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Friday Favorite: Community Gardens

August 12th, 2016

Last week, when my friend and I were in Vermont, we stumbled across a lovely community garden in Shelburne Falls. There are a good number of plots, all of them unique, and each one beautiful. Together, they formed a beautiful garden quilt brimming with vegetables and flowers. There’s something wonderful about people coming together and making a garden in a public space. Growing food for their friends and families and cultivating community while they do. I could go on and on telling you about what we saw, but luckily I had my camera so you can see them for yourself (even if photos don’t quite do it justice).
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We spent quite awhile walking around this garden admiring all the plots and getting ideas for our edible gardens. I love seeing real gardens, the ones people live in and use. Botanical gardens are nice in their own way, but often what we see is not attainable for us in our own spaces. Community gardens like this one are truly the most beautiful gardens of all!

Have you ever had a plot in a community garden? Are there any in your area?

Cady’s Fall Nursery Details

June 20th, 2016

I’m always noticing little details in gardens that I visit, things I can incorporate into my garden, especially when they’re inexpensive and easy. Here are a few details I noticed when I visited Cady’s Falls Nursery (see this post and this post for photos of the nursery).
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The plant markers were made from strips of copper, genius! They look great, ages beautifully, and will last a lifetime. I also love how they blend into the garden instead of standing out.
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This simple garden bench made from cinder blocks and a large plant of wood made a beautiful bench, it would be super easy to make, very inexpensive, and it looks fantastic!
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Who doesn’t love gravel walkways and rocks? Gravel is my favorite paving surface in the garden, I love the sound and feel underfoot. I especially loved this detail where they added a few rocks to create a bit of a step on a slope.
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Simple boards buried in the ground to create a clean and classy edging. I have access to cedar and could incorporate this in my garden for a few dozen eggs (I barter eggs for cedar from a friend with a mill).
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These rebar half circles used throughout the gardens to hold back plants and create interest were one of my favorite things. I’m definitely buying rebar to make a few of these soon. They would come in very handy for keeping plants from smothering each other and falling out into the pathways of the garden. I think they will be stunning in the winter as well.
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In Ohio I had loads of rocks and all my flowerbeds were edged with rocks to help retain the soil/mulch in the border. I really need to think about doing the same here as I have lots of sloping flowerbeds and the compost has a habit of traveling from the bed into the lawn. I was reminded of how convenient it was. This is also a nice way to mark specific plants that die back in winter.

What garden accents and details are you favorite? Have you picked up any great ideas from local garden tours or nurseries?

Cady’s Falls Nursery – Part 2

June 17th, 2016

And….now we’re back to the lovely nursery I introduced you to yesterday. There were so many wonderful things, like these teeny-tiny irises that were only a few inches tall.
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There were hundreds of primulas in all colors, shapes, and sizes in the water garden and the woodland garden. Each one was incredibly beautiful!
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There were climbing vines, trees, perennials, all interesting and unique varieties and beautifully put together in an amazing display of texture, color, and height.
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There was even a Himalayan blue poppy, something I’ve been thinking about buying seeds for to start for my garden. It’s the first one I’ve seen in person after hearing about them for years.

What’s your favorite unusual plant to add interest in the garden?

Cady’s Falls Nursery (part 1)

June 16th, 2016

This past weekend, Mr Chiots and I popped over to Vermont to visit Cady’s Falls Nursery. I’ve been wanting to visit for quite a while now, but they are only open a few weekends each summer and I always seem to find out about it after the fact. This little gem is everything a nursery should be, with lovely gardens that highlight the plants they sell. You can walk through the garden, decide which plants you love in a garden setting, then purchase them in the nursery area. Here are some photos of the garden, there were so many I’ll post more tomorrow and maybe more next week.
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This nursery specializes in rare plants, there quite a few stunning specimens in their gardens. I especially loved seeing plants in person that I’ve only read about in books. We came home with our car packed full of all sorts of lovely plants, more about those next week. Check back tomorrow for more photos of this lovely garden.

Have you discovered any little nursery gems in your area?

Mother Earth News Fair

September 24th, 2015

Mr Chiots and I have been traveling for the past 10 days, it was a busy trip. We logged around 3000 miles, mostly by Mr Chiots while he traveled for work. I went along for the ride since he was headed to Ohio. While he worked, I visited with my family.
You can see photos from our trip to the Secrest Arboretum here. While at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA, our internet was pretty much non-existent in our room (big bummer). I managed to get a little on-line work done, but I had to sit out in the hall to do it. Which is not that comfortable.
I attended a few classes, mostly on winter gardening. Though I must say, all the classes I attended on the topic were taught by people in zones 7 or so, which is a whole different thing than trying to garden in winter in zone 5! There were so many great classes, I wished I could have attended more. I had at least two choices that I wanted to go to during every time slot. There was an interesting one on harvesting rain/surface water for livestock that I gleaned some great ideas from. I can’t wait to implement a few of the things I learned to collect water for the gardens and our livestock.
Mr Chiots had a booth for The Jojoba Company, which he is the manager of. I had to help occasionally because it was pretty busy, especially after the essential oil classes let out and everyone swarmed the table to buy jojoba as their carrier.
After we left Seven Springs, we went on to Kennet Square, PA to visit Longwood Gardens and a few other lovely spaces. More on those tomorrow.

Have you done any traveling lately?

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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 just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.