Salem’s Fourth of July in 130 Seconds

Yes, I’m always raving about the wonderful fireworks that we have here in Salem but do I ever get a photo of them? No way! ¬†I try, but I’m just not there yet. So here’s a great video of our 4th of July celebration as it unfolds. If you look closely your sure to see Michael and the kids walking on the wharf ūüėČ . ¬†Next post will be about gardening, I promise! ¬† ¬†Enjoy! ¬†Michele

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!





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

Enjoy everything!


Growing Life Skills in the Garden

Garden/Allotment (Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison))

Just below is the link to a great article about a youth gardening program in Loveland, Colorado. It highlights the many benefits that gardening provides to students with special needs. The adults that I work with grow and change as they garden as well. As I settle in to my adaptive gardening specialist position I’m able to see it more every day. Take a minute or two and click on the link to read about the Loveland Youth Gardeners! I truly believe that gardening benefits all who are interested!


Growing Life Skills in the Garden

Ron Finley, Guerilla Gardener— This Is Awesome!

Every one of my guerilla and therapeutic gardening friends must watch this video! Ron Finley says “gardening is my graffiti” and “gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant thing you can do.” His goal is to improve health and society in South Central LA one unused space at a time. ¬†I LOVE it!

My Military Life: Thoughts of My Father on Memorial Day

Today in honor of Memorial Day I’m sharing a post that my brother wrote about our father a few years ago. Marks a great writer and he really captured Dad’s essence. He overcome great hardship and went on to parent us in the best way that he possibly could. I can often feel his presence and he’s never far from my thoughts. Happy Memorial Day. Michele

Third Space

I remember waking up to the sound of work shoes being spit-shined in the hallway of our small home in the Pocono Mountains. I can still hear the slap of the worn rag and the quick rhythm it made, as the dull polish transformed into a glassy shine. Still dark outside, my father was in motion early, enjoying the same breakfast (Cornflakes with milk) at the Formica counter in our kitchen every morning.My father learned the art of shining shoes as a means to survive. He was a homeless street kid in Philadelphia, whose mother died in childbirth and whose father responded by crawling inside a bottle. From what I know, he had moved through a series of foster homes and Catholic orphanages, none of which were any better than the life he found fending for himself on the street. He used to lift Tasty Cakes out of delivery trucks…

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The Salem Garden is a Year Old? Really? Your Kidding Me!

WordPress sent me a message the other day to tell me that I’ve been blogging for a year. Seriously… one year? They must be kidding!

Lots of great things have happened since I started The Salem Garden and I didn’t really plan on any of them. You know that I turn everything into a list, so here’s what happened:

1.  I found out that blogging is fun, interesting and maybe a little bit addictive.

2. I also learned that blogging takes a lot of time and energy.

3. However, the time commitment decreased as I kept blogging.

4.  But, the time commitment then increased because I loved reading other blogs and learning about the craft.

5. I connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from all over the world.

6. I also connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from right here, in fun, new ways.

7. I learned a lot about gardening. This happens when you read gardening blogs, so keep reading!

8. I found my blogging voice.

9. ¬†I got a wonderful paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist (I had never even heard of an adaptive gardening specialist). My first job in seventeen years has given me the gift of vision about what I’d like to do professionally in the future.

10.  My family did well with all of the above, almost all the time.

A year ago I had no idea or expectation about where this would go. ¬†I knew that I had something to say or do but I didn’t know what it was or that it would be life-changing. I had spent many years raising my young children and enjoying every minute so I couldn’t ¬†imagine doing anything else. ¬†Thank you so much for reading, following, encouraging and sharing your thoughts with me. ¬†You have all made the last year into an amazing journey!

I love sharing photos, so here are some of my favorites from the past year. Click on any image to view them as a slide show.

