These days everyone is walking outdoors! Corona is a hard master and some of my Riverdale friends are even taking twice daily constitutionals. Although there are many picturesque streets and numerous parks here, Riverdale is a relatively small neighborhood with approximately 48,000 residents. And from the perspective of my windows, most of them are on the move.
Local Garden Beauty
For years , my husband and I have been trying to fit a daily walk into our schedule, usually without much success. But we do get out occasionally and enjoy watching the seasons change in neighborhood gardens and parks. Southbound Henry Hudson Parkway is frequently part our route and one of my favorite garden locations is at 3725 Henry Hudson Parkway.
No, 3725 is not a private house where I might expect extravagant attention from a gardening homeowner! It is an apartment building where I would normally expect a few plants to be set out in a tiny area without great aesthetic consideration. In addition, the attention-grabbing flower bed is sited along a straight line brick wall from the adjacent building; generally this is a most unappealing situation.
Before discussing the garden itself, attention should be paid to how the building design enhances the gardening possibilities. Setting the building entrance considerably back from the sidewalk edge, creates an open green space in front of the building for a lawn. Then, the building entrance is angled towards the lawn instead of the street thereby reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed by another pile of brick and glass.
And so, every time we pass that building, I stop to admire the work of the landscaper who took approximately fifteen different plants and distributed them in a manner to delight the eye.
Gardening Through the Ages
People have an innate attraction to nature, plants and plantings. Studies have shown that hospitalized patients recover more quickly, if they can view the outdoors from their bed rather than a brick wall.
Egyptian tomb are filled with murals showing us daily life in those days. Many paintings show workmen in the fields and in gardens. Apparently, there were private gardens as well as those attached to temples.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the existence of which have never been proven, exerted a fascination upon the ancients . Mention has appeared in the writings of many Greek and Roman historians who lived long after the end of the Babylonian Empire. While I always envisioned hanging to involve liberal use of vines and trellises, apparently at that time it meant trees planted on a raised structure such as a terrace.
The Greeks , apparently, did not have a tradition of private gardens but the art form was highly developed among the Romans, who left significant writings on botany and hydraulics. The ancient Chinese had private gardens which were frequently located in the common space found in the center of family compounds. Suffice it to say, there are gardening traditions the world over, including India, Japan, and Mexico.
That’s enough for today. To be continued……..