Dec 31, 2009

Watching "Earth", Princeton Environmental Film Festival

I am really inspired to share my experience watching the documentary film "Earth" with my daughter, which was originally released on Earth Day 2009. It harkens to an earlier time in my own childhood. I remember watching "Omaha's Wild Kingdom" on Sunday nights as a young person, usually at my grandparents' house. Instead of the sensationalism typical of today's tv experience, we get to feel like we are one with our planet. We can quietly reflect on the beauty of our world through the insightful lense of filmmakers Alistair Fothergill and Mark Linfield. Experiencing the daily life of polar bears, elephants, humpback whales and many other diverse species are reminders of our connectivity to all living things.

I highly recommend sharing this stunning visual and sound experience with your children, the stewards of this earth. "Earth" will be shown at the Princeton Public Library this Saturday January 2nd at 1:00pm.

Dec 28, 2009

Gardens are Green

I am really excited about the Princeton Environmental Film Festival. I will be attending one of the first films out on January 4th titled "Fresh." It is exciting to be apart of a movement that is sweeping our culture. As many of us in the Princeton area walk to our local farmers market, we are inspired to keep farmers farming and encouraging the market to become a more local and sustainable model.

Whether we eat more simply and more locally or garden our properties with natives that thrive without such an intensity for chemicals, it all leads to a more vibrant system that will succeed.

I am proud to have my child attend The Waldorf School of Princeton where gardening is taught as a subject matter once a week. Our young people are taught to tend the garden and to farm produce in season in which they share a weekly meal.

Herbs and Hat Boxes

It is another day of winter, mild and rather dry.  My herbs are waiting for a little bit of plant food to nourish them while they wait to return outside. Some Guy Wolff pots snuggle my herbs and scented pelargoniums.  Personally,  I would rather have a few hand throw pots than those made by machines. Since most of the plants are dormant they don't look as stunning,  but won't it be nice to stay frugal and let them grow and return bigger in the spring to the outside wee patio.

Dec 27, 2009

It's Winter in Princeton..Yet Bulbs are Here..

As we pass the shortest day of the year one has to wonder why I still have alliums, snowdrops, and anenomes still in the carriage house.  I decided to out myself so I might get off my duff to still get these in the ground.   Fine,  I put about 500 bulbs in already but my work is not done in the garden.  I have ordered some lovely amaryllis named 'Emerald' that I wait for to arrive.  The container pots of herbs are thriving inside though they long for some copper linings underneath them. The snow has been washed away and I must take my moment tomorrow to put all outside bulbs to bed.

Dec 21, 2009

Even the Birds Want Some Winter Decoration

My daughter made a lovely wreath at the Waldorf School of Princeton which is adoring one of our bird bottles.  As the garden sleeps the birds need to be taken care of in a most special way. We leave black oil seeds and many nuts for the songbirds to enjoy.
Now I am wondering how I will get the alliums still left to be put in the garden along with some bare root peonies that did not make it in either. As we turn inward, is it rather delightful to tend to our houseplants. Many of my herbs and scented geraniums have  been brought inside to face the winter sun where it is cozy. It is the time of year when I really love to have a beautiful rosemary topiary in the kitchen, ready to be snipped for flavoring.

Dec 17, 2009

Winter Solstice in the Village of Hopewell

As the shortest day of the year approaches, I wanted the folks in the village to feel light as they might walk in the Hopewell boro preserve. It is a simple gesture like this that gives us that feeling of home shared among many. So this year, I decided that one tree was not enough for the new carriage house. This faces the back of the house and sends light over the fields while the garden beds down. The only shrubs holding fast on their own are my English boxwood. The tree is not decorated. It is to celebrate nature in the raw, if you will, and a gift to be simple.

A Copper Cap for the Chimney

I wanted to show you the copper cap that has been custom fit for the chimney. It is rather lovely and gives the carriage house a nod to earlier times. I had a Princeton artisan come and fit it perfectly. This is the very back of the house which faces the open fields. The home is long and narrow and looks rather like a doll's house. It is a bit bigger than it looks, as this is just the master bedroom.
The copper cap is content to rest on this plot of land with a swimming mermaid on top of the garden shed. Small details like these are just the things that can add a bit of value for you to enjoy your home and garden. Much more charming than a cage on top of the chimney to keep out critters.

Dec 12, 2009

Heuchera Winter Foliage Gem

This heuchera which is a lovely ground cover, loses no beauty in the winter.  It is almost as though as the temperature drops the purple wine colors mature.  I have this in two places in my newly divided perennial garden here at the carriage house in Hopewell.  I have planted many pink tulips that will come up around this specimen.  Since the house is a deep grey, the pinks and purples really lend to each other.
What I love about Heuchera is the lack of disease and pests and they are just a lovely winter interest in the garden when my sun loving perennials die back. This variety is large enough to stand alone yet smaller varieties look nice clumped together.
Many of us knows these as coral bell flowers and they can be native from Connecticut to western Canada to Mexico. Soon I will share the tiarella foam flowers that I also have in my garden in the true native section.

Dec 7, 2009

A Winter's Gate

When looking to spruce up a garden gate, I need look no further than the woods. The ingredients can be as simple as evergreen cuttings, decorative kale, cabbages, and crabapple and pear clippings. I also gave a nod to Hopewell Valley's farmland by adding a corn tassel. And don't forget that pansies are a mountain flower able to withstand a freeze to five degrees. That comes in handy if you want a flower in the mix. My gate is now a welcoming entrance to all visitors- friends and family coming for the holidays and my beloved wintering birds.

Dec 4, 2009

Home for the Holidays

During this holiday season it is wonderful to think about decorating with local color and foliage that represents an indigenous and seasonal flair. I absolutely love creating container plantings and unique window boxes for myself and my clients. There is much to be said for simply trimming with evergreens of many varieties, adding some american holly and crabapple branches along with decorative pear branches to make stunning eye candy, even for the birds. Don't forget to add some lovely pine cones. Mine came from a friend in North Carolina who collected them in her yard.

Now a fun thing that I have done for our first year in this house is grace many of the windows with candles, and I brought home two Christmas trees. One is in the back of the property where I have decorated it for all to enjoy when walking in the nearby fields, and one is the front of the house in the kitchen, which I will call the town tree, right on Broad Street to be enjoyed by all. I have also placed a huge, simple wreath in the front of the house. It's nice to be home for the holidays.