Our Beautiful Garden

I was walking around our garden today.

Below are photos of the different things I saw including butterflies in the Welcome Circle, goldfinches picking seeds off basil plants and the amazingly colorful vegetables and flowers we have been growing. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Musings from the Garden

I was in the garden walking about and this is what I saw…

Eggplants that looked like teardrop ornaments, a little watermelon peeking from behind some marigolds, a nice play of textured foliage in a vegetable patch and a display of complimentary colors that would work anywhere in the landscape. And then I saw….curious, isn’t it? A place to sit among the sunflowers.

This poem “Ah Sunflower” by William Blake is for that gardener

Ah Sun-flower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves, and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go!

Enjoy the photos

The Daylilies are Planted

Today began early. I met Peter Saxton, the daylily man, at 7 a.m at the community garden. Peter showed me his design for the bed and how to plant a daylily the Saxton way.

(You hold a clump of dirt in one hand and the upturned, root side up daylily in the other hand. Then you push the dirt into the roots. This prevents air pockets. Holding the clump of soil to the plant, you place it in the hole. Draw the soil up around the base covering the crown. Try to plant the daylily as the same depth it was growing before. You can tell where that is by looking closely at the stem.)

He then handed me the design he created and left me to plant to 32 wonderful plants he has donated to the garden in his father’s name. It took two hours.

The photographs below show the progression of the planting. Later in the day I went back to the garden and added pink supertunias donated by Dehn’s Greenhouses for color.

The daylilies arrive in the back of Peter Saxton’s truck.

Peter brought the daylilies over in tubs partially filled with water.

We measured the plot and placed markers 16 inches apart. Following Peter’s plan, I lined up each row, double checked the layout order and planted.

Two rows done…two more to go.

Getting close to completion.

There it is. If you want to see photos of these beauties in bloom, go to the top of the page and click “Saxton Daylilies.”

Saxton Daylilies Donated to Community Garden

The late Stanley E. Saxton, a legendary daylily hybridizer and long-time Saratoga Springs resident, is being honored with a memorial garden at the Saratoga Springs Community Garden at Wesley that will contain examples of the daylilies he cultivated during his lifetime.

Saxton was a Skidmore Music Professor for more than 40 years who became interested in daylilies while trying to find flowers that would grow at his Adirondack camp. His experimentations and explorations led to the development and registering of hundreds of distinctive daylilies. Saxton was a charter member of the American Hemerocallis Society.

Peter Saxton, who worked alongside his father, has carried on the daylily business at the corner of State and First streets since his father’s death in 2002 at the age of 97. In the Saxton garden today there are approximately 250,000 daylilies and many are being sold as the business is in transition. Peter is in the process of relocating the family’s legacy to his home in North Carolina, where he will continue the business.

Fortunately, thanks to Peter’s generosity, some of the plants will stay rooted in Saratoga Springs at the community garden. A plaque bearing Stanley E. Saxton’s name will be installed.

Pictured above is ‘Crowning Tribute’ one of the daylilies donated to the community garden. To see the others, click on Saxton Daylilies in the menu bar at the top of this page.

To ensure the plants get a healthy start, the leaves and stalks were trimmed before transplanting.  Since there will be no flowers to see this season, the photographs will provide a sneak peek of what will be blooming next season.

Something wonderful is coming…

and we are getting ready.  

Yesterday afternoon I cleared the struggling annuals from the front bed. A little later, Steve and Wes Valentine (pictured above) came by with some terrific aged manure to add to the existing soil. This will make it a great bed for some very special plants.

Peter Saxton, who with his father, the late Stanley E. Saxton,  hybridized daylilies in Saratoga Springs has agreed to provide the garden with some of his family’s beautiful daylilies.

More on this to come…

Full of beans!

I ran into one of my new garden neighbors, Sid Gordon, while I was planting the plot #44  this morning and he offered me a handful of  purple and green bush beans which I immediately incorporated into the garden design. Thank you, Sid.

Beans are planted down the center of the bed. Purple beans on the right, green beans to the left. In front of the beans I planted zinnias and snapdragons for color and to attract butterflies and beneficial insects. At the end of the bed, I planted parsley.

The beans should break ground in about a week.

Here’s what the bed looked like after planting. 

I noticed weeds are starting to grow. The best time to deal with them is while they are tiny. I will be out there with a hoe later to nip this problem in the bud.

Sid told me he and his wife, Helen, have seen crows picking at the seedlings. If you notice this in your plot, consider adding a flag or streamers. Sid added both to his. See below.

I ran into several other gardeners or appreciators of gardens this morning. Jim N. was tending his plot, Gloria came by wearing a cheerful red sundress patterned with daisies, Ruth stopped by to say hello and Gina and Cigne (below) planted in bed number H4.

The Plots Thicken

I went to the gardens today and found about 14 plots planted, mostly by residents of the Wesley community.

Jim Norton, a resident, was busy planting onions while I was there. 

Look at the garden pictured below. I can’t wait to meet this gardener!

I finished planting the Welcome Circle. I used only plants that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. I included annuals — marigolds, salvias, zinnias and cleome — as well as perennials such as monarda, sedums and spiderwort.

It feels like a community garden now. You run into gardeners busy with their plots. Gardeners are sharing ideas and stories…and the season is just beginning!

A Bird’s Eye View of the Garden

Construction continues on the garden today.

I will be planting the garden’s Welcome Circle this afternoon. If you want to help, come by around 4 p.m. Bring your own trowel, please.

Huge thank you to John Mishoe, owner of Dehn’s Flowers and Greenhouses in Saratoga Springs. I was there this morning choosing strong, healthy plants for the butterfly garden. They have many butterfly attracting annuals including cleome, salvias, several different marigolds, snapdragons, cosmos, and an assortment of zinnias.

I was delighted with the selection. It should be very colorful for humans. And since this year is supposed to be a banner year for butterflies, attractive to our winged friends as well.

A crew is working on the garden today. In the photo below, the bulldozer is filling beds with topsoil. The photo, taken from the roof of Embury Towers, shows the progress made so far. When done, there will be about 50 raised beds in the garden.

Monet’s Garden

I was out at the Wesley garden site this morning and there are piles of earth ready to be turned into our new Saratoga Springs Community Garden at Wesley.  I believe the goal is to have the beds ready right after Memorial Day. I know time is of the essence and gardeners are itching to plant.

In the meantime, if you have the chance you might want to consider a road trip to the New York Botanical Garden to see the exhibit on Monet’s Garden. I went yesterday and can say with confidence and it will be an inspiration for this season and many seasons to come.

If you go, start at the Mertz library, 6th floor, where there is an exhibit that includes letters of Monet about the garden, photos of the artist, two rarely seen paintings and his actual paint encrusted palette. Once you are done there walk to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where NYBG’s staff have recreated extended flower borders reminiscent of Monet’s garden and overflowing with colorful blooms, fragrance, textures, and varying heights for visual interest.

Many of the plants are those Monet grew and the combinations are breathtaking. It is no wonder Monet called his garden his most beautiful masterpiece.

The exhibit runs from May 19 to October 21 and it is meant to be viewed multiple times through the coming months. The flowers will be replaced as they fade and the seasons change.

When I heard the NYBG purchased six of the seven water lilies that grew in Monet’s garden from Latour-Marliac, the same French nursery that Monet ordered from, I knew I would be visiting this garden again this summer when the lilies bloom. The seventh water lily is no longer available.

To see more photos visit my other blog: http.www.whatsnataliedoing.wordpress.com

Perhaps once the community garden is up and running, we can talk about different “garden related” road trips to nurseries, an exhibit or a special garden tour. Are you interested?