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Friday Favorite: McLaughlin Garden

June 21st, 2019

Last Sunday, my friend Joan and I went over to the McLaughlin Gardens to see the last of the lilacs. This garden boasts New England’s largest collection of lilacs. Most of them were past prime, but we still got to enjoy a few, here are the ones we were able to see.









I like lilacs as shrubs and the flowers are pretty, the smell however is much too much for me. Any flower with strong fragrance kicks my oversensitive nose into overdrive. Luckily, they look lovely on the plant and I don’t have to cut them to bring them indoors. Here at Chiot’s Run we have a few old fashioned lilacs that are planted around the old stone foundation of the original homestead. There is another dark purple variety planted near the old outhouse. We have purchased a ‘Miss Kim’ as well. This summer, our plan is to plant a lilac hedge around the back of the garage, it should be perfect to help with wind and erosion.

Do you have any lilacs in your garden?

Lettuce, Lettuce, Lettuce

June 20th, 2019

Lettuce is probably my favorite vegetalbe to grow and eat. We love salads here at Chiot’s Run and will eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we can. As a result, I try to have lettuce of various types available for the entire growing season. It has taken me a few years to figure out the best way to go about this, without having too much or not enough. I have found that having fresh transplants every 6-8 weeks is the best method for my garden and climate.


I grow mostly butterhead lettuces that need lots of time to produce their blowsy heads, but I always have romaine and leaf types growing as well to fill in any gaps between the butterheads. For the past few years we’ve been able to eat fresh lettuce from the garden from March through December.

Do you grow lettuce? Do you have a favorite type?

Spring Cutworms

June 19th, 2019

Cutworms are one of those annoying garden pests. They can decimate freshly transplanted seedlings in a few days. Last year, they killed all of my cucumbers, twice over.
This year they seem partial to my beets and purple basil. Each morning, I head out to patrol the garden to look for the telltale signs, seedlings cut off at the stem. Then I dig small circles around the damage until I find the culprit. These pests make great chicken treats, guess I can at least have eggs even though I won’t have beets.

What pests are you dealing with at the moment?

A Tough Winter for Herbs

June 17th, 2019

This past winter was a tough one for herbs and plants that don’t like wet feet. While it wasn’t a particularly cold winter, it was a wet winter. The biggest issue was that we has a spring thaw and then a ton of rain, then it got cold. As a result, many of my herbs didn’t survive the winter. About half of my catmint didn’t survive, lots of the oregano and thyme, tarragon, lavender, the list goes on. Only the perennial dry loving herbs were affected. Luckily, most of them are easy to propagate or start from seed once again. The catmint is one I was most dissapointed by, I had a mass planting of it in the foundation garden under the living room windows. About half of the plants didn’t make it through winter.



Other than looking a little sparce this spring, it’s not a huge issue. This is ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint and can be easily propagated by cuttings. In fact, I’ve already started 10 new plants that will be transplanted in a week or to fill in the gaps and expand the patch.

One reason I grow this variety of catmint is that it doesn’t set seed. Catmint can be a prolific seeder in the garden, given the right conditions. Since these root so easily from cuttings, I expand my patch this way. In fact, my entire patch came from one plant that I brought with me from my Ohio garden. In the future, I plan on keeping a few extra plants growing out in the nursery bed to replace any that don’t make it through the winter. It is pretty rare to have any issue with this plant, it’s typically tough as nails and can live through just about anything, too much water in the winter proved to be too much for some of these beauties.

Did you lose any perennials this winter?

Woodland Anemone

June 11th, 2019

I’ve been looking for good groundcovers for shady areas. As I tour local gardens, I’ve been noticing things that look like they will be perfect, but not take over the garden and be difficult to manage. Last year I spotted a lovely woodland anemone (called Snowdrop Windflower) with white blooms. It was covering a very large woodland edge area in a garden I visited.

I posted a photo of it on my Instagram stories a week or two ago when I cut some of the blossoms to bring indoors. The blooms are still hanging on in a vase, which is quite amazing. After 10 days they’re just starting to droop a bit.

So far this plant is proving to be a worthwhile companion in the shady garden border. It came through winter with lots of grace (hardy to zone 2), started growing early in spring, and have been blooming profusely for a while. It doesn’t get scraggly later in the summer, which is a bonus for an early blooming plant. I think this is going to be a great partner in the garden in years to come. I’ll keep watching it to make sure it doesn’t spread too vigorously, though I doubt it will.

Do you have any great shady border ground covers to recommend?

Seeds and Sundries
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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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