Last summer, my friend Liz introduced me to her friends, Deb and Peter, who live in a stone farm-house built in the 1800s. The house was abandoned for many years and has been reclaimed and repaired by them. The stone walls are beautiful and the north facing wall is covered in lichen.
The builders of this house incorporated fossils into the walls.
These fossil corals are from the Early Paleozoic era, 550 to 350 million years ago when shallow, warm seas covered New York state.
While working in the garden, Peter pushed this rock over with his tractor and saw the fossil fern on the surface. He thinks it may have been intended as building material because this rock has similar building marks to those seen on the rocks in the house wall.
There are several different species of bamboo in the garden. Peter spotted this bamboo on the back of a truck in NYC, stopped the truck and purchased two bunches.
Bamboo may be invasive, to prevent this, Peter suggests planting it in a rubber trough which will contain the root system. It can take five years or so to establish then grows rapidly.
Ornamental rhubarb is growing against a sunny wall of the house.
Yucca intermixed with ornamental rhubarb.
In front of the house the tender plants thrive in the dappled shade from the maple tree. That’s Ruffian on the lawn, keeping an eye on things.
This fantastic stick-like plant is the ‘Pencil Cactus’ Euphorbia schimperi. Peter plucked a small stem from a nightclub (which charged $5.00 for a glass of soda!) and it has rooted and grown quite large.
I think this spiky one is Euphorbia pachypodioides
Until seeing this collection, I had no idea that the Euphorbia genus includes such a variety of forms – many plants that I thought were ‘cacti’ are actually Euphorbia.
This is a cultivar of Euphorbia lacte.
A rare Euphorbia, in the family Opuntia
Pretty agave with red spots, called Agave x Manfreda Bloodspots.
In the background, Agave paryii ‘Truncatum’ which has long spines at the tips.
While growing up in London UK, I saw this 130′ tree growing in the tiny front gardens of Victorian terrace houses. We called it the Monkey Puzzle’ tree and seeing it here in New York brought back memories. It took Peter and Deb 14 years to find this one. Now rare in its native habitat, South America.
This Phalaenopsis orchid was a gift from a friend. This 40-year-old plant bloomed with 19 flowers during the year that Peter was very ill. Prior to this, it had not bloomed for 22 years. Unfortunately their friend recently passed.
Deb affectionately calls this one the ‘Stinky Plant’ because the flowers smell a bit iffy.
This Hoya ‘Kerri’ with heart-shaped leaves is also known as ‘Sweetheart Hoya’, from south-east Asia.
A drought tolerant Prickly Pear cactus – one of several cacti that can survive the New York winters.
I was very surprised to see a ‘Windmill’ palm tree Trachycarpus fortunei. To protect the tree during the winter, a layer of mulch is applied, followed by a burlap cover and a layer of red bricks.
Check out this Saugerties Times article for a little more info on Washburn local history.
Rugosa Rose with pink blooms
This Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) originates from Asia and it usually stays a while on the rose-bush. The insect was introduced into America in the 1800s, perhaps it prefers this shrub because the Rugosa rose also originates from Asia and it is a ‘home from home’.