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Garden Companions

May 12th, 2016

It’s nice having garden cats, it seems that whenever I’m working in the garden there’s a cat nearby. They bring me gifts of mice and voles, they happily roll in the catnip I planted for them.
garden cat
When I’m spending LONG hours in the garden like I am this time of year, it’s nice to have the cats to keep me company.

Do you have any pets that “help” you in the garden?

Happy Hellebores

May 11th, 2016

In my Ohio garden I had one hellebore (aka Lenten Rose) and I loved it. It grew beautifully and seeded down in a few spots. Eventually, I’d love to have a dedicated hellebore garden, until then I’ll make do with the few that I have here and there in the garden.
heleborus spring promise conny 1
heleborus spring promise conny 2
I have a lovely white and pink one, a dark purple one, and a green one that I brought from Ohio. I’m hoping that they’re finally mature enough to start producing seed so I can start growing my own seedlings. If you want to read more about these beauties and see lots of lovely images of a wide variety of colors, check out The Layered Garden. Even if you aren’t into hellebores, you’ll love the beautiful garden featured in this book.
heleborus spring promise purple
green hellebore
Hellebores are fantastic because they are evergreen and they bloom super early in the spring. I’m looking forward to having a dedicated hellebore garden someday in the future, they should do very well in one of the woodland areas. I should be able to cross pollinate these three plants to get a few interesting colors/varieties. Perhaps I’ll just move them all to one area of the garden and see what mother nature does on her own.

Do you have any plants that you are looking to have a garden area dedicated to?

Sunny Forsythia

May 10th, 2016

Even though forsythia doesn’t produce nectar or pollen, I still enjoy seeing it’s sunny face in the garden during these early spring days. I’m sure it still provides habitat in some way, most likely in the thicket of stems and branches.
forsythia 1
forsythia 2
forsythia 3
I’ve been contemplating adding a long hedge of forsythia along our driveway. We need something like it and I could propagate the entire hedge for free from the one bush we have. My parents have a huge forsythia hedge and it’s amazing most years. Every 10 years or so they cut it back to the ground and it is a little stunned for a few years, but the 5-7 years after the trimming it’s always a showstopper!

Do you have a forsythia in your garden? What’s your favorite early blooming shrub?

Sewing Up a Storm

May 9th, 2016

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, I called my mom and sewing a ton of zipper pouches for orphans in Indonesia. They will be filled with goodies from local businesses and delivered later this summer.
zipper pouches 6
zipper pouches 3
zipper pouches 5
A friend started this project and we’ve been working on them here and there as we can. We are making each one unique, hoping the girl that gets them will love that hers is different than everyone else’s. It has been a really fun project, we have more orphanages we can make them for as well if we have the time. For now we’re committed to making 60.
zipper pouches 1
Choosing fabrics, zippers, thread, and decorative stitches has been lots of fun. I love to sew and don’t need a ton of sewing for myself, this has been the perfect way to enjoy my hobby while doing something for someone else.
zipper pouches 2
zipper pouches 4
I can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by making something for motherless children.

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Friday Favorite: Seasonal Eating

May 6th, 2016

When you start eating a little more seasonally, you start eating a wider variety of fruits & vegetables. It’s a wonderful thing because you enjoy most things at the height of their flavor and you eat them in quantity. Then, the season is over and you’re ready to wait another 6-8 months until you can enjoy that thing again. This variety of rhubarb is ‘Glaskins Perpetual’, it’s supposed to be a plant that can be harvested all summer long. A bit like everbearing strawberries as opposed to the June bearing varieties. This is the first year that I will be able to harvest from these plants, it should be nice to have a bit of rhubarb here and there throughout the summer instead of one giant flush in early summer. I also have a few different varieties of regular rhubarb, they’re getting close to harvest as well.
Currently, I’m eagerly anticipating the rhubarb harvest. I’ll be making rhubarb ketchup, rhubarb and strawberry ice cream, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb cordial, and loads of other lovely things. I may freeze a bit for enjoyment in the middle of winter, but generally there’s not enough left for that after everything I want to make during the season.

What fruit/vegetable are you most looking forward to in season?

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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.