Tuesday, May 31

Caroline's Community Garden Plot: Take 2

If you've been following my community garden story, you know that a few weeks ago we weeded the wrong plot due to a labeling blooper. You can read about it here.  With rain and other things keeping us away, today was the first day we could check out the right garden plot. My kids were worried we'd have a repeat of the weeding we did a few weeks ago, but thankfully the weeds were few and easy to pull. And the plot is HUGE! Twice as big as we first thought.
We turned the soil and spread compost, then headed to my favorite nursery to buy a few seedlings. I wanted the kids to feel a sense of accomplishment and thought we'd have plenty of space for seedlings and the seeds I intended to sow. You know that old saying your eyes are bigger than your belly? And how the kids always want the 20 foot Christmas tree because it really looks shorter out in the field, forgetting you only have 8 foot ceilings. Well, our seedling shopping went something like that. The kids were exuberant and chose all sorts of favorites, including corn. I hadn't intended to plant corn at all-it's hardly worth the effort when it's so plentiful at farm stands in the summer. However, the kids REALLY wanted corn so we got a six pack.
Then I remembered I'd always wanted to try a Three Sisters Garden. Corn is one of the three sisters. More about that tomorrow.
I thought about getting a few single plants, but my master gardener pointed out the six packs were a better value. Made sense.
We returned to the garden to plant our seedlings. We had WAY more than we needed. In no time at all that huge bed was full and overcrowded with plants I really hadn't intended on growing. Those kids were just so persuasive (and cute) and on the bright side, if they chose it, they'll probably eat it, right? I removed some to plant at home and give to relatives. I'm still worried we'll have some vines escaping over the sides of our bed but we'll deal with that later.

Above: My Comic.
My daughter noticed that birds are living in the birdhouses around the place. With a zoom lens, I got this shot. The bird didn't seem upset at all by my presence. My daughter can't wait to see if any baby birds hatch in the coming weeks. We'll keep you posted.
Watering the garden plot.
Almost done. Tomorrow we return to finish up the Three Sisters and mulch. It's good to know this time we have the right plot.

Monday, May 30

Kelleher Rose Garden in Boston Massachusetts

This Memorial Day we headed south to Boston, Massachusetts. Our plan was to attend the Museum of Fine Art open house followed by a visit to the Kelleher Rose Garden. When we arrived, we saw impossibly long lines snaking out the doors, and around the museum. We decided to head across the street to see the Kelleher Rose Garden first, hoping the crowds would die down while we mingled amongst the roses.
 The garden was full of buds almost ready to burst into bloom. 
The garden was first planted in 1930
and has two hundred varieties of roses to enchant visitors.
About 1500 plants live in the garden.
The garden is expected to be in full bloom mid June. The garden is open daily from May through September. If you are in the Boston area, do plan to see this lovely garden. Nearby you will also find the Fenway Victory Gardens, the last remaining WW2 Victory Garden, as well as the War Memorial. The Museum of Fine Arts is across the street.
To see more of our visit to MFA and the Fens, click here to visit my family blog, Pinecones and Periwinkles.
For more information visit The Emerald Necklace Conservancy here.

Sunday, May 29

Growing Tomatillos

We'll both be growing tomatillos this season. This is another plant which is new to us both. John from Growing Your Greens has this great idea about growing tomatillos in barrels.

Friday, May 27

Maine Woodland Wildflower Walk

A quiet walk this evening, down a serene road...

...come see the wild flowers along the way...

to see more Maine woodland wildflowers click here.

Thursday, May 26

International Test Rose Garden-Portland

The Portland International Test Rose Garden is located right in the center of the city in Washington Park, which is also the home to the Oregon Zoo, The Japanese Gardens and many of Portland's most popular attractions.

The garden is free to the general public and is located on four acres of land. It is home to 10,000 Roses. Portland is known as the "City of Roses" and even has its own "Rose Festival" and many other smaller Rose gardens around the city. Most Roses start to bloom here from May to June, with many blooming all the way to late fall so there is always something to see here.

Rose beds are long, oblong and pathways are grassy. Warning signs are posted everywhere. Don't even think about picking any of the blooms. There is a $500 fine.

I love the old fashion English Roses. Perhaps they remind me of my English roots. In the house where I grew up, the garden was a formal Rose garden that included Tree Roses.

Pretty in Pink. A mass of lovely pink blooms. As a side note dogs that are leashed are allowed in the garden.

A lovely view of the Rose Garden. There are also a few smaller theme gardens where you will find plants other than Roses. If you are visiting Portland, you must add the Rose Garden to your list of sites to visit.

Garden Friend

Today was spent weeding and turning the dirt in some of my garden beds. Near the end of the day, I saw the first snake of the year. She stopped and we looked at each other for a few minutes.
Then she went on her way. It's hard to tell in the photos but the snake is about 2 feet long. I hope I'll see her again soon.

