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

Friday, October 24, 2014


The tourists flock to New Hampshire, where I now live, to admire fall color.
They bump along this gravel road.
Every pond reflects a story.
Sometimes the reflection is more interesting than the original.
But back in the city, the colors aren't shabby either,
and the Boat Pond in Central Park reflects its own glory.
The Great Lawn attracts lovers in every season.
Climb to the top of Belvedere Castle in Central Park to admire the views.
or admire the Bow Bridge. Every bit as good as New Hampshire.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The front entrance to my new apartment building in Exeter NH was flanked by an arbor with 10 huge climbing hydrangea vines, about 20 years old. Gorgeous in full bloom, a home for nesting birds all year, it was welcoming even in winter when the strong trunks had a presence.
Then management in its wisdom decided to redo the entrance to improve drainage, and some landscape architect decided the vines must go.
What's a devastated artist to do except make a collage? Fortunately I had taken many photos of the arbor in both winter and spring, even pressed a few of the leaves and cut some seed heads when I knew it would disappear forever.
 I printed out my best images on  thin, matte, photo paper; then cut out elements from about 20 images and laid some out on a board the way I thought they should go. Notice stone wall on the bottom right.
Then I changed things; one big image that was on the left is now on the right. I also reversed the stone wall...
and glued small bits of real shale scavenged from the construction site to the image of the wall. Parts of the arbor appear in likely places, as do a few pressed leaves.
The wall is almost complete and lo, a flock of birds have returned, singing near the top of the arbor, on bits of dried hydrangea umbels. (click on image to enlarge)
Am I finished? Knowing when to stop is always an art in itself. Maybe I am, or....

Sunday, July 27, 2014


The High Line in Chelsea is a victim of it's own success. What once was a quiet oasis above the traffic where Ellen Z. and Ellen S. P. could hear birds singing in the birches, is now a hub of frenzied construction. Buildings on both sides of the garden walkway are springing up, only a few feet on each side of the plantings. (above)
But on a rooftop of a co-op on W. 26th,  two women are making the most of their rooftop space.
They've planted a few veggies and herbs, some ornamentals and vines to soften the industrial look of the walls.
 On the 13th floor, residents can go to relax and view OPG (that's text talk for Other People's Gardens).
What used to be strictly 'tar beach' now has a mix of greenery scattered throughout.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


The first day of summer finds me, Ben and Jen in my new all time favorite garden, Bedrock, in Lee NH. Turns out I'm not so jaded from 20 years of touring gardens with the Garden Writers Association that I can't be moved by this idiosyncratic wonderland. Mowed spaces and meadow intermingle.
The creation of the wife and husband team Jill Nooney and Bob Unger,  Bedrock Gardens is on their home ground and open to the lucky public 5 weekends a year and by appointment to groups.
Jill's garden art in combination with perfect plant selection makes the garden a joy to stroll.
I restrain myself from peeling the paperbark maple to use in a collage, but just barely.
In the White Garden allium wait to pop, look like 'White Giant' to me. This isn't a botanic garden but a pleasure garden, so no signs.
The white fringed Papaver are at peak on this cool day.
 Nooney's sculpture 'Julia' looks exasperated; perhaps she's thinking of all the work to keep up this garden. Those cooking spoons will never do it.
Munger, a retired physician, designs walkways, water features and other satisfying architectural elements.
 In the All-You-Need-is-Balls garden more giant allium are on the verge of popping.
In the shed and barn, rusty metal elements await transformation.
Just when you think 'I could never do that'...
you spy the home patio with myriad containers featuring circles and foliage plants. Yes you can 'do that' even in a small space.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


of the year, maybe the decade, had three elements; chive flowers just beginning to open, blue star amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) in that ethereal color so hard to find in a garden, and chartreuse new foliage of spirea. The trio came from daughter Jen's garden in Canterbury NH, and welcomed us to the guest room on our Memorial Day sleep-over. All are stuffed casually in a bud vase from the swap shed at the town dump.
The amsonia grows casually in Jen's garden, befitting a native wildflower.  I've never grown it, but now I have to. On sale from many sites on line.

Monday, May 19, 2014


 Taking Amtrak from my new home in Exeter NH to NYC allows me to read the intriguing mystery, "City of Veils" and play dozens of games of Words With Friends.When I emerge from Penn Station I'm greeted by a huge dumpster filled with evergreen shrubs and ivy. Is this a sinister omen?
No, the vertical garden at the Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, that I first photographed in 2010...

now has more variegated plants and some with colored foliage.
The view from my host's window is of an iconic NYC roofgarden: next to a landmarked historic building, a wooden watertower, a few shrubs, a few pots, a view of the Hudson River, and voila, a garden.

All is well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


By the edge of the woods, the spring ephemerals are coming into bloom. Last Wednesday, a solitary Trout Lily was closed in the rain. Three days later I spied masses in full bloom.
Fiddleheads pop up everywhere.
And Marsh Marigolds burst open in the wetlands.
A few shy Wood Anemones enchant me.
But oh, how I miss the bright lights of New York.

Above, the start of my latest collage using pieces of photos I took at night in the City and found papers. Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Rhubarb in my new raised bed in New Hampshire today on April 16th; it also snowed in the NYC overnight I hear tell, a record snow fall in both places for the date. 
The rhubarb crop, one of my faves, was planted by a previous gardener who had been using this plot. I've had legal opinions from a retired judge in Mass, a former lawyer in NH, and a highly opinionated gardener in NYC, Other Ellen by name, who are unanimous. 
 None of the three recused herself, despite two being dear friends and one being a dear daughter. This year's harvest belongs to me, ESP. As are the flowers of the evening primrose, emerging on the right.
As are this year's cuttings of chives. Greedy, greedy me

Friday, April 11, 2014


above, view of the Exeter River from a trail behind my apartment

 NEWS FLASH: Ellen Spector Platt, now living in an apartment complex in Exeter NH,  with favorite guy Ben Platt.  Still gardening in a limited space. Now instead of 85 containers on an 18th story roof garden in NYC, I've been allotted a barely raised 3' X 6' bed, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH SPACE for one who once farmed three acres of flowers and herbs.
I'll have to find ways to expand. I'll try in order: asking for more space, wheedling, begging, maybe not bribing, but certainly surreptitious planting if I have to.
In the meanwhile, the woods are full of emerging sights very un-NYC-like.
 The pussywillow stems that I cut from my rooftop garden in the city and schlepped here well wrapped are happily rooting in water in NH  awaiting their new homes. Down by the Exeter river in the lead picture? It's only about 2 blocks down the trail from my home.... oops, they don't measure distance in blocks here.

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