Tag Archives: flowers

Urban Composting

This was originally posted on May 19th on www.thenewnew.blogspot.com where I am a contributing writer……

The rain showers here in NYC haven’t let up in what seems weeks. If you are anything like me, your overall summertime morale hasn’t benefited from all this precipitation, but the flowers, gardens and lawns sure have. My own urban garden is growing so fast, lush and green it’s amazing!
Gardening is one of my favorite DIY hobbies. Such satisfaction from planting tiny little seeds, taking care of them, feeding the soil and watching everything grow! I used to think I didn’t have much of a green thumb, but those days are a changin’ my friends. Like anything else, the more you work at it the more you learn over time.
After covering the basics, the next logical step in my gardening journey is composting. For some reason composting had always intimidated me, I have always felt that you have to really ‘know what you are doing’ to get results….I sort of chuckle thinking about that now, because it’s actually pretty easy. You throw stuff in a bin, mix it up once in a while and you get beautiful lush fertilizer. It just takes a little elbow grease and patience (and of course knowing your ‘greens’ and your ‘browns’)! Not only is it organic, it reduces your garbage output and it’s totally free.
Urban composting can be done indoors or outdoors in various different ways, in small spaces and large. You can make it work for you, your lifestyle and your space. To fend off my composting fears (like how do I prevent a stinky bin, what about rats and flies and stuff…?) I attended a composting workshop held by the Lower East Side Ecology Center (through the NYC Compost Project). It gave me the confidence to go for it on my own and have been working mine for just over a month now!

My metal compost bin + what I added today (before it got a good stir!)

Don’t have enough space, time or resources to compost yourself – but want to put your organic waste to good use?
Several of the city’s Greenmarkets are running a pilot composting collection program. You can save your compost materials (like your veggie scraps, coffee grinds or eggshells) and bring them to the collection site. Did you know that over the past nine weekends they have collected almost 50,000 pounds of food scraps in Brooklyn and Manhattan? That is a ton of waste being kept out of New York City’s garbage turned into useful nutrients.

Even if your urban garden is your windowsill or your fire escape it’s enough space to have a DIY garden all your own. Carve out a little piece of green :)

Happy gardening!

Useful composting resources + links for NYC residents:

Now go out there and get your hands dirty!!

Until next time…..

ca pousse toujours….

calendula flower growing in my garden

whoever started the age-old saying ‘it’s growing like weeds’ wasn’t kidding around. and neither do those weeds.

a while back, i shared our progress in our back garden pre-and-post-de-gunking ….we are now into phase II of our garden beautification.

for my co-worker that was shocked when i said i don’t own a t.v., and to answer his question ‘what the hell do you do then?’…in addition to all the other stuff i keep ridiculously busy with – – i work in my garden. and i love it.

sort of like the other stress-relieving and life-enhancing activities i do like running, (the new addition of) yoga and of course the methodical and relaxing nature of sewing….gardening is relaxing, soul-reviving and fun.  i actually like watering my flowers. the gratification that comes with watching things grow, beautiful things grow, is infinitesimal happiness.

i don’t miss that t.v. a bit…

so when my ‘weed’ garden tucked in the back corner of my flower garden began getting out of control – – (i had let it go for two too many weeks), something had to be done. from the front of the garden where we sit on the patio, it was barely noticeable…..until you walk past the hydrangea bush and see what turned into literally a forest of weeds. at first it was ok. you could see the path and even walk along it.

this was how the back corner and path looked for most of the summer so far…..

my 'weed' garden is on the right (the other side is groundcover)

….then those stubborn weeds revolted and took over!!

