Garden Photographer Vacation

– Posted in: Garden Adventures, Garden Photography

Well, I have returned to active duty here at GGW after a rare and most pleasant summer vacation.  I went to New York City with only my point and shoot camera, not expecting any gardens – but I guess my eye can’t help but find flower subjects.

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These daisies sprouted up overnight in the neighborhood of Madison Square Park where we stayed.  Trucked in to provide mobile wi-fi connections and powered by solar panels built into the back of the petals, they were an instant hit and provided a flower motif on a scale that fit in nicely with New York.

Actually, in planning my trip I did want to see garden exhibits that two of my renowned gardenwriter friends had lined up at local Botanic Gardens.  Rosalind Creasy, who coined the term edible landscaping, and whose classic book is about to be re-issued created an heirloom vegetable garden at New York Botanical Gardens.  She warned me that the cool June weather had kept it from growing in and I ended up not visiting.  But for any of you who can visit now until September 13 it should be worth a special trip.

I did get to the Wicked Plants exhibit Brooklyn Botanic Garden put together by Amy Stewart (our friend at GardenRant) to tie into her very cool, or should we say, wicked new book.  It was a swell exhibit, using existing displays in the garden such as this Monocot border and pulling out details from the book that even children can engage with.

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In the Shakespeare Garden at BBG we find that yew, a legendarily wicked plant used for poison arrows, also is the wood to make the magic wand of the evil Voldemort of Hatty Potter fame.  Well done Amy; and the exhibit continues until September 6.

Other than my non professional visits to these gardens I was fully prepared to take pictures of tourists sites but kept seeing daisies everywhere.

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Painted on a schoolyard wall

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Behind iron gates

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Even graffitti on the streets.  This might lead to some sort of philosophical insight to the need to have flowers in our daily lives – but I am just a reporter today and won’t pretend to draw meaning out of street shooting.

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The real capper to my daisy awareness was this storefront disply at Broadway and 26th.  I was at once horrified and charmed by these little plastic daisies bobbing on their stems.  What sort of philosphical message comes from these quite disposable plastic trinkets evoking nature in the midst of an urban commercial district ?

Just maybe we do need to haveflowers in our daily lives.  But I must say I am glad to be home to find my own garden with real flowers.  All needing attention.

Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is the owner of PhotoBotanic, a garden picture resource for photographs, workshops, and garden photography stories. A landscape photographer and award winning photojournalist with more than 20 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California.

Saxon Holt

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Sunita August 13, 2009, 5:13 am

Its amazing how we gardeners find plant-related things in the most unlikely places.
Or do they find us?

Sunita – Great observation and I have come to believe these things do find us and we only need to be open to their presence. – Saxon

Helen at Toronto Gardens August 13, 2009, 10:32 am

Just driving along Danforth Avenue this morning — a long, overlit, shopworn commercial thoroughfare that spans Toronto — I appreciated how the local businesses had pooled together to turn all the lamposts and concrete planters (where the trees had died from lack of everything) into lush container gardens. Add flowers and water, and suddenly an ugly urban street seems more welcoming and humane.

Hey Helen – Isn’t it grand that the least little gardening can bring joy far outweighing the original gesture ? First, we must make that gesture, and thank people for doing so. I hope you patronize those businesses… Saxon

Pam/Digging August 13, 2009, 2:59 pm

I enjoyed your urban garden pics, Saxon. It is fun to find these kinds of themes when we travel.

Or as Sunita said in her comment – maybe they find us …Saxon

Mr. McGregor's Daughter August 13, 2009, 5:02 pm

I find the urban daisies quite amusing. In spite of yourself, you have found deeper meanings in these things. I must add that the first flower a child draws is a daisy.

No doubt that is why we see the daisy graffitti. How is it really, that flowers speak to strongly to us as symbols and icons? Big question, but I am glad it is so. – Saxon

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) August 14, 2009, 5:44 pm

I’m always disappointed when I learn only too late of gardeners, especially garden bloggers, visiting Brooklyn and our gardens. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit.

I got to see Amy in action giving a tour around the Lily Pool Terrace and greenhouses at Brooklyn Botanic garden. It was nice to see her again, and we all got to share in some awesome cake.

My favorite wicked plant at BBG is Poison Sumac, Toxicodendron vernix. It’s the only place I’ve seen it. They have it as a massive specimen shrub growing on its own island.

Thanks for checking in flatbush. Since my daughter just moved to Brooklyn it made it easier to find the time to do what I love – visit gardens
It is interesting that botanic gardens have poisonous plants in their collections, sometimes inadvertently. I once needed a photo of poison oak in a garden setting for a book I was contributing to and found the plant growing in Quarry Hill Botanic garden near me. They laughed it off, that of all the rare plants in the collection I published the weed. – Saxon

m. heart August 16, 2009, 9:06 pm

When I visit NYC I find myself spending a lot of my time in the community gardens — funky, full of life, and amazing. Two of the most inspiring are the Brooklyn Community Gardens at Floyd Bennett Field (http://secretnotebookswildpages.blogspot.com/2008/04/early-spring-at-community-gardens.html) and the East Village gardens at Avenue B and 6th St (http://www.6bgarden.org). Not to be missed!

Community gardens are indeed lively and overlooked by many gardeners. I would urge everyone to see the prize winning documentary “The Garden” http://www.blackvalleyfilms.com/ about the tragic demise of a big LA Community garden that served those that do not have their own ground. – Saxon