Of Hydrangeas, Rose of Sharon, Arbors and Tenneball…

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.

IMG_9275One of the best parts of the week was that the Rose of Sharon and hydrangea were in full bloom.
IMG_9276There’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.
IMG_9277 I could do some great things with blooms like this.

IMG_9279I found this gorgeous clump of cleome on a corner property and I’m tucking the idea away for our front garden next year.
IMG_9293A salt marsh borders the village to the west. The colors seem to change throughout the day.
IMG_9297Turning 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.
IMG_9299One 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.

IMG_9392Of 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.
IMG_9385Even as they faded, the dahlias were delightful!

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IMG_9390I would love to be a gardener who could name every variety of each plant, using the common and latin names…

…but I’m not.

I just enjoyed each bloom for it’s beauty.
IMG_9301I 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.

IMG_9349 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.
IMG_9358The old Post Office building is decorated with patriotic spirit.
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One of many inviting porches in the village.

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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…
IMG_9365When not playing tenneball or admiring gardens, we were enjoying the interesting architecture.

IMG_9368and pretty tiered gardens. Yes, still in the garden… they were clearly one of my top reasons for enjoying our vacation so much!

IMG_9379Another reason was the beach that was just down the hill. The walkway to the beach involved negotiating a steep forty step staircase.

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!

Michele

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My GARDEN Resolutions for 2014…

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Hellebores (Photo credit: pfly)

Last January I wrote a list of resolutions based on Pioneer Woman’s post about New Years Resolutions. She and I made our lists starting with the first letters of the word “resolution”… For this year’s list I thought it would be fun to use the word “GARDEN.

Here’s what I came up with:

Go to the New England Flower Show in March.

Arrange a New England Garden Blogger’s Day here in Salem for sometime in the spring.

Ride out to visit the New England Wild Flower Society‘s garden  “Garden In the Woods” in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Dedicate one hour, three times a day to my home garden.

Expand my reach here at The Salem Garden. I’m thinking about connecting with some garden product lines and changing my look a little bit.

Notice the little things as much as possible, and take photos of them.

Yes, this is a very garden related list, but won’t it be an amazing year if I can accomplish some of these ideas?

–I’m aching to get to the Flower Show this year and the NEWFS garden has been on my list forever. I just have to make time and do it!

–I’ve been thinking a lot about how nice it would be to connect with other garden bloggers in person and I can’t really find any type of gathering here in New England. What do you think? Leave a comment or e-mail me at thesalemgarden@gmail.com if you have thoughts about getting together. It could be simple, low cost and fun!

–Now that my kids are a little bigger and we’ve settled in to the working mom situation I want to get back to my home garden with great focus. I may not make it out there three times a day but if I try to I think I’m more likely to succeed. My biggest obstacle is that once I’m out in the garden I don’t want to go back inside.

–I’ve been thinking about adding some things and changing the format here at The Salem Garden. We’ll see if that comes together in 2014.

–I see so many interesting views and details in my travels that I want to slow down and document with my camera. If will be great if I can, although there’s usually several people asking me to stop taking photos and keep up the pace, please.

Here’s last year’s list:

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!

This was a pretty subjective list but I must say I did pretty well. Not so sure about resting and sleeping, eating healthier is always increasing, I have to remember to take my camera, blogging is coming along and with such a large family the budget is always a bit of a challenge. I still have some loose ends (like those darned hellebores) but overall we’re on a good track.

What does your list look like? Share in the comments, or feel free to comment about mine. 😉

Happy New Year!

Love, Michele

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!

Where I’ve Been

Here’s the view from my chair. This is my second favorite place to spend time in in the summer (of course the garden is first). I’m heading back down there now for the third day out of four!

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When you get to Waikiki Beach (in Salem, Massachusetts) just turn left and walk about twenty five steps… I’ll be there!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

There’s No Place Like Salem Willows On the 4th!

We had our annual 4th of July visit and trek through the Willows neighborhood this morning. The decorations, the people and the party are all awesome! It’s so much fun because the whole neighborhood and lots of us from the rest of the city come out to enjoy the parade, the scenery and each other. We met our good friends, took a walk and had a relaxing pizza lunch under the willow trees. Tonight we’ll all head back downtown for the fireworks. Check out the great houses, beautiful views and happy people….

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We love our 4th of July celebration here in Salem, Massachusetts!

