Good morning! Happy June! We’ve made it past Memorial Day weekend and here I am AGAIN apologizing for my inability of publish anything at all here on The Salem Garden. I think about and write posts in my head all. the. time. and yet I just can’t get the hour or two needed to sit down and publish something constructive.
I think it has a lot to do with the five kids, husband, multiple animals, garden in spring and the still newish part-time job. About the job, it’s really quite good. The work is physically hard and very good for me mentally. I love the plants, the task of finding spaces and figuring out where to put things and getting paid to work out for four or five hours, four days a week. Lord knows I wouldn’t do it any other way. My co-workers are great and I enjoy the customers. It’s fun to listen to shoppers interact with each other and ask questions. I believe that if I blogged about the questions I’d probably have an award winning garden blog here.
I just need more time!
Here at home lots has been happening in our garden. We’ve had nice weather. It’s been warm enough, yet kind of cool. Things were getting pretty dry, but we’ve had several good rains in the last few weeks.
I’m very happy to report that I got the deck decorated nice and early this year so it’s already heaven on earth. I love to sit here when I have a few minutes.
My little fish Pepper loves the deck too because that’s where his summer house is (he spends the winters on my kitchen counter). I put this barrel together with plants from a great nursery that specializes in ponds. If you’re a local water gardener, be sure to visit Country Gardens in Ipswich. They have everything you could ever need and it’s a fun place to look around.
The herb garden is filling in nicely. It looks like the foxglove that I planted last year is going to flower!
Iris are in bloom! I love iris.
Down in the kitchen garden we’re in the fence business this year because we’re sharing our space with a family of bunnies. Bunnies munch a lot.
In fact they munched the beejeebees out of the peas that I planted in March. Here are two of the five or six that survived. I’ve noticed that in the few days since the gates went up they’ve started to grow again. I’m not sure that we’ll have enough peas to serve a bowl on the Fourth of July, but there may some for a salad or two.
I planted all of my tomato plants (about 40 altogether) even though they were neglected and got kind of leggy. This is what happens when you don’t move your seedlings to a larger pot. I knew that, but repotting them just didn’t happen. I’m going to stake these asap and hope for the best.
I had to share a picture of this horseradish because I think it’s going to take over the world. If you want horseradish, just let me know and I’ll dig some up for you in the fall.
The lettuce is finally edible, thanks to the bunny gates.
The swiss chard (on the right) wintered over and is picking up again. I need to learn to incorporate it into summer recipes better. The spinach (on the left) is starting to grow, but I’m worried that it’s going to bolt as soon as it gets hot.
Our garlic looks quite happy. It may be a big year for garlic around here.
Not so much for the asparagus… I should plant some new sets of roots. I’ve been wondering if we’ve over harvested it for the past couple of years because some of our plants didn’t come back this year. Any thoughts on why we’d loose asparagus plants?
These are kaleidoscope mix and chocolate beauty peppers. They’re on the outside of the wooden fence so I’m hoping that this metal fence is enough to keep the creatures away.
The onions need to be planted, like… now…
I grew coleus from seed this year and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’d like to increase the number of flower/annual seedlings that I grow myself. It’s very easy and saves lots of money. Sometimes I winter coleus over in pots inside too.
Speaking of seeds, I still have a lot to go in. Carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, multiple flowers… I need to get out there and get these in the ground!
And finally, these ladies arrived on Mother’s Day.
We have two new White Leghorns, two Buck-eyes (the first chicken breed developed by a woman), two Easter Eggers and a Black Giant…
The Black Giant thinks she’s all that… lol..
What’s happening in your garden? I hope that you’ve been out there planting something.
My dear Uncle Ossie needs our help!
Uncle Ossie gardens in Pennsylvania, and when I say gardens, I mean that he gardens!
I grew up watching him and my late Aunt Josie grow and preserve their harvest. I wish I’d gardened years ago the way I do now. It would have been fun to share the love with Aunt Josie.
Uncle Ossie seems to ebb and flow with things that happen in the garden. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or a neighbor’s tree might block the sun a little bit, but this problem has him stumped.
The raccoons are eating his corn!
I mean decimating it… every year for the past few years.
He’s trapped them, sprayed concoctions on the corn (last year it was made with ghost peppers), and tried other humane ways to move them along, but they keep coming back!
Any ideas out there?
I told him I’d ask you. I know that there are some amazing gardeners who stop in every now and then. One of you must have the raccoon elimination from the corn patch secret!
