July 2009 Happenings and Tidbits

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Battery Park Garden- 62009-echinacea up close-resized

After spending a week on the Hudson River a few weeks ago with steady rain every day and temperatures in the high 50s-low 60s, it would be easy to think that the lack of water is a non-issue. As most of you know, this weather was extremely unusual for the East Coast. When I returned to Israel with temperatures in the mid-90s and no rainfall whatsoever for the past 2 months, with brown grass, dead flowerheads and wilted leaves, it was a stark reminder of how critical it is for all of us to diligently practice water conservation, in both our gardens and homes. A great resource to learn about smart irrigation is: www.irrigation.org.

If you want your garden to be filled with a plethora of texture, shapes and color during the summer, the only way to go is with drought tolerant perennials, succulents, annuals and ornamental grasses. Because I’m now residing in Israel for much of this year, I’ve been browsing through books on Mediterranean gardens. One of my favorites, New Gardens In Provence by Louisa Jones, is not only filled with magnificent photos of Provencal gardens but it serves as an inspiration and reminder of how rain free gardens can be drop dead gorgeous when selecting the right plant for the right location.

Battery Park Garden- 62009-yellow achillea-resized

What’s in store for this month of July? Since we began the Picture This Photo Contest in April as an experiment, the response has been so fantastic that we’ve continued with it. For the month of July, our friend and colleague, David Salman of High Country Gardens, has come up with a unique assortment of 8 cold hardy succulents as a reward for the first prize winner of Picture This. Our judge for the month of July is Rob Cardillo, whom most of you already know. He’s keeping the subject a secret, so for all of you who are yearning for those succulents, make sure to check out the Picture This post on the 5th of the month.

And what are our GGW Contributors up to this month?

Saxon: “I’m busy with two book contracts on Herbs and developing another book on sustainability. I’m doing assignment work for Coastal Living, Horticulture, Gardening How-To, and Organic gardening. Am involved with private commissions, including a shoot on the fabulous landscape architecture at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles designed by Frank Gehry and Landscape Architect Melinda Taylor. I will post on this landscape. I will also post on the gardens of Alcatraz, a project of The Garden Conservancy, http://alcatrazgardens.org/ . Very busy with my Board work with Stock Artists Alliance and the photo metadata tour sponsored by The Library of Congress. http://www.photometadata.org/.  Embedding metadata into digital files is crucial to standardizing digital commerce in photography and I am proud of the work of SAA. http://www.stockartistsalliance.org.  Also busy preparing for “The Late Show Gardens” symposium this September 18-20 here in Northern California. It promises to be THE garden event of the year – a garden show designed around sustainability with gardens designed by leading designers and speakers from all over the country. http://www.thelateshowgardens.org.”

Steve: “My plans just changed. We got hammered by marble-sized hail over the weekend and it played havoc, to say the least, in my garden devoted to big, bold foliage. It now looks like a store for second-hand pompoms. Lots of unanticipated work now awaits me. So, I’ll be learning what bounces back from being cut back hard in early summer and what doesn’t. Hopefully there will be some good surprises. Work continues on my large pond, and a few other garden projects have also taken on a new urgency–something–and I don’t much care what–has to look good outside this summer. And there will be repairs to several gardens I designed and just finished getting in the ground. I’m also continuing a series of garden articles inthe local paper, The Hartford Courant. And I may even get to the New York Botanical Garden this month (missed it again in June). I am determined to see some new gardens this month, as I need some inspiration. Some may even be worthy of a post. We’ll see. Later in the month, on the 24th, I’ll be at the Summer Gardening Celebration at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, New york for a day-long symposium sponsored by Organic Gardening. My subject will be “The Crazy, Mixed-Up Border. Along with me will be Kerry Mendez, Ellen Ogden, and some one known to me only as “the infamous Randy.” Hmmm.”

Debra: “I’m doing book signings and giving presentations at two independent booksellers this month. Dates are: 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 14 at Copperfield’s Books in Sebastopol, CA. and 7 p.m. Thursday, July 16 at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara. If you’re in the vicinity, do say hello and let me know that you’re part of the GGW gang. I’m also doing a story for the Los Angeles Times on a San Diego garden that beautifully uses barrel cactus and needs NO irrigation. And I’m putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of Succulent Container Gardens due out in January from Timber Press.”

Nan: “The big news for this month is that my latest book, The Perennial Care Manual, with photography by Rob Cardillo and the foreword by our own Fran Sorin, will finally be released. I’ve seen only one review so far: according to the Litchfield Enquirer, ‘Nancy Ondra comes across like a horticultural Dr. Ruth crossed with Jim Carrey’s Pet Detective.’ Hmmm. Honestly, I don’t know what that means, but I’m kind of thinking that it’s not a compliment. Still, it’s by far the most memorable review I’ve gotten in 14 years of freelance garden writing. I’m also making my first foray into the world of print-on-demand publishing with another project. More on that next month, if all goes well.”

Below is a link to an exciting press release about the New York Botanical Garden’s Seasonal Walk. The garden is a collaboration of Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet, two world renowned garden designers. You’ll be able to follow the four season garden installation throughout this year. A big shout out to Rob Cardillo, a great friend and colleague of GGW, who is the photographer chronicling this project. To learn more about the seasonal walk, click on: http://www.seasonalwalk.com/

And on a final note, a must read article titled: Vertical Park: Stackable Solar Skyscraper for Mexico City. Click on: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/06/01/vertical-solar-park-for-mexico-city/. I doubt that you’ve ever seen anything like this: a ‘pushing the envelope’, breathtaking concept!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at www.fransorin.com.

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Fran Sorin
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Gail July 1, 2009, 5:32 pm

Fran, You are so right about rethinking gardens for water conservation. As the summers get dryer here in the Middle South and the winters still remain wet; I am even more committed to planting natives that can tolerate both extremes! Cedar glades are a good source for planting ideas. Exciting news for the GGW crew. gail

Debra Lee Baldwin July 2, 2009, 8:05 pm

>>‘Nancy Ondra comes across like a horticultural Dr. Ruth crossed with Jim Carrey’s Pet Detective.’ >>
Ha! I see what you mean by memorable, Nan. But unfavorable? Not in the least. It’s vague, but it did give me the impression you wrote a well-researched, informative book that make plants appealing…and sexy.

Wow, Debra – that’s certainly a generous interpretation. I like it!

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