Friday, June 30

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: The Small Garden Channel

Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is relatively new to YouTube. Check out "The Small Garden Channel." You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 28

Vermont Campground with Lovely Landscaping

This is a gardening blog, not a campground blog, but I just had to share with you the pretty landscaping at a campground we visited in June.
 We were there while the rhododendrons, bridal veil and lilacs were in bloom.
 I thought these Dalmatian garden ornaments were cute!

Sunset over the campsite
Early morning view of the grounds. Everything was so pretty.
The shade garden had several colors of rhododendrons, coral bells, and hostas.

I can't say enough good things about this campground- in addition to the beautiful landscaping. Here's a video I found on youtube (this is where we first heard about this campground)

Sunday, June 25

Hand tied mini bouquet

First hand tied bouquet of the season

A lovely David Austin Rose

"Pretty in Pink"

An old fashion look

The bouquet in a blue and white vase

Billings Farm and Museum Woodstock, Vermont

We took so many photos at the Billings Farm, it was difficult to decide which to post!

 The picturesque Billings Farm and Museum across the street from the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic site, it not your ordinary New England farm. Frederick Billings owned the farm, but he didn't live on it. We toured the farm house, which was state of the art for 1890 and built for the farm manager and his family. It's too much for me to relay here, so do visit their website to learn about the fascinating history.

A vegetable garden sits outside the farmhouse, but when we visited in early June, was just getting started, with herbs and rhubarb growing. The guide told us they are in the process of planting it with heirloom varieties. Inside the house, we saw the most incredible pantry, where produce was preserved and stored.

In addition to touring the house, we learned about heirloom breeds of chickens, cows, sheep and horses.


Friday, June 23

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Gardening in Norway

Four years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on youtube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Halvor in Norway. His channel "Gardening in Norway" is always interesting.

Tuesday, June 20

No space for a garden? Consider your front yard

Watch this Canadian Video for inspiration. This couple changed their lawn over to a very pretty vegetable garden. If you are considering doing the same, make sure to check the laws in your city or town. It could be illegal. It is probably best to know that you might be breaking laws before you start a front garden project than after.

Another suggestion we would have is to use raised beds like this couple did. If you don't use raised beds,then you will probably want to test your soil to make sure it is not contaminated. If you are just growing flowers, you can skip this step. However, I would still test your soil even if you are growing flowers to make sure you know what amendments to add to your soil.

Personally, we love gravel because it gives the garden an instant cottage look. Other options are wood chips or mulch. If you are using grass, make sure that you leave wide enough paths to use a mower.

Monday, June 19

Take a look at what is flowering now in my Garden, Portland, OR

Love these old fashion English Roses

It is always a good year for Roses in the "City of Roses"

Tobacco Plant

My helpers from next door

A friend gave me these succulents out of her garden

The "Guerilla Garden" unused land at the back of the property 


I think I have too many Pink Roses

Sunday, June 18

Exploring Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic "The Belvedere"

Behind the formal garden at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, is The Belvedere, a pretty two story cottage that reminded me of a doll house. When we visited, pink tulips were in full bloom, creating a charming effect.

A park ranger told us the cottage was a play house for the children of the Billings family. That’s quite a playhouse! In the 1950s, it was remodeled by the Rockefellers. In the 1960s, a fallout shelter was added underneath the complex.

A greenhouse extends off the back. A second greenhouse was where you see the pool now. The Rockefellers removed that greenhouse, replacing it with the pool.

I love the pink tulips!

The pink tulips look so pretty with the cottage in the background.

Another wing behind the house is a bowling alley. The Rockefellers replaced an older bowling alley with this one.

Coral bells grew around this rock garden and I even saw one growing in a crack on the stone stairs.

While we didn't get the chance to tour the fallout shelter, here's someone who did and posted it on youtube. This short video gives a glimpse inside and information from a park ranger.

Friday, June 16

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Sean's Allotment Garden

Four years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more and more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube.

Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured favorite YouTube Gardener is Sean James Cameron. Michele and Caroline have both enjoyed following his videos for several years. If you haven't checked out his channel, we encourage you to do so. You'll be tuning in regularly for updates.

Thursday, June 15

Review of the Green Stalk Gardening System

We were excited to receive the Green Stalk Gardening System in the mail soon after our initial conversation with this small company. We had been asked whether we would like to review the product. We said yes, and soon after the system arrived broken down and wrapped in sturdy plastic. The best packaging feature? That has to be the sturdy strap that makes the system easy to remove from the shipping box and easy to move around. It is made of heavy plastic that looks like the material used to make patio chairs so it is fairly heavy.

We don't know about your garden season this year, but ours are off to a extremely late start due to the weather. So we must admit that we did not put it together right away.  Not sure what a Green Stalk Gardening System is? Well, it is a 5 tier vertical planter with a slow drip watering system. It holds up to 30 plants.

We were excited about putting the system together when the it was warm enough to plant. One initial fear that we had was that we were going to unpack it and find a page of instructions on how to put it together that we could not understand. Been there, done that! Imagine our surprise at finding a simple guide that has more color diagrams rather than a lot of words. Basically there are 5 very easy steps to put it together, fill and plant it.

You simply fill each of the 5 levels with soil. We did discover that you have to do whatever they tell you to do in the instructions. They tell you to fill it to the top with soil. Do so.  We tried to fill it with less, soil and found it was not secure enough to add the next level. You stack each level and in between each level is the water reservoir that looks like a plastic bowl with holes. You will probably need a step stool to put on the last levels. Each level does snap into the lower level. We were initially unsure if it was supposed to snap together or just rest on the top. It is important to make sure the levels are secure.

The instructions say to water each level and we did find it was better to plant, then water each level as they directed. The water reservoir snaps on top of the unit. That is where you place water when watering and it waters the rest of the levels automatically. We used all 5, so that equals 30 planting pockets in just two square feet. We used 5.0 cubic feet of soil. Don't guess on the soil like we did. It would have been easier if we had just looked at the instructions instead of making two soil trips. It is best to use a potting soil mix or something light. What to plant it with? Well that is the fun part. We planted it with chard, lettuce, herbs, strawberries, marigolds and a few other plants that we did not think were suitable, but wanted to test them. These were peppers, onions, carrots and a cucumber.

It has been two weeks since the system was planted and so far all plants are doing better than we expected. We put in plant starts, so the chard is already ready to harvest and the strawberries are ready to fruit. It is really convenient to have this many herbs and vegetables in one place. It makes harvesting very easy. Another plus is that you are growing lots of plants in a very small area. These systems are great if you have a garden or better if you don't. The brochure even mentioned using it inside your house. We could see certain inside settings that this would work very well.

After we put the system together we checked out other reviews of the product on YouTube, and found that the only concern  by others in the comments was the price. The reviewers all loved the product. The price did concern us too at first, as we too had seen similar units at cheaper prices. But, now that we have  tested the product,  we can honestly say that this system is way better. First of all it is way more sturdy and will probably last several gardening seasons. Secondly I don't believe that the other systems held that many plants or had the self watering feature. Love the self watering feature.

The only warning about the product we have for anyone is that it cannot be moved when put together easily. So make sure that you build it where you want to keep it. One other wish is that it would be nice to have other color options such as a green or blue. We will be reporting on the system a few more times this season. If you want more information about the product go to their website.

Monday, June 12

Caroline's Spring Garden Flowers 2017


Purple Iris



Bleeding Heart and Solomon's Seal

Rhubarb Blossoms

Magenta Rhododendron and Ajuga ground cover

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...