A Great Date at the Boston Flower and Garden Show 2015

We don’t get out on dates often, let alone for a whole day, so our day at the flower show was as romantic, relaxing and enjoyable as going to a spa.

It was all about spring. After our long, cold, difficult winter this little bit of spring felt absolutely decadent!
We were greated immediately by primroses.As we walked in to the Seaport World Trade Center the first thing we saw was this beautiful pop of spring color.

IMG_8284The primroses were circling this fire pit that we will be installing this summer…or not, but I think it’s a good idea :).

I love this settee! Who wouldn't want to sit upon a bed of moss?I love this settee! Who wouldn’t want to sit upon a bed of moss?

This light fixture hung just above the moss settee.. perfect!This light fixture was hung just above the moss settee.. perfect!BonsaiBonsai

Another beautiful seating area...Another beautiful seating area…

A whimsical birdhouseA whimsical birdhousea less whimsical but very interesting birdhouse..and a less whimsical but very interesting birdhouse…

and straight back to the whimsey!and straight back to whimsey!

I tend to like the whimsey…

There was spring everywhere!Spring was everywhere!The beautiful paper brideThe Newport Flower Show created a paper bride to publicize their upcoming show in June.

IMG_8315She was dressed with coffee filters, tissue paper, aisle runner and raffia.

It really felt like spring had sprung.Hello again spring!IMG_8324This fountain was lovely. The photo doesn’t really show it, but it’s about five feet across, so it resembles a small pond.

What's a garden show without a classic O'Keeffe peeking out?What’s a garden show without a classic O’Keeffe peeking out?I must have a bug hotel this year!I must have a bug hotel this year!And a beautiful fairy garden...And a beautiful fairy garden…

with felt birds.with felt birds,

the fairy gatea gated walkway.IMG_8342and a frog pond.

IMG_8334I loved these mushrooms. We saw them in the Marketplace at the show but Michael reminded that we have many children, many soccer balls and many pets in our garden so they would last for fifteen minutes, tops.On to bigger things... a sand sculpture..On to bigger things… a sand sculpture..

...was still being created. Love the head of broccoli!…was being created. Love the head of broccoli!

This was the first time I've seen helleborus in person.This was the first time I’ve seen helleborus in person.

IMG_8385Heres one of the first exhibits that we saw. Horticultural therapy is front and center! I love it!!Fast forward to the end of May!The Department of Corrections fast forwarded to the end of May. Thank you DOC! We needed that!

yes they do!yes, and out of air too.

IMG_8366There was a cranberry bog and farmer who explained the process of growing and harvesting cranberries, an interesting exhibit for all ages!

a lovely bouquet of rosesA lovely bouquet of roses..

IMG_8372Just behind the lovely bouquet was a hands on demonstration about arranging roses.

I was very impressed with the hands on opportunities available at the show.  It was much more interactive than I expected.

A flower birthday cakeI just had to take a photo of this pretty flower cake for my oldest daughter, the baker.

IMG_8379As the keeper of goldfish in two tanks in two locations I could only think that this interesting tank looked like a huge maintenance challenge. Really huge.

IMG_8389Here’s another interactive exhibit that was created by a group called PlantSomethingma.org. Plant Something’s goal is to encourage people to enjoy the benefits of growing things. Everyone who passed through their custom built greenhouse had the chance to plant a mystery seed to take home. The type of seed is revealed by color after visiting their web site. It’s a pretty creative way to draw people in.

IMG_8386The PlantSomethingMA.com greenhouse was decorated with cool features like this rain barrel…

and this guy.and this guy.

I love this use of succulents and ferns, an uncommon combination.I love this use of succulents and ferns, an uncommon combination. This arrangement was in the competition area which was full of beautiful arrangements.

IMG_8397Be sure to stop and see the witch hat that was decorated by our friend Dave Eng of Dave Eng’s Flowers.

