Visited the original OWS in NYC yesterday. I was in town for a trade show that had lost its appeal so headed south to Zuccotti Park to get a first hand look at the epicenter. I was surprised by many things including the level of organization, cleanliness and degree of fairness the group aspired to — but most of all by the number of engaged older folks. I’m sure the late Maggie Kuhn
, founder of the Gray Panthers
and one of my mentors, would have been delighted. On her 80th birthday she aspired to “do something outrageous” once a week. She upped the ante to daily acts as she approached 90. With that in mind, I didn’t hesitate to put down my camera, take the drumsticks someone handed me and join the tribal drum circle beating out the rhythms of a fairer future.
This outtake from the container book was surprisingly easy to put together. Ray Rogers rustled up the myrtle topiaries from Ken Selody’s sizable collection at Atlock Farm and we staged the group against a weathered nursery door. We’ve shot a lot of strong images here and I’m always surprised by the depth of plant material Ken has on hand as well as the photogenic corners of his nursery. The composition did lend itself to a cover – simple shapes, quiet background, lots of head room – qualities the designer of Green Scene, Laurie Baxendell, picked up right away.
A flurry of new and old friends came to the opening yesterday– great to see everyone and thank you all for your warm support! We handed everyone three post-it tags to mark their favorites prints and by the end of the evening the half-open allium bud won the People’s Choice Award. Many thanks also to the staff of the Wayne Art Center for their hospitality and to CN for kindly creating the wonderfully impressionistic images you see above. If you missed last night, the exhibit runs until March 19th.
Ok, it’s just a very short film but it did demand hours and hours. Getting the footage was easy — editing was the big bad bugaboo as I struggled with Adobe Premiere Elements. I did get some help with editing (thanks, Kim!) and debuted the final cut at the end of my Scott Arboretum talk this past Saturday night. Also, huge thank you to all the staff at Scott for hosting such a wonderful event!
There’s always a show in Central Park. On this day, two young men were creating enormous soap bubbles using just rope dipped into a special solution. Although reluctant to share their secret formula with me, they sweetly engaged with the small army of children they attracted and even let a few of them try their hand. Much joyful squealing ensued — some even from me! I caught this one heading my way a nanosecond before it burst into a few sad drips.
Here’s Anne Raver’s kitchen table holding a day’s worth of fruit from her late summer garden. Some gardens pushed out tons despite the excessive heat and drought. Others, like mine, pooped out much too early – due, perhaps, to my strict regimen of pure neglect. I had to depend heavily on the kindness of others for my love apples and even bought a few cases at the local farm stand for drying. If you’ve never dried tomatoes before, it’s a snap with a good dehydrator. Mine is the Excalibur. As the flesh leathers and shrinks, the flavor sweetens and intensifies. They’re a much welcome remembrance of summer during those bleak February days.
It’s Knockout Rose time again! And here’s an ad that we shot last summer that’s been getting some play in the garden rags. Knockouts are without a doubt, the reigning champs in a world of fussy hybrids and under performing old standards. Easy as dirt to grow, no black spot or mildewy leaves and floriferous as all get out. As my friend, the Perennial Diva Stephanie Cohen has said “If you can’t grow these, buy plastic flowers.” (BTW – Steph’s new book, The Non-Stop Garden“ coauthored with Jen Benner is hitting the shelves any day now.)
I have six Knockouts in the original red flavor surrounding my vegetable garden. One is near eight feet tall and exploding with color right now. They are the only display in my motley assemblage of plants I call a garden that get consistently favorable comments from the neighbors.
My favorite, a double red in the front bed, throws out hundreds of classically shaped blooms which make for super cut stems. Sue pops a few in a vase and accents with something wild and dainty like mustard flowers.
Now if they could only breed out the thorns…
Mother Earth News adorned the mantle of the Jackson Place Sitting Room with sheaves and cobs
My Christmas treat this year was photographing a series of exclusive rooms at the Blair House in Washington where the State Department had invited shelter magazines to come and show off their holiday decorating skills. This elegant set of DC homes often serves as guest quarters for visiting heads of state and is generally off limit to most visitors so this was a rare view indeed. The folks at Mother Earth News and Natural Home, sistermagazines at Ogden Publications, enthusiastically agreed to participate and asked me to come and document their work. Martha Stewart Living, This Old House, Traditional Home and Better Homes and Gardens also signed up and soon a phalanx of editors, decorators, designers and photographers arrived from all over the country.
The table was symbolically set with food crops
What none of us expected were the immense logistical challenges of bringing dozens of people and mountains of props into a high-security, historic site right across the street from the White House where the week before, two thrill-seekers managed to waltzintoa presidential party. The scrutiny was friendly but intense. Entering the small service entrance, cell phones were surrendered and boxes and bags were prodded and probed. With no loading dock (or even a loading zone), packages and equipment had to be schlepped from nearby intersections. The Blair House curatorial staff also had their hands full keeping overly enthusiastic decorators from damaging priceless furnishings.
Natural Home found recycled glass bell jars, reclaimed metal temple bells. pine cones and beeswax candles to promote their sustainable message
Mother Earth News’ theme focused on grains that feed the world and beautiful sheaves and cobs arrived from heirloom seed suppliers. Natural Home went the “green” route showcasing low impact decorations made from recycled items. Within a few days the transformations were complete.
Bryan Welch, Editorial Director at Ogden Publishing, waits with Capricia Penavic Marshall, Protocol Ambassador, while Martha and Hillary pose for pix.
The opening reception began at the Blair House but then moved to the State Department’s elegant upper floor for a fine Christmas program hosted by our most gracious Secretary of State. And that’s where Hillary, Martha, Mother and me converged for a moment.
Wow! An unexpected cover of Garden Design! This was part of a feature on a Main Line sculpture garden that I photographed last summer.
I’ll be speaking at Morven Museum and Garden this Thursday morning at 10am. The talk entitled “Finessing the Flower, Lighting the Leaf!” will be lively and I’ll be signing books afterward.
This picture is NOT from Morven (I’ve never been there) — it’s Chanticleer, the endlessly beautiful garden in Wayne which just reopened to the public last weekend.