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

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Introducing Lucy Platt Guest Blogger.
 I went to the  American Museum of Natural History. I saw the plant exhibit it showed how you can grow  plants in a apartment. there were all sorts of plants.chives, cabbage and all sorts of other plants they had growing there.
 In the other plant and food exhibit there was a "reguler" water melon and a sqare water melon the sqare is grown by puting it in a box when it as just a small fruit but you must keep it on the vine until you are ready to eat it.
 Potatoes come in alot of shapes, colors,and sizes there are pink, purple, red, yellow, and alot more.
 Back in the olden days before they had any supermarkets they would use just an out door flat spot and they would set up what we call a farmers market all the people would go around and get all that they needed for there families.

Hi there! Guest Blogger Annabelle Platt here today! I went to the American Museum of Natural History. There is currently an exhibit there called the  "Global Kitchen." It's about how people grow and eat food around the world, how agriculture has changed, and about the rising problem of too many people and not enough food. 
 But over-producing is also a problem. For example, fishermen have been taking the fish from the seas. Obviously, they want the big strong fish, not the puny one that'll feed maybe half a person, right? But they have taken so many of the big fish that most of the ones left are little and under-developed. It's a big problem. 
Talking about how agriculture has changed...well, now scientists can cross-breed DNA. Maybe they like how this plant grows quickly. Maybe they also like how this plant that grows really slowly is really crunchy and sweet. They can take characteristics like that from plants and breed them together, so they have two things they like in one plant. You know how berries always look smaller in the wild? That's because farmers are going to plant the biggest seeds from the previous year, so they get bigger berrries. Melons? The original melon was very small and hard and bitter. Overtime they have become big balls of water and sugar (plant sugar, not artificial sugar.) Gardeners can even make watermelons square! 
 Waste. Geez, you don't even want to know how much an average person throws out in a year. I'm going to tell you anyway. The average person throws away/discards 414 pounds of food per year. For a family of four? That's 1,656 pounds of food. That's a LOT. So next time you're looking at the menu and thinking I'm gonna get the double cheeseburger with extra fries, maybe the thought that crosses your mind next could be Am I really going to eat all of this, or am I just going to throw it away? 
For further information about the American Museum of Natural History in NYC visit ... The exhibit is on until August 11, 2013

Thursday, November 15, 2012


That's, Before Sandy. On the Sunday that the trains and buses shut down all over New York City I was at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden teaching my collage workshop. The winds had started but the rains were still holding off; my car service was scheduled to pick me up in 30 minutes to whisk me back to Manhattan. I had time to grab a few shots in the perennial border before I escaped, unfortunately not enough time to search for variety names. My apologies.
We're so eager for our spring gardens that we sometimes neglect to order for late fall, so I was curious to see what colors the BBG could provide on October 28. Purples predominated, both in these asters and in the monkshood seen below and in some foliage. I remembered that monkshood  (Aconitum) was always the last flower to bloom on my Meadow Lark Flower & Herb Farm, zone 5 in NE Pennsylvania. I had planted a row for drying; they keep their form and color spectacularly, but usually couldn't bear to pick those last blooms of the season.
Just when I think all is purple in the BBG border, there is a surprise with the bright white fall Anemone. It looks like a favorite I used to have, Anemone x hybrida  'Honorine Jobert'. It was a delightful reminder that I must order it this winter for my roof garden.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


My American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) looks great both spring and fall, and though this species is nowhere near as rampant as the Chinese wisteria, it still needs some pruning. Despite blooming on new wood, NOW is when I want to prune, so now I shall because I want to make a small wreath for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. I'll have plenty of vine left to support bloom in spring.
So I prune eight 3-4' long pieces after the leaves have dropped (or strip off leaves), and just start wrapping, using no wire or clips of any kind. Form the first strand in a rough circle or oval shape and twist the ends around the circle to hold it. Continue with all your other pieces of vine. My finished wreath is 10" in diameter, perfect for putting on a platter. Note the small seed pod, bottom left which I've left in place.
I just pile up some fresh fruit for decoration and to be eaten but the vine wreath base will last for years. If you don't have wisteria use whatever woody vine you need/want to prune, like kiwi, honeysuckle, even clematis.
If you form the wreath before a heavy freeze sets in, the vine will be perfectly pliable, but even if you've waited until winter, you can always soften the wood by soaking overnight in a bathtub of warm water.
 My wisteria spring 2012, and below in fall before dropping leaves.

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