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Quote of the Day: Tamar Adler

October 15th, 2017

“I like asparagus charred on the grill until it is beginning to pucker; cooking greens are wonderful when allowed to get crisp and burned in places. The same is true of roasted fish and toast, both of which I find more delicious with bits of crips blackening on their edges.”

Tamar Adler in ‘An Everlasting Meal’

I always say that Mr Chiots likes his toast raw and he says I like mine burnt. In reality, I like mine with a bit of char, he likes is barely toasted. It’s personal preference of course, but I like a lot of toothsomeness to my toast and a bit of bitterness from some charred edges. He likes his barely past fresh bread. Naturally, I chuckled when I read this line the other night.

How do you like your toast?

A Book Recommendation

October 10th, 2017

“After several moments of quiet, Pino said, ‘You know, my young friend, I will be ninety years old next year, and life is still a constant surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, and what important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose. Life is change, constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find comedy in it, change is nearly always a drama, if not a tragedy. But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be ablive, we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed. And we must have faith in God, and in the universe, and in the better tomorrow, even if that faith is not always deserved.'”

-Pino Lella in Under the Scarlet Sky

I bought ‘Under the Scarlet Sky’ in April and just got around to reading it. It was riveting. We don’t hear a lot about Italy during WWII, a few bits and pieces about Communism and Mussolini. As with all wars, there are many facets and sometimes we forget that every single person involved has a story, it doesn’t matter which side they are on. This is a riveting book about about one man’s experience during in Italy during the war. When you read the book you’ll realize how much more impact his quote above has.

Have you read any good books lately that you want to recommend?

Friday Favorite: The English Garden

September 29th, 2017

Many years ago, I quit subscribing to gardening magazines. I was frustrated by all the ads and lack of good content. A few years ago, a friend recommended ‘The English Garden’ magazine. It was expensive, so I never subscribed. This summer I got a subscription as a birthday gift.

My first issue was fantastic, I read it cover to cover. It’s full of articles, real articles about beautiful gardens. The second issue is great as well, I’m super happy with this magazine. ‘Northern Gardener’ is another great publication, it’s published by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. It’s full of great articles (some written by yours truly) and isn’t full of product placements and ads. If you’ve been missing quality gardening magazines, give one of these two options a try. They are also fantastic gift ideas for those green thumbs in your life.

What’s your favorite gardening publication?

Quote of the Day: Rosemary Verey

July 14th, 2017

“We must all examine our environment, always gaining inspiration from existing natural features; we will then enhance rather than overwhelm our surroundings.”

Rosemary Verey in Making of a Garden.

I’ve been considering this idea as I walk around my garden. Truth be told, this idea is much more important when you live on a large property and have sweeping views or lots of woodland. Our property has a few acres of cleared land, a lovely view to the coastal mountain range, and acres of woods.

It can be hard to decide what to plant to tame the areas around the house but not distract from the natural surroundings. The nice this is that I have lovely backdrops for the various gardens here at Chiot’s Run. Mature woodland edges are always lovely behind a garden, especially when they’re far enough away to not suck all the moisture and nutrients from your plants.

What things in your environment do you need to consider when planning/adapting your garden?

Developing Favorite Perennial Combinations

June 28th, 2017

One thing I’m always watching throughout the seasons is which plants are blooming, their texture, color, height, and preferred conditions. As I watch, I try to develop combinations that will work well together in my garden. Over the last two weeks I’ve been noticing this beautiful peony. As it was blooming beautifully, the ladies mantle also looked beautiful. The brightness of ladies mantle with purple and pink is one of my favorite color combinations in the garden. I’ll definitely be moving some ladies mantle in front of the peony.

It also needs something with a little more height behind it, at the moment, I’m thinking a tall grass might be nice. There’s a big blue hosta in the nursery are that could be moved, I think it will be nice planted next to the peony. If I didn’t have ladies mantle for the front, I may consider adding a variegated comfrey behind the peony. I also have a nice golden hakone grass that would be lovely in front of this peony as well. There’s not enough space behind it, but if there were I’d consider adding a ninebark ‘Diabolo’, the dark foliage would be lovely with the pink blossoms.

Another one of my favorite combinations is chives and lambs ears. In my Ohio garden they were stunning together and looked great for quite a while. It’s a combinations I’ll be adding to the gardens here  for sure.

If you don’t think you have the inspiration to make your own perennial combinations, consider getting the book ‘Perennial Combinations: Stunning Combinations That Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start’. This book contains all kinds of combinations for a wide variety of soil/light types. You’re bound to find one that you will love, notice how many I’ve bookmarked. This book is fantastic because it shows you exactly which plant is which and where it’s planted. It has combinations for dry shade, wet shade, rich soil, and just about any type of space you might have in the garden.

My garden is finally reaching that point where I’m starting to be able to plant the borders with their final plantings. That means I can start combining things I think will look great. The good thing about gardening is that most plants can be moved fairly easily. I find myself constantly moving things here and there to find just the right spot.

What’s one of your favorite perennial combinations?

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.