Fireworks Prep at Salem Maritime NHS, and a Wonderful Garden, of Course

Every year The Salem Garden receives hundreds of hits in the days around the Fourth of July. I don’t really blog with traffic in mind but this is something that I should try to figure out. I usually do a post about the very popular Salem Willows parade so maybe that’s part of it. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t get down to the Willows this year but I’ll watch for other local blogs’ parade photos and share links here if I see them.

While I missed the parade, I did pop down to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to check out preparations for tonight’s festivities, which will be absolutely grand! We have a beautiful fireworks display that’s accompanied by a live orchestra (or is the orchestra accompanied by the fireworks)? Either way it’s a great way to celebrate the fourth!

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The Stage is Set!

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The Friendship is ready to be the centerpiece.

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The ladies’ chairs are all arranged for viewing at the Brookhouse.

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The eagle on the Custom House is shiny and  accented by bunting and flags. I did look around for more information about that lower flag but I couldn’t find anything. Today is not a good day to call my husband and ask him about it. He’s a bit busy.

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The Hawkes house is decorated.

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And very importantly, the Derby Garden is just beautiful today. It sits quietly behind the Derby house,a few feet away from all of the action. If your down on Derby Street be sure to check out the garden. It’s really special.

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Just a quick peek but you get the idea. Our beautiful July gardens are really the best part of the fourth!

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This was taken today at 11am. Viewing space is going fast! Claim your territory soon!

Happy Fourth!

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- June 30, 2015

Wow, where has a month gone?  Well, here at The Salem Garden it’s gone to medical emergency after medical emergency after medical emergency. After months of sickness and a very tough weekend in the hospital my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Functional Abdominal Pain Disorder. Yes, this is a real thing and it involves a lot of pain. She’s doing better but we have some work to do to get her back to her happy ten year old self. In the two and a half weeks since that happened my dear mom was also hospitalized and had surgery to remove her gall bladder, then last Friday my younger brother had a major cardiac event (while at my Mom’s house helping her recover) and was hospitalized. He tells me that he feels much better now that he has a pacemaker. Thank God!

So, the garden is a combination of the last thing I’m thinking about and my biggest outlet for stress. I have very little time to tend it, let alone blog about it, but when I do get out there it’s the most wonderful place in the world and I weed and prune my heart out. This is horticultural therapy at it’s very best!

It’s been cold here. So cold that my tomato plants are still waiting for that push of heat that puffs them up and the lettuce is as happy as can be. It’s been a very strange garden year.IMG_9016Here’s the garden looking down from the deck. Weeded and edged but pretty darn simple. That’s okay, we have a nice Farmer’s Market downtown on Thursdays.

IMG_8995 The onions have grown quite a bit in a month. They don’t mind the cool temperatures.

Here they were last month:IMG_8937

IMG_8998To say that the tomato plants have struggled is the biggest understatement ever. I had two solid flats full of seedlings that were just beautiful. They grew right on schedule and were ready for the garden at the exact moment that I planted them. Then they just sat there and looked sad and small. It was cold, very cold. Tomatoes do not grow well in cold. Their little leaves start to turn in and turn yellow. Fortunately my dear friend Betsey came to the rescue with some extra seedlings that were bigger. I added them and replenished mine with some extras that I had held back under shelter. I  fertilized with vermicompost a few days ago and I swear their starting to look better. We’ll see what happens. Maybe some mulch would help as well.
IMG_8997We do have buds and one fruit on an early girl. Thanks to Ed and Betsey for this plant!IMG_8999 Poor peppers, same story as the tomatoes. I don’t know about this.IMG_9004 We have tons of  raspberries. Maybe this will be the year that I figure out the raspberry jam.IMG_9007 The chicken coop flowers are fine.