It was a great way to spend the day. I agreed with Michael that we would have enjoyed seeing more garden vendors in the Market area, but those that were there had a nice selection of plants, tools and accessories. The quality of the lectures and exhibits was outstanding. I enjoyed talks by authors Neal Sanders, who blogs at The Principal Undergardener and Betsy-Ann Golon who spoke about herb garden design. They were both engaging and full of ideas and information. While the food selection was a little bit limited, the huge turkey sandwich that we shared for lunch was delicious.

All in all, it was a wonderful, inspiring, colorful spring-like day.

We couldn’t have asked for a better date than that!

Get to the flower show! It’s there through Sunday!

Take the kids, take your mom or your sweetie… there’s really something for everyone.

Happy almost spring!



It All Began With Children…

…reads the sign describing the creation of this beautiful new carousel on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. I love the Greenway.  It’s green space full of fountains and sculpture that recently took the place of a very ugly highway that cut right through the city.
DSC03288This carousel is a wonderful addition to the park.

DSC03302Where else can you ride on a lobster
DSC03296or on Peter Rabbit

DSC03295or sit next to a harbor seal?

DSC03278 We loved it!

DSC03280 Dad still rides the carousel wherever we go. He’s been riding for many, many years!

DSC03276 The artistic work is amazing..

DSC03275 and fun

DSC03297 and whimsical.

DSC03300 We have whales here…

DSC03303 falcons

DSC03305and sea turtles…

I had a funny flash forward as I watched my family enjoy this and imagined that some day we would be watching our grandchildren ride…I think I need help,  lol.

You’ll find the carousel just around the corner from the New England Aquarium… Salem Residents, don’t forget that the aquarium is free to us this month.  If the aquarium is too crowded (as it was for us last Sunday) the carousel is a great substitute, or you can easily make it to both.

Enjoy everything!


Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- July 2013

I have exactly five seconds to photograph, write and publish this post because I’m heading in to Boston for day two of Boston College new parent orientation this morning.  So busy and so much fun! Here’s what I’ve got at 6:08 am in Salem, Massachusetts on the fifteenth of July.  Have a great day garden bloggers and Salem Garden readers!  I’ll be checking out all of your gardens later!

Love, Michele

IMG_2110 IMG_2109 IMG_2108 IMG_2107 IMG_2106 IMG_2104 IMG_2103 IMG_2102 IMG_2100 IMG_2098 IMG_2095ps/ Be sure to visit Maydreamsgardens to see the other bloom day posts! Off I go!

The “new normal”

I read an article in the Boston Globe Magazine today by former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky about his experience during the marathon bombings and the idea that many, if not all of us, will live at a “new normal.” He refers to a poem written by a Brazilian poet, the late Carlos Drummond de Andrade, that describes the security of normal as being “ancient.” The poem talks about the different things that one might take for granted until their gone or until one’s world is changed by something that threatens their security. It ends with the lines “They had gardens! They had mornings in those days!”

I don’t have permission to use it so I won’t publish the poem myself but you can read the  Globe article here. It met me right where I am today.

I think that we’re getting there. As I promised on Wednesday we got outside and planted away that afternoon. We turned beds over, planted spinach, peas, more lettuce, carrots, shallots and of course, radishes.

IMG_0731 IMG_0740

Our new normal still has gardens. Our new normal still has mornings.

I hope more than anything that we can reclaim the  feeling of security that we took for granted for so long.

I think we will.

Thank you so much for all of your support and kind comments over the past week.

We’re going to be just fine.

