Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- November 2013

I didn’t think that I’d have a November GBBD post to share but I just can’t quite give up yet.

We still have a few blooms to enjoy here on the coast of New England.

IMG_4372Still a few knock out roses, the rest of the roses are gone. I’m really in love with this color that I chose for the front and side yards. We planted several of these recently. You’ll see more of them in the spring.

IMG_4364Some snapdragons too…with the right kind of winter I may be able to post a photo of these in the February and March GBBD posts (just kidding, probably).. 

IMG_4359Not quite a bloom, but the asparagus foliage and seeds almost qualify. I love these!

IMG_4329And just enough foxglove to make sure that we don’t forget about it.

That’s it for me!  Looking forward to looking at the other Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens!

Hope you do too!

Michele

ps/ It’s the weekend! Be sure to take a few minutes to check out the video that I shared here the other day of Margaret Roach‘s gardens in New York State. It’s great!

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day-October 2013

Here’s my very late in the day, just under the wire Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post!  I started it at 6:30 this morning (when it was technically too dark to take photos) and I was so close to finishing tonight that I just had to do it. I love reading all of the other posts, and while I don’t generally use the latin names, and some of my blooms may have been posted in months past, I find great satisfaction in participating.  So… here we go!

IMG_3781Our zinnias are still unfolding. I couldn’t live without zinnias.

IMG_3783The volunteer snapdragon carries on.

IMG_3784The cosmos continue, and so do the canoes.

IMG_3779A simple white chrysanthemum.

IMG_3785A pretty pink and white, very hardy chrysanthemum.

IMG_3786Classic yellow mums

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And one of the last roses of summer.  I dug this rose bush out of the Harrington estate on Essex Street in Salem right before a bulldozer scraped the top ten inches of soil out of that yard about thirteen years ago. It blooms in June then comes back a bit in the fall. I moved part of it here from my garden on Forrester Street when we bought this house in 2002. I believe that the other half is still living down on Forrester St.

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Of course there are chrysanthemums in a shade of rust. See what happens when you plant the hardy varieties rather than toss them?

IMG_3801The knockout roses forge on as well. You have to love them!

IMG_3817Zebra grass

IMG_3814Sedum

IMG_3807And while not “blooming”, our woods just below the garden are full of fall color!

Be sure to visit the other garden blogs at May Dreams Gardens!

Goodnight!

Michele

Process or Product?— I’m a Process Gardener

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.

Michele

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What’s Happening In the Garden– September 10

I am hanging on to summer, that’s what’s happening here. With fall on our doorstep people keep saying that fall is their favorite season. I’m sorry, I just can’t join them, I’m a summer girl, that’s all there is to it. IMG_3094That said, the mums are getting ready to pop, which does help a little with the transition.
IMG_3093The oregano is still beautiful. I gave this a good cut back a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to dry some to enjoy this winter.
IMG_3091We still have plenty of green tomatoes. I’m hoping that the sun that’s forecast for today and the heat of tomorrow will help these along.
IMG_3089 The romano beans took off and are climbing. Next year I think I may start some of these earlier in the season. IMG_3085 This cute little gourd just peeked out and surprised me. I need to scrounge around and see if there are more hiding along the fences.IMG_3084 We still have zinnias!IMG_3083 And here’s the asian cucumber that I planted from seed in late July. It kind of took off. I don’t see much fruit but there were several bees flying around it pollinating the other day. It may still happen.IMG_3081 The morning glories reseeded from last year and are happy in the herb garden.IMG_3079 IMG_3076We have several banana peppers to enjoy. I may try drying a few of them.IMG_3073 Broom corn, so pretty! Next year we’ll plant a nice strong row of it and make some serious brooms. IMG_3070 Lettuce, with broccoli next to it. I’m kind of surprised by this broccoli. I wonder if it’s one of the few plants that likes being close to the chicken coop. I’ve been reading about broccoli and learning that it responds well to the high nitrogen content of chicken compost. The trick seems to be growing nice leafy plants before the flowers form. I think we may be on our way here. I’m growing these at work too but I believe that the heat on the rooftop caused flowers to form before the plants really matured. We deadheaded those, then composted and fertilized them heavily with poultry manure a week or so ago, so I’m watching and hoping that they’ll take off.IMG_3066We have lots of tomatillos, another nice surprise. I froze several over the weekend. It’s as easy as taking off the outer skin and putting them into a freezer bag. This week I’m planning to make some salsa verde, and I’ll likely freeze a nice gallon bag or two of them for the winter.
IMG_3061The foxglove is back in all it’s glory! I love this plant. It will probably reseed all over the place!
IMG_3102This is tucked into the front border on the outside of garden… is it ragweed or goldenrod? Pat at Commonweeder (one of my favorite garden blogs), just talked about this yesterday. I’m not sure, but I think it’s goldenrod.
IMG_3057And I’m already missing the black eyed-susan. It’s hard to see them go.

