I've been wandering the streets again. All the while trying to maintain that "what you lookin' at?" glare/vacant stare encouraged for all social discourse and navigation on the mean streets of NYC.
I'm on the prowl for gardens.
While my daughter heads to Martha's in Manhattan everyday (she's doing the Everday Food Blog among other things), I am hanging out at her place for the next few days; a petite but charming fraction of a brownstone on the "Slope" near Prospect Park, in Brooklyn where all the cool kids live.
I've found that gardening is alive and well in NYC. Considering the logistics and space limitations, I'm in awe of the horticultural efforts I see.
In this part of Brooklyn along the rows of sturdy brownstones are stately courtyards with impressive urns filled with conifers, elephant ears or coleus. There are windowboxes trailing lovely flowers. Mums and pumpkins anticipate and celebrate autumn on the iconic stoops. All working within the rowhouse framework, all perfectly groomed and lovely.
And then I find it. A garden that makes me drop the scowl and just smile. And yet, it may not be to everyone's taste.
Notable and noble for the sheer quantity of vegetation as well as the design and arrangement, this garden knits gnarled vines with stairstepped pots and "found" wood to create a seamless vista across the lower facade. The container plants flow down the steps into one another. The effect is like a densely planted hillside or perhaps a fisherman's cottage in Maine.
To the side of the steps an ordinary flower bed is transformed with an unusual structure. I love this teetering thing that resembles an osprey nest or an eagle aerie. The higgledy-piggledy platform holds up a few potted plants and sticks that seem to float over the plants below.
But the best part is that small laminated sign peeking out from the honeysuckle...
"If you are troubled by this garden, please leave a note."
"If you must wield scissors"
"Consider your cuticles or other body parts"