Archive for the ‘Gardening in Ocean Grove’ Category

Ocean Grove. October 16, 2019. Hydrangea (l) and Center-Piece chrysanthemum (r.).   Paul Goldfinger.    Click to enlarge  ©.



PINK MARTINI:    “Tea for Two” was written by Vincent Youmans in 1924 and first appeared in a Broadway show called No No Nanette.  Pink Martini recently appeared at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. If you are not familiar with the Count Basie, they are now undergoing construction to become a major arts center. Check their programs at their web site.

We saw the Pink Martini show, and that versatile group has been around for 25 years. They have performed in over 90 languages.  At this performance, two members of the group sang a duet in Chinese, and it was great.


Pink Martini

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Eileen’s front half yard. Mt. Hermon Way. Paul Goldfinger photo ©   Click to enlarge.  7/13/19


VIVALDI:  The Four Seasons.

“Antonio: please don’t be upset, but we put ‘Winter’ with this summer scene.”

“From your old high school buddy Paul G.  Remember the fun we had in the marching band when you shlepped your harpsichord to the 50 yard line?”

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Striata canna. Ocean Grove August 2, 2017. Photo by Eileen Goldfinger. ©

This is a plant of the tropics, but it will grow well in New Jersey if it gets 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. It grows on rhizomes and must be dug up before the frost; then stored indoors for planting in the spring.  This plant was purchased at Sunset Nursery.    —Eileen

CAST OF LA LA LAND   “Another Day of Sun.”

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Cup and Saucer Vine. Ocean Grove. Photo by Pegi Costantino. ©

Cup-and-Saucer vine. Ocean Grove. Photo by Pegi Costantino. ©

You are my vine, my joy, my garden, my springtime, my slumber, my repose. Without you, I can’t cope.”
The Love Poems of Rumi (slightly modified for my purposes)


By Pegi Costantino of Ocean Grove (Gardening columnist @Blogfinger.net)

Vines are a perfect medium for Ocean Grove. They use vertical space which expands the allotted postage stamp garden and helps create outdoor rooms with green walls. Trellises go a long way to help with vines. They can be freestanding, attached to the house or integrated into the fence. I like to shake things up and try different vines each year. We did enjoy the red cardinal vine two years in a row because we loved it. The purple hyacinth bean is another favorite. Last year we had the Mexican Flame vine as something new and different.

There are three different growing patterns for vines. The kinds with tiny tendrils, like clematis, require something thin and delicate to hang onto. Trellises work well, but they also are perfect for camouflaging an old chain link fence. The second type has some sort of “sticky” things to help them hold onto flat surfaces. They can be like air roots (as in the ever loved poison ivy plant) or more like suction cups. Either way they stick quite well. The last is the spiraling kind. The lovely Wisteria is a perfect example. Just be aware that a Wisteria can take the porch right off the house as it spirals up the columns.

In the search for something new and different this year I came across the “Cup and Saucer” vine. I had never heard of it before. So I paid a ridiculous amount of money for a ridiculously small plant and stuck it in the ground. It was slow going at first, but eventually it made some progress. I think it would do better with more sun that I could give it, but it did creep its way up the trellis.

Finally, the somewhat scrawny vine produced a bulbous bud. It looked more like a pod than an incipient bloom. After a day or so, white petals emerged. The following day the petals were fully open, a lovely shade of purple, with a mass of protruding anthers. It was spectacular.

In full sun Cup-and-Saucer vine (also sometimes called Cathedral Bells) can reach 20 feet and be quite aggressive. Mine is about 8 feet. Container culture is an option if the container is big enough but it definitely needs something to grown up as it is the tendril type.

It still amazes me that a new flower can make the world stand still for a second or two. So much beauty crammed into something so small and delicate. You just have to look.

Cardinal vine by Pegi Costantino. © August 2015. Ocean Grove.

Cardinal vine by Pegi Costantino. © August 2015. Ocean Grove.

PHILLIP SMITH  (of Ocean Grove) with JOSEPH TURRIN on piano.  “To a Wild Rose.”

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Eileen is expecting company tonight. On the left are miniature gladiolus, and on the right are hydrangea in their late summer garb. Blogfinger photo. ©

Eileen is expecting company tonight. On the left are miniature gladioluses, and on the right are hydrangeas in their late summer garb. 8/15/15. Click to enlarge. Blogfinger photo. ©

By Eileen Goldfinger, house, garden, and food  editor @Blogfinger

Why should all the passers-by enjoy your flowers.? Go out and cut some—-they won’t be missed visually.   Use them to decorate your table or other spots in your home.  Now the hydrangeas, gladioluses and zinnias are lovely.


