Friday, January 8, 2010

How My Urban Garden Grows: The Highly Probable Influence of my Grandfather, Albert Elmer Herman Louis Melahn


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

I have always appreciated gardens as well as the containers that provide a home for plants, and the image posted above this entry is one I created after happening upon an abandoned greenhouse. By "demand", I have rendered this image into a limited edition of prints which are available in varying sizes. Information relating to this image (as well as other black and white photographs that I have created) can be found in the print collection pages on my web-site. This image is also available as a note-card.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about being without access to a greenhouse, because at my upper-west side apartment in New York City, I've planted and maintained a lovely terrace garden that is now caked in snow, and with this final "clarification" post, I'd like to tell you a little bit of background about my gardening endeavors.

This is the first year I've allowed my herbs, plants, shrubs, and certain "baby" trees to be partially exposed to the winter elements. For the past few years, to protect my 'darlings' in the New York winter, I have shielded them by putting them in a cold-frame that I had someone construct for me. (This can be taken apart and stored in the closet in spring, summer, and fall.) The 'cold-frame' preserving method worked for a few years, and was even decorated for some Christmas seasons, as seen in the photographs posted below:


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

Because the plants, shrubs and trees have now been acclimated to my outdoor space, they did not require being put in a cold-frame for this 2010 winter.

A few smaller plants were brought inside my apartment, but most remained outside - wrapped lovingly in a double layer of bubble-wrap then sealed with natural burlap (from on-line fabrics) and tied with chocolate brown and turquoise jute as seen below:

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

However, on spring afternoons and summer nights, as you might imagine from this 2009 photo below taken by Jay Parker, a gardener (who photographed this long before the first snowfall of 2010 seen in the photo at the beginning of this post), my garden has the feeling of Lucca en Italia and of enjoying a glass of Rosso di Montalcino or Brunello or even their local wine, Vino Novello, at an outdoor cafe.

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/words-in-our-beak/id1010889086?mt=11

During the warmer seasons my friends and I have gathered here and discussed art, literature, politics, morals, and our common love for helping others. These instincts very likely came from my maternal grandfather, Albert Elmer Herman Lewis Melahn pictured below with a tree he had just planted.

The virtues  he had are too many for naming in blog format. It is because of him that I have a great love and respect for the elderly and that I enjoy doing my volunteer work which is visiting the elderly — especially those who are homebound.

"Old people. They're the survivors, they know something, The very old, they are miracles like the just born; close to the end is precious, like close to the beginning." This quote is from one of my favorite plays, I'm not Rappaport, written by Herb Gardener, the cartoonist turned playwright as mentioned in my first entry. Though I never gardened with my grandfather, I believe my love of gardening came from him. My urban gardening endeavors in my 'Manhattan back yard' are a tribute to him.

2 comments:

  1. Lovely tribute, Patricia; I was very close to one of my grandfathers as well :) xx

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  2. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and to comment, Michelle. I appreciate your saying my tribute is "lovely," for as you know I admire your writing very much! Meanwhile, it seems as if we were both blessed with a loving grandfather and the desire to connect with the elderly community whenever possible. xxxooo to you too!

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