12 June 2007

helianthus on the move

Our friend Alan saw a picture of Helianthus "Lemon Queen" on our computer a few weeks back and asked whether he might have a bit of it for his rooftop garden. I dug some from one of our rapidly proliferating clumps and potted it up for him. Took the time to cut back the leaves to minimize stress on the plant, which B thinks is needless mutilation, but I think does the plant good by minimizing stress on it (I also nip back annuals when I plant them out, which causes B great agony). Alan potted it up, has been keeping a close eye on it, and called last Thursday to say that it's sending out lots of new leaves and seems to be settling in very well and would I like to come and see it?

I dropped my stuff at home after work, grabbed my camera, and headed for Alan's, where I took some pictures of the Helianthus and other plants he's growing on the roof of his apartment building. It's a remarkable garden; and all the more so for the fact that Alan has lugged pots, soil, and plants up six flights of stairs to create it.

Alan loves roses and has lots that bloom in May and June, including this rambler, which is called "America." In addition, he has a number of pots of "Zephirine Drouhin," a light pink Bourbon rose that has an intense fragrance during the day. Unfortunately, I never get a good whiff of it as most of my visits to Alan's garden occur in the evenings.

Near the "America" rose above are three pots of this gorgeous lavender. I don't know the name of the particular variety, but the color is every bit as intense as the picture indicates.

Here's the Helianthus, which looks pretty darn happy in its new home on the sunny roof. I can't wait to see how it does. If Alan pays as much attention to it as he does to all of his other plants, it will do very well indeed. Hope it blooms for him this summer.

Alan's friend Z is an aficionado of Alan's efforts on the roof. In the lower right you can see a few of the eight pots of "Yours Truly" geraniums that Alan trekked in from Yonkers. The rose in the foreground is "Jeanne Lajoie," a miniature double pink rose. Very pretty.

Ah! Eryngium "Sapphire Blue." Alan bought his last year at the same time I bought mine. Mine has had a slow start, though, because I planted it at the back of the perennial border, and it was partially shaded for most of the summer. Alan's is in full sun, of course, and is already beginning to bloom. I'm blown away by how strange and wonderful the blue bracts look.

Alan also grows vegetables and herbs. The year before last he grew wheat and corn. Yes, that's right: wheat and corn. Quite a sight on a roof in Greenwich Village. This year he's growing tomatoes. Here's a flower on one of his "Brandywine" plants. We plant tomatoes, too, and B loves all the heirloom varieties like "Brandywine," "Green Zebra," and so forth, but in zone 4 these old varieties don't begin to ripen until late August or September, right around the time the first frost occurs! I exaggerate a little, but . . . only a little.

Finally, a shy Alan hanging out under the grape arbor. Amazing garden, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Wheat and corn on a rooftop in Greenwich Village? Sweet! (I would be similarly enthused about wheat and corn grown on a rooftop anywhere, I admit.) :)

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