How’s your late summer garden doing? What were your biggest surprises this year?

Tell me about your garden, I love to hear from you!

Happy still summer! Enjoy Everything!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden-August 18

Well, what’s happening is that there are highs and lows out there. I love coming home from vacation at this point in the season because I never know what I’ll find. That first or second look around the garden is really fun and interesting, and sometimes a little bit upsetting, but thats okay.

IMG_2667 The echinacea and rudbeckia are at their height. I really need to thin them out  this fall to make room for other plants.  I’m pretty sure that if you look back a year you  heard me saying this. Local friends, please comment if you want some!

IMG_2664We have a nice little harvest of shallots to enjoy considering that I planted just two tiny rows of bulbs.
IMG_2669 I love the purple coneflower…

IMG_2673 and the rudbeckia/black-eyed susan.

IMG_2678 Michael spent some time clearing out the butterfly garden weeds yesterday and discovered this clump of foxglove trying to bloom.

IMG_2681 Swiss chard isn’t looking so good. Could be bunnies or deer?

SAMSUNGMy daughter took this photo last week on her phone. It’s right at the bottom of the hill. He’s a beautiful guy but I’m living in the the “deer are eating the swiss chard” camp at the moment.
IMG_2689The volunteer tomato plants in the asparagus bed are in better shape than the planned plants… sigh.

IMG_2685My camera strap and I are waiting for the broccoli to form florets.
IMG_2692The brussel sprouts are sprouting.

IMG_2696The asian cucumber plants look happy.

IMG_2699I think it’s beautiful.
IMG_2695Here’s what remains of my  poor little zucchini plant. I really need to give up my dream and let this go.

IMG_2694 Lettuce is coming along again, ready for the cool days.

IMG_2701 This is broom corn. The seeds were sent by my blogging friend Brenda,  The Blonde Gardener  when she gave some away to readers in the spring.

IMG_2702It’s what brooms are made from. I think it’s really cool!

IMG_2704We may have a few beets coming along. They are hanging in there!

IMG_2705The romano beans are taking off but something is eating those leaves. What do you all think? Help me figure this out garden bloggers!
IMG_2709 Cosmos

IMG_2708 Cosmos

IMG_2710and more cosmos. I’ve enjoyed these this year. Every year I’m surprised by something that I didn’t really plan. I love that part of the garden!

IMG_2707 Tomatoes and blight, and blight and tomatoes. Come on and turn red guys!

IMG_2713Notice the cucumber beetles? They always love this plant. I’m considering this to be organic pest control at it’s best. The asian cucs are already resistant to the beetles but I haven’t seen a single one over there.
IMG_2714This guy hangs on the fence and keeps and eye on everything. I should put the lights on for him.

How’s your garden growing?

Enjoy everything!

Michele

I Should–

Michael and I spent a few precious hours in the garden late in the day today and I just felt like I “had” to take some photos and get this post done because I was writing in my head. Does this happen to you other bloggers? Sometimes I can’t move on to the next thing until I get that post drafted, or those photos taken. It’s an addiction, this blogging thing.  Part of what was on my mind was the fact that our garden has so many “shoulds” in it that I have to get busy with, or address or do something about, or not do because I should know better.

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These blueberry bushes are a good example. Michael and I bought them a few weeks ago because we had been in New Hampshire and encountered some beautiful bushes in a city park that were loaded with berries. This led to a new discussion about how much we’d like to plant some of our own, then we saw them for sale and had to have them. One really shouldn’t plant blueberry bushes in July. Spring and fall are the times for planting blueberry bushes so here we are keeping them well hydrated and waiting until fall to plant them. I should have known better. IMG_2179On the positive side I did cut back most, if not all, of my chrysanthemum (the hardy bush kind) today. They’ll fill in and be beautiful in the fall. If yours are getting ready to bloom you should cut them back now and watch how nice they look in your fall borders after they fill in and make new blossoms. You’ll be glad you did!

