Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plant In Its New Home

Yay! I have a picture of one of the adopted plants. Thank you Bryan for giving this plant a home. There are a couple of lovely pictures over at Picasa which is another good place to post pictures of the plants. Apparently there are still two plants left. I hope they survive the storm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Plant Wall

Early this morning I put the plants out. These are the plants that I grew from cuttings, that suffered through the heat of summer, and finally grew stronger and more adapted to life on the street.

I was strangely nervous this morning. Maybe it was that story I read in the Gothamist recently about a young artist who got arrested for painting on paper she taped to a wall.

I needn't have worried, all was quiet as usual. I wish I had been a little neater in the installation.  Maybe I should have repositioned some of the plants. It hardly mattered for when I returned to photograph the plants in brighter light, only three were left.

I attached notes to the plants asking the people who took them let me know how the plants are doing. One person, Albert, has already responded. Thank you Albert for giving a plant a home.

If you adopted a plant, you can tell me about it by email: You can also upload photos to your Flickr account with the tag diderotsblog. Sign up for a free Flickr account here.

I will post more detailed plant care later on.  In the meantime, you can just put the plant and its planter in a bowl by the window and give it a little water when it is dry.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Remains of the Storm

There is much better documentation of last Thursday's storm elsewhere; more dramatic photostornado footage evoking Cloverfield. I was in Manhattan during the storm, where it was not as severe. I did not plan on posting anything about it until I walked down the street on Friday evening and I almost started to cry. It is one thing to see a picture of a tree felled by a storm in Queens or even Park Slope.  It is another thing to see a familiar tree face the same fate.

These are trees that I pass three or four times a week.

Some have broken limbs. They still look healthy except for their broken branches.

This is one of the blossoming pear trees that has delicate white flowers in the spring. They bloom all over the city.

This is a honey locust like the ones I wrote about in August.

Its broken limbs were piled in the street.

I photographed this tree a few weeks ago because I thought it was a redwood like the ones I saw on the tree hunt. Later I decided it must be a Bald Cyprus. Regardless, it did poorly in the storm.

I worry about the damaged trees.  It is stressful enough for trees in New York. I hope they will survive.

I feel so sad for the trees that were lost.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am surprised at how many sunflowers bloomed in the city this year.

 It seemed as if there were sunflowers on every street.

I missed the full glory of this sunflower which has been blooming here for years, clearly a trendsetter.  It blooms earlier than the others.

 This sunflower is right in the middle of the sidewalk where a tree used to grow.

I almost didn't post these pictures.  I took them a few weeks ago and I felt that sunflower season, along with summer, must surely be over. 

Then today as I was walking through Union Square, I saw sunflowers around the Gandhi statue.  I took it as a good omen.
I love the Gandhi statue with its serene smile.  It looked as if he were smiling at the sunflowers.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tree Hunt

Just a random tree, not part of the hunt.
A couple of weeks ago, New York magazine had an article about how the trees in Central Park are faring after last year's big August storm.  There was a slide show of some notable trees.  I was at a loose end and decided to go on a treasure hunt of sorts, looking for the trees in the slide show.  With all the subsequent cat drama, I did not have the time to post the pictures until now.  I skipped some of the trees; the cherry trees which look best in April or May, the fall foliage in the Ramble.  Other trees bore witness to violence, like the tree near where Robert Chambers committed murder or the tree that killed a baby with a falling branch.  I started on 103rd Street and worked my way south.

Near 103rd is a stand of young redwoods to replace trees devastated by the storm.  They are so small and dainty, it is hard to believe that they can grow to be such giants.

Their needles are like feathers.  I did not get a lot of pictures because one of the park's workers was setting up sprinklers and I didn't want to get in the way.  It was a steaming hot day, but in the park it was not oppressive.  The sprinklers cause the plant scents to rise into the air.  It was deeply relaxing.

The East Meadow was closed, so I missed the American Elm that New York magazine dubbed "The Greatest" and the small tree that sailed around the city as part of a Robert Smithson art piece.
Near the reservoir is a huge London Plane tree.

It is like three ordinary trees put together.

The bark has some cool patterns.

The English Elm near the Engineers' Gate is possibly one of the oldest trees in the park.

Dutch Elm disease devastated the elm population around the world in the seventies and the eighties. It is pretty impressive how many elms remain in the park.  I had never realized how lucky we were to have so many of these beautiful trees.

This tree felt very welcoming, like an old grandmother.

I swung around the reservoir to the Ross Pinetum. Arthur Ross was a philanthropist and supporter of the park.  In the seventies, he started planting a grove of pine trees.

I love pine trees.  Perhaps it is their smell, the way the fallen needles lie in a carpet that softens sounds. I find them calming.

The pinetum has a playground.  The sounds of the children did not disturb, neither did the squeaking of the swing chain.

At this point, I should have gone to see the tallest tree, but I forgot. By the time I remembered, I was too far south.

This Chinese elm is the descendant of a tree that was particularly resistant to Dutch Elm disease during the pandemic.  Arthur Ross funded a study and the tree was propagated to help replace those that were lost.  Until I started looking for the trees, I had no idea who Arthur Ross was. I think working with trees is a noble philanthropy.

The lake had a large algae bloom.  I would not have wanted to go boating.

I did not take pictures of the Literary Walk, which is off in the distance here. I remember one evening in May, a long time ago, when I saw the walk as the sun was turning gold. It looked like  vintage Disney animation cel from the forties.  Recently, any time I have been there the walk is crowded with tourists in bright clothes, eating.  I do not begrudge them but I do not want to photograph them. So I took a picture of this nearby crusty old elm tree instead.

It had some good light too, even if it wasn't in technicolor.

I had a little trouble finding my last tree, the Chinese toon.  It is the only one of its kind in the park.  At first I mistook a honey locust for it, but then I looked a little farther and saw its feathery leaves.

Apparently the Chinese eat them. The leaves have an oniony flavor.

That is where I ended the hunt, at 7th Avenue and 59th Street, tired but extremely relaxed.