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Internet photo

Internet photo

Ocean Grove.  Using the Rapitest in Eileen's garden. ©  Blogfinger.net photo.  July 21, 2015

Ocean Grove. Using the Rapitest in Eileen’s garden. Needs water. © Blogfinger.net photo. July 21, 2015

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors @Blogfinger.net

We saw a man watering everything in sight on his property yesterday. Of course it is a heat wave and it is reasonable to assume that everything in the garden needs a lot of water. But that is not necessarily true.  How about adding a little science to your efforts?

  1. You can save money on your water bill if you engage in selective watering. You can use a moisture tester to decide if each component of your garden requires water.   Sometimes you can be surprised because a variety of factors will determine the moisture status of a given plant.
  1. There are several kinds of moisture detectors, and some are now digital; but all are made in China. We recommend the simplest and cheapest one which is the “Rapitest” designed by a company in Illinois. It requires no batteries, and it measures moisture from 0 through 4 on the meter. Zero is the driest, and 4 is the wettest. It costs about $10.00 at Brock’s in Colt’s Neck, but other gardening stores have them. The meter comes with detailed advice.
  1. Plants require more or less moisture for their optimum care.   The goal is to not allow dryness to kill the plant and to avoid over-hydration for those that suffer from too much moisture.
  1. The manufacturer provides a list of over 100 plants and rates their watering requirements from 1-4.

—Among the plants that like to be on the dry side: Jade plant, verbena, African violet, hibiscus and euonymus.

—-Among the plants that like to be on the wet side: ferns, hydrangeas, tomatoes, begonia, and coleus.

Or maybe it will rain soon…..

RITA GARDNER from The Fantasticks:

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Karen and Rich from Philadelphia admire Mauro Bacolo's Asbury Avenue garden. Blogfinger photo ©  6/20/15

Karen and Rich from Philadelphia admire Mauro Bacolo’s Asbury Avenue garden. Many of the gardeners placed yarn and fabric on their trees for the tour.  Blogfinger photo © 6/20/15

By  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

It was a cloudy, drizzly, cool day, but it was perfect for visitors to explore some wonderful gardens in the Grove. As usual, the challenge in this town is to make the most of small spaces, although there were exceptions such as Mauro Bacolo’s extra large botanical gardens on Asbury Avenue and David Philo’s sprawling gardens extending from Asbury Avenue down to the shores of Wesley Lake.  Some of the gardeners noted that  the extra rain and minimal sunshine lately impacted the displays, but that’s nature. Listen to the song below by Claudia Carbo—in Spanish and English.

David Philo's Asian Willow tree overlooks Wesley Lake. Note that the swan boats have returned.  Blogfinger.net photo 6/20/15

Asian Willow tree, seen from David Philo’s Lake Avenue garden, overlooks Wesley Lake. Note that the swan boats have returned. Blogfinger.net photo 6/20/15

The original concept for the People’s Garden Tour was to provide an opportunity for Grovers to visit neighbors’ homes, but as it turned out, there were many visitors from out of town including Morris, Somerset, Middlesex and Bergen Counties among others. The event was sponsored by the Ocean Grove Woman’s Club.   Pegi Costantino, President of the OGWC, organized the tour, and she estimated that over a hundred visitors came through to see her display at the Woman’s Club on Mt. Carmel Way.

The event was as much social as it was for gardeners to get ideas, ask questions, and view some unusual plantings including Mauro’s Opuntia, a prickly pear cactus at the peak of its yellow flowering. This cactus is native to the northeast, being found at shore areas up to Nova Scotia. The yellow flowers will only last a few days, so the timing was impeccable.

And there was my banana tree that caught the attention of a few surprised visitors,  and Eileen’s lollypop lilies.

Mauro Bacolo's east coast shore cactus Apuntia.  © Blogfinger.net photo

Mauro Bacolo’s east coast shore cactus Apuntia. © Blogfinger.net photo


Eileen Goldfinger's Asiatic Lollypop lilies. Blogfinger.net  photo ©

Eileen Goldfinger’s Asiatic Lollypop lilies. Blogfinger.net photo ©


Some visitors view this Delaware Avenue banana tree. Blogfinger.net  photo

Some visitors view this Delaware Avenue banana tree. Blogfinger.net photo

CLAUDIA CARBO   “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

“What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain”



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58 Lake Avenue as seen from the Asbury Avenue.

