Just learned that
Boston Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak is retiring from her position. I had the good fortune to meet Toni for an informational interview in 2010 after I left my corporate job. Even today I dream of becoming a park ranger. 🙂
The Commissioner shared her career journey and offered a candid assessment of opportunities in the Parks Department and other area organizations focused on parks and open spaces. I was impressed with her knowledge, her warmth and her down-to-earth attitude. Not long after that meeting, I started this City Garden Ideas blog. Thank you Commissioner for your advice and guidance. I wish you well in your next chapter!
The Friends of the Public Garden is joining with Boston Park Advocates to celebrate retiring Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak on February 26, from 5 – 7 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Admission is $10, and space is limited. Please rsvp by February 20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thank-you-to-toni-pollak-tickets-6825494237. I’ll be at the party. Please come and celebrate the Commissioner and all she has done to maintain and beautify our city.
Looking to learn more about landscape design, construction and drafting?
Heather Heimarck, a long-time friend to City Garden Ideas and the director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, sent along the Institute’s Summer Course catalog – Summer 2013 COURSE OFFERINGS
Check out the short, hands-on classes at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley. Think about attending the course by painter and a historian, Ma Qingxiong. Students learn about Chinese landscape design and try their hand at doing oriental brushwork. Take a look at Ma’s website http://www.maqingxiong.com
The Institute is offering many other courses including a three-week introduction to design intensive, M-F, in July. Heather says it can be very rich to immerse oneself that way. If you have any questions, call 617 585 0100. Be well!
Posted in Expert Advice, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Designing, Places to Visit, Recommendations, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged Boston Architectural College, City Garden Ideas, Expert Advice, Heather Heimarck, Landscape Design Courses, Landscape Institute
Before you plant your Spring window boxes, containers or street-side tree gardens, please read this! Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens, is offering her 5 top tips for a successful flower garden.
As a featured speaker at two City Garden Ideas workshops, she famously introduced the phrase ‘Thriller, filler and spiller,’ the three flower components for a winning container, to the audience. Watch Ellen in this YouTube video from the 2012 CGI workshop.
Here are her 5 top tips:
Tip 1. Look, listen and learn from all the gardeners that have come before you and the gardens all around you. Indulge in some good books. I always buy the ones with the most pictures. (Janine likes The Well-Tended Perennial Garden). Subscribe to magazines and gardening blogs to learn about the latest trends and tricks of the trade. Go on garden tours in the city, attend the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tours. See what you like in other peoples gardens, copy, and make it your own. Mass Horticultural Society, New England Wildflower Society and the Arnold Arboretum all have excellent lectures and courses throughout the year jam packed with great information.
Tip 2. Be honest: Make an accurate evaluation of sun vs. shade, and plant what’s best geared for those light conditions. There are so many interesting cultivars of plants for any light conditions. Read the labels, ask your local garden center for advice and guidance, and plant accordingly.
Tip 3. Food and water: Proper soil and nutrition grows healthy plants. Build a solid foundation and plants will grow easily. Take the time to evaluate your soil and add organic matter to create nutrient rich growing environments. Invest in good potting soil for hanging baskets and potted plants that drains quickly found at your local garden center. Water regularly, not too much, and not too little. Ask for expert advice, and use it!
Tip 4. Change your mind: If you don’t like the way your planting looks, change it out. Try something new. A garden is never finished. Be willing to take chances. Have fun, relax, and grow what makes your heart go pitter patter.
Tip 5. Use every inch of space you have: Stuff every centimeter of your space with plants. Mount shelves on the walls, hang baskets off the railings, try vertical gardening. You can grow almost anything in a pot, just remember that a plant in a container is totally dependent on you for water and food.
Ellen started her business in 1993 and she and her team actively design and install gardens in Boston and out in the suburbs. To learn more about Ellen and Perennial Gardens, visit www.perennialgardens.net.
By the way, that’s my tree garden 🙂 in front of the Perennial Garden truck. Happy planting!
Posted in Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Landscape Designing, Recommendations, Spring Beauty, Sunlight, Window Boxes
Tagged 5 Top Gardening Tips, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Perennial Gardens, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
Congratulations to Cinta Burgos! Her entry to a recent City Garden Ideas post has earned her two tickets to the April 24th Vertical Gardening lecture by Patrick Blanc at the Museum of Fine Arts.
Tickets are still available for this lecture by Mr. Blanc, considered the inventor of the vertical garden. I encourage interested gardeners to attend.