With lots of love and gratitude,

Michele at The Salem Garden

A Spring Morning In The Derby Garden

I had a chance to pop into the Derby garden this morning. This garden is really precious to me. Michael and I helped with it’s installation about 23 years ago. At that time I had an appreciation for gardens but no experience or knowledge. ¬†This is where gardening really started for me. The young couple who created it worked very hard to design it to represent a garden typical of this setting and the early 1700s time period. I should back up a bit and explain that it sits behind the home of the first American millionaire, Elias Haskett Derby, hence it’s name the Derby Garden.¬†

At first glance over the fence it may look a bit barren and gray, but if you slow down and look closely you’ll see that the beds are about to spring to life.IMG_0415

I believe that these are the first few leaves of hollyhock.IMG_0409There are plenty of snowdrops.IMG_0384They really are one of the first signs of spring. These will be there for a few more days before it’s time to say goodbye till next year.IMG_0385I’m pretty sure that these are small daffodils. I’ll have to try to check back in a few days to confirm.IMG_0387Something from the allium family? Time will tell us exactly what.IMG_0388CrocusIMG_0390A beautiful carpet of green, maybe grape hyacinths?¬†IMG_0407

This apple tree bears small, tough fruit but I’ve made a pie or two from here.IMG_0406

Here’s the view looking out toward the water. We lived in the blue building to the left when we were first married. It was a perfect honeymoon loft for us. We have lots of good memories from our days on Derby Street.


I loved thinking about how we were looking at the same view that the Derbys did when they lived there.


It has changed a bit but their spirit is here.  I can feel it. Especially when I spend time in the garden and imagine what they might have grown and raised in the yard.

Enjoy Everything today!


Potting Benches, Daffodils and Crocus…

The other day  my husband saw that I had posted this photo here.

A few hours later I looked out there and saw this…

LOL, he’s a really good guy. That’s all I can say.

In other news~

My favorite daffodils are about to bloom down on Palfrey Court. I’ve been following this patch for the last twenty four years. I know from experience that even if it snows tomorrow they will be just fine.IMG_0268

And we officially have crocus here at The Salem Garden!  Photo by my little guy!

Happy Monday!

Enjoy Everything!


Who’d Have Thought I’d Become An Adaptive Gardening Specialist?

I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from The Salem Garden all week. Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to step back and take care of things. We are in a pretty big adjustment period here because last week I began a part-time paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist! Yes, I can now combine my passion for gardening and my love of and past experience in working with adults with developmental disabilities. The agency that I work for provides opportunities for the men and women whom we serve to work and to broaden their life experience in a huge variety of ways. ¬†We have an amazing garden on the rooftop of our building (hmm, did I talk about¬†rooftop gardens¬†recently? ¬†ūüėČ ¬†) and we will have lots of things growing at ground level for those who can’t get up to the roof. I believe that gardening is therapeutic and educational on every level. I’m looking forward to using that approach to help others develop an appreciation for nature and their food supply, along with self-esteem, patience, hope, the list goes on and on. Needless to say I’m really excited to be there!¬† I have so much to learn and I hope to share a few parts of my journey here. A special note from a blogger’s perspective is that my blog served as a sort of resume for my new employer. Reading it gave my supervisor a way to look at my work and see how I might fit in to the program. When I started The Salem Garden last May I never dreamed that it would help me in this way. You never know where your blog may lead you. Keep blogging! Good things will happen!

With lots of love from very snowy Salem,


Terrariums, the White House and Santa!

Today is catch up day for me. I’m trying to house clean before we start the holiday baking and cooking, and before the Grandmas start arriving next weekend. I just handed the bulk of my Christmas cards to the mailman. I have pulled pork in the crock pot, and I really, really need to fold and put away a ton (literally) of laundry! If I can do these few things, all will be well with the world… It’s coming along, that’s all I can say. Of course, over coffee this morning I did a little bit of blog reading and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.

First off, Amy-Sue at a Healthy Life for Me blogged about how to make these adorable terrarium ornaments. They would make a wonderful gift, but I can also see them hanging in the windows of our new office. ¬† Here’s the link¬†¬†for you to check out.

Then I thoroughly enjoyed this post ¬†that my friend Eunice at Living and Lovin had re-blogged from a new-to-me ¬†blog called The Garden Diaries. It describes the blogger’s adventures as a volunteer decorator at the White House last year. “Decorating the White House for Christmas” has now been added to my bucket list.¬†What a great story and wonderful ¬†photos!

Lastly, I loved this post shared by my dear friend Joy at Diary of a Crazed Housewife.

Joy is fortunate to be related to Santa and she shares that privilege¬†with special children in her life… very, very cute!

So, that was my early morning reading… I hope it makes you smile ūüôā

¬†I’m off to dust, vacuum, fold and take kids places and I have two hours and twenty seven minutes before the little kids get off of the bus!

Enjoy Everything!