Nova’s Ark Project

While driving up Millstone Road in Water Mill to the Hamptons Show House, I was astonished to catch a glimpse of large-scale sculptures in a meadow. A stop at this site, Nova’s Ark Project, was the real event of the day.


Almost  everyone knows about Storm King, but this 95-acre sculpture park, even more accessible, could be one of New York’s best-kept secrets. Nova’s Ark Project, I’ve learned, was the labor of love of Nova Mihai Popa, a Romanian-born artist who died in 2009. Nova, a successful painter, muralist and sculptor in Romania, came to America and pursue artistic freedom. He found it here in Water Mill, where he created and sited his monumental works among fields, horses, sheep and barns. The website lists public visiting hours, the days and times Nova’s Ark is open for tours for a $10 admission fee, but the other afternoon the gate was wide open and we were able to drive in, park, walk around and take pictures for a magical hour just before sunset. No one else was there.


NovasArk15_11 NovasArk15_10 NovasArk15_09 NovasArk15_08 NovasArk15_07 NovasArk15_06 NovasArk15_04 NovasArk15_03 NovasArk15_02 NovasArk15_01Dig-It-Blog, more than a personal diary of my own garden through the seasons and the years, is way to record my travels and, I hope, introduce readers to places I’ve discovered and love. In that category are attempts to reveal venues in the Hamptons that are free or low-cost and open to the public. To that end, my posts “Garden Visits in the Hamptons”  and “More Gardens in the Hamptons: Where the Signs Say “Welcome’” are perennially popular. I especially hope that today’s post will inspire you to take a drive out Route 27 (not on a Friday afternoon) and explore the treasures that are waiting for you right out in the open, not hidden behind tall hedges and locked gates.


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Cocktails, Anyone?

I didn’t love the 2015 Hamptons Designer Show House as much as usual. Usually, the rooms beckon me: sit down, sink into the sofa, stay awhile, get inspired, enjoy the view, covet the pool house, relax. This year, walking through the rooms, I had an uncomfortable feeling. For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Too much glitz? Too many rooms that felt like they were for the same purpose, for the same shallow people. And then it became apparent: this is a house for people who like to drink. People who mix and sip cocktails from morning to night, cocktails in every room.


Cocktails, indoors and outdoors.


Cocktails, upstairs and downstairs.

Showhouse_0486 Showhouse_0497 Showhouse_0489 Showhouse_0487Showhouse_0492 Showhouse_0495It looks like the other showhouse guests ($35 per person, to benefit Southampton Hospital) polished off the cocktail peanuts. But they apparently didn’t touch the liquor. Or the Lucite ice cubes. I left, envisioning the house after a wild weekend: puddles of booze on the floor, filled ash trays, broken glass, broken promises. One more shot (with my phone) and I’m outta here.

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A Tall Tale

In Canadian and American folklore, Paul Bunyan is a mythical, superhuman lumberjack. He could out-chop, out0-saw, out-talk, out-roll a log, and climb a tree faster than any other man at any other logging camp.

When a friend recommended Chris Niemiec of Paul Bunyan’s Tree Service, in Ardsley, NY, to work on my alarmingly out-of control willow, maple, and oak trees, I didn’t think much of the company name. Another tall tale? But when Chris and his crew started working—amazingly, only a few days after I called—I realized that the name couldn’t be more apt. Chris, who’s been taking care of many of Westchester County, NY’s trees, for 25 years, really knows what he’s doing. Five hours after his three-man crew arrived, all the dead wood was gone—New York trees have really suffered from cold winters and and a hot dry summer—and the trees were pruned, shaped and much healthier looking.




A huge amount of debris was cleaned up. That day, I learned a lot about how to take care of our trees. A little fertilizer and some deep-root watering will keep them happy.


These guys made me happy.

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A Visit to the Connecticut College Arboretum

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This place is deceptive. It’s advertised as a native plant garden, and you expect to see unusual, colorful plants. At first you think that there’s nothing much here. Then you look closely, and among the dappled light and shade, small treasures announce themselves.

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And then the view opens up to large vistas where families are playing, people are walking their dogs and picnicking.

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Close up study of the trees reveals some interesting and rare specimens, including weeping pines and collections of deciduous azaleas.

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Like so many off-the-beaten track places, there’s a wealth of beauty and knowledge to discover at the Connecticut College Arboretum, New London. A fine place to spend a summer afternoon.

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A Friend at Hampton Court

Garden Club of Irvington horticulture co-chair Renee Shamosh is traveling in England and France. A few days ago, she visited the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, in East Molesey, Surrey, about 30 minutes south of London. Renee sends her greetings and the following photos of the gold-medal-winning exhibits. Who says the British have no sense of humor?

England Table



Wild Rover

Best Rose Exhibit

Posted in Flower and Plant Shows, Flower Arranging and Decor, Horticulture | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

CasaAzulPhoto taken a few years ago with iPhone 1 at Casa Azul, Coyoacán, México, DF.

NYBG Frida2Photo taken the other day with iPhone5 at the Frida show at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.Cactus PyramidIf you love succulents and containers, don’t miss this show.

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”Blue” Entry Wins Blue Ribbon

Part of the joy of being a member of a garden club is growing plants and creating mixed plantings for horticulture competitions. With Renee Shamosh, I’m a horticulture co-chair of the Garden Club of Irvington-on-Hudson, NY (GCI), which in turn is a member of the Garden Club of America (GCA). Every year, the GCA hosts an annual meeting in a different U.S. city, where delegates attend workshops and visit local botanical gardens. A highlight of the meeting is the flower show, a competition of displays of flower arrangements, potted plants, and cut stems that are judged by horticultural experts.

Ready to GoThis year’s annual meeting was held in Rochester, NY from May 16-18, and the theme was “Kaleidoscope.” Every garden club in New York State was required to design and enter a container planting with a specific color scheme — either yellow-orange, pink-red, or blue-purple — presented in a 14-inch terra-cotta-colored pot filled with plants owned for club members for no less than three months, i.e, no going to the garden center and buying perfect plants a few days before the show.

BuildingItGCI chose blue-purple. Beginning last fall, Renee and I approached the competition as a club project, with members rooting cuttings and planting bulbs. Over the last few weeks, all of us combed our gardens for blue-flowering plants. The harsh winter and late spring added to the challenge.

The planting was designed by Renee, Donghai Zhen, and me. Thirteen club members grew and contributed plants including amsonia, blue chalk fingers, Cape primrose, comfrey, dwarf blue cypress, evolvulus, forget-me-nots, phlox, streptocarpus, ‘super blue’ pericallis, and wood hyacinths. Club president Susan Weisenberg contributed the bearded irises, the centerpiece of the arrangement.

In Rochester, NY, horticulture co-chair Renee Shamosh and former club president Anne Myers with the winning entry

In Rochester, NY, horticulture co-chair Renee Shamosh and former club president Anne Myers with the winning entry

The judges awarded our entry a first-place blue ribbon as well as the Rosie Jones Horticulture Award for: “An entry of exceptional visual appeal that reflects the spirit of growing with joy and enthusiasm and inspires others to propagate, grow, show and share horticulture.”

The entry was accompanied by a “key card,” which lists the botanical and common names of the plants and indicating their relative position in the container.

GCI BlueContainerKeyCard

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