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Blooming Its Heart Out

June 23rd, 2017

When I got these tiny clematises at a discount store this spring, I wasn’t expecting much of anything by the way of blooms for several years.

I was super amazed when one of the tiny vines started putting off one bud, then two, then three… Of course I have no idea what variety this is, it was simply labeled “red clematis”. We’re lucky to have a clematis farm here in Maine, hopefully I can get up there soon and they may be able to help me identify it.

I’m hoping to get the new garden area ready soon so a few of these can get planted into the ground. I dislike maintaining plants in containers for very long.

When I saw it was a red clematis on the box, I wasn’t super keen. But you can’t really complain when they’re so inexpensive. I’m happy with the darkness of this bloom, it’s more burgundy than red. It should pair beautifully with ladies mantle or a bright green hosta at its base. None of the other vines have blooms yet, I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

What’s surprised you in the garden this week?

Flowers for all Occasions

June 22nd, 2017

This time of year I always take a vintage mason jar full of flowers for the garden when invited to someone’s house. The vintage jar is a gift, as are the flowers. People are always excited about a jar full of flowers and I’m happy to share the loveliness from my garden. Yesterday we celebrated a friend’s birthday.

Flowers make such a nice addition to the table too. For our celebration I made a tiny bouquet for the cheese platter and put tiny black violets in the jar around the tea light.

Vegetable also make nice gifts, I find myself often harvesting a nice head of lettuce or packaging up some eggs to take as gifts. I’m a huge fan of gifting items that can be enjoyed and then they are gone.

What’s your favorite thing to take as a hostess gift?

Perennial Bachelor Button

June 21st, 2017

Moving to Maine provided a few new to me plants in the garden. Some I welcomed, others I compost. Centaurea montana (aka mountain bluet or perennial bachelor button) was one I welcomed, at least for now. Typically, when adding a new plant variety to the garden, I plant it in my nursery bed in the main vegetable garden. This gives me a place to watch the growth habitats, easily monitor spread, and watch bloom time, color, and a few other things. After have a few disastrous things become weedy, invasive, or just be the wrong size, I decided this was the best way to introduce new things into my gardens.

There were two of these growing in a weedy semi-garden area by the driveway. One was dug up and transplanted to the nursery bed last summer. It’s grown nicely, bloomed beautifully this spring, and so far has behaved well in terms of spread (no seeding prolifically or rampant spreading yet).The plant is a bit floppy in this photo, which was taken after a rain. The plant is about 24 inches high by about 24 inches wide. I’m guessing this plant is one of the ones that does better in a less than perfect soil. Sometimes our garden soil is too good for some plants, which causes them to get a little floppy.

I have noticed no seedlings around the plant, here or in other places. This plant is also spreading slowly, which is another thing I’m happy about. After getting rid of a few thuggish plants (and currently trying to get rid of a few in this garden), I’m happy when plants are well behaved. This plant is reported to spread quickly in rich soils, but so far it’s not being overaggressive (at least not compared to some plants I’ve dealt with in the past). It’s probably doubled in size in the past year. Overall, it’s proving to be a decent plant. I’ll watch it for another season or two just to make sure it continues to be well-behaved and may move the other one to a less fertile area to see how it does in that area.

What new plants have you discovered recently?

Lovely Lupine

June 20th, 2017

Here in Maine lupines are very common, you’ll see scores of them blooming on hillside, by the road, and in gardens. Most of them are purple, with a few white and pink ones scattered in. My mom’s garden features a nice stand of lupine, she started them from seed a few years ago. When I was visiting last summer, I bought back dark pink lupine.

Not only are lupines lovely flowers to have in the garden, they’re beneficial as well. Lupines are leguminous and make nitrogen. Incorporating nitrogen fixing plants into our borders is one way to save money in the garden, we need less fertilizer if we have plants that provide it for other plants.

What’s blooming in your garden today?

Gardening is The Work

June 19th, 2017

“Maintenance is necessary and hugely satisfying work, in part because you become nature’s ally. And there’s no getting around the work. The willingness to put effort into your garden is at the heart of what it is to be a gardener. You know plenty about what it feels like when you put work into your garden in April and May, then let things slide a bit in June. Before you know it, the garden is a patch of weeds and your’e either in denial or disappointment. It doesn’t have to be that way if you plant wisely, start small, and build your confidence.”

Gordon Hayward in Tending Your Garden

This time of year gardening is more about weeding, pruning, cleaning, mulching, deadheading, and all the chores that make up gardening. Gardening after all is an active hobby. I enjoy the work of gardening, the hard work, the easy work, and the results of all that work. This past weekend I spent a lot of time working in the garden, or I should say gardening.

What’s your favorite activity that makes up gardening?

Reading & Watching

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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.