If you are ever reading about pruning you will often come across lists of plants that divide them into two catagories, those that flower on old wood and those that flower on this years growth.
I have been loving these Quince branches (Cheanomales) in my office for the last 10 days. Having them here in front of me leads to this contant study and reflection. Just a bit ago, I was looking at the blooms and how they are all located nearest the trunk or the main stem and the tips of the branches are bare of blossoms.
It is just a very quick glimse at or an example of a plant that "Blooms on old wood." In fact, it is possible here, that it not only blooms on old wood, but wood that is older than two or three seasons.
Further, I suppose that to recognize this you would have to understand that plants grow outward from the buds located at the tips of the branches and not outward from the stems.
And, of course, here, when I say "plants," I mean "woody shrubs," because not all plants grow this way - like grasses.
So here we find our complication. Grass clippings being the primary culprit as I think, for the most part, we would assume any lawn that is having the clippings collected is a lawn being treated at least with fertilizer.
At the same time, I don't use "organic" compost. Compost, amazingly, I find to be almost an object of religious contemplation. One needs to position their beliefs in a field of many possibilities. To me, any pesticide or herbicide residues would be broken down by the heat and biological intensity in the composting process. Therefore, my biggest concerns are what is happening in the compost and what its bacterial or fungal composition is.
"Why is that most important?"
What I'm calling the "Buffalo Winter Floral Project" was inspired the week before Christmas 2015 where I put together 8 arrangements and randomly passed them about in the neighborhood to allies and associates I came across in my travels. First off, it was enjoyable. Secondly, the winter is a time for practice and collaboration. Floral offers the opportunity to demonstrate landscape and design ideas on a microscopic scale - as a starting point. But, engaging in any open process is always going to lead one to advance their skills and thinking.
My plan is to invest one 1/2 day of work per week through the winter - approximately 10 weeks - to put materials together and again share them in the neighborhood as gifts. Minimally, we will be able to bring some green to the neighborhood through the winter. What I am able to learn in the process is to be seen. I imagine weekly projects to be based on foraging and complemented with sourced florals - but, keeping expenses minimal will certainly be part of the thinking.
Week 2 began this past Friday (January 8th, 2016).
A Bed of Greens
A problem I always need to work out is "Land" or "Space." If one is a painter, photographer, sculptor, (sorry to oversimplify) one acquires their materials and goes to work. As a "landscapist" or "gardener" or "architect", you always have to negotiate the land you can do your work on.
Here is the Elmwood and Bidwell Triangle garden. Buffalo, NY. 14222
The garden is somewhat bleak in the winter. Because it sits on an Olmstead designed parkway, the design criteria was simple: create garden simple enough to be maintained by neighborhood volunteers and do not disturb the open sightlines of the parkway (and, build it all for less than $300).
Well. This didn't allow for a collection of specimen conifers in the wintertime.
Yesterday I used a couple trees worth of greens picked up from the curb a few houses down. I took my pruners and went up along the trunk cutting all the limbs off. I laid the branches to overlap each other and lock together hoping they will hold each other in place in the strongest of winds...although, they'll mostlikely freeze in place within a couple days.
It certainly has a clean visual appeal. Bulbs will be coming up in about 10 weeks.
The last few days I've noticed everyone's Christmas Trees lined up in tree lawns waiting for the city to pick them up an take'm in to the big compost pile. I still have my tree up and probably will for two more weeks. To me, the Christmas Tree is more of a winter plant or ornament in the house. I nudge it together with another indoor plant and a bundle of sticks bound in a corner. My cat hides under it. I've actually moved it three times this week to see where I like it best.
I think we are only using the "Christmas Tree" for about 1/3 of its potential usefulness. And so, seeing all these gorgeous trees laying about has kind of sprung me into action to find ways to use them.
This week, and, well, until the trees run out, I'm going to spend a couple hours each day trying to reappropriate these trees to generate some positive things around the neighborhood.
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture