A month of covers! I never expected the Princess or Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa) to ever get such royal treatment by Horticulture. It’s considered an “aggressive ornamental” around here popping up in sidewalk cracks throughout Philly. But Dan Hinkley extols it’s “loudness of leaf” and “trusses of purple tubular flowers from brown felted buds” in this issue. He keeps his noble specimen in check by coppicing each year. Someone at Longwood (where this was photographed) also appreciates this seldom sung aristocrat. There, a fine allee of Paulownia greets visitors as they stroll from the entrance to the conservatory. Prized not only for it’s grand beauty but also for it’s fast growth and easily-worked wood, it could become a true 21st century urban lumber source.
For me, ripe blueberries are the high note of summer gardening. I can’t get enough on my cereal, in my smoothies or in the pies from my favorite Pie Lady. The Gardening How To folks must have felt similarly when they chose this image for their recent cover. I photographed these beauties some time ago leaving enough quiet space in the frame to accommodate lots of sell lines someday. Shot again at Longwood, where they make cobbler every afternoon from the fruits of their gardens. After exhaustive morning shoots, I’ve waited for hours just to get a warm chunk with a side of vanilla ice cream….
Well this was unexpected — a giant pressed cookie for The Magazine Antiques! William Woys Weaver (food historian, heirloom vegetable expert, noted author and friend) commissioned a giant custom cookie mold from a Oldrich Kvapil, a brilliant Czech craftsman. And he thought that was the hard part! Turns out that pressing the stiff cookie dough required him to stand on top of the mold on his kitchen table at midnight! We photographed the next day, raking a umbrella light across the surface and propping with culinary artifacts from Will’s endless closets.