Saturday, June 30

Flower of the Week is actually an herb "Peppermint"

I love peppermint tea, as it's much nicer
 than taking anything chemical for settling your stomach.

Deirdre O'Kane

Monday, June 25

Flowers Around Town Perkin's Cove in Ogunquit Maine Part 3

For our final installment of Perkin's Cove plantings, we have some lovely roses, various shop container gardens, and the rhododendrons in bloom outside the famous Barnacle Billy's.

Saturday, June 23

Flower of the Week is "Poppy"

The earthy is rocky and full of roots; it's clay, and it seems
 doomed and polluted, but you dig
little holes for the ugly shrived bulbs, throw in a handful of poppy seeds,
and cover it all over, and you know you'll never see it again-it's death and
clay and shrivel, and your hands are nicked from the rocks, your nails black with soil.

Anne Lamott

Friday, June 22

Flowers Around Town Perkin's Cove in Ogunquit Maine Part 2

Ogunquit means "Beautiful Place by The Sea" and I agree. I hope you do too. The rhododendrons were in bloom when I visited on a beautiful June day.

Thursday, June 21

Summer is Here- Summer Solstice 2018

To celebrate Summer's arrival, here's a tune from one of my favorite performers, John McCutcheon with "I Love Summer." 

Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 20

Flowers Around Town 2018 Perkins Cove, Maine Part 1

On a visit to Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine I admired all the beautiful plantings outside the shops and around the cove.

Tuesday, June 19

Caroline's Flower Garden at Dusk

Shades of white, blue and purple flowers predominate in mid-June with the exception of the blooming Lady's Mantle, a pretty yellow-green.

Monday, June 18

Maine Wildlife Park Gardens

In addition to animals, the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine has numerous flower and wildlife gardens which are planned and cared for by volunteers. Some are part of natural habitats for the animals. I was surprised on a recent visit to see so many gardens! The day we visited, they were holding a plant sale to raise money for the park.  
Check out their garden page here.

Sunday, June 17

Note to Michele: The Blessings of Brambleberries

You asked if I have any ideas as far as the bramble-berries. I struggle with this too, on the edge of my property. I have an area where they will take over. Like you, I use clippers to cut them back. I also mow the area as far as I can early in spring before they get to big. I've tried digging out the roots, but it's a difficult task.

All you can do is keep them at bay, set boundaries and count the many blessings.

You pointed out some advantages to the brambles such as a screen for wind and noise. Here are a few more blessings of brambles. 

1) The blossoms provide nectar for bees and other pollinators. Bees need all the help we can give them with the challenges they face. I have also seen wasps and bees actually eating the berries themselves in the summer months. I am not sure why. I think they like the sweet juice. 

2) The berries provide food for birds and other wildlife- always a good thing.

3) You can enjoy them as well. Harvest the fruit. Be sure to wear heavy gloves to avoid scratches. Eat fresh or freeze for the winter.  It's very simple to freeze berries. Lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze flat. Then transfer frozen berries to a zip-lock bag and label. I've also simple filled the bags and frozen that way, but they won't freeze loose, as they will be if you first freeze on a cookie sheet. 

 You could also make jam, jelly or syrup. These could make fantastic gifts for family and friends. Or maybe even sell them at a farmer's market. I believe wild foods are packed with more nutrition that those we cultivate. 

4) The bushes and foliage provide shelter and protection for wildlife. Over the years, I have seen birds build nests in them and fledglings hide from predators under the thick brush. 

5) The root system prevents soil erosion on that steep incline into the gulch. 

I am sure there are many other advantages to the brambles behind your garden, but those are the ones that come to my mind. 


