Wednesday, June 29

Caroline's Garden Daybook

Outside my window..... the sun is setting
I am catch up on chores this weekend
I am harvesting.....pea pods, lettuce, strawberries, herbs  
One of my favorite garden things.....  pretty window boxes
I am reading.....The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
My favorite garden quote this week is....."I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse
Creatures I saw in my garden this week..... wild turkeys with chicks and The Raccoon
To-dos for the rest of the week.....get to the community garden to weed
Here is a garden picture I'm sharing with you...

Portland Community Garden Photos June 29th

It was overcast in the garden today. Our first hot weather in Portland this year is on the agenda for this weekend. My Tomatoes look pathetic. Add the Peppers and Egg plants to the pathetic list. Just not enough hot weather and too much rain to warm the soil and get things going.

Here is a neighbors Artichoke plant. They seem to grow really well here because they are growing in many of the community garden plots.

Here are some of the Peas that I harvested today.
I don't have too many plants, but was able to harvest enough to fill four 1 gallon bags. Plan to harvest more in a few more days.

Still harvesting Lettuce. Some of my other Lettuce is bolting so I need to get more aggressive at harvesting as it seems like everything seems to go to seed really fast here. I also was able to harvest Chives and more Radish today.

The Chard is growing well in the cool weather

The Beans sprouted quickly and is doing well although the slugs have found them

Lovely edible Nastrium flowers

Not sure if these are Marigolds or Calendula

One of my neighbors is using milk jugs to protect his summer crops. Seems funny that we are still using this kind of protection in June. Many gardeners have some sort of protection over their summer crops.

Flowers Around Town: Belfast, Maine

Yesterday, my daughter and I spent the morning exploring  Belfast, Maine. Belfast is one of the most interesting little towns on the Maine coast. With its unique personality, I just knew the flower arrangements would reflect the energy of the place. I was not disappointed. All up and down the shopped-lined streets and along the waterfront, I found blooms growing in creative displays.

How about planting an old movie theater seat?
These flower arrangements were atop the wooden trash bins. What a pretty way to hide an unpleasant necessity.
A pretty pink window box with flowers to match.
A garden sailboat. "The Water Loo" graces the grounds of the public restrooms.
A rustic planter with views of the water.
A repurposed watering can.
A window box of grass and pansies.
Lavender by the sea.
Antique wicker plant stand.
and last but not least...a bathroom sink filled to overflowing with nasturtiums.

To see more photographs from our day in Belfast click here.

Tuesday, June 28

Swiss Chard

Here is a video full of information on Swiss Chard. We are growing the Rainbow variety this year. The stems are so pretty that they look as if they should be in a floral arrangement. You can cook many different recipes with Chard. My friend Lauren who is vegan uses the leaves for her wraps. We also like Chard because it is easy and fast growing.

Sunday, June 26

Reply to Michele: Off Topic Our New Kitten

Hi Michele,

Yes, your spa looks very different from the last photos I saw. Everything looks stunning. The flower arrangements are gorgeous.

I wonder if the Broadway Bridge is the one we crossed when we visited you. I know Portland has several bridges so I guess it could have been another bridge. I hope someday I'll be able to visit again, tour your business and see the sights.

I have a little off the gardening topic news for you. A new kitten has joined our clan. She is two months old and weighs two pounds. Her name is Chloe Rose. My daughter liked your cat's name so much, she chose it for our kitten. Chloe was born to a feral cat my sister and her husband cared for. They socialized the kittens well and have tamed the mother enough that she is now living in their house. Now that the kittens are weaned, the mommy will be fixed. They've done a great job with these cats, finding homes for all of them.  A local organization provided veterinary care for them all. And we're so lucky to have little Chloe. She's a delight.
This is the spot she has claimed for her own. She's made a little nook in the drapes and watches all our other pets from a safe distance. She's still not sure how she feels about our two cats and shih tzu. Suddenly, our little shih tzu looks like a giant compared to this two pound ball of fluff. He wants to play with her so much- he loves cats. But, she's still not too sure about him. So, she has one bedroom that's just for her and this spot when we are nearby to keep an eye on things. I think she even looks a little bit like your Chloe. If you want to see how much she's grown, you can see a photo of Chloe at one month old here.

I have some disappointing gardening news. Remember the Ground Cherry and Strawberry Spinach sprouts I showed you in a post a few days ago? This morning I checked on them and they are gone. It looks like I never planted anything at all. I suspect it is due to the rain we had this weekend or perhaps something ate them. So, no ground cherries or strawberry spinach for me this year. I'll try again next year. I hope you have better luck.


Saturday, June 25

Note to Caroline, off the topic of Gardening

I thought I would give you an update on what is going on at my business. Doesn't it look totally different from when I originally set it up a year and a half ago? It is also modern. Very different from my former Spa.

Notice the new purple and cream curtains? That is the new "Prana" Treatment Suite area which also houses a treatment room, the restrooms and fitting room. See the painting on the wall? It is the Broadway Bridge that is close to us and one of the many bridges that connect one side of Portland to the other.