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We integrated our four baby chicks in to the flock last week. Their still spending some time on high perches but overall their doing quite well. This is a very feisty little flock of chicks. They can defend themselves. IMG_9008 I may still start some cucumbers in this little bed. We pulled the herbs out a few weeks ago because we have plenty in the new herb garden closer to the house. It seemed silly to use this precious real estate for herbs when we can add some veggies to it. I just have to add some compost and plants, and remove some rocks… which is all the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest at the moment. Maybe some fall plants will land here?IMG_9010 Here’s a little plot of bush beans. I’ll share the variety when they produce (and I find the seed packet). IMG_9013My Harrington estate rose is blooming! No, that’s not a real variety of rose. I just call it that because it came from the Harrington property that abutted our old house on Forrester Street. I missed the spring pruning this year but I’ll try to catch up with it soon. IMG_9027My little crop of broccoli seedlings are doing well. I should really start some more for the fall. I think that would work.
IMG_9031And of course the lettuce is still thriving. We are enjoying this lettuce all day every day! I should find a spot to add some more, especially if it’s going to stay cold. We could have lettuce all summer, no bolting here!

How’s your garden growing? How are you doing? I miss all of my blogging friends and I hope your all well and having a great garden season if your in the northern hemisphere, and a good winter if your in the southern.

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- May 31, 2015

Hello from finally rainy Salem, Massachusetts!

I haven’t posted in quite a while. There’s been so much going on here; sick children, graduating children, coming home from college children, going to college children, dancing and soccer and proms. Big life events can be great subjects for blogging but they don’t jive so well with gardening and garden blogging, especially the sickness. I’ve been pretty consumed with the needs of my family, as I should be.

So, the garden isn’t quite where it usually is at this point in May, but that’s okay.  I can always catch up on the bean planting or substitute things or buy bigger plants that are further along. It will all work out in the end, or not, and that’s okay too.

IMG_8924These are the rainclouds that I was trying to out plant and out photograph before they burst this afternoon. I just made it and now we’re under a flash flood warning. It’s been so dry that the flood warning is welcome.

IMG_8913I post a pic of this view every year. It’s raining hard and is expected to continue through Tuesday, so I’m not sure that the iris flowers will survive. I’m glad I took this photo when I did.

IMG_8917Things are getting underway out in the herb garden. That’s parsley in the foreground. The oregano came back strongly, along with some dianthus, thyme and chives. I just put that brownish lovage in the back and added the new rosemary plants. Rosemary doesn’t winter over here unless we have an extremely mild winter, which is rare.IMG_8920 Looking from the other direction the cilantro was started from seed. IMG_8923 The blueberry bushes are loaded with berries! I need to plant more blueberry bushes. IMG_8925The Solomon’s seal is about to bloom…IMG_8926…along with my favorite yellow iris,IMG_8930 and the German iris.IMG_8931 Here’s a first for us; horseradish in bloom! It emits an odor of horseradish all around it. I don’t really love horseradish, but I’m kind of enjoying this. I hope the flowers don’t take away from root formation.IMG_8933 I planted a little bit of broccoli… so cute!IMG_8936 And the lettuce is happy. This is thriving because Michael does a good job of watering it for me with the leftover chicken water.

Here’s an interesting fact about this lettuce; the mesclun mix on the right was fertilized with vermicompost a few weeks ago and the row on the left wasn’t. Vermicompost is the way to go! I have a nice little worm bin here under my desk and all I do is feed them fruit and veggie scraps and keep an eye on the moisture content of the box. I harvest the compost once in a while and the “tea” or liquid that the worms produce every few weeks. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. I should blog about my worms more. IMG_8937I started these onions from seed in the early spring and transplanted them a few weeks ago. I need to make sure they don’t dry out and keep fertilizing them. Maybe I’ll try some vermicompost.
IMG_8941 Looking back, there’s lots of open space. IMG_8943I still have basil, tomato and foxglove seedlings,IMG_8914along with peppers.IMG_8942I dug this big pot of dill out of the front yard yesterday because we reconfigured the landscaping out there. Dill doesn’t really transplant that well, it’s better grown from seed. These are small enough that they might settle in if their handled carefully.