Love,  Michele

We Were There

Yes, we were there and I can’t really blog about gardening again until I write about it. I participated in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for the first time the other day. It was such fun to join in with other bloggers all over the world to talk about what’s blooming and I saw a nice big push in my views. Now I’ve taken ten steps back from that. It seems insignificant after what happened. I thought that it would be fun to take four of my kids in to see the marathon. As a family we’d participated in various ways over the years so it’s close to our hearts, as it is for so many people here in the Boston area. Michael had to work and I felt strong and confident on Monday, like the kind of Mom who can do lots of fun things with her kids. Michael dropped us off at the Wonderland T stop around 1:30 and we rode the subway in with a plan to come home on the commuter rail. It was a fun ride with conversation about riding the subway with my sister when she and her family visited last year and my brother’s Marathon runs. We got off at the Prudential Center stop and headed for the marathon route, enjoying the crowd and hoping to see the runners. Before I knew it we were on Boylston Street in a shoulder to shoulder crowd. We snaked our way up the street with my little guy in the lead, my hand on his shoulder and my little girl behind him with the big girls following us closely. We got to the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets and something told me very clearly to turn right and get out of the crowd. I steered us over and we were in an open area. I said “lets head out this way and go around the crowd, maybe we’ll get closer to the finish line that way.”  We went up the next side street, stopping to take some photos. We were standing on the next corner in view of the medical tents when it happened. A huge, earth shaking noise erupted and the smell of smoke came over us. I knew right away that something was very wrong. A few seconds later there was another blast. I instinctively knew that we had to get away from there and said to the kids “we’re going to start walking now, as fast as we can, something’s wrong and we need to get away from here.” So we did. We walked, not knowing what happened. We called Michael and he hadn’t heard anything about it.  My sister in Pennsylvania saw it on the news and called and asked if we were okay. We were, but we wondered what happened. No one knew. People around us were crying. They were on their phones speaking urgently. The ambulances and police cars passed us endlessly. I knew that something terrible had happened.  In my panic, which I was working very hard to hide, I checked my phone map to try to figure out the best route. The subways closed immediately and I knew that it would be dangerous to consider getting on public transportation anyway. At first I thought we’d get to North Station and get on the next train to Salem. As we walked and I planned our strategy I started to think twice about the train idea. Michael agreed and made arrangements for us to meet co-workers of his at the National Park in Charlestown, across the river. We got a little lost but we slowly made our way from the Back Bay, through South Boston, into Chinatown and then into the financial district. As I looked at my map on a street corner a businessman asked if I needed help. I told him that I was trying to get to Charlestown, to the National Park there, where we knew people and would be safe. He walked us through to the view of the bridge that we needed to cross to finish our trip. It felt like a huge vacation to have a few minutes to think about what to do without having to think about where we had to step. As we walked I kept looking for open businesses and door ways in case we needed to get inside since we still had no idea of what had  happened. We were hoping that it had been a transformer explosion, not a terrorist. We made it over the bridge to the park and into an NPS office where we waited for Michael to come get us. As we sat there our phones told us more and more about the situation. The idea that we had walked up the street, right past the bombs was more than I could imagine. The fact that I subjected my kids to such a close call is still sending waves of guilt over me. Knowing that their innocence was stolen at the ages of eight, ten, fourteen and sixteen makes me furious. The reality that we are all okay leaves me thankful beyond measure. Now we’re working on figuring this out. We’re trying to process what happened and put it someplace. We’re also praying for the victims and their families. I’m going outside to plant radishes with my kids in the sunshine now. That’s how we heal around here. We pray and we plant and we carry on.

Monday Morning In Marblehead

Here’s a little gallery of photos that I took yesterday while on a quick trip to Marblehead with my Mom and Mother-in-law. Marblehead is only a few miles away but it feels like a different world.  I love these little right around the corner vacations! Click on any photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow. Enjoy!

A Blizzard is Coming!

So, it sounds like we might be getting snow. Every time I hear about it, it’s a little more. The guy who’s fixing my ceilings today just said that it’s up to 33 inches!  I didn’t live here in 1978 when the biggest blizzard of all time hit New England. It’s the storm that every other storm is compared to, including the event that’s forecast for tomorrow and Saturday. I can’t help but think that it would be nice for my kids to have “blizzard memories” like my adult friends do of the Blizzard of ’78. We’ll see what happens!

Our preparations are well underway starting with the most important thing, what should I make to eat? I’m thinking chocolate chocolate chip cookies and a Pioneer Woman chocolate sheet cake should do it. I know that there are other flavors but we are chocolate people. I have a good stock of milk, juice, tomato sauce and pasta. There’s also some canned food and two pounds of bacon (thank you Michael). I bought bags of apples, oranges, veggies and even some blueberries the other day.  Michael and the kids have the firewood stacked up and I may do a sweep of the woods to collect extra kindling a little later, just to be sure. I think we’ll be just fine here in the Salem Garden.

