04/21/14 12:00pm

 

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | Galanthus, one of spring’s earliest blooming bulbs, has the common name ‘Snow Drops.’

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO |
Galanthus, one of spring’s earliest blooming bulbs, has the common name ‘Snow Drops.’

The Island will soon be bathed from one end to the other in bright yellow, with daffodils and forsythia everywhere.

It’s already begun and soon we will be cheerful. So let’s try to have spring chores done ASAP. Then we can relax and enjoy the bloom and fill vases for every room in the house! (more…)

04/09/14 2:33pm
CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | These crocuses are growing in a planter on my balcony, protected from deer and seen from my bedroom window. Think about ‘sight lines’ when placing plants — are they going to be where you can see them easily?

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | These crocuses are growing in a planter on my balcony, protected from deer and seen from my bedroom window. Think about ‘sight lines’ when placing plants — are they going to be where you can see them easily?

The first thing we need is a sturdy wheelbarrow, and if it’s in a bright cheery color, so much the better. (more…)

11/19/13 8:24am

COURTESY PHOTO | The Peace rose in all its magnificent pink-tinged glory.

In the last column we said we would spend our time this week remembering the story of the most famous rose in the world, the hybrid tea, Peace. The blooms are light yellow, some would say cream, and the edges of the petals are a bright pink. By the early 90s, over 100 million of these plants had found their way into gardens around the world. This rose could not have a more dramatic life story. It begins in the Meilland nurseries, founded in 1850 and was still owned by the same family in the late 1930s, as the war clouds were gathering.

Francis Meilland, of the Meilland family, French rose growers for generations, had decided to learn English at the age of 17; he visited America in 1933 and toured the country widely. From the Americans he learned about color catalogs, plant patent registration and the use of refrigeration for plant storage.

By 1939, he had developed a rose that he thought would surpass anything he had done before, but with the German invasion of France imminent, he feared that his rose would never see the light of day. He made cuttings and organized parcels of budwood. As many parents were sending their children to safety, he did as well, sending the budwood to growers in Italy, Turkey and the United States. Legend has it that his budwood actually arrived in the United States on the last departing plane before the German invasion.

Here it was successfully propagated by the Conard Pyle Company. As the war raged, the Meilland family had no way of knowing whether any of the budwood had actually survived. But the samples had been planted in the company’s Pennsylvania trial beds where they were thriving, and cuttings were given to other rose growers for testing in the various climatic zones throughout the United States.

Because the rose did so well, it was decided to release the thousands of propagated plants here in the United States. The launch date was set for April 29, 1945 in Pasadena, California, although the war was still raging in Europe. By sheer coincidence, on the same day Berlin fell and a truce was declared.

But what should the rose be named? Meilland had written to Field Marshal Alan Brooke and suggested naming the rose for him; he believed that Brooke was the principal author of the master strategy that won the Second World War, and he wished to thank him for his role in the liberation of France. Mr. Brooke declined, saying that, “though he was honored to be asked, his name would soon be forgotten and a much better and more enduring name would be “Peace.” And Peace it became. The statement with the release of the rose read, “We are persuaded that this greatest new rose of our time should be named for the world’s greatest desire: ‘Peace.’”

The Peace rose went on to receive the All-American Award for roses on the day that the war in Japan came to an end. On May 8, 1945, when Germany signed its surrender, the 49 delegates who met to form the United Nations were each presented with a bloom of Peace and a message of peace from the Secretary of the American Rose Society. Later that year as delegates arrived at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, each received a bloom of Peace, with a note attached. The note read, “We hope the Peace rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace.”

If you want to grow Peace, it is available at nurseries and online. But best to wait until spring to plant roses. I plan to buy one, too.

11/19/13 8:24am

COURTESY PHOTO | The Peace rose in all its magnificent pink-tinged glory.

In the last column we said we would spend our time this week remembering the story of the most famous rose in the world, the hybrid tea, Peace. The blooms are light yellow, some would say cream, and the edges of the petals are a bright pink. By the early 90s, over 100 million of these plants had found their way into gardens around the world. This rose could not have a more dramatic life story. It begins in the Meilland nurseries, founded in 1850 and was still owned by the same family in the late 1930s, as the war clouds were gathering.

Francis Meilland, of the Meilland family, French rose growers for generations, had decided to learn English at the age of 17; he visited America in 1933 and toured the country widely. From the Americans he learned about color catalogs, plant patent registration and the use of refrigeration for plant storage.