People still eat corn, don’t they?
Feel free to share my post widely with anyone who might be able to help.
Love and thanks,
Michele and Uncle Ossie
Last week we had a great vacation in a village on a bluff overlooking the ocean.
It’s kind of a private place, but I have to share a few glimpses.
It was all about the beach, the gardens, our family, good food and tenneball.
One of the best parts of the week was that the Rose of Sharon and hydrangea were in full bloom.
There’s something perfect about the combination of hydrangea and Cape Cod houses. The soft colors and texture of the flowers really complement the gray shingles. I’m asked for advice about how to grow hydrangea all the time so I need some experience. I’m looking around my garden for the right spot to fully experience hydrangea propagation and care so I can share with others.
I could do some great things with blooms like this.
I found this gorgeous clump of cleome on a corner property and I’m tucking the idea away for our front garden next year.
A salt marsh borders the village to the west. The colors seem to change throughout the day.
Turning around from the view of the marsh one finds this long Rose of Sharon hedge. I think of this as Yankee thrift at it’s best because the Rose of Sharon plants send off new plantable shoots every year. I could probably start my own Rose of Sharon Border quite easily here in my garden at home.
One of the gardens featured a beautiful collection of dahlias. I’ve grown them in small quantities in pots and borders, but never close to this degree.
Of course I was interested in how they were staked up. It looks like the gardener used simple go away green poles and ran garden twine along and through them to hold everything together.
Even as they faded, the dahlias were delightful!
…but I’m not.
I just enjoyed each bloom for it’s beauty.
I also enjoyed this beautiful house, arbor and another Rose of Sharon border. There seemed to always be an arbor in view or just around the corner in the village.
In Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, and in several other communities in New England, tented church camps grew into more formal cottages which grew into fully equipped seasonal and year round homes. The village we stayed in has similar roots as a church camping ground. This house reminds me of the Oak Bluffs cottages.
The old Post Office building is decorated with patriotic spirit.
One of many inviting porches in the village.
Our young boys created a game that they named “tenneball”, a wacky combination of tennis and badminton with very specific, unconventional rules. They held a tournament in the volleyball court to the left and I decided that I could have watched tenneball all day as long as I was admiring those pretty blue sailboat shutters, the gardens and the arbor. I won’t be posting pics of my participation in the tenneball tournament. Let’s just say that the kids got a pretty good chuckle…
When not playing tenneball or admiring gardens, we were enjoying the interesting architecture.
It was very easy climb up and down with such beautiful sights to enjoy on each end.
I hope you had a restorative vacation in a special place this summer too~
Thanks for stopping by!
Last week my family escaped to Cape Cod! It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there’s so many fun things to do. We trekked from one end of the Cape to the other and a little bit beyond up to Plymouth. Michael spends time down there every year for work but we tend to head north on vacation so it was new to the kids and I hadn’t been in a long time. We saw gardens… some really amazing gardens! This is a bed at the Heritage Museums and Gardens. I didn’t know that this 100 acres of surprises existed until a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to do a post or two about this wonderful place!
I’m planning to write a lot more about our great day there later this week.
It’s the best coffee in the world!
We swam (actually the kids swam), ate lots of cupcakes and had ice cream for dinner one night.
It was a trip of beautiful views, new experiences, family time and some great garden visits! Truly an escape like no other.
This week we’re back in Salem preparing for the start of school next week and harvesting things in the garden.
What are you up to? Are your kids back to school? How’s your garden growing?? questions, questions..
Enjoy everything (and answer one of my questions in the comments)!
To keep them safe, the chicks had spent most of their time in the chicken tractor until the other day. Michael let them out in the yard for a few hours and they had a blast!
Iris to eat, how tasty!
Or not, depends on your palate 🙂
The party went on until they went home at dusk.
Those young chickens love to party!
I was ready for bed at nine 😉
I was thinking about writing my own review for the year but WordPress composes and sends me this one and quite honestly, I like it. It’s fun to read about my top posts and how much traffic I’ve had and where my views come from with these nice graphics and photos. 2013 was quite a year. There was lots and lots of change and adjustment and re-grouping and figuring things out around here. Sending first children off to college isn’t easy, nor is returning to the workforce after seventeen years, or experiencing a terrorist attack, but I did all of that. I’m hoping that 2014 will be full of amazing gardening times and fun family experiences, and maybe some really good posts here at The Salem Garden. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and for all of your love and support. Your all wonderful! xoxo Michele
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
It started out like this. I remember saying something like “there’s the horseradish” and going on to my next thought.
