For the past several years Les of The Tidewater Gardener has issued an annual challenge to take a walk from your house and post on what you see. It’s okay to drive to the place you want to start your walk, but you have to walk. No photos of your own garden are allowed. I’ve always meant to participate but never have. So here goes, though I’m not sure I’m complying with all the rules. This is about a walk, a subway ride, a drive, and a lecture in New York City. I hope my geographical disadvantage will permit this to qualify.
I’ve been thinking about the seventeen tall white pines that fell just outside my garden, casualties of Hurricane Sandy, leaving a giant, linear wood pile on the southern border. Thinking specifically about how to accommodate my garden to their fallen presence and, in the longer term, to the effects their absence will have on the garden and the surrounding woods.
The garden will certainly get more southerly light now, but other less immediately obvious and long-term ecological changes will be set in motion too.
If you’re in the New York City area, I highly recommend a series of free lectures being given in the Great Hall of The Cooper Union. Dr. Steward Pickett, past President of the Ecological Society of America and an ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, is presenting lectures on ecological urbanism–the ecology of cities (as opposed to ecology in cities).
In his talk at Plant-o-Rama, an annual event held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on January 29 of this year, Darrel Morrison credited environmental psychologists Stephen and Rachel Kaplan with defining the four attributes that make a preferred landscape: mystery, complexity, coherence, and legibility.
After a two week hiatus, my garden helpers came last Friday and worked valiently through a cold, windy day. Heavy rain earlier in the week had made the frozen ground workable. To level the surface around the new pool, they removed the gravel from a large area behind it, dug out about a cubic yard of earth, and relaid the geotextile weed barrier and gravel.
This is sunset on Thursday as I drove through the Rosemont Valley nearing my home and garden in the country. It called to mind an image Tom Stuart-Smith briefly showed in his lecture at the New York Botanical Garden earlier in the day.