The writer, Iyna Caruso, offers good advice for planting in small spaces.  I particularly like her link to vertical gardening.  I’m fascinated with growing flowers on the vertical plane – trellises and walls.  Hope the article gives you another idea or two.  Enjoy!

Shady Garden? Try Liriope, Astilbe and Ferns!

This past Tuesday, I passed two young gardeners from Winston Flowers  working on a shady corner yard on Marlborough Street.  I know this corner.  It gets mostly dappled sun for about an hour or so a day and then is plunged into deep shade.  I asked what they were planting to brighten the yard.  Patrick and Jeanine pointed to ferns, liriope and astilbe.  These augment the shade loving hostas already planted.  Here’s a bit more about these excellent shade garden options:

  • Liriope: A widely used and versatile ground cover with attractive evergreen foliage and small flowers that bloom in spring.  Also called  Monkey Grass.Astilbe from Wilson Brothers Nursery
  • Astilbe: easy-to-grow, long-blooming, plume-like flowers in soft shades of white, pink and red. The flowers are on tall stalks. They can light up a shade garden or soften a sunny spot.
  • Ferns: These frondy beauties do well in part shade or dappled sunlight.  Some do quite well in the sun with enough water. They are easy to maintain and come in hundreds of varieties.  Choose from a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and textures.
    As you can see, there are lots of options for a shady space.  Just find the right plants and you’ll be successful!

Flowering Dogwoods – White, Bright Beauties

Flowering Dogwood - In Bloom on Marlborough StreetHello Everyone! 
It’s definitely planting time!  
Hope you’re visiting your local Garden Center this weekend to find more flowers to add to your yards, window boxes and container gardens.
During this past week’s rainy days, my eyes were drawn to the white, bright, beautiful blooms of the flowering dogwoods.  Just gorgeous! 
While I am a huge fan of color in my garden, I was reminded that white flowers and petals can quickly brighten up gloomy days and shady spots!
The  flowering dogwood is a  low maintenance tree with white, four petal flowers (or bracts) blooming during April and May. It’s a small  tree, native to America, growing to 15-30 feet with a low-branching, somewhat flat-topped habit. The actual dogwood flower is small and yellowish green.  The flower is surrounded by four, showy petals (bracts) which open flat, 3 -4 inches.  What a show these blooms put on!  Enjoy it while it lasts. 

In the early fall, the tree bears bright red berries that the birds love but are poisonous to humans.  Make sure to keep your hands off!  Happy Spring!!!

Awesome Gardening Event This Saturday!

Garden Supplies on StairsHello All: 
Come join us this Saturday, May 5th for two hours of gardening inspiration!  

We’ll meet at 10am at 66 Marlborough Street in Boston.  There will be a bunch of new and avid gardeners gathered in the auditorium of the First Church in Boston.  

Come hear Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens.  She’ll share her insights and experiences about planting in urban environments.  She’ll also create a fabulous container garden in front of our eyes!  A demonstration not to be missed! 

Tom SmarrTom Smarr from The Garden Concierge will inspire us with the basics – tools, soil and plants for every season.  He’ll also talk about the hottest trend in gardening these days – vertical gardening.  Here in the city we have plenty of walls – alleys, roof decks, patios.  Perhaps “going vertical” is something new to try…

Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired!  Come discover the secrets to maintaining a beautiful and hardy flower garden – in whatever space you have!  

Cost is $25.  Tickets available at the door. 
For more information, go to http://citygardening.eventbrite.com.  Or email me at janine@citygardenideas.com.  Hope to see you on Saturday!

Ellen Abdow to Share Gardening Tips and Ideas

Hi Everyone: 
I wanted to share a bio on Ellen Abdow, the smart and dynamic owner of Perennial Gardens, a landscape firm in Boston.  She’ll share helpful gardening advice and will create a gorgeous container garden right before our eyes at the May 5th “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.”  Come join us!  Sign up today at citygardening.eventbrite.com.

Ellen is the founder of Perennial Gardens, LLC, a landscape design and build firm with clients throughout New England.  The firm has a diverse portfolio and Ellen and her expert team have cultivated a reputation for careful plant selection, imaginative composition and skilled installation.
Ellen brings 18 years of knowledge to each and every project.  She first got bitten by the gardening bug while teaching at Brookline High School and subsequently went to work at one of the area’s most respected nurseries. There she expanded her love and knowledge of perennials before launching her own firm. Today she gets great pleasure from helping clients hone their own personal garden visions and adapting these ideas in ways that will best suit their particular properties and lifestyles. Her work can be seen in numerous garden tours, on a walk through Boston’s Back Bay, or on line at perennialgardens.net.

Come hear gardening wisdom from Ellen!  Sign up today for the May 5th workshop!
 Register at citygardening.eventbrite.com. Cost is just $25.
Hope to see you there!!