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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


When we moved to this house in December, 1973, I didn't consider taking a tree inventory. But if I had, the tally would have been: 3 very large oaks, 1 giant blue spruce, 1 Japanese maple, and 2 pyramidal hollies, at the front corners of the house. Additionally, there was an enormous rhododendron - easily a twenty-footer - in the back. The maple and hollies were surely added when the house was built. All the others, I think, must have dated from the days when the previous house - a Queen Anne Victorian - occupied the lot.

As of today, the slate is clean. The last three to remain - the maple and the two hollies - were removed, including stumps, in less than half an hour. I never objected to the hollies, but they had completely outgrown their spot and were starting to brush against the house and the roof. There were alarming-looking NESTS in the branches! And the maple, whose demise I surely hastened by trying to garden around it, was never a favorite of mine.

Treeless now? No, not at all. I still have the neighbors' (both sides) oaks towering over me. And numerous town trees in the rear. I've gradually been planting smaller trees, more in scale with the house. And various evergreens, for more privacy, on the "plateau" at the far rear.

2007 inventory: 5 redbuds at various stages of growth, 4 white dogwoods, 1 pink dogwood, 1 pink Kousa dogwood, 3 serviceberries, and a sweet bay magnolia. And the evergreens. I'm very pleased with the course of events.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Maybe you saw the Nora Ephron piece in the NYT about on-line scrabble? As if I needed a new addiction. I haven't actually played a match against a human yet (any challengers?), but I've tried the blitz and solitaire versions. Very, very fun. Very, very addictive. Also, you can WATCH people play, and it's clear right away that the top scorers, while having somewhat differing strategies, all make extensive use of the weird but legal two-letter words that are referenced in the article. You'll see a few of these oddballs in the picture above, an untimed solitaire result that scored 622 - one of my better efforts so far. The blitz champs routinely score 700 and above - frequently over 1000 - in just four minutes.
OK - that's enough. Back to the garden.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Don't look for me here tomorrow. I'll be outside digging holes. I have a HUGE new sweet bay magnolia, covered with buds. Two Forest Pansy redbuds. All three a steal from Lowe's. And without H's help in the transportation department I'd never have gotten them here. I know she'd never have agreed if she'd known how absurdly big they all were. Thanks H! Then there's an Aurora white dogwood picked up earlier in the week. And a white Rose of Sharon. The Rose of Sharon - just a stick, really - was a $3 impulses purchase at the annual Maplewood Garden Club plant sale, where I also snagged a bunch of pink everblooming daylilies (Rosy Returns) to replace some of the boring Stella d'Oros on my daylily hill out back. $5 they were, for huge clumps. I've seen them advertised for as much as $27.50.

Seven baby boxwoods have gone into the "fence pots", and I'm going to poke dwarf nasturtium seeds in there, along with upside-down plastic forks to keep the marauding squirrels at bay.

Lilacs are in full, fragrant bloom, along with candytuft, pasque flower, tulips, coral bells, Spanish bluebells (the Virginia bluebells, my favorites, have been particularly lovely this year, but are on the way out), bleeding heart, viburnum, fothergilla, forget-me-nots .... I'm digging up clumps of white yarrow which has seeded everywhere to intersperse with the daylilies - an experiment. What I really want there is double white feverfew, but I haven't even had a chance to start the seeds yet. Hostas - hundreds of them - are exploding and unfurling with astonishing speed.

It's my favorite time of year in the garden. And it's nearly impossible to keep up with it all.

Monday, May 07, 2007


And thanks for waiting so patiently.
Back from where? Saratoga. There was a regional bridge tournament there last week. Yes the hotel had wi-fi, but there wasn't really time to blog and now I barely know where to begin. In fact I won't begin right now, as there's too much here to catch up on, primarily in the garden. And since it's much too gorgeous outside to stay in here for another second, you'll just have to wait a bit longer.
The photo? It's a huge metal sculpture outside the Tang Art Gallery on the Skidmore campus.