students working on the ground

simulation from the air

My friend Marcia Eames-Sheavly has been working with a local artist and a group of students this semester (with the students taking the lead) to create a piece of ephemeral art — titled Turfwork! — designed to be viewed from the air. The canvas is a one-acre field at our turf and landscape research facility and for ‘paint’ the students are using mulch, straw and black plastic to temporarily turn the grass yellow in places.

At right is a simulation one of the students created of what the work will look like to folks flying in and out of the nearby Ithaca airport.

If you’re in the area and want a ground-level view, the students will be around on Mothers Day from noon to 2 p.m. to answer questions. For more information, find details on Department of Horticulture website.

100k daffodils


Every year when their daffodils peak, Nina Bassuk (faculty member in our Department of Horticulture) and Peter Trowbridge (chair of Landscape Architecture) kindly hold a Sunday brunch for their students, co-workers and friends to come see their gardens.

Why time it to the daffodils? Because they’ve planted about 100,000 of them over the years.

But there’s always much more to see at Peter and Nina’s (and interesting folks to meet and greet) than just the daffodils. Here are just a few highlights.

I’ve got my blue bottle tree and decorations. Nina and Peter have a new feature with blue pots.

blue pots

Also new this year is a rebuilt wall. The old wall that was here and blown out in places had a certain charm. But this new one and the new bed in front of it are spectacular.

blue pots

I tried to get Mimi and Mango to pose on these steps to further accentuate the symmetry…

blue pots

But they were too busy having fun to take my ham bribes.

blue pots

Geese playing king of the hill …

… and other doings this last weekend in April.

I’m no goose expert. But I think that what we have going on here is a couple of young geese who fly in to the beaver pond daily and honk in hopes of attracting a female. They play king of the hill on the beaver lodge. But so far, no domestic activities that I can see. The prime territory (and the big loud goose fights) are to be had out in the main body of the wetland to our west.


The marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) are probably at peak. Here are two views below the beaver dam.

Caltha palustris

The reddish blotches are leftovers from ferns from last year.

Caltha palustris

Hank mentioned that — based on the pix I’ve been posting — that my garden must be looking good. Well the past couple weeks are the time of the year when they really look like crap, or more kindly they’re going through that awkward phase where you have to get down on your knees and look very closely to find the beauty. But I am to the point where I’m starting to step back a little, with this image of a variegated albutilon friends sent as a get well greeting for Elly and containers waiting to be filled with tropicals in the coming weeks.


Alchemilla mollis is back. Dew on lady’s mantle is pretty trite as images go, I know. But I’ll keep shooting it until I get it right.


One of those fancy primulas nearly in full flower.


Hyper-Spring (lotsa pix)

scilla siberica

The last week we’ve had temps 10 to 20 degrees above normal — the best April weather I’ve seen for a long time if you’re one of the sun-starved students on campus or a sunbather.

But for gardeners, it’s turned the season into hyper-spring. Everything is flowering all at once. Where we usually drift outside in the cold April rain to watch the slow progress of bulbs and the swelling buds on flowering trees and shurbs, suddenly everything racing past us in one big blur.

Unfortunately, I’ve had very little time to spend outside gardening due to work and home commitments. I have snuck in a few quick walks through the garden with the camera in hand trying in vain to slow things down so I could savor them a little more.

Here’s some of what’s been whizzing by.

scilla i think

tradescantia emerging

trout lily





species tulip

fantail willow

fantail willow

fantail willow

trout lily

Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens

Here’s my post for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens

Front-yard garden in June.
front garden

I’ve got big problems with my front-yard garden. Oh, it’s actually not all that bad. The path leads to the front door. There are lots of interesting plants along the way — some small that cause you to pause and bend over, others that release fragrances as you brush by them. And it’s not as wild as some of my plantings.

The big problem is no one uses the path to the front door except for the occasional deliveryman who’s new on the route. We’ve had packages sit for days between the front doors, unnoticed.

Those doors open directly into the living room. No mud room. No entryway. You come in that door and you are standing next to the sofa. That just doesn’t work in this climate. During winter, you can’t even get to the unshoveled walk because the Christmas lights block the gap in the fence you’d have to walk through to follow the path.

Despite the fact that no one uses the front walk, I maintain the illusion that this is the way into the house. The proverbial Bible salesmen knock out front, giving away their lack of familiarity with the daily patterns of life in Ellis Hollow. But anyone who knows us goes right to the back door to be greated by Jade and Fred.

Clematis and hosta flowers on the way to the front door in August.
clematishosta flowers

Another June shot out front.
front bed