This Week's Podcast: Winter Wonderland — Wave Hill with Louis Bauer
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There isn’t much you can do outdoors when the temperatures are below freezing, and wind gusts are up to 40 mph and there isn’t any snow to shovel. Indoors, the lengthening daylight hours in January foreshadow the beginning of spring and there is plenty to see and do. The lemons, limes and oranges are showing buds in the sunroom – especially the Citrus medica (Buddha’s Hand, left), which will make fantastic fragrant contorted fruits. Soon there will be the sweet scent of open blossoms.
I sowed seeds from the fruits of the pink Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema candidissimum) three weeks ago, and they are coming up. I’m going to be sowing seeds of many plants every week through March. Some go in a sunny window and most, like the Arisaema, under lights.
When I want to know what might bring interest to the winter garden, I head over to Wave Hill, the public garden in the Bronx, NY. Our guest on the show this week is my husband Louis Bauer, the director of horticulture (right). Louis worked at Wave Hill years ago and came back after a stint helping to establish Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ. He tells us about Wave Hill, a former estate on the Hudson River with views of the Palisades, and some of the plants that bring color in the depth of winter.
Outdoors, besides berried plants and spectacular evergreen conifers, I think the naked twigs on shrub dogwoods and willows (left) are the brightest things in the landscape and plants I should add to the New Jersey garden.
We hear about the sleeping Flower Garden, shown below in winter and summer, with the Glass covered Palm House (below, right) flanked by two greenhouses: The Tropical House is a living museum of some of the most spectacular potted planted plants you’ll ever see. The Succulent House is filled with incredible cacti, cacti look-alikes and hundreds of succulents. Between these greenhouses is the two-story palm house with a show-stopping, ever-changing display of brilliant flowering plants.
Wave Hill has had many distinguished celebrities like Teddy Roosevelt living in one or another of the houses on the property over the years, and one of them wrote about winter, there. Mark Twain leased the estate from 1901-1903, setting up a tree house parlor in the branches of a chestnut tree on the lawn. Of winter at Wave Hill he wrote, “I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts here I have ever known on land; they sing their hoarse song through the big tree-tops with a splendid energy that thrills me and stirs me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always.”