Garden Diary - March 2018

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Early Flowers at Wave Hill
Saturday, 24 March 2018

I'm going to Wave Hill today. Why? The sun is shining, I'm ready for an outing. A garden in Riverdale / the Bronx is bound to be more Spring-like than my buried-in-snow garden. It's Cactus and Succulent Day at Wave Hill, with two demonstration / lectures and a greenhouse tour. That's why.

Clearly, as this stately (but bare) tree shows,
it may be Spring, but it is still rather early on.

Wonderful views everywhere. Across the balustrade we catch
a glimpse of the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge,
and Ft. Lee, on the New Jersey side of the river.

The first lecture / demonstration is at noon. The second lecture / demonstration is at 1:30 p.m. followed by a greenhouse tour. Joan and I decided lunch first, lectures after.

The Cafe in Wave Hill House has a menu of delicious, tasty food. Place your order, pay for it, and find a table. Set your number holding widget down on it. And when your lunch is ready it will be brought out to you. Joan and I sat in the smaller tea room. There's a beautiful, non-working fireplace with carved stone surround. Windows with sunlight streaming in. And - an art exhibit.

Gabriel Willow, Great Auk in Wallabout Bay, 2017, photo and drawing on vellum
in pencil & conte crayon, 24x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Through June 17 it is Gabriel Willow's Ecolegiac: Missing Birds of NYC, imagining an alternate reality in which the great auk, passenger pigeons, Carolina parakeets, and others are still with us. The bird(s) in each image are fully drawn in pencil and conte crayon, appear solid. The background - New York Harbor, in one - is somewhat translucent, looking faded. What a treat, to have delicious food, eaten in a delightful space, with unique and thought provoking art to admire.

Back home, at BelleWood Gardens, the first flush of little bulbs in bloom has presented me with snowdrops, snowflakes, and winter aconites. Too late for them here. Wave Hill has the second wave of little bulbs in bloom.

Coming through the snow - it's a crocus. Depending on what book
you're reading it's either Crocus vernus or C. flavus. Either way
the cultivar is 'Yellow Mammoth'. Sunny and bright, for sure.

Dutch hybrid crocus in a wonderful luminous purple.

Another Dutch hybrid. This one is 'Pickwick', a very nice, sturdy
choice for your garden. Love the purple stripes and golden stamens.

Smaller than the Dutch hybrid crocus are Crocus chrysanthus
selections. It will close on cloudy days, making the soft lavender
on the outside of the petals show up. I think this is 'Cream Beauty'.

Glory of the snow, Chionodoxa, are all over the place at Wave Hill.
Their electric blue flowers make such a fine show, even here, under
the low branches of a weeping beech. They'll sleep away the difficult,
dark and dry conditions in summer when the beech has leafed out.

There is this meadow-looking area at the Aquatic Garden with
tussocks of Festuca glauca. And coming up through the grass
are the royal purple flowers of Iris reticulata. Closer view below

flowering in a different portions of the gardens at Wave Hill.

A different species, Iris histrioides, with soft
blue flowers, marked with a golden bee guide.

A cultivar of I. histrioides, 'Katharine Hodgkin'
used to be quite expensive when she was first
introduced. Now she's become more affordable.

First day of Spring was March 20. Here we are, four days later. And how many flowers there are to appreciate at Wave Hill. Be assured, this is just the start. Trees will leaf out. Magnolias will flower. Perennials will grow and bloom. Summer bulbs. Annuals. Every season has its pleasures.

Even if flowers are not your thing, Wave Hill is still enjoyable.

The two demonstrations, cooking with cactus and succulent care and culture were interesting. Next will be cooking with maple syrup on Sunday, April 29. Lectures are free with admission to the Wave Hill.

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