IMG_2178Here’s another, I “should” deal with this asparagus fern that’s taking over this little corner. That’s a rose-bush tucked in under it. Jeeshh

IMG_2174I should also figure out what to do with these beets. Beets have been less than well this year both here and at work. I think it was because of all the rain we had but I worry that it’s because I don’t really love them so I don’t spend the time to figure out what they need.

IMG_2169Here’s a small victory… I planted some fall beans where the sweet peas had been. A “should” that was dealt with, lets hope they grow right up that trellis!

IMG_2168Everyone “should” enjoy lemon balm scattered throughout the garden. It’s one of the simple pleasures out there.

IMG_2166 IMG_2163I trimmed  the bottom branches off of all of the romas today. Their a bit sparse but coming along…a should checked off that list!

IMG_2160This is an asian cucumber that I started recently for the fall… looking forward to seeing how it does… I should find a trellis for it soon.
IMG_2155 Another should addressed… I learned about how to tie up the leaves over the cauliflower head to give it shade. This is also called “blanching” it… interesting, we’ll see how it goes. IMG_2154 We have bush beans, with beans on the bushes, but their kind of scrawny and there’s yellow damage on the leaves. These plants are about two feet away from the chicken run and I suspect the ammonia may be drifting over and damaging the plants. I should figure out what to do to prevent this.

IMG_2152 The Brussel sprouts are sprouting… we should let these ripen past the first frost because the cold air sweetens them up.

IMG_2150 Hmmm… shallots, I should figure out exactly when to harvest these. What do you shallot growers think?IMG_2149

IMG_2147 I should jump for joy over my garden surprise this year. The tomatillo plant is loaded with blossoms… their adorable!

IMG_2140 I should put more eggshells around the bottom of these tomato plants and make some pesto from the basil as soon as possible. There’s going to be a nice crop of basil this year.

IMG_2136 I most definitely should deal with this butterfly garden. The last time I walked toward it one of my slithery friends disappeared right into it in front of me. I’ve been a little nervous about stepping in there ever since. I know I’ll be happy when it’s done. So will the butterflies!

Clearly this was a busy day and there’s more to come tomorrow. I should go to bed!  So should you if your staying up reading this on Saturday night!

Enjoy everything! xoxo

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden-June 30

Good Morning! Happy Sunday! The sun is out and I’m ready to rock and roll out in the garden this morning! We’ve had pretty crazy weather here in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s often been sunny out, but then it rains. Then it rains torrentially, then the sun comes out. Then we have a thunderstorm. Then it’s sunny. It’s been pretty weird.

Since we’ve had so much rain we have lots of fungi scattered everywhere. This grass was freshly cut yesterday afternoon and by this morning this guy (and several of his friends) had appeared.IMG_1954

Down in the garden, the staked tomatoes are staked. I’m going to do a bit more pruning today. I’m taking away the bottom branches in hopes of keeping the diseases off of the plants. I wish I’d done a ground cover. If I find salt marsh hay in my travels today I may still add some in around these plants.
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Good morning girls! IMG_1960

Tomatillo, that I started from seed. They were spindly, sad seedlings and I thought that they were a lost cause but I plunked them in anyway and here we are. I think I’ll spread them out a bit and see what we get. IMG_1968

We have tomatoes! This is “mortgage lifter.” Their said to reach three pounds and taste wonderful.  I’m very excited about these! Notice the little velcro ties? I’ve never seen these before so I thought I’d give them a try. So far so good. IMG_1966

The brussel sprouts look happy…IMG_1972

as do the shallots.IMG_1971

And another sweetie tomato seedling that I’d given up for lost. Plants are more resilient than we think sometimes!IMG_1969

Cabbage, with cosmos for color…. Someone thought the cosmos were a weed yesterday, lol. He put them back. IMG_1975

More fungi… at first glance I thought that this was one of my long, skinny friends with a stripe on it’s back. I was pretty happy when I realized that it wasn’t.
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Cauliflower is flowering. I’ve never grown cauliflower before and we love to eat it!IMG_1981 Bush beans are coming along nicely.IMG_1980 The snapdragons self seeded to help light up the chicken coop steps. IMG_1978 The peas did their thing… they climbed in spite of the wind and rain!IMG_1985 Horseradish…IMG_1983Banana Pepper..
IMG_1994 Bee Balm ready to flower…IMG_1992 and a greeting by the shyest cat in the world when I came back inside. See, family and friends, Mittens does exist… just a few of us ever see her.IMG_1997

Time to get out there! There’s weeding to do!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

This Year’s Deck

DSC00769Here’s our deck last year. It was a construction zone and kayak storage area. I felt very, very anxious every time I set foot out there.

