Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Think of this as a book review with some personal tid bits in between.  Half me life was spent in the north-east USA. Mostly MA and NY, but familiar with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

I never cared for lobsters or fish. However the fisherman platter, mussels, 
clams, clam chowder, clam bakes and crab cakes were always welcome and remembered.  But let the record show that New Orleans and Alexandria, VA, are also excellent in this department. Since this blog is not about gastronomy lets move back to the studio.

For a guy from the dull, bright, hot tropical, Puercorico, it was was a little difficult to adjust to the weather in New England, in the beginning. One thing is to dress adequately, another to adjust mentally to those long and dark autumn/winter days, not to get into snow issues. Weather, food, almost forgot the BEER.  These tree elements made the whole experience remarkable.

At any rate, I just received one of the best books about gardening in my collection so far.  It is rare for the quality of the writing, the focus from  real gardeners. The well thought photography, beyond the hollow beauty of too many gardening books.

Rebecca Sawyer - Fay
Photography by Lynn Karlin

Enjoy this short excerpt about  impressive  Birch trees on pages 36/37.

Artists and garden designers love the trees, too.  Generations of landscape painters and printmakers have found inspiration in the stands of birch that encircle lakes and fringe rivers.  In the winter garden,  snow white paper birches add texture and brightness to gray days.  They're also useful in linking a house with the surrounding woods. 

Climate change, pollution, and the dreaded bronze birch borer made birch-tree cultivation more challenging than it used to be.  Although no environmentally friendly remedy for a borer infestation yet exists, preventing steps can help reduce the risk of one.  When purchasing trees, beware of bulges on the bark, a sign that borer larvae have been feeding underneath.
Remember, too, that stressed trees are more susceptible to infestation than healthy ones because thirst causes stress, trees should be watered regularly during times of drought.  Root compaction is something else to monitor.  When siting a new house or an outbuilding among birches you hope to keep, watch the movements of people and machines:  All it takes
is one pass with a tractor or backhoe to compress and kill, a birch tree's root system.
You can see from this token the serious approach to gardening.  Every aspect of it, flowers, orchards, veggies and else is discussed without the empty shallow fashion common in this sort of coffee table book far away from use and custom.

If you live in the tropics, but enjoy a well thought garden anywhere, check it out. If you want to create similar surroundings in terms of change of color during the fall, in the tropics, you could do it with Codiaeum.  It is a matter of selection. Planting these colorful bushes with the intention to create color and texture contrast found in template climates is possible with some imagination.  That is that..

Apaga i vamonoh.

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