If any of you local friends want some dill just let me know! It will be here for a few days until the rain stops.

How’s your garden growing? I miss you and your comments and your blogs! Leave me an update so I can stop by and check in!

Love, Michele

 

Help! Help! a Lily Tree Question…

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First of all, I’d never even heard of a lily tree or tree lily depending on which web site I look at, until an hour ago. My friend posted these photos of her lily tree with these really interesting growths protruding out of the base of the trunk.

So our question is

what is this?

Are they roots or a pest or an alien life form?

I haven’t seen anything quite like this before.

What say you gardening gurus, master gardeners, people who google better than we do…

Help!!

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Here’s another photo that Denise took.

She lives just a quarter mile away so I want to be ready if I need to watch out for this thing..

and I’d like to help her too!

Share your thoughts, any at all,  in the comments section!

I know we can figure this out!

Thanks!!!

Michele and Denise

It’s My Blog and I Can Ask You to Vote for Holly’s Cake if I Want to…

Cakes for Occasions's photo.

so I will!

I know I’m way far away from gardening at the moment, but I’m not far away from creativity, passion and spirit!

My oldest daughter Holly decorated this cake to represent Salem High School in the Cakes for Occasions Cake Wars event on Sunday morning. Cakes for Occasions is a bakery in Danvers, Massachusetts that specializes in absolutely delicious nut and peanut free cakes and pastries.

Holly really put her all in to the design and decoration of this cake because that’s the way she does things like this, and she wants to win cupcakes for her classes’ prom.

Now it’s time to vote and we need your help!

To vote, click on this link 

https://www.facebook.com/cakesforoccasions 

on facebook, like her cake and share with your friends so they can like and share too!

I just know she can do it!

Please share my post widely, re-blog, like, share on facebook, tweet… whatever social media your into!

Thank you all so, so much for your help!
Michele
Cakes for Occasions's photo.

 

A Tale of Two Bulb Beds

So here’s what happened…

I planted bulbs from the same three packages in two different beds in my yard within an hour of each other.

I even blogged about it here. This was just a few months ago, right before we experienced the most difficult winter ever recorded in eastern Massachusetts.

There was a lot of snow.

IMG_8601Here’s the backyard herb garden today.  Remember how I carefully planted bulbs along the path, in the nooks and crannies? It was going to be amazing! The herbs are slowly coming to life but there’s not a bulb in sight.

IMG_8599And then there’s the sunny front yard…same packages of bulbs, same planting time and their blooming to beat the band.

I’ve been reading about microclimates and I think that this situation is a good example of two very different climates within about twenty yards of each other. The front bed gets morning sun that’s reflected off of the house and the big windows just above it which makes warm soil, almost like a greenhouse. The herb bed in the back gets afternoon sun and it’s kind of tucked in behind the hemlock tree and shielded by the house until later in the day. As the sun rises higher in the sky this spring it will hit this spot earlier in the day. Right now, it’s still pretty cold out there.

Or maybe squirrels dug everything up when I wasn’t looking!

I don’t think so, I would have noticed.

It could also be related to the soil. That front yard soil isn’t anything special. I kind of neglect it, but it does have years of good mulch composted in. The herb bed was just dug last spring and fertilized with compost from our piles and a few bags of organic compost that I bought.

So, I’m on bulb watch! I’ll let you know if anything pops up.

How’s your garden growing? Did your bulbs come up?

Enjoy it all!

Michele

Bass River is Green for Earth Day and Every Day!

thesalemgarden:

Yesterday we took photos of some of that ways that my employer, Bass River, Inc, works to be environmentally friendly. I haven’t read the mission statement recently but I’m quite sure that green initiatives must be mentioned because taking care of the earth and treading lightly seems to be a focus. It really is a unique place to work . Enjoy these photos and words shared by the men and women whom I’m privileged to work with. Happy Earth Day! Michele

Originally posted on Bass River Gardens:

We do lots of things in a “green” way here at Bass River, Inc.

