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Friday Favorite: Variegated Sweet Peas

September 22nd, 2017

This spring I purchased ‘Mammoth Choice’ sweet peas from Johnny’s Seeds. The first ones to bloom were crimson, I was underwhelmed. I’m not a lover of red flowers, especially dark red garnet. Then the lavender, blue, and pink ones started blooming. A few weeks later I had a variegated purple, then this variegated bright pink.


I’m planning on saving seed from my sweet pea patch, they will end up being a mix of colors just like the patch is now. Marking the vines that produced variegated flowers might be a way to see if I can continue getting these types of flowers. I guess I’ll find out next summer when they start blooming. I’ll have to mark these vines and keep the seeds and seedlings separate in order to see if they come out like their parents.

What are a few of your favorite flowers this year?

Tithonia ‘Torch’

September 6th, 2017

I grew tithonia a few years ago for the very first time, my garden hasn’t been without it since. Even though I’m not a huge fan of orange flowers, I grow these. Tithonia provides a very important source of late season food for pollinators, particularly migrating monarchs.


Not only are these plants great for pollinators, they’re tough plants, thriving in poor, dry soil. Mine are blooming like crazy in the less than stellar side of the garden. They also grow fairly tall, making them a really nice border around the vegetable patch. I use them as a wind break since they grow to about 5 feet tall.

Every time I’m in the garden, there are monarchs on the tithonia and the echinacea. Both very important plants to have in our gardens for pollinators. If you are interested in growing these for monarchs, hummingbirds, and bees, I’m saving loads of seeds and they will be part of my seed launch this winter.

What’s your favorite beneficial plant for monarchs and other pollinators?

A Favorite

July 18th, 2017

Every time a flower blooms I’m reminded why I have it in my garden. My favorite flower is whatever is blooming at the time. At the moment, the peony poppies are exquisite.

I have these blooming in all sorts of colors, lavender, dark pink, light pink, white. There are single ones and double ones. Next year I’m thinking of getting a few seeds for some dark ones, I’d love to see some almost black ones in with this pink color.

What’s your favorite thing blooming in the garden right now?

Tiny Bouquets

June 27th, 2017

Lately I’ve been making tiny bouquets. They’re sprinkled throughout the house where I see frequently: the kitchen windowsill, the bathroom windowsill, my desk, the front entry.


It’s a great way to use up flowers with shorter stems and much easier to deal with wilted flowers than trying to pick them out of a larger arrangements. At the moment, these tiny bouquets are making me happy.

What flowers are blooming in your garden this week? Which ones are you bringing indoors?

An Heirloom Plant

May 31st, 2017

I had a lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) in my Ohio garden, it came from my mom’s house, she got it from her mom’s house. The original plant was in the gardens at the house my mom’s parent bought when she was two years old. When we moved to Maine I didn’t bring any from my garden, I know I could get a start from my mom once again.

I brought a small start last summer, after visiting my parents in June. I planted it under the apple tree knowing it would love this shady spot with great soil. Oddly enough, there was some lily of the valley in this garden when we arrived. It struggles in the spot where it’s planted, I’m not 100% sure why, perhaps the soil isn’t quite as fertile.

It’s blooming beautifully this summer. This plant can be a bit of a thug in the garden, so it should be planted in a place where you don’t mind that it takes over and forms a ground cover. I’m happy to have it do this in this area. I need a ground cover here that will keep the weeds from coming up.

It makes me smile knowing that this plant is a true heirloom that came from my grandmother’s garden. Who knows how long it lived in that garden before they moved into the house.

Do you have any heirloom plants in your garden?

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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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