reviving the garden

its finally warm enough to take my indoor-wintering plants outside again. they made the move this weekend...right in time for a windy rainstorm. but they seem to have survived! all the dead grass and leaves also got cleared over a productive afternoon. here's a quick look at the progress so far:

those lovely pink and orange ranunculus (ranunculi?) are actually newcomers this season. the spring colors make me instantly happier. the rubber plant was sheltered from the freeze in our guest room and looks happy to be back outside. the leaves of the climbing hydrangea come back each year without fail, but i'm keeping my fingers crossed for blooms this year.  

those lovely pink and orange ranunculus (ranunculi?) are actually newcomers this season. the spring colors make me instantly happier. the rubber plant was sheltered from the freeze in our guest room and looks happy to be back outside. the leaves of the climbing hydrangea come back each year without fail, but i'm keeping my fingers crossed for blooms this year.  

no idea what this lush thing is, but it looked tropical so it went indoors too. it's grown some since the fall too! i've returned it to its shady spot on the table right outside the door. 

no idea what this lush thing is, but it looked tropical so it went indoors too. it's grown some since the fall too! i've returned it to its shady spot on the table right outside the door. 

these grasses are coming right back! I'm soo pleased.  

these grasses are coming right back! I'm soo pleased.  

the ones next to it aren't doing as well though. I've been anxiously examining it daily for new shoots.  

the ones next to it aren't doing as well though. I've been anxiously examining it daily for new shoots.  

the cherry tree always looks so good in the spring and early summer, only to succumb to mildew in august. hope i can avoid it this year!

the cherry tree always looks so good in the spring and early summer, only to succumb to mildew in august. hope i can avoid it this year!

I loove these mini "blooms"...the stonecrop turns purple later on but they are a nice green now. so glad to see they survived this year's crazy temps. 

I loove these mini "blooms"...the stonecrop turns purple later on but they are a nice green now. so glad to see they survived this year's crazy temps. 

willa lounges in a sun patch while i work... 

willa lounges in a sun patch while i work... 

what else should I plant this year? I need to put in my herbs soon...i'm thinking rosemary, thyme, parsley, and basil. the mint is of course coming back by itself (weed that it is) and so have the garlic chives (super excited about that since i didn't expect it). I also picked up a little pot of oregano at the farmer's market. man do I love spring. 

snow day

i was going totally stir crazy today indoors. it snowed last night, but it's quickly turning into that special brand of yellow-ish brown new york city slush that you want to avoid at all costs. everything is dead and sad (by everything i just mean my outdoor plants, not people or anything). and on monday, the semester starts and i have to (i mean...get to) teach, so i can't just sit around watching my paperwhites grow anymore.  i've been propagating some jade plant cuttings too, but recently realized that i was doing it all wrong. this seems to be a theme with my gardening...i really should research then cut, rather than the other way around. anyway, we'll see if i was able to save them...stay tuned. 

my sad dead yard.

my sad dead yard.

how i wished my yard looked. (this is actually a garden near the river cafe and brooklyn bridge park in the summer of 2014.)

how i wished my yard looked. (this is actually a garden near the river cafe and brooklyn bridge park in the summer of 2014.)

so instead, for some insta-plant gratification,  i went up fifth avenue to zuzu's petals. zuzu's is the neighborhood florist (it's weirdly also the name of the ramen shop in the neighborhood, but there's no relation that i can see), and i'm always tempted to submit a job application when i go in there so i can be surrounded by beautiful flowers all day long. everyone in there is living the dream, if you ask me. 

so i trudged through the said slush and got myself some snow day plants. this is what i came home with: 

the green leafy thing with purple undersides is a calathea, and the pinky-green plant is a chinese evergreen.

the green leafy thing with purple undersides is a calathea, and the pinky-green plant is a chinese evergreen.

a close-up of the bright pink edges of the chinese evergreen. it went perfectly into the crinkle planter from  cb2 . 

a close-up of the bright pink edges of the chinese evergreen. it went perfectly into the crinkle planter from cb2

i instantly felt 1,000 times better. aren't those lovely? the google gods say that they are both low-light plants, and the calathea is from the tropics. the "siam aurora" chinese evergreen is apparently a new hybrid - they don't all have the variegated pink coloring. anyway, now that i have these plants, i suppose i can go on living until spring comes. but i may need another new houseplant or two if this miserable weather keeps up. (hhh, don't say i didn't warn you.) 

