Friday, June 24, 2011

Weeds... Oh.. Wait.

The park really never has many weeds. There are a few areas that are prone to weeds like Persicaria maculosa, Cyperus esculentus, and Solanum carolinense. We get a few spots of Portulaca oleracea but not too much. So when I saw this....

....Ginkgo biloba, I had the first double take I've done in awhile.
To the right not pictured is a really thin, straggly female ginko that struggles for light among all the trees of the urban forest. A bunch of women from the neighborhood usually come by the park in the fall and collect all of the really terrible smelling fruits. But.. I guess we kept them from trampling the rest of the plants a bit too well this year. There could have been a total Ginkgo forest nestled in the Lirope. 

So why is this kinda interesting?

Ginkgos are considered to be a living fossil. They used to be native to Asia, Europe and North America before they vanished for almost 5 million years. Eventually a small colony was found in China, being cared for by monks up in the mountains. They have both male and female plants. The females do not produce seeds, but rather naked ovules that are pollinated by male cones. This makes them closer to pines than flowering plants. 

People love these plants. Their leaves have a very distinct two lobed rounded shape. Leaves form on side spurs that branch off of straight leggy branches. They also turn the clearest yellow in the fall.

I didn't find any other patches of these seedlings in the park. Still- it took a long time to pull these all out. 

Bonsai anyone?

Friday, June 17, 2011


I hate writing opening posts. Every time I start a new project like this, I feel like I'm back in high school, starting on a research paper the night before and wondering why I never wrote an outline. If the title hasn't been clear enough, this is a gardening blog. I spend at least 40 hours of my week oogling and fussing at plants for a living. I spend at least another 5 hours doing it without thinking on my time and probably another 10 hours gawking at plants online. I'm big on plants.

I'm also big on taking pictures. I carry around a Nikon D20X where ever I go. I'll admit that the amount of pictures I take does not compare to the amount of time I carry around the damned thing. The theory is that if I have a reason to take pictures, I'll take more pictures. I doubt this is true. Either way this should get me back into the habit of writing. I haven't done any serious writing in some time and its supposedly part of my job description so I should back into the swing of it.

At the moment I work in a public park in Manhattan alongside another awesome gardener is also a cool plant geek. Most of my posts will refer to the park. I spend too much time there for me to expect otherwise. I love working in gardens. I don't have the same sentiments towards the public. Public horticulture can be a losing battle. While everyone wants everything to look fine and pristine, people have no problems with letting their dogs pee and trample everything, cutting flowers and throwing all their trash where ever it falls. The bright side is that a ton of people get to enjoy something I've worked on and it is an aesthetically rewarding (manually intensive) job. I'll try to keep my rants to a minimum there.

I also hope that this blog will be useful for keeping records. That way I'll get a sense of when plants are behind and I can argue with people about how much rainier its been this year than last.