(cue scene from home alone with macaulay culkin screaming hands slapping on cheeks…!!!!)

the great big 'Weed Take-over"!! argh!!!!!

we don’t go down that easily you crappy weeds.

so one huge trip to lowes with our borrowed jeep during a brief weekend car-sitting for a friend and we were on the attack!

with droplets of sweat running down my face in the 100+ degree heat, i pulled, tugged, yanked and got dirty in a maddening attempt to rid my garden of those unrighteous weeds once and for all!

poof! if only i had a magic disappearing wand, i would have had those weeds conquered ages ago.

weeds pulled, flowers planted and mulch spread…..almost there…..

at this point, i felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. weeds to me are like a messy closet. or piles of stuff just sitting. it’s like a silent nagging feeling…..

sweeping, pea gravel and lots of watering later – – the finished product!!!

now the back of the garden looks as pretty as the front!

phase III – – grow grass (again)……

until later, let’s hope we can keep those weeds at bay…..ca pousse toujours!

turning sweat and tears (and a few beers) into beauty…

many of you have been asking and wondering how the transformation is going in our backyard. the time has come my friends…to reveal our lovely garden before…..how it looked when we moved in….and now, lovely, clean, green and lush.

since david and i are now us +1 (we are totally loving our little ella puppy:-) we are so glad to have the backyard for her to play and run around in (she loves to run around like a maniac, it’s really funny…).

so with out further ado….before and after pics – enjoy!


here, we cleaned up the piles of garbage, beer bottles, rotting leaves and plants – heaps and heaps of rusting who-knows-what – painted the rusted metal sheets a cheerful green and watched the garden grow! we installed beautiful slabs of slate that we literally pulled from other places around the yard (they were totally going to waste!) into a colorful and unique patio space. this is one of our many seating spaces in the yard……


here, we re-furbished the cool benches left by the previous tenants, planted grass seed (we are still working on the grass, as you can see….it’s tough without a hose, if you can even believe we are doing all of this with multiple watering cans!!). worked hard and often on week-pulling and teasing the vines back into their original place…and planted lots of flowers!


here, we did tons and tons of weeding, pulling out dead and rotting crap, trimmed down existing plants and threw out heaps and heaps of dead, decomposing leaves. we planted flowers and were glad that so much was already in the garden for us to work with!


and a few extra shots for your viewing  pleasure :-)

amazing, huh? what a little effort, lots of sweat and a few cold beers can do!! :-)

uncovering and discovering

a day that could not have been more perfect started off nicely. sleeping in….jamaican patties for lunch from christie’s on flatbush….quick trip to the local hardware store for supplies…..walking around prospect heights…

working in the garden….

the weather was more than beautiful and the best day so far this year! we raked, scraped, overturned, pulled and uncovered much of our lovely garden today. it’s far from finished but we are definitely on the way to making something out of our space!

many, many bags of sticks, leaves and who-knows-what later…….the plants and flowers in our yard can now breathe a breath of fresh air, start soaking up some sun and grow, grow, grow!!

i mentioned before the ridiculous amount of old, rusty, crusty shit lying around….i did take out most of the pieces but left all of the pennies! i couldn’t help but think of all the wishes that may have been made and felt it necessary to let those wishes take root…and continue on with a wishing garden of our own…

i found this old new york city subway token……

we’ll continue to work diligently, watch as more grows and hope for all sorts of lovely things to pop up as the spring makes its way through… i promise to share our explorations, changes and sometime soon show a few before and after photos.

and look what else we found…..strawberries! (and even a cute little marker that i dug out from underneath the brush)!

i’m sure there’s more here than we even know….oh, the excitement!

looks like these daffodils enjoyed soaking up the sun – – they sure made our day brighter :-)

the hard work will continue……!! :-)

in the eye of the beholder…

two full weeks have passed since i tearfully left the magnificent south of france. i almost had to be pushed onto the plane. dragging heels, frown and a pit in my stomach.

almost 6 months living, experiencing, taking in the wonderful life of the french; it’s significant. perhaps life changing…

i truly do believe that there is beauty all around us, no matter where we go. i will make that beauty apparent, live it, breathe it…or chase it if it flutters too far away….