Happy Independence Day!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

A Quick Derby Garden Update, With a Stop at West Beach

Here’s the Derby Garden when I blogged about it on March 26thIMG_0415

Here it was on Sunday. It’s greened up beautifully. I’m sure that it’s at an even different stage now, a few days later.
IMG_0938I love these old chimneys. Maintaining them here on the waterfront is probably quite challenging.IMG_0958 This was taken by my littlest girl. We girls were out for a ride.IMG_0947 Aren’t these tulips great? Donna Seger at Streets of Salem posted a photo of them in bloom on May Day and I was sure that I was going to miss them. I was so happy to see that they were still going strong on Sunday.IMG_0925 Beautiful peach columbine, coming into bloom.IMG_0924I’m not sure about this plant’s identity… does anyone know what it is? Let us know!
IMG_0922Before the garden we stopped at the beach for a few minutes. It was windy and cold but still a nice little break in the busy weekend. Sorry, no kid pictures… girls don’t always want to be photographed. That’s okay, neither do I.IMG_0916

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I thought that the view might make you smile 🙂

Summer is coming~

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Militia, Daffodils, Ants and Sunsets

Here’s a little bit of my weekend, the part spent with camera in hand.

Our first stop was at the muster down on the common. We got there at the very end but still saw soldiers marching in formation. As the daughter of a career army master sergeant I get a thrill whenever I see this, which isn’t too often these days.
IMG_0562There were horses…IMG_0565The colonial militia men..IMG_0571And tanks that fired. What is it about boys and tanks? He loves this stuff, it’s just in him. Maybe it’s a piece of his grandfather.IMG_0579Of course we had to visit the playground for a minute. It was very cold and windy. My older kids played here every day when we lived a few doors down.IMG_0587We checked into the Derby garden and found that I was correct last week, this is indeed a daffodil! I thought so!IMG_0600Here’s the next mystery plant… I think this might be a tulip, believe it or not. I’ll check back soon.IMG_0608I spent a good twenty minutes on Saturday night photographing this ant. Perhaps I need to get a life, lol.IMG_0632They are fascinating creatures if you stop and look at them. I started this project in my quest to figure out where their coming into my kitchen from. I continuously look down to see an ant looking up at me. They are really driving us all a little bit crazy.IMG_0634Of course, by the end of the twenty minutes the ant was named Wilbur and had a framed portrait in sepia finish. I think I need help here 🙂IMG_0626Out on the deck last night my little guy took this photo of one of thousands of planes heading into Logan over our house. Their so close that we can see the landing gear come down.IMG_0646But to our left we were really enjoying this.IMG_0647I’m hoping that this helps anyone who’s still recovering from the ant photos.
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Today it’s going to be in the sixties with less wind. I’m hoping/planning to get out and plant these!

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Seed packets are buy one, get one free at Home Depot! It’s a great time to stock up on anything that you need.

Happy Monday!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Nemo in Salem— Down on Essex Street

As I expected, Blaire and her camera were out today. Here’s what she sent me:

Looking toward the Narbonne House. The Narbonne house is located at the Salem Maritime National  Historic site and dates back to 1675. It’s used as a historical study house and can be toured on a limited basis.  The other thing that’s interesting about this shot is that right below that huge drift of snow lies a beautiful bleeding heart plant that’s just waiting for spring to arrive!IMG520

The snow pile is very, very tall. I’m pretty sure it’s taller than the person who put it there ;).IMG527

Drifting snow, blocking the walkway next to the Narbonne House, with the Hawke’s House in the background. The Friendship is just beyond. If Blaire could have walked through that snowdrift we might have seen the Friendship too. Those NPS workers better get busy!IMG524

Thanks Blaire!

Stay warm everyone!

Michele and Blaire

Nemo’s in the Garden!

We’re having a blizzard today!  We still have power which is a huge blessing. I’m not really awake yet, but here are a few photos while the power is still on.

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Here’s Michael’s car and looking down the street.  I just read on facebook that two city snow plow trucks have caught on fire. We may be snowed in for awhile. The roads are all closed with a $500 fine if your found driving. I sure wouldn’t want to be stuck in a snowbank and then fined $500. IMG_0595

And of course here’s the garden, buried under drifting snow. The snow is wonderful insulation and is often called “nature’s fertilizer.” My perennials are always happy after a really snowy winter.IMG_0589

It’s still snowing quite hard and I’m not sure about the total accumulation yet. It’s hard to tell with all of the drifting.

The kids went outside since I took these photos. I’ll try to get some shots of them a little later. They are going to have a great day!

I’ll try to update after my coffee~

Michele

The Day After Sandy, the Day Before Halloween..

Today feels like such a weird day. The storm has mostly moved west of here so we are in cleanup mode in Salem. That’s good, because tomorrow is Halloween, our most celebrated day of the year. We made it through the storm in good shape. There were power outages, although not to us, our lights just flickered a few times. Lots of trees and branches came down and people lost siding, boats and things that weren’t secured well. Overall there is a strong sense of relief. I can’t feel it yet myself. I keep looking at photos of the devastation in the mid-Atlantic states and feeling a huge sense of loss. That’s where I grew up and where most of our family and so many friends still live.  The damage is overwhelming and the story is just starting to be told. It leaves me feeling uneasy, unsettled and not able to celebrate anything other than our good fortune this time.

Here are some photos that Michael took at work yesterday. He posted the last one on facebook last night with the caption “a bird’s eye view of Sandy”… That made me smile for a minute  😉