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

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's too darn hot

Some days I think I have the best job in the world, others...not so much. This past month in NYC has been brutal (in case you didn't know) and I've usually restricted myself to half days on the rooftops, where the sun and heat are unrelenting. Despite my 70 SPF, I haven't been this brown since before we knew the sun was bad for us.

So where does a gardener seek shade and solace on a hot August day? In a brownstone backyard garden, of course.

Light is probably the most important variable when choosing plants for your location. Most people with shade gardens complain about not being able to grow enough flowers or vegetables or herbs, but there are times when I crave the relative serenity of a shade garden. True, Caladium and Impatiens aren't the most novel combination around, but they please me, and provide plenty of color in a low-light situation. So what if I can't grow roses, I can have climbing hydrangea. Not enough light for ornamental grasses? Use hostas instead.

The fence here was replaced last December, in a careless way that convinced me I'd loose several trees. In fact, I did not, and the climbing hydrangea and Schizophragma are once again climbing the heights.

And one bonus you rarely find in a rooftop garden: a little extra space in the back. I use it as a coleus nursery. Whenever I prune (at least once a month) I stick the cuttings in the back of the garden to fill in with some extra color.

Please forgive the date stamps. I've been fiddling around with camera settings and I'm mortified to see that I left the date stamp on. It has since been remedied.


Ellen Spector Platt said...

With the coleus cuttings, do you treat them like sedums, just cut and stick the cut ends in the ground without any special treatment? I never did that>

Ellen Zachos said...

That's the beauty of it! I just remove the bottom leaves and stick 'em...no prep whatsoever. Not sure if it would work in your tree pits, which get so much drier.

meemsnyc said...

It has been a hot summer in NYC. I keep wishing for more rain. Everything in our garden is so dry!

Frank said...

Ellen, I have two decent sized climbing hydrangeas that were saved from the wrecking ball. I quickly planted them in a sunny spot -all I have. You can have too much sun! The leaves brown from the edges in.
Also, they've never flowered since transplanting 3 years ago. How sad -this is one of my favorite plants.

I think I need to remove one -they're growing so fast!

Anonymous said...

Love your shade garden plants! I just moved in August to an apartment that has a backyard and I am positively itching to start planting. (who, Nelly - take it slow!)

We have a lot of shady areas and your photo is a terrific inspiration - just lovely - thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

If you could let me know what plants are in the 2nd picture from the top that would be great. I have a shady area that needs some brightening up and that garden looks absolutely amazing! Also any gardening tips to make the soil healthy? I live in Newfoundland, Canada.

Ellen Zachos said...

Hi Anonymous, From the bottom up you have hosta, impatiens, caladium, begonia, and coleus. Good luck!

Unknown said...

anamaria marciales
Bella combinacion de hostas con caladiuns y coleos, yo hice algo parecido gracias a su idea. felicitaciones

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