Here is a view of my jewelry, bridal accessories and one of the customer seating areas. Customers use it when they are waiting for a Facial, Massage, Acupuncture or Physical Therapy. How do you like the flowers on the table? I now share the production area where I make my products with Annie from Floral Sunshine. Now the shop always has several lovely floral arrangements each week on display.

Here is a shot of the retail area and the Bridal area. Erika from Bespoken Bridal has set up her Boutique right here. She has some really lovely dresses. Each dress is made by small independent dress makers and like my products each dress is handmade.

Another floral arrangement from Floral Sunshine on our reception area tea table.

To the left is the door to one of my treatment rooms. I don't think you can see my other treatment room in this photo. Well, that is all for now. Back to garden reality soon.

Friday, June 24

Note to Michele: Slugs

Hi Michele,

Yes, indeed, I am also having a problem with slugs and snails. I watched the video you posted. He had some great ideas. Here's another I found today. I particularly like the idea of trapping slugs under a board then relocating them. My dad said to use beer, but, however effective, I think my kids would be upset finding dead slug carcasses floating in a pool of beer!

Thursday, June 23

Michele's Gardening Day Book-June 24th

Outside my window..... I can see the branches of a birch tree dancing in the wind.
I am pull weeds in the shared area of our community garden.
I am harvesting.....Lettuce & Peas.
I am reading...the new "Terrarium Craft Book" by Amy Bryant Aiello & Kate Bryant. Love it!
One of my favorite garden things.... Making a big pile of weeds
Creatures I saw in my garden this week were.....I saw small spiders crawling around on the ground of my garden. Don't suppose they eat slugs do they?
Projects for the rest of the week....plant the Cherokee Tomato that is sitting on my porch.
What I would do differently next year.... Wait it out in regard to sowing seeds too early.

Reply to Caroline's Note

I looked over your photos and those seedlings look like the Ground Cherries to me. Mine are just as tiny. It is hard to believe that these are going to grow into mature plants with fruit. Take a look at the slug eaten leaves of my young Rhubarb plant. I guess the leaves are not toxic to slugs. Do you have a problem with slugs there? They are terrible this year here. Do you think those strange plants around the Rhubarb are the Strawberry Spinach? I did put labels in the garden, but they have vanished. Back to slugs. Here is a video about one gardener finding that he had a problem with them.

The Maine Grove

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Chesuncook," The Maine Woods, 1848

Growing up in Maine, trees have always been a part of my life. When I was a child, I spent serene days with my grandparents at their camp in the North Woods, not far from the area explored by Thoreau over a hundred years earlier. There, forest engulfed the camp, with just a small clearing for the two room camp, outhouse, woodpile, boat and a shed. We collected balsam tips to make sweet smelling pillows and birch bark from fallen birch for crafts. We gathered nuts and pine cones.

My siblings and I played with the stray logs floating in the lake, using them for forts and rafts. In those days, rivers were still used to run the logs to the paper mills. In the fall, I'd lie on the ground looking up at the light dancing through the Autumn leaves. The blue sky was barely visible through the leaf canopy. We saw moose, bear, deer, raccoons and loons in that wild place. Still, logging trucks roared by the camp on the dirt road, cutting into the otherwise perfectly quiet world. Even in Maine's working forest, it was a still a wild place where one could get a taste of what Henry David Thoreau saw when he visited the area.

Maine is a land of trees. As more and more development comes to Maine, it is up to each one of us preserve the trees of our Pine Tree State. All over Maine, from the developed areas to the North Woods, we Mainers love trees. I urge you to visit a new online community for those of us in Maine and around the country who cherish, protect, and plant trees.

The Maine Grove is part of The Grove, a website and online community created to engage and encourage Mainers to plant trees to protect the tree canopy. The Maine Forest Service and the Project Canopy Leadership Team sponsor the Maine Grove.  Together, families and communities can increase Maine's tree canopy. Every tree in every community contributes to a healthy tree canopy for our great state of Maine. 

So, what can you do in The Maine Grove? You can let people in Maine and around the world know about the trees you've planted. Share photos and the personal meaning those trees hold for you. Impart your own gardening wisdom and discuss a sustainable, green future. Through the Maine Grove site, you can set up a profile, post photos, musings about your own 'grove' and learn about opportunities to create change in your local community.

In addition, The Grove is a valuable resource. Certified arborists and staff members from the state and national forestry agencies are available to answer questions. You can also get twitter updates from The Grove on Twitter (@PlantYourLegacy).

Do visit the Maine Grove at, take a 'virtual' walk through a variety of Maine's woods and share your grove with the world. Michele's state of Oregon has a chapter too, so all you Oregonians out there can visit Not from Maine or Oregon? Check out to see if your state has a chapter.

An old Chinese proverb states, "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today." To all who value our trees and forests, the time is now. Together we'll create a more sustainable future.

Wednesday, June 22

Note to Michele: Ground Cherries and Strawberry Spinach Sprouts? Or not?