Here is part of Ms. Burgos’ winning entry: “I am very excited about the vertical garden and the MFA Patrick Blanc talk in April. I would love to go to the talk, but mostly to go with another garden enthusiast. My question to him would be – can you make a vegetable garden a vertical garden and how do I do that on my 6th floor balcony with one brick wall, western exposure and all these seasonal changes? I love growing flowers and seeing plants to start to regrow leaves in the spring but my biggest joy has been the 5 years that strawberries have continued to regrow, the herbs that come back after winter, and picking my own lettuce, tomatoes and beans. That is about all I have been successful at on my Beacon Hill balcony but I would love to use the vertical space as well.
Congratulations Cinta! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and I’ll send your tickets along. See you at the lecture!
First of several posts. Lots to share!
The Seaport World Trade Center was abuzz yesterday morning with gardeners putting the finishing touches on their Flower Show displays. The show opens today, March 13.
I dodged a forklift, piles of soil and a Zipcar backing into place but the activity did not interfere with my sense of enchantment. The garden displays this year are rich – in color, design and size. Beautiful flowers and trees are nestled along stone walls, patio spaces and above moon gates. The sound of water is everwhere – in falls, pools, fountains and spouts. There are parrots, hens, a rooster and a pair of sleek grey birds that look like small emus. And there are plenty of hidden flower delights if you look keenly, like fairy houses near Hobbit holes and gentle beds of helleborus.
There are a several small displays. The window gardens in the back of the main hall are delightful as is the Massachusetts Horticultural’s old-time flower display, complete with wash board and clothes on a line. Overall, every display is evokes a smile and a deep inhale.
The Show’s first display as you enter the hall shows garden entertainment at its finest. It’s a lush, multi-section outdoor patio with a man-sized BBQ grill and stone bar with table seating for four and more at the bar. It took me a minute to take in and appreciate the surrounding garden but there’s no denying I’d love to have this look in my back yard (if I had one). The BBQ space flows to a raised covered patio section with comfy chairs, a fireplace and two waterfall chutes splashing into a pool. The chutes really got my attention. Overall, the display and its beautiful and lavish flowers and trees set the mood for a perfect summer evening.
One of my favorite displays at the Show is another outdoor patio surrounded by lush, aromatic plants. Designed by Maria at Interiors by MS, the focal point is a vertical garden of herbs and geraniums with a water feature of four simple copper spouts splashing into a large pool. Maria told me that a vertical garden can reduce the temperature around it by 15 – 20 degrees. Comfortable, earth-toned furniture sit low and humble under a stained-glass pergola. There is a pleasing, subtle aromas coming from the lavender, mint, roses and more that ring the relaxed space. I could so live in this space. That’s it for now. I’ll share more pictures and details in my next post.
This year’s Boston Flower Show delivers on the sights and sounds of Spring. It opens today, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 17. Go if you can!
Posted in Boston Flower and Garden Show 2013, Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Flower Shows, Flowers and Plants, Hostas, Landscape Designing, Lectures, Local Beauty, Places to Visit, Vertical Gardens, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged Boston Flower Show, City Garden Ideas, Expert Advice, Flower Design, Small space gardening
Sorry for the short notice but there is a great panel discussion tonight (March 6th) at the Boston Public Library called “So You want to be a Landscape Architect…or Landscape Designer.”
The event is free and the discussion will take place at the Boston Public Library Orientation room from 6pm-7:30pm. Three landscape architects and two landscape designers at different points in their careers will discuss their education, practices, and thoughts about the field.
Heather Heimarck, Director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, will moderate. For anyone interested in landscape design, this event is not to be missed!
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
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
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
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.
The Balcony Gardener
Hello… Sorry about sending out the empty post! Pushed the Publish button by mistake.
With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share a gardening book I recently found at Annie Bells, now K Colette, a store filled with interesting things in Portland, Maine.
The Balcony Gardener is a website and the name of an easy-read, tip-rich book that would be perfect for the beginner or intermediate gardener. Isabelle Palmer is the author and, like me, loves beautifying small spaces. I bought the book for $19.95 but see it on Amazon for $13.57. You can also buy signed copies on The Balcony Gardener website. The book contains useful tips about gardening basics like soil, tools and pots. Plus very helpful chapters on growing herbs and other edibles.
As the inside book jacket says, “Even with the smallest of outdoor spaces it is possible to create a beautiful garden, be it on a balcony, roof terrace or window sill.” I couldn’t agree more!
If you have a city gardener on your holiday list, this book is worth checking out. If you have a favorite “go to” gardening book, please share! We welcome your comments. Enjoy the day!
Posted in Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Gardening Books, Recommendations
Tagged Choosing Plants, City Garden Ideas, container gardens, Expert Advice, Gardening Books, Small space gardening, urban gardening, Window Boxes