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  •     The fog, drizzle, and downpour on Saturday morning reflected the mood of the scores who attended a funeral service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton for Jim Jeffrey. Nature shed tears for the loss of a friend and leader who touched the lives of many in the diverse pockets of our community: music, A.A., the congregation of St. Luke’s, gays and lesbians, and not least, gardening.  I can’t speak for the other groups, but in the East Hampton gardening world, Jim was patriarch.

  • The seamless integration of house and garden with the landscape is the ideal, even the Holy Grail, of garden and landscape design. Here on the East End a few jewels meet the challenge.

        Recently, I was introduced to a place on the bay in Springs that meets that ideal. Thanks to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, one of a series of garden dialogues throughout the country was held at the home of Bob and Margo Alexander in which Thomas Balsley, a prominent landscape architect who helped create the Alexanders’ garden, spoke about the process.

  •    The great rush is on to select colorful annuals for summer beds and containers. But this season may prove traumatic for the many who relied on impatiens for great swaths of nonstop color in shady areas.
        By now word is out that the popular workhorse Impatiens walleriana, including the double rosebud and miniature types, has been affected by a deadly downy mildew disease. Reality probably won’t set in until you actually go out to purchase your plants.

  • I suppose all of its legions of fans have their own favorites at Breadzilla in Wainscott. For me it’s the oatmeal sunflower-seed bread, just about the best loaf I’ve ever had. Whether it is lunch, dessert, or a loaf of bread, the high quality shines through.

  •    Yellow chard, of all things, is the “it” plant in Parisian gardens this year.  During a sunny and warm week in early September, the light was at the perfect angle to show off the luminosity of its stems.
        Yellow chard was the star of gardens from a small, well-used and loved neighborhood park in the Marais to potagers in an interior courtyard in the 16th century Hotel de Carnavalet, and in an extravaganza of urban agriculture at the renowned Bagatelle Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne.

  •    It’s difficult to focus on next spring’s garden before Labor Day has even come and gone.  However, it is already too late to order fall-blooming crocuses and colchicums, and the deadline for ordering spring bulbs is fast approaching.

  •    The plants a professional selects for his own home garden are worthy of a close look. When that professional heads a research program that develops, evaluates and selects new trees and shrubs for introduction, his personal choices are worth at least two looks and the beginning of a search to obtain them.

  •    Centuries ago there was tulipomania. More recently and on a larger stage, there was the dot-com bubble, followed by the housing bubble. We know what happened to them.
        Gardeners now seem caught up in a hydrangea frenzy. There are mopheads, lacecaps, and Annabelle types, not to mention oakleaf and Japanese panicle hydrangeas. For the truly smitten, there are Japanese mountain hydrangeas (serrata), villosas, and other more tender species and varieties.

  •    In today’s popular culture the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity at all.
    That has been the fate of deutzias, June-flowering shrubs related to mock orange. Both members of the Saxifragaceae family seem to be hopelessly out of fashion, and undeservedly so.

  •    To what can we attribute the enduring popularity of hostas? They can be likened to the Helen of Troy or Cleopatra of the floral world, seducing non-gardening homeowners and casual and obsessed gardeners alike.
        All this passion for a plant that can be destroyed by deer, voles, and slugs. In my own garden the voles sometimes get them even when they are sunk into the ground in plastic pots.