“Nice place to live, but I wouldn’t want to visit”, I muttered to myself last week as I wove around Manhattan. My midtown hotel was practically empty and the traffic light for mid-December—a terrible season for retailers. In the hotel bar guests stared glumly at each other, mostly Brits and Europeans. The waitress said, “A year ago this place was packed—it’s unbelievable”.
I encountered in conversations with friends two unusual gardening-related topics in New York City: the “roof garden” craze continues to grow non-stop; and the cut-flower market remains quite strong, despite the economy. These two trends seem a bit unusual to me. They’re nationwide—not only in New York City—especially the roof gardens.
First, I love roof gardens. However, why do people applaud so strenuously an idea to grow a garden, not in a front or back yard, but on a roof—that is, the topside of the ceiling? It seems like a Will Rogers story. I have spent a long career persuading folks to plant a few steps from their backdoor. Now it seems no effort is needed to convince society to put a garden forty feet straight up, and where few people will see it, much less know it’s there.
Another big deal these days is tropical cut flowers. Tropical cut flowers? Indeed, they travel by jet, so that arrangers can have them in a “just so” state of freshness. Seems excessive or Kubla Khan-like to me. Let’s see, we have to cut our carbon emissions, wear a sweater indoors, buy a hybrid car, eat only seasonal food. . . So, what’s wrong with drying flowers from the late summer garden? They are dried by the air in the atmosphere; I can’t think of a method more friendly to the environment.
At Burpee we offer Sunflowers, Celosia, Globe Amaranth, Baby’s Breath, Bells of Ireland, Strawflower, Statice, Chinese Lanterns—these are as easy as, well, apple pie. At Heronswood we offer Gypsophila paniculata, the capsules of our Poppies, the flowers of our Ostrich Fern, rose hips and the lovely Carex. All dry easily and keep their color. Plus, they’re truly gorgeous. Might save a bit of dough. Keep the air free of turbine fumes streaming off the jets from Colombia and Thailand filled with their precious cargoes of. . . . tropical flowers. . . . ?