Wednesday, May 25

Peat Pellet & Seed Starts Update

I just wanted to update everyone on the Peat Pellet seed starts. I located a nice cozy, warm home for them on top of my dryer at my business and they are doing very well. Most of the seeds started to emerge after 1-2 weeks. There was no need to water because the pellets came with a tray and plastic cover. Sort of like a mini greenhouse.

This week I was able to transfer the seeds(Tomato, Pepper, Egg Plant) into their own pots and located them on one of my bright and sunny picture windows at my business. I also started Ground Cherry seeds in egg crates. I found that they did not germinate as fast without a cover and the egg crates seedlings were more susceptible to developing a fungus. However, they work in a pinch.

The only other problem I experienced was with the wooden sticks I used to label each tray of seeds. After a few days I had to dispose of the sticks because they developed a fungus too. Labels falling off or ink disappearing on labels seem to be continuous challenges for me. So basically I am guessing what plants are in the trays. I can tell which ones are tomatoes, but right now the Peppers and Egg Plant look pretty much the same. My next challenge is to start hardening off the seedlings so they can go outside. I have read that this is a 2 week process. I will keep everyone posted.

Michele's Garden Day Book

Outside my window..... rain, rain and more rain
I am planning..... to thin seedlings at my community garden this weekend and do some weeding and re-mulching of pathways
I am harvesting.....Swiss Chard is the only plant I can harvest right now
I am reading.....Urban Farming in the City
One of my favorite garden things.....is planning the garden
Creatures I saw in my garden this week were.....lots of ladybugs
To-dos for the rest of the week.....I have three new glazed pots to plant at my house
What I would do differently next year....make sure every label I use is waterproof

Tuesday, May 24

Caroline's Garden Daybook

Outside my window..... thunderstorms rumble.
I am planning..... to finish the weeding this week and get to work on my community plot before the weekend.
I am harvesting.....some herbs- cilantro, mint, lemon balm, oregano, sage.
I am reading.....Herb Companion back issues
My favorite garden quote this week is....."In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful."~Abram L. Urban
One of my favorite garden things.....is the smell of Lilacs.
Creatures I saw in my garden this week were.....worms and bumblebees
To-dos for the rest of the week.....weed and weed some more; start more seeds, fix bean tipi.
Here is a garden picture I am sharing with you.... 

California Poppy Invasive in Oregon?

Today I found this clump of lovely California Poppies close to our community tool shed. It almost looked tropical against the sea of green leaves and pastel color palate of the spring garden. I imagined how wonderful my summer garden might look as the California Poppy seemed to scream "summer" to me. Then it suddenly struck me that someone at the Community Garden had told me that the California Poppy was considered invasive in the garden. Or did they say it was invasive in Oregon? Or both?

I did an Internet search this evening for more information and found that although the the California Poppy is drought tolerant and self seeding it is only recognized as a potentially invasive species. Another question. What is considered invasive in Oregon? I did not find the California Poppy on the list, but did find other plants such as Ivy. It might be a good idea if you don't know what is on your state's invasive species list to take a quick look.

What do you do when you have a invasive plant growing in your garden? Here is a video from the University of Maine Extension Services.

Monday, May 23

Chinese Red Noodle Bean

Chinese Red Noodle Bean is on our list of heirloom plants to grow this year. I found this video on youtube with some good close ups of the beans, as well as good information.

Salem, Massachusetts: Flowers Around Town

Yesterday, my family spent the day in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is best known for witch-y things but it's also a beautiful New England town rich in history. While walking around town I snapped photos of some pretty spring flowers. This bike always has a lovely arrangement growing from the basket. Today, pansies seem to be the flower of choice.
Salem shop owners are creative with their flowers. I love the cone shaped hanging basket. This was one of several suspended from an overhang in a shopping area.

Flowering trees and shrubs are in bloom. Lilacs are flowering all over New England right now. Not so sure what the other white blossomed tree is, but I thought it was beautiful against the pink house.

To see more of our day in Salem, click here and here.

Sunday, May 22

Salem, Massachusetts: The PEM Asian Garden

Just outside the East India Marine Hall of the Peabody Essex Museum, one will find a most beautiful Asian Garden. It is adjacent to PEM's Garden Restaurant.
Heavy, full blooming peonies splash color in the garden today...
red and pink
a place to reflect...
fascinating sculpture..
bamboo art...
and tranquility in the midst of Salem, Massachusetts.
Simply beautiful. If you get a chance to visit, do.

To read about my family's visit to the PEM click here.

What to do when it is just too Darn hot to Garden?

It has been a very hot summer everywhere. From what I have been told it is normal to get 100 plus days from the months here from  May to Oct...