By 1939, he had developed a rose that he thought would surpass anything he had done before, but with the German invasion of France imminent, he feared that his rose would never see the light of day. He made cuttings and organized parcels of budwood. As many parents were sending their children to safety, he did as well, sending the budwood to growers in Italy, Turkey and the United States. Legend has it that his budwood actually arrived in the United States on the last departing plane before the German invasion.

Here it was successfully propagated by the Conard Pyle Company. As the war raged, the Meilland family had no way of knowing whether any of the budwood had actually survived. But the samples had been planted in the company’s Pennsylvania trial beds where they were thriving, and cuttings were given to other rose growers for testing in the various climatic zones throughout the United States.

Because the rose did so well, it was decided to release the thousands of propagated plants here in the United States. The launch date was set for April 29, 1945 in Pasadena, California, although the war was still raging in Europe. By sheer coincidence, on the same day Berlin fell and a truce was declared.

But what should the rose be named? Meilland had written to Field Marshal Alan Brooke and suggested naming the rose for him; he believed that Brooke was the principal author of the master strategy that won the Second World War, and he wished to thank him for his role in the liberation of France. Mr. Brooke declined, saying that, “though he was honored to be asked, his name would soon be forgotten and a much better and more enduring name would be “Peace.” And Peace it became. The statement with the release of the rose read, “We are persuaded that this greatest new rose of our time should be named for the world’s greatest desire: ‘Peace.’”

The Peace rose went on to receive the All-American Award for roses on the day that the war in Japan came to an end. On May 8, 1945, when Germany signed its surrender, the 49 delegates who met to form the United Nations were each presented with a bloom of Peace and a message of peace from the Secretary of the American Rose Society. Later that year as delegates arrived at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco, each received a bloom of Peace, with a note attached. The note read, “We hope the Peace rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace.”

If you want to grow Peace, it is available at nurseries and online. But best to wait until spring to plant roses. I plan to buy one, too.

10/07/13 8:00am

CAROL GALLIGAN PHOTO | I brought this fountain to the Island from Westchester when I moved. It comes apart into several pieces and each can easily be moved by one person with upper arm strength. I light it up in the fall through Christmas, celebrating the early dark.

While we are waiting for Montauk daisies to bloom, it might be a good time to stop and think about garden art. We certainly think about the walls inside our homes and make plans for them. There are actually walls in the garden that can be treated in the same way, even though they look quite different and we don’t usually think of them as walls. I’m referring to trees and fences.

A tree will not object at all if you drive a very large nail, or actually any number of them, into the trunk, thereby turning it into a wall on which you can hang anything you want. The only thing you cannot do is circle the trunk completely, especially with anything that will dig in, like wire. It is possible to cut off the tree’s circulation, thereby strangling it, probably over a long time, but strangling it nonetheless.

And, of course, what you hang has to be outdoor-proof. With the number of composites, the resins that look like stone that are now available, finding pleasing materials has never been easier. Although stone can be used as well.

I have found that fishing line is the best product to use for hanging things outside. I have one large, 12 inch-square plaque made of stone that I am very fond of. I know it sounds silly, but it has Grecian maidens dancing, and I have it hanging from a fence, bordered with ivy on both sides; the fishing line is invisible and it looks quite nice. I also have an altar piece with several angels mounted on a tree in front of the house.

To move on from art to what I think of as the equivalent of indoor furniture, there are many options there as well — think fountains, statuary, birdbaths, sundials and ceramic pots. All of these can be used in whatever way you want and wherever you want. No rules apply, although there are some caveats.

First and foremost, and I don’t know what the proper term for this would be, perhaps aesthetics, but what I really mean is “how much do you like it,” because these pieces are likely to be both heavy and expensive. The latter term needs no explanation; but if you are thinking about “heavy,” bear in mind that usually involves both trucks and men.

There used to be a shop in Southampton, I think it was called Mano a Mano, which I think means “made by hand” in Spanish. Years ago, when I lived in Westchester, I bought a piece of stone statuary there; it was billed as “made by a Zuniga artisan,” presumably an apprentice in the workshop of the famous Mexican sculptor. Of course, if it had been made by Zuniga, it would have cost more than the house. As it was I could barely afford it, but fell in love with it. And you know how that goes. It arrived in Westchester on a truck with three guys; fortunately, there were two men on hand mowing the lawn. The five of them managed. Barely. When I moved here, I left it behind in my daughter’s loving care, because I couldn’t face another five guys and this time, an uphill climb.

I think probably we can go on with garden art for another week before we turn to those subjects that close out the season. This year we should spend some time, before turning to holiday gifts for gardeners, with some famous plantsmen from yesteryear, whose courage has brought us so many of the plants that we take for granted now.