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!

Keene Pumpkin Festival 2013

Gosh this looks fun! Great pumpkin carving ideas for the talented and patient carvers out there too! Great post New Hampshire Garden Solutions!  Michele

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

In 1991 Keene, New Hampshire had a harvest festival that attracted a few local people who brought about 600 jack o lanterns. By 2003 the harvest festival had become a pumpkin festival and the number of lit jack o lanterns had risen to 28,952. The Guinness World Record people became interested that year and gave Keene the record for the most lit jack o lanterns assembled in one place. Boston took the record from Keene in 2006 with 30,128 jack o lanterns. This year on October 19th Keene took back the world record with 30,581 lit jack o lanterns and I was there taking photos. I thought I’d show you a few of the better ones. These were all taken in the dark without a tripod, so I’ll warn you that they aren’t the sharpest photos you’ve seen. Even so, I’d guess that most of you have never seen anything…

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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

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

Waiting For Pick-Up Time, Ropes Mansion Style

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This afternoon while I was waiting to pick up my daughter at school I had just a few minutes to walk through the garden at the Ropes Mansion on Essex Street. This is always a fun stop… it’s not a period garden, but more a colorful collection of plants of all kinds that are arranged for fun and pleasure. It’s a  beautiful place to stop and rest in for a few minutes.
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Life is good here in Salem, Massachusetts!

I hope that you enjoyed a garden today~

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden– Early Spring Sunday

We’re having a beautiful day here so I spent some time looking around in the garden. Of course, I can’t just look, nor should I. There’s stuff  to do!

The pea and bean trellis is just about ready, but the snow still lurks. Maybe I’ll shovel it away so that the ground can unfreeze and we can get some peas started. While I’m at it I might want to clean the old vines off of the trellis.

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I don’t think the Rosemary made it. I should have covered it, my fault. I’ll have to plant a new one soon.IMG_0377

The girls look happy. They don’t love snow and cold weather. It feels like they’ve finally relaxed and smiled. We even got six or seven eggs yesterday. IMG_0349 It’s still really muddy out there!IMG_0353What’s this? a big, beautiful sign that spring is really here! IMG_0362Maybe it’s time to plant some lettuce? You just need a trowel and some seeds (and the soil of course)…IMG_0363It’s in! First lettuce of the season! You can see the leftover salt marsh hay from last year. Pretty soon we’ll add compost and turn it all in thoroughly. In the meantime, it will be fine.
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Lettuce is very hearty and can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, just like sweet peas, carrots, spinach and radishes.

Hope your able to get out there and plant  something! It just takes a little bit of seed and it’s a great activity to do with kids, although I must admit that my kids were scootering and I treated myself to a few minutes alone with the soil.

Happy Spring!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

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

Help Me With This Poor Apostle Plant

Knowing that I absolutely love iris, my dear friend Luis gave me this Apostle plant several months ago.

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As much as I love to garden outside and grow things in pots I have this weird difficulty with houseplants. The light in my house is completely filtered almost everywhere and we keep the house on the cool side. I think it’s too cold (60 to 65 degrees) for most tropical plants that do well in filtered sun and there’s not enough sun for plants that would do well in cooler temps as long as they have lots of light.

So, getting back to the apostle plant. It’s also known as a walking iris and it can be grown as a perennial in warmer zones, up to zone 8, we are zone 5/6. The flat leaves are actually flower stems. I haven’t seen that yet but I hope to soon. As I read about them it sounds like it may become dormant in winter then bloom seasonally. I’m really hoping that happens! I’m wondering if I’m watering it properly. It’s in filtered light. Of course it is, it’s in my house.

This is it’s little sister, who I’m afraid isn’t doing well. When she arrived there were lots of leaf/stems. I’ve moved this plant around quite a bit trying to find a spot where it will be happy.

IMG_0549So what do you think? Has anyone grown apostle plant successfully? Do I just need to wait a little while?

Here’s what it will look like someday:

Neomarica flower (walking iris, apostle plant)
Neomarica flower (walking iris, apostle plant) (Photo credit: Joel Abroad)

Of course what you really want to know is, did I finish the financial aid forms from the other day? The answer is no, not yet, but I have made tremendous progress. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so I treated myself to a quick blog post.

I’ll also treat myself to reading your comments and suggestions about what’s up with my plants 😉

Help me out!

Love,  Michele

Things That Work For Me— My Pink Bench

Good Morning Everyone! I have decided to do a weekly winter series  called “Things That Work For Me”… Lots of people have questions and queries about how I manage our household of seven. It’s a juggling act most days but I do have some tools and tips that really help.  I have a little list of products, services,  house rules and routines that make a big difference. There are lots of moments in my day when I’m thankful for having found a way to make life easier.

As superficial as it may seem, I’m going to start with something very basic, my pink bench.

I found this bench at TJ Maxx several months ago for the clearance price of $7.99.

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I am 5’1″ and I’ve been climbing on chairs to reach things for as long as I can remember.These are my cabinets. They are very, very tall. It’s virtually impossible for me to get things down without a little help. This bench gives me almost eleven inches, making me six feet tall! IMG_0504

That’s a lot of help with the milk glasses!

And it folds up so that it can be easily hidden almost anywhere.

IMG_0510just like this, although I never put it away.

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It’s also used as a barrier for Dino’s food so Winnie doesn’t eat it and a place for whoever is passing through the kitchen to sit for a minute. I’ve had many great conversations with my kids lately while they’ve relaxed and I’ve cooked.  I revel in the fact that I can just reach up and get almost anything down without having to climb up on a chair or ask one of the four other people who are taller than me to do it.

It’s the little things that make life easier.

Enjoy Everything!

Michele