Archive for the ‘Grover garden feature’ Category

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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Red roses. A cliché?  Internet photo

Red roses. A Valentine’s Day cliché?  “A rose by any other name may not smell at all”  (from the BF edition of Romeo and Juliet.) Internet photo


By Miss Pegi  (Blogfinger staff gardening columnist, raconteur, and Woman-in-Chief of the OGWC)

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the commercial rose industry is gearing up for their biggest sales day of the year. Roses have long been associated with romance and they are a favorite of many. The scent of a rose is part of its genetic make-up. So it doesn’t matter what you call it, it is supposed to have an amazing aroma. Modern roses do not all have a scent.

I was recently in a restaurant with a single rose on each table. I tried to get a sniff as the rose was near perfect. Nothing. A little dust maybe but not much romance in that. Then I started to poke around to see if maybe it was a really good fake. I think Tommy thought I was a little nuts (not so unusual). It was real but the product of plant breeding aimed at size and color. I was disappointed.

So as an alternative to the modern, sometimes scentless, rose, you may want to consider some alternatives to the Valentine staple. Here are my top three suggestions:

Calla lily – My mother’s wedding picture has her holding a bouquet of white Calla lilies. They (and she) are stunning. If I had to pick an all time favorite flower, this would be it. Their association with weddings at the turn of the last century add to their romantic flair. They are not necessarily cheaper than roses, but you do not need a dozen to make an impact. They also come in a variety of colors, although the white is still my favorite.

Calla lilly.  Internet photo.

Calla lilly. Internet photo.

Anthurium– These flowers announce the romance of the day with very little confusion. Large, red, heart-shaped blooms pretty much say it all. The waxy coating on the heart (really a bract, not a flower, but let’s not be too particular) keep them gorgeous much longer than most.

Anthurium. Internet photo.

Anthurium. Internet photo.

Bird of Paradise – This flower screams tropical. Cut flowers are almost shocking they are so dramatic but they certainly make a statement. You can also sometimes find a plant in bloom and they make very good houseplants. Don’t expect a rebloom any time soon, but eventually they will surprise you.

Bird of Paradise. Internet photo

Bird of Paradise. Internet photo


So consider thinking out of the rose box this Valentine’s Day. It can be very romantic.


THE MIKADO. (Gilbert and Sullivan)   Three little maids from school and a chorus of schoolgirls are so happy to get flowers for Valentine’s Day.   They are Yum Yum, Peep-Bo, and Piti.

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1st Annual People's Garden Tour.  June, 2014.  Bev and Melinda's garden.  Blogfinger photo ©

1st Annual Ocean Grove People’s Garden Tour. June, 2014. Bev and Melinda’s garden. Blogfinger photo ©

From Miss Pegi  (aka Pegi Costantino):

Good Morning Clubbers,

September is off to a fantastic start, but that is nothing new to OG regulars.  So we really should enjoy it.  Blogfinger has asked the WC to sponsor the “ 2nd Annual People’s Garden Tour” next spring.

We will be looking for gardens to be part of the program and we are trying to pick the ideal day.  Last year it was June 14, before the summer folk come to town.  That date may be a tad late for peak rose displays and even the amazing peonies, but earlier will have not much in the way of annual flowers strutting their stuff.

Also, we do not want to compete with traditional OG events. So give me your opinions and let me know if you want your garden on the tour.


CONTACT:  Pegi@comcast.net   or go to the OGWC Facebook page:      OGWC Facebook link


MILES DAVIS  “Springsville”


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Eileen’s hibiscus, August 2012, Ocean Grove, New Jersey. EG photo

By Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor  @Blogfinger

Last February when we were in Ft. Myers, Florida, we took a trip to the Fleamasters flea market on MLK Blvd. to buy a hibiscus plant for our Florida garden.

I unfortunately didn’t examine the plant carefully. I was seduced by its beautiful flower and did not notice that it was leggy and had mealy bugs. Disappointed but undaunted, I placed it on our sunny  patio, repotted it with planting soil  and sprayed it thoroughly every few days with Eight Insect Control by Bonide. I rid it of bugs and pruned it by a third.

Since we were not going to return to Florida for 8 months, I decided to take my hibiscus back to Ocean Grove and give it some TLC until I could place it outside in June. It rewarded me with endless beautiful flowers all summer.

So this November, when we return to Florida for a few weeks, my hibiscus is coming with me. I plan to take it back and forth with us as we travel from New Jersey to Florida and back.

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Paul  Goldfinger

We bought a honeysuckle plant about four years ago for our little OG garden  which has a shady northern exposure and looks toward Asbury Park. The nursery expert told us that it needs sunshine, but we really wanted one, so we got it and planted it where it gets partial sun, from the west, late in the day.   Fast forward to now, and it is blooming nicely, thank you very much.  There are over one hundred varieties, but this one has funny looking orange flowers.  Some would call it a bush and some would call it a vine, but you can call it Al.  Anyhow, it is vining its way over the top and then through the  chain link fence to Meredith’s yard where she gets to enjoy it also.

Soundtrack: This song, Honeysuckle Rose, is a jazz standard, performed by many of the greats. But we chose Jenna Mammina because we like her style (think Blossom Dearie), but also because of the unique confectionery way that she enunciates “honeysuckle rose.”   PG

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