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One of Bass River’s cars is clean and running on electricity. We use plug in power and its fast!

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We pack  this lawn seed and send it to customers for the company. It uses less water and no chemicals.

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We plant seeds.

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We recycle yogurt cups!

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We use Energy Star appliances.

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We recycle coffee cans and water bottles.

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Recycling cans!

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We recycle paper.

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We put apple peels and banana skins in our compost bin and turn it.

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We also make compost using worms.

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We collect the sun to make electricity for our building.

Earth Day is a day to keep the world a better place!

Happy Earth Day!

Photos by Tanya, John P and John M.

Text by Nathan, Ellie, Danielle, Tanya, Jason, Laurie, Bill and Barbara

View original

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- April 2015

Yes! It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and we have a few blooms.

I can’t forget that April 15th is also the two year anniversary of the Marathon bombings. The city of Boston has declared April 15th One Boston Day.

This day will be a celebration of the resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people that make Boston the great city it is according to the Mayor of Boston’s office.

The city and region are stronger for what happened. I’m personally working toward that too. Sometimes strength comes when I least expect it, but so does weakness.

We will never forget or be quite the same, but we will  move forward and it does get a little better gradually. You can read about our marathon experience by clicking here if you want to. I have a little ptsd, but not as much as others who suffer(ed) much more.

It was quite a day, week, year, two years…

And Back to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day…

The snow is gone… totally gone…

That’s hard to believe considering that just two weeks ago the garden still looked like this:

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IMG_8552 But it’s gone and our crocus are blooming. They’re almost on their way out already.IMG_8548 A few of the anemone bulbs that I planted last fall are about to bloom.IMG_8547As I looked back at my photos from two years ago I realized that the scilla has filled in quite nicely. One of the best things about garden blogging is seeing your plant’s progress in just a few clicks.

IMG_8545These two little daffodils are the first that I’ve seen here in our garden this year.
IMG_8540 The pansies arrived (from up the street) late last night and we got them planted this morning. I haven’t planted pansies this late in the season in many years, but it happens when spring is three weeks late.IMG_8533Case in point, the snowdrops… they’ve made it, but by a thread! The snow was at the top of the six foot fence thats behind them not long ago.

Be sure to read the other GBBD posts on May Dreams Gardens, and send prayers and positive energy to the thousands of victims of the bombings here in the Boston area.

We are strong!

Love, Michele

Lettuce Plant Lettuce

LOL, I can’t stop myself sometimes…

Creating blog post titles truly amuses me.

But, the title is true, we really can start lettuce from seed now.

IMG_8530Last Saturday was cold and windy but I had lots of fun planting four varieties:

-Merveille de Quatre Saisons

-Winter Density

-New Red Fire

and Pinetree Mix

I chose each type for different, specific reasons.

I’m hoping for an early harvest from the Winter Density. It went in on the late side because the ground was still frozen but it’s an early variety that grows quickly.

The New Red Fire is said to be slow to bolt, and it’s so pretty.

Merveille de Quatre Saisons is described in the Pinetree catalog as  “truly marvelous. It was the only lettuce in our trials that remained good tasting during an exceptionally dry and hot summer years ago, and continues to impress us each year. ” I couldn’t resist that kind of high praise.

And I chose the Pinetree Mix with the hope of having a nice little bed of baby lettuces that we could pick easily and often.

We love fresh lettuce!

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I also love taking pictures of lettuce markers early in the morning in my pajamas and Michael’s mud boots. ;)

Lettuce is easy…

–You can scratch up an existing bed then add compost and seeds at about 1/4 inch depth,

–or plant it in a pot

–or open up a bag of organic soil and just add seeds to it like this (click on the link to see!)

So lettuce plant lettuce! It’s finally time!

How’s your garden growing?

Love, Michele

 

Gardening, Family and Life in Salem, Massachusetts

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