Saturday, June 16

Friday, June 15

Note to Caroline :Back Area (Gulch Garden) & Side Shade Garden

I thought I would update you on the back garden and new side garden. Remember when the area was unused and covered in Blackberries. You have been using the word "Gulch Garden" because I had told you that the land is known as Sullivan's Gulch. The history of the area was described by the neighborhood association as follows:

The Gulch - from Parkland to Shantytown to Freeway “The Gulch itself has a story all to its own. The Gulch was once filled with trees, a clear spring with waterfalls and a pool. The waterfall was near what is how 19th Street and was called Sullivan's Spring. It was a favorite picnic area. By 1894 the firs were harvested and the Union Pacific Railroad ran through the bottom of the Gulch. Between 1932 and 1941 the Gulch developed a town of its own, "Hooverville" or "Shantytown," where over 300 homeless men lived. By this time the Gulch was no longer used for picnics; the stream was stagnant and polluted. A fire in the Gulch destroyed most of Shantytown and in 1941, the last shack was torn down to prepare for a modern expressway. The freeway was finished in 1957 and, after much controversy, named the Banfield Freeway after the head of the Highway Commission instead of for Timothy Sullivan, one of the first people to settle claim on the land”. -Sullivan’s Gulch

 Neighborhood Association website, 2004

This is the side border that I am making by the house foundation

There was nothing planted on one side of the house, so I decided to stick some succulents that my friend Theresa gave me, intending to transfer  them in the spring. I did not think the area was suitable because I knew it was going to be shady and wet in the summer. I was pleasantly surprised that the cuttings doubled in size over the winter and were doing well. So guess what? They are staying and I have started to add to the collection. Why spend all that energy moving them if they are doing well?

Entry to the back "Gulch Garden"

I really enjoy the "Gulch Garden" even though it is a big struggle to maintain the area due to the blackberries that are always taking over. I think I like the garden because it is private and since no one can see the garden, I can be a bit more creative even though I am trying to stick to a natural look.

The problem with the area is the invasive blackberries. They must be the most hardy plant ever! Sometimes I think they would be a great villain in a Sci Fi book or movie. You know, where the blackberries are growing so fast that they are taking over the planet and killing our food supply. It is hard to rid the wild berry in this area of the country. The first year I found those drawers on the road, and started planting in them with vegetables. I did well with vegetables that year, but after that not so good. So I am working on amending the soil and have changed the design of the garden  using permaculture principles. Any suggestions? You know much more about the subject.

All this Mint started from only one branch of Mint last year.

What do you do with your mint? I dry it to make mint tea. I can also feed ChaCha  with mint. Not too much though. I am also going to attempt to make scented sachets and eye pillows for Christmas presents this year. I also saw that you can just use sprigs of it in cupboards to deter moths and ants. You can even use it fresh or dry around roses and other plants to keep pests away. Most hate the smell.

Ladies Mantle, Hosta, Poppy and Rhubarb

I have cut my rhubarb back and had intended to dig it out as it is always being infected with some sort of beetle every year. Now I am hesitating about doing it. I hate getting rid of plants. If this was a real condition I think I would call it something like plant guilt or anxiety. Defined as the the fear of getting rid of  plants that are alive and growing for any reason. The Hosta, Poppy and Ladies Mantle are new this year and are at this end of the garden space. There are also blue Cornflowers planted, but they have not flowered yet.

You can do a lot with free wood chips

This year my goal is to mainly do herbs, flowers and mix in vegetables. The bed on the left has Strawberries, Inpatients, Borage and Lillies. The mini drawer beds are planted with Zinnias that I saved the seeds from last season. I can't wait until the area fills in. There is another circular bed that is planted with various Herbs, Tomatoes and Perennials.

Just another view 

If you look to the right in this photo, you can see the wall of blackberries that I have mentioned in this note. They are impossible to dig out, and I cannot venture out too far because it is dangerous. The land abruptly drops down to nearly at a 90 degree angle. I now appreciate, rather than hate the blackberries. I appreciate them because they buffer some of the noise and add some privacy to my garden. 

They also provide natural wind screen prevention. I have found that late winter, when they seem dormant, is the best time I have found to cut them back. If you can manage to dig them up that is great and the way to go. This season I decided at a whim, to push them back with a spade so they grow the other way because I was frustrated that they had taken over 5 foot of my garden. I did not think it would work, but it does. Remember that the area is covered with acres of the stuff so this probably is not a great solution for your garden.

Well, that is it on the update, are there any new areas in your garden this year?

Spring at Strawbery Banke Part 4

One last post about the gardens at Strawberry Banke....this one is about those surrounding the Goodwin house. Have I said how much I love that greenhouse? And the whimsical side garden is absolutely charming. If you are ever in New Hampshire, it's well worth a visit.  But, if you can't see it in person, here are some photos I took on our recent visit.

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...