58 Lake Avenue as seen from the Asbury Avenue. Blogfinger photo.  June 15,  2015. ©  Click to enlarge.

58 Lake AVenue.   Another view from the Asbury Avenue side.  June 11, 2015  Blogfinger photo. ©

58 Lake Avenue. Another view from the Asbury Avenue side. June 11, 2015 Blogfinger photo. ©

This is one of Ocean Grove’s finest gardens.   Bordering Wesley Lake, assorted Daylilies, Sedum, and Coneflowers. On the bank side, English Roses nicely scented mixed in a perennial garden. Up the steps to the house, a mixed border on the left leading to a path to the rear garden. The Courtyard area features mixed containers, and the rear garden is a mix of shrubs and perennials. Lots of plants, take your time and look around, many interesting plants.

This property is close to Founder’s Park.  Nearby, at 64 Asbury Avenue, near rows of tents, is the Pioneer Cottage—-the first cottage in OG.  The 2015 version is quite large and interesting. Take a look while you are over there.


Here is a link to the tour map and the list of addresses:

Garden tour map and list of gardens

STAN GETZ  and JOAO GILBERTO    “Para Machuchar Meu Coração

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Lake Avenue, Ocean Grove. May 29, 2015. By Prosper Belizia, Blogfinger staff. ©

Asbury Avenue, Ocean Grove. May 29, 2015. By Prosper Belizia, Blogfinger staff. ©

ALLAN SHERMAN  with a letter home from the boy in camp.

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"This yard sucks," Says the dog.  Blogfinger photo

BEFORE:   “This yard sucks,” says the OG dog. Blogfinger photo. 2014

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Unless you are a compulsive hard working gardener, you will find yourself frustrated by the OG grass.   The drainage is often poor, and the soil is bereft of nutrients.  An estimate by our investigator says that only 1% of “grassy strips” in town are actually grassy.   Most yards and strips in town  are like lunar landscapes populated by plant species that, after millions of years of evolution, are resistant to all kinds of natural and unnatural assaults.  Beautiful real grass is doomed to die in the Grove.

The answer is artificial turf. It looks and feels like real grass. You will be amazed as to how realistic it is.  The manufacturer (Dupont)  makes a special turf for dog owners.  It allows liquids to pass through into the gravel drainage beneath. You still have to pick up poop, but you can do so at your own convenience in your backyard. This grass does not require mowing, watering, edging, weeding, fertilizing, pesticiding, re-seeding, patching, or liming. It comes with a long warranty, stays green in the winter,  and it is good for the environment.

If you love your dog, a turfed backyard can change your life and your dog’s as well.  Just install a doggie door  leading to the backyard, and, well, it’s pretty amazing—no more emergency walks; no more “get home fast, Dingbat gotta go.”   You can stop synchronizing your watches to your dog’s–ummm bodily functions.    And in the winter, when you go out to pick up–at a time when you are ready, the frozen poops are a pleasure to deal with—you can make frozen poop pops.  No more steamy, hot messes.

AFTER.  Happy doggie.  Blogfinger photo.

AFTER installation of artificial turf. . Happy doggie. He prefers to be anonymous. Blogfinger photo.  ©

While researching this article, I had a sample of the turf and I carried  it around with me wherever I went in case I wanted to picnic or amaze someone with how realistic it looked.

You just water the turf with a hose whenever there has been no rain for awhile in order to avoid the aroma of ripening urine.  But you no longer have to have a fit getting mad at those dog lovers who let their pets do their evil cyanide-toxic peeing  which kills real grass.  So it is good for your peace of mind. You will find less flies and bugs around, because they can’t find food between the blades. And the squirrels will have nothing to dig up.

Several companies make the product, and there are dealers in the shore area.  The only bad news is that the product, installed, is quite expensive;  however, it will save money on maintenance.  It is shipped in big rolls like carpeting, and it is priced by square footage.

The installation is laborious and usually  requires a professional, although some do-it-yourselfers do-it- themselfers. New Yorkers like to use the product for their penthouse rooftop gardens and putting greens.  Ocean Grovers with penthouses or rooftop pools might also like this idea.

Now the really good news: The use of this material has been given the green light by the Neptune Office of Land Use who also ran it by the HPC.  (Credit Blogfinger for doing the citizen-activist thing and making this happen.) Just Google  to find a dealer.

THE McGUIRE SISTERS:  (Please remember to click again if the music doesn’t start the first time.)

I liked Phyllis the best.  Phyllis is in the middle, was the prettiest, and she sang melody.  --PG

I liked Phyllis the best. Phyllis is in the middle (regardless of the above name arrangement,) was the prettiest, and she sang melody. She also hung around with a gangster, Sam Giancana –PG

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