Yesterday I was cutting back and cleaning up the garden and realized that the horseradish had died back from the frost and was ready for harvest. I thought I’d pull some out for Michael to enjoy. I didn’t get the horseradish gene but he and my mom eat it like it’s candy. So I started digging, for at least an hour. Long story short, we have a lot of horseradish root out there and it’s buried very deeply. There will be horseradish on our property for many years to come.
I soaked it a little and washed the dirt off. My middle daughter, the Harry Potter fan, saw this and immediately went downstairs and put in the Harry Potter movie with Professor Sprout and the mandrakes and watched the whole thing, lol.
It looks like the large one is actually six roots that fused together. I might of missed it last year.
The smaller, normal size root was easily peeled and chopped.
He doesn’t smile like this for just anything.
The larger root is still sitting on my counter. I think that I’m going to try to cut it into smaller pieces and freeze it to grate later since the refrigerated version only lasts for up to six weeks.
Looking forward to a nice horseradish cream sauce with the roast beef on Christmas Day 🙂
I’m sorry, I’ve been away, lost in the realm of back to school routines and commitments that make me run (sometimes literally) from 6 am to 9pm most days. I need to get back to my blog so I’m going to jump right in and just talk about what I’m thinking about today. I’ve been tossing around the idea that I am a “process” gardener. In other words I love the process of planning the garden, planting and growing things. The end product is not that important to me. I enjoy the fruit of my labor but producing a zillion tomatoes is not my goal. The enjoyment for me comes from the act of gardening. I think that this is very different from gardeners who have their eye on the prize at the end and consider the work it takes to get there to be hard labor. It isn’t ever hard for me. I can weed, water and prune all day and love every second of it. If I loose to the conditions, so be it, I’m okay with that. I have to stock my freezer with dinners in the spring because I know I won’t want to come inside and cook. I just love being out there.
What I’m not too okay with is the idea that it’s almost over. Fall in New England is really beautiful but I get hit with a little case of the blues at this time of the year. I just can’t believe that summer is ending. Where did it go? Do I really have to wait through three long seasons for it to return? That seems like forever right now.
Okay, enough wining… there’s still a ton of work to do. We have broccoli, lettuce, Brussel sprouts and herbs growing . I’m planning some winter gardening activities to keep things busy. I have lots of window space here in my new office that my rosemary plant, geraniums and other herbs will love. Maybe I’ll finally get a cold frame going and stay in the game for a longer season. At the very least I could add some new houseplants and spend some more time reading garden blogs from the southern hemisphere.
It may be fall but spring will be here before we know it, right?
What kind of gardener are you?
Be well and enjoy everything.
We were driving through New York state a few weeks ago and decided to stop and check out the CIA. In my mind we were going to quickly view the campus and maybe get something to eat in one of their famous restaurants. We stopped in the admissions office to find out that we had hit the jackpot. It was an information session day for prospective students. Before we knew it we had watched the video, listened to the admissions officer describe all of the features of the school and we were on a guided tour. Some of us were still technically wearing pajamas (not me or the prospective student, thank goodness) but we just went with it. I did manage to take a few quick photos as we looked around.
This fountain is in the center of the campus and looks down over the Hudson river. I think that’s the shadow of a chef on the left? I didn’t really see it until I was looking at this photo at home.
Here I’m looking up at Roth Hall which seems to be the main building on the campus. Several of the restaurants are located here, along with the majority of the classrooms. Needless to say, I loved the planters that held mixtures of vegetables and flowers.There were strawberries..and tomatoes
and eggplants mixed in.
This is their Italian restaurant where reservations are required two months in advance. I would have loved to have seen the interior but it wasn’t part of the tour and I’ve learned to keep a low profile when school shopping with high school students.
Here’s the herb garden behind Caterina de Medici. We didn’t have time to walk down there. If we had, I would have spent an hour taking pictures and my family knew it so they dragged me back to the car ;).
Of course we saw a sample dorm room and I had to take a photo in case we need it for future reference. This is my only interior shot as the school asked us not to take photos of the students. I was quite careful but next time we visit I’ll be in blogger mode and there will be photos of restaurants, hallways and bookstores for sure!
It was a fun, impromptu stop that certainly shortened our trip from the Poconos to Salem.
Enjoy your weekend! Hope your in the garden!