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

Friday, June 4, 2010


(double click to enlarge any image)
Regular readers of this blog know that I garden on the rooftop for my condo building in Manhattan. Last summer this roof was totally resurfaced: all vines and climbers cut down from fences, all containers moved to one end, all pavers stacked up, then everything moved to the other end of the space. There was no garden.
In January with the re-roofing accomplished, I ordered all new fiberglass containers. By early April, with three men from the building, I had transplanted every plant into the new containers. (The bachelor buttons in the foreground volunteered for the new garden, coming in with some old soil).
As usual, the rose 'Harison's Yellow' was the first to bloom, though I had to cut it to half it's size for the move.

I'm not a big fan of ever-
greens for this garden,
because almost no one
uses the space from
December to March,
and no one views the
garden up close from
behind a window.
I want plants shouting
COLOR with flower or
foliage. Here, an Encore
azalea though I'm not
sure it will repeat bloom
in NYC.

The second rose to
bloom was the David
Austin English rose
'Graham Thomas', a
delightful choice with
absolutely no black
spot or mildew in this
site. Note in front of the roses the fern-like foliage of California poppies. I sprinkled the seeds in situ in mid-March, just the way they like. My first poppy blooms were last week. The roses were all early, responding to April heat. As the first flush of blooms departed the poppies popped out.Next came the 'New Dawn' climber with perennial salvia and another sprinkle of poppy foliage in front. Poor 'New Dawn' only half the size of her '09 self.
I love Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' because it flowers on new wood starting in May and going all summer, and doesn't have a problem with late spring frost. On the left, another variety of mop-head hydrangea 'Nikko Blue' forms buds the previous year, and frequently fails to bloom at all.
By mid-May the annuals I've planted from seed have yet to bloom, so I buy three trays for immediate color. A new favorite is Calibrachoa, orange flowers, right front.
By the end of May, the lavender joined the hydrangea in full bloom. This combo is actually a no-no: water loving plant in the same container with one that likes drier soil, but I force my will on them by varying the drip feeds.
As you can see, I favor floriferous plants.

Below, the foliage of sumac 'Tiger Eyes' is enhanced by the color of the Calibrachoa.
Let those in the building who complained in March that the lead gray color of the containers was too dull, eat their words. It's the perfect foil for the plants.Most of the plants I started from seed have yet to bloom; the zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers cerinthe, and hollyhock will be out by the end of June. The basil, dill, and cilantro are still too small to pick. Since I have only limited windowsill space to start seeds indoors, I put some cosmos seeds in the outer row of my tomato container. Yesterday I transplanted the 6" high seedlings, scattering them around the garden.


Hilda M. Morrill said...

Dear Ellen,

So strange to think that residents in your building "complained in March that the lead gray color of the containers was too dull...." Obviously, they do not realize how lucky they are to have you among their midst!

Warm regards, Hilda

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Thanks Hilda. With 100 apartment owners, there are all kinds of opinions. One of my favorites: No roses because a child might get pricked by a thorn!

Ellen Zachos said...

The key is that the dark gray is the "perfect foil." You had the experience to envision that and it couldn't be better.

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