in my temporary suburban dwelling, this beauty i speak of is oftentimes clouded by life’s many tragic distractions. i won’t let that stop me though. perhaps i can even help others to see it too…

everything is in the eye of the beholder. you just have to look. if you don’t see it at first, look again. i promise it’s there.

in my first real attempt to actually grow something edible, renewable, to soothe my conscious, we started a pseudo-garden on the back deck. it’s small, somewhat amateur, i admit.

we have delectable vine tomatoes, fragrant basil, thyme and rosemary. ohhh, the scents! i wait with child-like anticipation the day i can sink my teeth into a juicy tomato; the beginning lives of my tomatoes below….

i thank you all, loyal readers, for riding along with me thus far. i think i have gotten used to having you here, listening and reading.

it’s like a gentle push forward, a reassuring nudge into the unknown. we are all always moving forward, and isn’t it nice to have people come along?

beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

i know you see it too….

joyeuse fête du travail ! !

today, may 1st, in france is the ‘fête du travail’, equivalent to labor day in the u.s.
stores are closed, people have the day off work and most people spend time with their families. or, as did we, flock to our gorgeous southern beaches in hoards!

anyone visiting on this day, not familiar with the ‘premier mai’ in france, may wonder why so many street-vendors and the markets are overflowing with ‘muguet’ flowers, ((pronounced mew-gay):lily of the valleys) for sale? it is customary to give muguet flowers to your loved ones, family, friends, etc. as they ‘porte du bonheur’, they bring luck!

i bought this muguet pot (my photos above and below) from the market here in cannes for my mother-in-law…pretty!

we got up decently early today to hit the local market. we bought tons of fresh fruit and veggies. yum! we also picked up some ham cut by hand off the bone and also some pâté called ‘pâté de grand mere’ – – delicious! we lunched outside on the balcony with our market finds and opened a bottle of red wine. what a way to spend lunch!

the rest of the day, we spent on the beach in théoule-sur-mer and driving along the road that is ‘board de la mer’, along the sea. a photo i took along the path shown below…

we had a wonderful day and if i could, i would have bought muguet flowers for everyone to wish everyone ‘beaucoup de bonheur’ ! ! !

joyeuse fête ! ! ! !

more adventures, spring has sprung!!

i apologize in advance that it has been almost 2 full weeks since i have last posted an entry. i have been a busy little bee indeed. above is a photo i took at st. honorat island, makes me want to jump right in!

between immigration procedures, visiting friends, boating to nearby islands and enjoying this gorgeous weather (not to mention birthdays and easter)…i have managed to keep surprisingly occupied while unemployed.

i actually have lots to write about, it is just a matter of finding the motivation to sit down and just do it! (note to self: step 1 = get out of bed early). for those of you who know me pretty well, also know that i love to sleep….a lot.

i am finally at the last leg of my immigration process, whew! what a haul. well, i still have small things to do like exchange my drivers license and translate some documents…but nothing major. this thursday will be the final ‘full day’ learning about ma vie en france. not to mention that it includes a full hour and a half sit-down lunch in the middle of it. typical, ha! typical.

so i promise that i will write about the lerins islands, our recent visit to marseille and also what life is like in cannes now that the beginning of tourist season has begun. out on my run today i played ‘spot the tourist’ to keep myself occupied. residents of cannes (including me and david) are still wearing jeans/long pants and cardigans/sweaters in the evening. tourists have shorts, flip-flops and tank tops. but i don’t mind, i was one of them not so long ago ;-)

this purple little guy was happily swimming around in the shallow water with some other buddies and he was so cute i had to snap a photo. just watch out and don’t get to close! they are cute, until you touch them. ouch!!

happy birthday today mom :-)

here’s me opening up an easter egg, france-style. delicious!!!

springtime in cannes, trés jolie!

gorgeous purple flowers are in full bloom right now – – they smell heavenly!

please check back soon, i’ll have more posts up this week and next….
thanks for always staying tuned :-) the adventure will continue, no doubt about that.