IMG_1953It’s really cozy this year. We finished the office construction and found other storage for the boats. Then we put up a canopy, added furniture and I filled it with flowers. I feel that some type of “roof” is really important on a deck. It can be an umbrella or a canopy like this, or a really nice pergola, but it reigns the energy in and makes it feel good, kind of the way an area rug makes a difference in a room. It provides shade too.

IMG_1927There’s lots of color!

IMG_1943There’s also cucumber plants because I kept them out of the garden beds in the hope of outwitting the cucumber beetles.

IMG_1941Remember when we painted this bench last summer?

painting chairs and benches
IMG_1935I planted a pot of succulents this year and I love them. Margaret Roach said that their everywhere and I have to agree. I’m seeing them in lots of posts and ads right now. Their very forgiving and easy.

IMG_1936I love this pink metal stool.  We painted it on the same day that we painted the peach bench and the metal chairs that are near the cucumber pot.

IMG_1924I also put out a little pot of kitchen herbs. They were growing beautifully until Maddie (the cat) jumped out of the window and onto this planter on the deck railing. She and the planter went flying into the succulents. The herbs are coming back and their very nice to have on hand when I’m cooking. Fortunately Maddie survived her flight with no problems.
IMG_1932Aside from being a wonderful place to relax, the best thing about our deck is the view of the garden. We like to plan our day here over morning coffee, then we’re on the move until lunch or dinner. It’s a great place for a rest or for family time.

Did you decorate your deck or porch this year? It’s as simple as adding as many plants as you’ll enjoy taking care of, creating a roof of some sort and finding a chair or two so that you can relax a little bit.

Enjoy everything!

Michele

The Mystery Rose, Revealed!

IMG_1680In my travels this weekend  I saw the mystery rose. It was everywhere I looked, including all over Winter Island and even up at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.

IMG_1679A little research identified it as the multiflora rose which is considered an invasive species. According to the National Park Service it was originally introduced into the eastern Us in 1866 as root stalk for ornamental roses, then it was used for erosion control and to contain livestock. The plant eventually became a problem because it reseeds and spreads aggressively, taking over space where it’s not wanted. The funny thing is that I see it appearing as a very welcome member of borders and gardens everywhere I look this week.  I’ve been watching it establish itself in that border of ours for the past couple of years and I was kind of taken with it.   I was even thinking about joining the people who trellised it before I started my research. My learning curve is endless, what can I say?

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So the question is, is this a weed to me? I kind of think so. I need to work on that side of the yard (but you know how snakey it is, and how much I hate those things). Maybe this will be the last straw that inspires me to get in there to clean it up and reconfigure everything. I think I’m going to have to before “my pretty little rose” takes over and invades the whole garden.

What do you think? What would you do?

Michele

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- June 15

Happy Bloom Day! The fifteenth seems to come so quickly every month. I enjoy writing these bloom day posts because they help me to focus and appreciate my garden. I also enjoy them because I always take a wonderful trip around the world to see what’s blooming in everyone else’s garden! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and visit May Dreams Gardens to see what other gardeners have posted. It’s really a nice treat and you deserve it!

We’ve had so so so much rain here that I went out to the garden wondering if there would be anything at all to share today. I was happy to find that the usual June blooms are there, if not a bit weather worn and soggy.

Somehow the iris have made it through the rain…

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This is a bit of a mystery rose. I didn’t plant it but it’s quite happy hiding among the iris and it seems to be getting more prolific every year. I don’t think it’s a weed, and it’s not too aggressive so I’m just kind of enjoying it.IMG_1620 Here’s what happens to rhubarb blossoms when I host large family events that require almost all of my time and attention. IMG_1619 Comfrey…IMG_1616White iris, still hanging on too. I honestly don’t know how.
IMG_1614 Sage…IMG_1612 Salvia…IMG_1611 Sweet Pea…IMG_1609 Rose Campion…IMG_1607 White Cottage RoseIMG_1605 Heather…IMG_1603 Dianthus (weather worn dianthus, actually)…IMG_1599 and Rosa Ragosa, one of my favorites…IMG_1597

What’s blooming in your garden?

Enjoy everything!

Michele