summer forever

there's something really lovely about the overgrown greenness of late summer. everything is filled in and climbing everywhere...

my neighbor's climbing vines are coming over the wall (free plants!).  i think these are clematis? 

my neighbor's climbing vines are coming over the wall (free plants!).  i think these are clematis? 

the climbing hydrangea is hanging in there, despite its scale infection. the polka-dots are so hardy and cute (and cheap). 

the climbing hydrangea is hanging in there, despite its scale infection. the polka-dots are so hardy and cute (and cheap). 

i'm growing a baby fiddle leaf fig. it's thriving! but i'm a little concerned about it transitioning to the indoors. i hear it's finicky. (not sure what that other gorgeous tropic thing is, but it'll have to come inside too.)

i'm growing a baby fiddle leaf fig. it's thriving! but i'm a little concerned about it transitioning to the indoors. i hear it's finicky. (not sure what that other gorgeous tropic thing is, but it'll have to come inside too.)

still willa's favorite corner. she spent hours sunning herself there this morning. 

still willa's favorite corner. she spent hours sunning herself there this morning. 

julie brought me all these terra cotta pots. all lined up for the next planting season...

julie brought me all these terra cotta pots. all lined up for the next planting season...

where i read the sunday paper and ponder an alternate career as a gardner. but first i put out the cushions, which i was too lazy to do for this photo.

where i read the sunday paper and ponder an alternate career as a gardner. but first i put out the cushions, which i was too lazy to do for this photo.

springtime baby party

this weekend, we hosted a baby party for our friends madeline and brandon. madeline is a friend from my hric days, where we bonded over binder-making and other ngo delights. and she is british, which makes her classier than all the rest of us. brandon is a super tall and super nice dude from ohio, who ran in the nyc marathon and sings in bars

some handmade (not by me) crepe paper elephants. 

some handmade (not by me) crepe paper elephants. 

baby-appropriate bunting. 

baby-appropriate bunting. 

they had the great idea of doing a time capsule, and asked guests to bring something from the present to "show a future human being what life was like before he got here." baby elliott miller will get to open it in 2030. there were also some pretty talented onesie-makers, who have ensured that baby e.m. will be stylishly clothed. (unfortunately i didn't get any photos!)  

quiches. 

quiches. 

cupcakes with tiny flags.

cupcakes with tiny flags.

congratulations, madeline and brandon! hope you enjoyed your party. xoxo

brandon gives two thumbs up. 

brandon gives two thumbs up. 

madeline, hua and nick at the grill. 

madeline, hua and nick at the grill. 

party-outdoors
above: amy and nina (who loves fruit).  left: friends enjoying food! 

above: amy and nina (who loves fruit).

left: friends enjoying food! 

butterfly japanese maple

a while back, i decided that i needed a japanese maple in my life. there were some lovely ones at botanica, but they cost as much as a sofa. a friend told me she could bring me as many as i wanted from virginia, where they'd only set me back $14.99 each at her local home depot. (new york prices pretty much ensures that you think anything you want to buy anywhere else is dirt cheap.) but on her next trip, something got in the way of her driving a truck full of trees through four states, so my search continued. that's when i discovered mazzone hardware in carroll gardens. i love a good hardware store (which it definitely is), but mazzone also has a sizable nursery, which makes it the best hardware store ever in my book. and the people there are so nice! they carry a wide selection of plants, ranging from edibles like herbs and bok choy to shrubs and trees like azaleas, peonies, and of course, japanese maples. 

the unusual colors sold me on this particular tree.

the unusual colors sold me on this particular tree.

i walked away with this butterfly japanese maple and have loved it ever since. it has reddish branches in the early spring and pink-tinged leaves that become a variegated white and green later in the summer. even though it's about 8 feet tall in its pot now, i'll probably insist on taking it when/if we move. 

a close-up of the branch and bud colors.

a close-up of the branch and bud colors.

april 22 update: the leaves are coming in green and pink.

april 22 update: the leaves are coming in green and pink.