Hi Michele,

I've taken photos of the tiny sprouts which we discussed earlier. The top photo is the pot with the strawberry spinach sprouts-or at least what I think are strawberry spinach sprouts. It could very possibly be weed sprouts and no strawberry spinach at all.  I also sowed some strawberry spinach seeds directly into the garden, but I don't think I have any sprouting there. I left all weeds in that area so I didn't accidentally pull any strawberry spinach. I guess if the plants eventually produce those lovely red berries, I'll know for sure.
Now, in the pot below, I also have a few sprouts. These might be the ground cherries I planted in this pot or again, they could be weeds. They look suspiciously like the sprouts in the Strawberry Spinach pot, so I'm thinking probably I have weeds and no strawberry spinach or ground cherries at all.
How do these compare to your plants? Do they look the same?


Caroline's Garden Daybook

Outside my window..... my roses are blooming
I am visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens sometime soon
I am harvesting.....lots of radishes, strawberries and the first pea pods
One of my favorite garden things.....hummingbirds
I am reading.....Seasonal Herbs from Caprilands: Step by Step in the Herb Garden by Adelma Grenier Simmons
My favorite garden quote this week is....."It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought." ~James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane
Creatures I saw in my garden this week..... A big, brash raccoon. I also saw a mama turkey with her little chicks in a meadow.
To-dos for the rest of the week.....weed, weed, weed and weed some more.
Here is a garden picture I'm sharing with you...

Monday, June 20

Peonies by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
(Peony photos from Caroline's garden)

Sunday, June 19

New Garden App from Kellogg Garden Products

Kellogg Garden Products—whose soils, natural pest control sprays, and fertilizers are sold throughout the Western U.S.—has created a new gardening app for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices. The app includes information to help gardeners decide which products they need to accomplish various garden tasks, such as fertilizing and lawn or planting a raised bed. It also includes a super helpful soil calculator. Best of all, the app is free! Give it a whirl and let Kellogg know what you think by leaving a review in the iTunes App Store or the Android Marketplace.

Win a fabulous Terrarium Package

Love the concept of this book. Make sure you submit your e-mail to win their ultimate terrarium package from Timberpress. Caroline & Michele

You can enter to win the ultimate terrarium package by submitting your email address to the link above. Click on the title of this post. The ultimate terrarium package inludes a signed copy of Terrarium Craft, a terrarium kit (including bowl, airplant, sand, moss, and more), and a personalized how-to video from the Terrarium Craft authors. There will also be a few posts this week on the book and the contest on our blog located here:

Michele's Garden Day Book June 19th

Outside my window..... I can see the Hookah Bar next door through the tree branches from my third floor flat in an old Victorian house
I am planning..... to organise summer work parties at my community garden
I am harvesting.....Radish and Oregano
I am be honest with my new volunteer position as garden manager and increased work at my business I have not been reading as much as I usually do
One of my favorite garden things.....Flowers of all types. Right now my stock is flowering
Creatures I saw in my garden this week were.....Slugs of many colors
To-dos for the rest of the week....Thin the Chard and Rhubarb
What I would do differently next year.... Cover crop in the fall and winter to avoid so much Spring weeding

Portland Community Garden June 19th

It was another wet morning at the garden. One bonus was that I was able to pull many of the grass type weeds growing out easily. I got to the garden a tad earlier than I usually do and what a surprise I had in store for me. Slugs. There were slugs everywhere in my peas, lettuce and more. Yikes? I guess I have a slug problem. I am wondering how to get rid of them without harming them. Any ideas? I think the extended wet weather this year does not help either.

I found some new flowers on my garden break walk around the garden.

This is a popular plant in Portland. It grows everywhere and the blooms remain like this even in fall and winter.

My Yarrow is in bloom. Soon it will be ready to self seed all over the place.

My Lettuce. This variety has a Pepper like taste.

Egyptian Onions in Portland. I have started to notice that every community plot has a clump of these growing.

The Children's area compost bin is full. My plot is next to the Children's Garden.

Overall view of part of the garden.

Saturday, June 18

Egyptian Walking Onion Update

My Egyptian Walking Onions have reached the point where they are so top heavy they are starting to fall over. My photos are to show you how they behave once they reach this state. The bulbs forming on the top have put out stems of their own. In the top photo you can see these are curling and vining around the other onions growing nearby. These become a tangle of onions, get top heavy and bend over- hence, they walk. The little ones will put down roots where they fall about two feet from the parent plant.

I've done a quick bit of research online. So far, what I've found indicates these onions probably did not originate in Egypt at all. Some speculate India. If anyone knows more about the origin of this plant, please post in the comments. They are also known as Tree Onions and Top Onions.

Boston's Kelleher Rose Garden in Full Bloom Part 2

A little bit of heaven in the city of Boston....
 Walk the circular path around the fountain, under arches of climbing roses...

 smell beauty in the air...

 swim in a sea of roses...roses at your feet, roses cascading overhead...
The fountain and circular area of the garden was designed in 1930 by Arthur Shurcliff. While no longer functioning, it is a center piece of the garden. Plans for its restoration are in progress.
The rectangular lawn area of the garden was added in 1933.

To read a pamphlet about the garden online 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...