Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Quote of the Day: Rosemary Verey

July 14th, 2017

“We must all examine our environment, always gaining inspiration from existing natural features; we will then enhance rather than overwhelm our surroundings.”

Rosemary Verey in Making of a Garden.

I’ve been considering this idea as I walk around my garden. Truth be told, this idea is much more important when you live on a large property and have sweeping views or lots of woodland. Our property has a few acres of cleared land, a lovely view to the coastal mountain range, and acres of woods.


It can be hard to decide what to plant to tame the areas around the house but not distract from the natural surroundings. The nice this is that I have lovely backdrops for the various gardens here at Chiot’s Run. Mature woodland edges are always lovely behind a garden, especially when they’re far enough away to not suck all the moisture and nutrients from your plants.

What things in your environment do you need to consider when planning/adapting your garden?

Developing Favorite Perennial Combinations

June 28th, 2017

One thing I’m always watching throughout the seasons is which plants are blooming, their texture, color, height, and preferred conditions. As I watch, I try to develop combinations that will work well together in my garden. Over the last two weeks I’ve been noticing this beautiful peony. As it was blooming beautifully, the ladies mantle also looked beautiful. The brightness of ladies mantle with purple and pink is one of my favorite color combinations in the garden. I’ll definitely be moving some ladies mantle in front of the peony.



It also needs something with a little more height behind it, at the moment, I’m thinking a tall grass might be nice. There’s a big blue hosta in the nursery are that could be moved, I think it will be nice planted next to the peony. If I didn’t have ladies mantle for the front, I may consider adding a variegated comfrey behind the peony. I also have a nice golden hakone grass that would be lovely in front of this peony as well. There’s not enough space behind it, but if there were I’d consider adding a ninebark ‘Diabolo’, the dark foliage would be lovely with the pink blossoms.


Another one of my favorite combinations is chives and lambs ears. In my Ohio garden they were stunning together and looked great for quite a while. It’s a combinations I’ll be adding to the gardens here  for sure.

If you don’t think you have the inspiration to make your own perennial combinations, consider getting the book ‘Perennial Combinations: Stunning Combinations That Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start’. This book contains all kinds of combinations for a wide variety of soil/light types. You’re bound to find one that you will love, notice how many I’ve bookmarked. This book is fantastic because it shows you exactly which plant is which and where it’s planted. It has combinations for dry shade, wet shade, rich soil, and just about any type of space you might have in the garden.


My garden is finally reaching that point where I’m starting to be able to plant the borders with their final plantings. That means I can start combining things I think will look great. The good thing about gardening is that most plants can be moved fairly easily. I find myself constantly moving things here and there to find just the right spot.

What’s one of your favorite perennial combinations?

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?

Reading & Watching
Resources

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

About

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.

Blogroll
Admin