I have some fantastic snow day projects lined up. Last night we picked up the new white roman shades that I ordered for the office. I think that installing them while the wind whips at the windows will be fun! I also have a collection of matching boxes just waiting for all of my paperwork to be organized into. Hopefully we’ll spend some family time relaxing and playing a board game. I may brave the trip to Target to find something new and fun to play. My plan is that just as the troops get restless, I’ll whip it out and wow them, then peace and happiness will prevail until we can get outside to shovel.

I’m off to fill water containers!  I’ll keep you posted as the snow falls.

Stay warm today!

Love, Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden– January Thaw Edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a garden update.  It’s time to get out there and look around!

Our winter has been mild so far. We’ve had lots of warmer than normal days, with a little bit of snow and ice. Here in the Boston area a common saying about the weather is “if you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.” It’s true, we have dramatic changes year round, sometimes in the course of a single day.  The warm ocean is so close yet the cold air from Canada is right in our backyard. We never know exactly what type of weather the next week will bring. We’re officially in the middle of a January thaw right now so there’s some wonderful hints of green in the garden.

Here are a few things that I enjoyed this morning:

Lots of oregano…IMG_0537

Rosemary! It just needs to be covered  if  when it gets cold. This plant is getting big.  Maybe someday it will resemble my Mother-in-law’s beautiful Rosemary plant  in Delaware. IMG_0542

There are fresh, new thyme leaves, plenty of them!DSC01492

The foxglove is just thinking about spring..IMG_0539

And this garlic is confused. I’m confused actually. It died in the heat last summer, now it’s back? What to do? I’m not sure, I’m just thinking about it.DSC01494

And there’s mesclun! This will make a nice lunch today.DSC01495

Hi ladies, sweet little girls…DSC01497

The snapdragon is poufing up. I wonder if we’ll see blooms if it stays this warm.DSC01501

Creeping sedum… this always pops up when we have a warm day. It’s everywhere and I smile every time I see it.DSC01503

And the highlight of my photo tour, the snowdrops are coming up! These are real! Everything else is kind of a warm weather fluke/treat but the snowdrops really are a sign that spring is on the way. Yesterday I was enjoying gardening blogs from the United Kingdom and France and saw lots of snow drops in all of their glory. It seemed that I would have to wait a very long time for that but maybe not!DSC01507

Red twigged dogwood is so pretty in the winter. DSC01515

Lamb’s ear peeping through.DSC01521

And looking up at the gray sky, there are buds on the flowering pear that we planted last spring.DSC01512

I’m likely to be posting photos of my kids sledding over my buried pumpkins next week, but spring will be here before we know it!

Enjoy Everything!


Resolutions by Pioneer Woman, and Me!

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, written by Ree Drummond, is probably the first  blog that I ever read and it remains my very favorite to this day.  My oldest daughter and I met Ree when she was in Boston at a book signing last year and I can honestly say that  she is as nice in person as she is on-line, in print and on tv. If I need a little break in the action  I just pop over to see what’s going on out at the ranch. There’s always something that makes me smile.

Yesterday Ree wrote about her resolutions for 2013. She used the letters of the word resolution and came up with not one, but two lists. I barely made it through one, but here it is, as it appeared in the Pioneer Woman’s comments:

Rest more, I’m on the run (if not actually running) a LOT!

Eat healthier snacks (yesterday my 18 year old son said “stop making cookies mom!”)

Sleep soundly

Own every decision

Live in the present

Use my camera everywhere

Take my kids to the beach once a week (even in winter)

Increase my blogging skills

Owe no one

Next fall, plant some hellebores, I keep wanting to do that!

That’s it! I’m not a huge “resolutions” person, but maybe I’ll accomplish some of this, especially if I share it here on my blog.

Okay, your turn, go ahead and give it a try! What are your resolutions for 2013?