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Quote of the Day: Joy Larkom

May 21st, 2017

“Potagers, ornamental vegetable gardens, call them what you will, are seductive masters. Create one of your own, and it draws you to it like a magnet. There’s a deep satisfaction in a beautiful, purposeful garden. Beware though, if you are serious about producing vegetables, of forfeiting productivity to the easy charms of herbs, self-seeding flowers and topiary shrubs. ‘There’s nowhere left to plant’ is not an uncommon cry, and ironically, the larger the garden, the worse that problem can be.”

Joy Larkcom in Creative Vegetable Gardening

It’s no secret that growing vegetables is my passion, but I also love a beautiful garden. Even though the tidy, neat rows of a classic food plot in the back yard is quite lovely, I much prefer the potager type look, where vegetables and flowers are mixed together in creative ways.

I’m finally at the point in my garden here in Maine, that I’m starting to add the hardscape features and plan the layouts of the gardens. Hedges are being planned, walkways are being set out, edges are being defined. Funny enough, the above quote is true, the larger my gardens are the less space I feel I have left for the vegetables.

The best way I have found to combat this is to grow a bit less, since I almost always end up with way more vegetables than I need, scaling back the amount is the best way to find space for everything I want to grow. I’d rather have artichokes and green beans instead of just green beans. I’d rather have onions and carrots than just onions. It’s like a puzzle to plan a garden, a little time spent defining edges and planning in the beginning help make everything fit in the end.

Do you find your vegetable garden always too small?

Garden Reading

May 16th, 2017

I’m always thankful that Amazon has a wide variety of used books for sale. In fact, I appreciate that it gives used bookstores a great outlet to sell their books across the country. It also saves me searching high and low for books I want, especially those that are out of print. Most recenlty, I purchased ‘The Intimate Garden’ by Gordon & Mary Hayward. I have all of Gordon’s books, since he’s a Northeast gardener, I find his books to be extremely useful for me.

This book was of special interest to me, because it chronicles their personal gardens throughout the 20 years or so they have been gardening there (in 2005 when the book was published). I’m always interested to see gardens as they grow and mature and throughout the seasons as well. I’ve always thought more gardening magazines should have gardens that are featured each month as they grow and develop. I’m always happy to purchase books that chronicle the development of a garden as well. Way too often we see gardens at their peak, both seasonally and in maturity. But in reality, gardening is the process, not the final product. Way too often we see the final product and not the process, which is what matters most to many of us.

While I don’t especially want to incorporate his garden design ideas into my gardens, I can appreciate his principles and advice. I can glean planting ideas and recommendations for specific plants as well. Most notably in this book, he used Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) for a hedge around his herb garden. As I’m planning a hedge around my main edible garden, this was of interest to me. Originally, I planned on using beech, but now I’m thinking this is a much better option, especially since it’s native (and it will be about half the price of a beech hedge).

What are you gleaning from gardening books this week?

A Few Good Books

March 1st, 2017

This winter I’ve been reading a ton of books, partly it’s because I’ve been flying back and forth to Ohio quite a bit. I’m also making a concerted effort to read a lot of the books on my must read list.

Most recently, I read ‘The Sounds of Gravel‘, a memoir by a woman who escaped a polygamist group in Mexico when she was a teenager. It was heartbreaking, and so captivating I read it in two sittings. I’ll definitely be loaning it out to friends, in fact I already have a few people on the borrowing list. I’ve moved on to ‘Come, Tell Me How You Live: An Archeological Memoir‘ by Agatha Christie, which I decided to read after finishing ‘The Woman on the Orient Express‘, a historical fiction based on Agatha Christie’s life after her divorce from her first husband.

Have you read any good books recently?

Quote of the Day: Henry Beston

March 6th, 2016

“Higher, higher climbs the radiant noonday sun, the shadows grow shorter beneath the trees, snow slides from the roof, and the shingles steam. March is a beautiful month in th enorth for now the battle is won, and we of the country world can take new storms and returning snows with an easier heart; they will soon be gone.”

from Northern Farm by Henry Beston who lived not far from here.

March in Maine

Quote of the Day: Bunny Williams

February 14th, 2016

“All gardens need time, and part of the great pleasure of gardening, it seems to me, is watching them mature. I’ve waited five years for my Hydrangea petiolaris to decide whether or not to climb. This year it has, with reckless abandon. And because I had to wait for it, the reward has been especially sweet.”

Bunny Williams in Bunny Williams On Garden Style

hidden gardens 5
Herronswood hedge garden 1
GRLT Garden Tour 6 4
GRLT Garden Tour 6 5
Fieldstone Gardens 12
I’ve been thinking about this quote as I start tiny cherry trees from seed, take starts of plants in other garden, and start perennials from seed. Sure, I could have an instant garden if I purchase large trees, shrubs, and perennials at a greenhouse (and I do purchase a few here and there), but there’s so much satisfaction in the process of gardening. Nurturing tiny trees, knowing your climbing hydrangea is the offspring of a plant that is growing in a friend’s garden. Sometimes I have to remind myself that gardening is a process. When I dream about what my garden will be, I have to remember that it’s the journey of getting there that is gardening, not the end product. Anyone can make a garden, not everyone is a gardener.

What’s your favorite part of being a gardener?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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