I made supper last night for our friends Paul and Sonya who are on a garden-viewing holiday, with their baby daughter Maggie, from their home in the one-stoplight wilds of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Paul is the nursery manager for Saunders Brothers, and Sonya is a botanist, so it's fair to say that they are plant people.
After spending a hot - very hot - day on the High Line they arrived in Harlem with a truckload of beautiful plant gifts, and then we stood around under the ceiling fans, sipping drinks. More about the plants, later. I snapped this picture from the roof of the townhouse before they arrived - so the wonderfully fluffy Virginia-bred boxwoods that are there now, are missing.
I braaied a butterflied lamb, and we ate cold ajo blanco, with pickled field garlic. Boscobel, a new David Austin rose, had just opened, and there is one ripe blueberry.
The uber-double red Darcey Bussell held up well in the heat.
And downstairs, our landlord's sour cherry ripened audibly. Just the other day it was in bloom.
The candles managed to stay lit till the end, when our friends left to drive back to their Park Slope AirBnB.
It will be time for air conditioners, soon. It's extraordinary to remember the days when our bedroom thermostat never topped 60'F, indoors, and that was with $500-a-month heat. I actually thought the thing was broken and that at 60 it just maxed out (it went as low as 48'F). But as I type, it stands at 80'F. Terrace snow and the icicle-entombed roses (a leaky gutter made an ice cataract) seem bizarre hallucinations.
Viva extremes, viva!