Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Urban Gardening

The gardening season is upon us.

Time to revamp the tree pits. They are necessarily filled with annuals - tweaked during the various seasons. The tulips have been removed, the pansies struggle on - the ones that didn't get aphids. Blue and white salvias have been added - and, lo and behold, a sunflower seems to have appeared. Volunteers welcomed.

This is the tansy that ate Cleveland. I fear it is rather a horrid plant. Do check the link. I bought a little one at a green market last summer because I had heard the name but never grown one. It survived over the winter on the roof - I moved it to a friend's terrace where it took over a rather large planter. I decided to put it out on the street. It grows about three inches a day...

Gosh, a real iris on the terrace I'm looking after.

The lavender is blooming on the common roof terrace. I'm not thrilled with potato vines but another of the garden committee members is. That's the trouble with a committee - you have to be democratic and humor other people.

First roof gleanings - yesterday evening.

Viola flowers - much larger than life.

This picture is not in the city. Teaching the little ones to make flower arrangements!

And now at Union Square  -peonies!

This is the most glorious gardening time of year.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shopping in London

To be honest, I'm not a very good shopper. I like looking at things rather than buying them.

When I go to London, I always visit Liberty's to look at all the things I can't afford and admire the architecture.  I worked in their bookshop in the summer of 1972!

Such a splendid staircase

and such wonderful flowers!

I did buy four books at the Persephone bookshop which is exactly where I would like to work now - if I lived in London. Actually, I want to buy all the books - first for the content  and second for their looks. I recommend The Village by Margarita Laski  - a very clear-eyed look at a small village post World War Two.

This is a bookshop in Lewes which was fortunately closed - thus saving me the trouble of carting assorted  tempting retro books across the Atlantic.

This is the gift shop at Charleston farmhouse where one can stock up on Bloomsbury related reading matter  -  of which there is a great deal. I bought a very small coaster as a present for a friend.

This alarming shop in Berwick Street, Soho, was barred to prevent the clothes escaping to threaten us with the 1960's and the horrid odor of patchouli. 

Ah, Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street. Yes, I went in and had a croissant and a lovely hot chocolate.

How I admire the Queen for her resolve and endurance. Here she is on a biscuit tin. Lots of Queen's 90th birthday memorabilia.

Claudia and I made the awful mistake of going to Harrods where I hadn't been in many many years. (I worked in their bookshop in the summer of 1970). The lovely tiles were still there in the food halls. The rest of the shop was much altered. Bought some Charbonel & Walker chocolates as a present for a friend from a very sweet girl who gave us free samples of other choices. 
Total haul of London shopping: children's clothing and four books.... 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Men at Work and Weather Watching

I'm afraid I have become rather neglectful of this blog since I'm really having more fun with Instagram -where I'm Biffwix (my childhood nickname).
Anyway, I'm still taking photos while wandering round the city.

Here a young man is being instructed in the tricky art of poster hanging. An elegant process - best done very swiftly like watercolor painting. Looks easy but it isn't!

Delivering scaffolding near the car wash seen below.

Quintessentially New York colors - harsh and bright.

Gosh, what a lot of building round here. This near the new 7 line subway stop at Hudson Yards taken on a very brisk, cold day.

Here the police chatting and drinking coffee on Penn Station. There are always lots of policemen there and soldiers (of both sexes) and also State Troopers with their strange hats. I asked my husband if there are women State Troopers and he said there were though I have never seen one.

Ah! Spring in the city. Here blossoms on our roof...

storm clouds at Jamaica Station

and looking west from our apartment.

Pigeons in the almost budding trees in Penn South...

And, yesterday, real leaves unfolding on the climbing hydrangea at the mysterious house on 21st Street that I dream of living in one day.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Days getting longer

spring flowers ranunculous  and hyacinth

overblown parrot tulips

the rabbit  -ever the symbol of spring

Peter and Ian-Down- the Hall made rabbit cookies and...

very impressive homemade Peeps!

Pussy willow up at Union Square

where we went to buy some color for the tree pits....

I won $2 on a scratch off....and discovered a little Peter Rabbit jug from when the children were small....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Signs of Spring!

The windowsill with the best light and lovely miniature daffodils.

Bright clear sunshine on the closed up astrology shop. Did they forsee this?

The model boat pond in Central Park with a snack bar where Frances and I had lunch yesterday  - and were able to eat outside for the first time this year.

A refurbished gazebo by the lake.

It's St Patrick's Day very soon - the artist Berch decorates the windows of lots of local diners. Here The Malibu Diner - a great favorite of my sister in law.

Easter is early this year. Not sure if Berch's bunny is grumpy or sleepy.

This one is bit more lively. (At the Rail Line Diner) 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vivian Swift: Author, Blogger and All Around Cool Person

Books, gardens, art, blogs, London, Morocco, witty people, friends...
How everything is wonderfully combined inVivian Swift's new book coming out on March 1st. 
Mine arrived in the mail last week because I'm mentioned in the acknowledgements (so is Buster!).
Lucky me! 

Kirkus review thinks the book is wonderful - as I do. I've known about the book for a while as Vivian has been working on it for ages. She is so very funny - and so very knowledgeable. So the book is a compendium of delights.

The two gardens mentioned in the book that I know very well and have blogged about are The Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh with its splendid blue walls and the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.

How I miss living in Morocco.  That aside

Vivian is obsessed with the same door I was years ago

Look how they have tweaked the colors.

Fish in the pond there.

Then the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.

How different the light is!

Vivian is very funny about the updated lunch room - and how it has changed. I exactly agree. It was wonderful years ago - but then so many things were. I'm getting ancient.

What an enviable gig - traveling and looking at gardens and writing about them too!  Not to mention the hard work of painting them then editing text and so forth.

I think this book would be a lovely present for anyone who likes any of the things mentioned in my first sentence.

Maybe spring will eventually get to New York - meanwhile I'm reading!