Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The roof needed resurfacing, the leaks around the fence needed to be fixed, the brickwork on the side of the building needed repointing and I was told last year by the Board of the builing that the garden I tend would need to be deconstructed last summer. They hired a gardening crew of five, to come with jacks and dollies and move all of the 80+ planters to one side.I'm glad I didn't have to do it.The roofing crew lifted the pavers, laid new insulation and waterproofing.They took down fences, added new copper gutters and wall caps. All supplies came up 18 stories by crane.I worried about my trees during summer and fall, parched without their usual drip irrigation.
I placed an order of 31 new fiberglass containers in a faux lead finish to compliment the gray of the pavers. One man in a huge truck with gate-lift elevator delivered the containers on 8 pallets. Traffic on the street was blocked for 45 minutes. I learned the pleasures of being cursed at drivers who, though seeing the blockage, decided they needed to go a hundred yards down the street and sit there, honk and curse. My first order of potting soil was a modest 40 bags; I wasn't sure how much usable soil I'd find between the roots in the old containers. Not much, as it turns out. Two more orders, and today my total is 120 bags, and counting.I was assigned a crew of three hardworking men from the building who sawed the old containers apart; first the rotting wooden boxes, then the galvanized metal liners, then the pot-bound roots. They were able to lift plastic pots and pour in some old soil. They muscled the big shrubs into their new fiberglass containers. I did the easy stuff: pour in bags of new potting soil, divide and plant day lilies, lavender, peonies, and other perennials; deal with the roses.
I have a new and undying respect for the 'Saws-All' which cuts through the toughest roots; the name says it all. The grasses I won't need will find a home with Other Ellen and her deer in PA.
Although the job is 60% complete, we have another 12 big containers to go. Below, the sight on the roof today before clean-up. And oh yes, someone in the building doesn't like gray containers, and someone else doesn't like the metal chair that is the centerpiece of my xeric garden that will remain in the center of the roof.
Ben waters the first pot containing my precious Rosa 'Harison's Yellow' given to me as a cutting by Stephen Scanniello. The rose survived radical pruning in preparation for the move, a summer without food or water, and it's now leafing out in spectacular fashion. I've placed it against the East wall where it will be the first thing any visitor will see throughout May. Container #1 also hosts newly replanted iris, pass-along plants from Other Ellen, and California poppy seeds, planted in cool weather as they prefer.


Frank said...

Nothing like a renovation to feel anew.

Georgia said...

Eagerly awaiting photos of the finished garden.

Stephen said...

Looking good and a lot of work to come. Enjoy the weekend.

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