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Quote of the Day: Monty Don

August 11th, 2018

“The original plan for that part of the garden was to be a circular lawn surrounded by a yew hedge. I duly planted yews and mowed the grass but it was never convincing. Some things never fit, however much you want them to or however good idea they seem on paper. Making a garden is as much about finding it and letting it reveal itself to you as constructing or taming it.”

Monty Don in ‘Nigel’

Mr Chiots got me a copy of ‘Nigel’ for my birthday. We’ve been watching Monty Don on Gardener’s World for many years and have grown to enjoy seeing Nigel on there. We were pretty happy when Amazon added Gardener’s World to BritBox and we’ve been subscribing and watching ever since, not more YouTube! If you’re looking for a show to watch and enjoy gardening, give this a go. It’s worth every penny in my book. At the moment, the Kindle version of this book is only $2.99, so grab a copy while you can.

What great books are you reading at the moment?

Color Combinations

August 9th, 2018

Throughout the gardening season, I’m carefully watching plants in the garden for: color, form, structure, height, texture, and bloom time/window. As I work, I try to not which plants would make great combos in the garden in the coming years. This summer, I noticing that the ‘First Glory’ Veronica would pair perfectly with sweet while alyssum with maybe a bit of bronze fennel in there for added color and texture.

Next year, as I edit the perennial borders in front of the main vegetable garden, I’ll be creating this combination. I may also add lamb’s ears and some garlic chives to the mix to extend bloom time and add more textures and layers.

A few years ago, I discovered that I really like tithonia and verbena bonariensis together and have been growing them in combination ever since. This is not only a favorite of mine, but also of the pollinators, especially the monarchs. One of my all time favorite combinations is chives and lamb’s ears. I had them in my foundation borders in Ohio and LOVED this combo. I’m currently working on propagating chives and lamb’s ears to add a few of these vignettes throughout the borders here.

Last year, when we were visiting Kingwood Center in Mansfield, OH, I noticed this combination of bronze fennel growing up around allium seed heads. There’s something so wonderful about this mix, definitely a combination I hope to be trying in the gardens here in the future.

Plant combinations is one of the things I always notice when I tour other gardens, I’m always looking for options that appeal to me to implement here in the gardens of Chiot’s Run. There’s something wonderful and finding just the right mix that appeals to your specific tastes.

What are some of your favorite plant combinations?

Harvest, Harvest, Harvest, Repeat

August 8th, 2018

This time of year it seems the harvesting starting in full swing. Not only are all the summer vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers starting to produce in large quantities, the long term storage vegetables are ready to harvest as well. Over the past two weeks I’ve been slowly harvesting my garlic and onions.

This time of year we start getting more rain, so I’m always watching the weather to determine when I harvest these root vegetables. They definitely store best when they’re harvested after a dry spell. That means that sometimes they’re harvested a week or two early to avoid being drenched with an inch of rain during a summer thunderstorm. In fact, my garlic was harvested two weeks early because they were predicting a few weeks with lots of rain.

What are you harvesting this week?

Start from Seed

August 7th, 2018

Last fall I visited the Johnny’s Selected Seeds Research Farm and saw a clematis vine with the puffy seed heads. I plucked one off and brought it home to try starting a vine from the seeds. After putting them in flats and watering them throughout the winter, nothing happened. Before composting them, I decided to put them on heating mats with my spring seedlings.

Low and behold, they started germinating. Two germinated on the mats, one survived and is about two inches tall now. The other one didn’t make it. I left the flat under the grow lights and I have three more seeds that have germinated and look like they will make it. I’ve tried starting clematis from seed in the past, but never had any luck. I’m thinking that I just haven’t been patient enough. Some of the seeds are just germinating, which means it’s been almost a year that they’ve been in the flat of soil.

I had no idea what the clematis was going to look like, there were no blooms left on the vine when I gathered the seed pod. When I went back two weeks ago I spotted the vine, with blooms:

Will my clematis look like this? Who knows. I’m excited to see what the flowers look like when it does bloom, most likely two years from now. I’ll keep you updated on this fun experiment as time goes on. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my vine will look just like the one pictured above, the yellow blooms are stunning!!!

Do you like to start things from seed?

Friday Favorite: Hummingbirds

August 3rd, 2018

I’ve always loved hummingbird (who doesn’t?). The garden is always filled with things that they will love and we hand a few hummingbird feeders by the windows so we can see them. Lately, one of our hummingbirds has taken to sitting on my rain chain. It’s particularly funny because the rain chain is shaped like little umbrellas (or Humbrellas as we say since our little niece started saying that years ago).

It’s particularly funny since the umbrella is perfectly hummingbird sized.

These little birds are endlessly entertaining. I love sitting on the back porch with my coffee in the morning watching them zoom around. I will always make sure I plant lots of things to keep these little guys fed.

Do you hang a hummingbird feeder in your garden?

Seeds and Sundries
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Berkey Water Filter

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.