Walking down RSD this morning I saw a group of snowdrops in full bloom. Extremely early, as were a few of the beautiful blue blooms of the vinca in our northernmost tree well, but we all know the weather has been crazy this fall and winter. It was gratifying to see that so many of our yellow crocuses survived the local rats’ and squirrels’ predations, but the timing of the appearance of this early spring plant was distressing: December! So Kathy Ralph and I again covered our tree wells with evergreen boughs in the hope that the crocuses would be encouraged to stay under ground until a more propitious time. NB: I noticed boughs being swept away by the wind in some other tree wells, but not ours. Kathy and I braved a cold wind to tie the boughs down individually. Their presence also helps keep the top soil in place, something our fierce wind likes to carry off.
Late spring 2011 Kathy and I brought back purple/blue petunias from the distribution point of the 102-103 Streets Association. They had gotten a grant and made many annuals available, gratis, for neighborhood beautification. The petunias, planted with help from Hisako Fugii, bloomed into the fall, though perhaps they’d have done even better if we’d have had one or two more volunteers to “dead head” them throughout the summer–when I am away. Our first summer we had marigolds–which also lasted fairly well. (For the non-gardeners among you: we’d love to use only perennials, which do not have to be planted each year–though they do require some upkeep–but it’s mostly annuals that provide continuous color during the summer months.)
Plans: the flowering grasses suggested by Michael Alicea the spring of 2010, did wonderfully well in the 103 Street tree wells, but apparently did not receive enough sun in the RSD areas. I hope to find some low (always thinking of our wind), hardy ferns to plant there this spring. Will fill in with more vinca and perhaps another perennial for the spots where the heuchera failed to grow. The RSD tree wells are slightly larger than those on 103 St.
Any suggestions from experienced gardeners are gratefully received. And non-gardeners can learn a lot and have fun by joining us for garden work. Please leave your name and phone no. at the front desk, or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
–Mimi Daitz 1507
PS Does anyone have a crystal ball that will tell us that we will not have another blast of cold and that it’s now safe to do spring garden work?