Thursday, July 31, 2014


A couple of weeks ago my good friend, Joseph Pari, asked if he could stage a photo shoot in my garden. Joe and his business partner Eric Auger, run the performance art group,TEN31 Productions ( TEN31 travels the world presenting their living statues at events attended by pop stars, foreign dignitaries and even the Obama's.

For the early morning shoot in my garden Joe brought some of his botanical creations. The day was not too hot and the sky was overcast, perfect for taking pictures. The photographer, Josh Edenbaum (, will present an exhibit of the photos at a local art gallery this fall and I'm looking forward to seeing the final results. Of course I couldn't resist getting into the act. Although I'm sure the picture below will be conspicuously absent from the gallery walls.

Nevertheless, it was thrilling to see Joe's fantastic creations in my garden and the shoot was a lot of fun.

Sadly, my property seemed rather empty and somewhat less magical after the performers wiped off their make up, stripped off their costumes and piled back into their van. July has, however, been a good month for the garden. The temperature has been unexpectedly benign and despite a spike in my snail population most plants are flourishing especially my oriental and orienpet lilies.

Oriental lilies and their cousins the Orienpets ( a sturdy cross between oriental and trumpet lilies) are exquisitely fragrant. Day and night their blossoms fill the air with a heady, tropical perfume that is undoubtedly one of  summer's delights. Perhaps more importantly, they are resistant to the pesky, red lily beetle, whose grubs have ruined many of my more delicate asiatic lilies. All lilies (with the exception of day lilies), grow from bulbs that are best planted in the fall, though it is possible to buy potted lilies in bloom at most garden centers. Lilies prosper in full sun but will tolerate light shade. As with most plants I think they look best in groups of five or more. I always remove the spent flowers to prevent the bulbs from setting seed. It's important, however, to leave a good deal of stem and foliage to energize the bulbs for the following year.

The small blue flowers tumbling into the walkway in the photo above belong to Ruellia Caroliniensis. I stumbled across a few pots of it at a garden center some years ago under the name wild petunia. It isn't a petunia at all, but it is rather invasive, setting seeds that sprout all over the place. I never intended to use it as an edging plant. But since it performs remarkably well in that capacity, I've kept the seedlings that germinated against the cobblestones that line my gravel pathway

During Josh Edenbaum's photo shoot, he took some pictures while standing on a ladder. I liked the effect so thought I'd try it myself and am pleased with the result. From this height I can't see the snails or the browned foliage or the flowers marred by Japanese beetles.

It seems that distance does make the heart grow fonder.