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An Heirloom Plant

May 31st, 2017

I had a lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) in my Ohio garden, it came from my mom’s house, she got it from her mom’s house. The original plant was in the gardens at the house my mom’s parent bought when she was two years old. When we moved to Maine I didn’t bring any from my garden, I know I could get a start from my mom once again.

I brought a small start last summer, after visiting my parents in June. I planted it under the apple tree knowing it would love this shady spot with great soil. Oddly enough, there was some lily of the valley in this garden when we arrived. It struggles in the spot where it’s planted, I’m not 100% sure why, perhaps the soil isn’t quite as fertile.

It’s blooming beautifully this summer. This plant can be a bit of a thug in the garden, so it should be planted in a place where you don’t mind that it takes over and forms a ground cover. I’m happy to have it do this in this area. I need a ground cover here that will keep the weeds from coming up.

It makes me smile knowing that this plant is a true heirloom that came from my grandmother’s garden. Who knows how long it lived in that garden before they moved into the house.

Do you have any heirloom plants in your garden?

Mickey Mouse Tulips

May 22nd, 2017

The first fall after we purchased our new house (way back in 2003), I planted tulip bulbs. I found the bulbs on clearance at my local Target store, they were called ‘Mickey Mouse’ tulips. I planted the few bulbs from the package and was excited when they came up the following spring. Little did I know that these few bulbs would naturalize and reproduce. Each year I had a few more flowers, which is unusual for tulips. I passed a few bulbs along to my mom and they started reproducing in her garden as well. When we moved to Maine, it happened in the fall and I forgot to dig up bulbs to bring with me.


Last spring, I finally remember to dig a few up at my mom’s during a late spring visit. You can imagine how happy I was to see their little sunny red and yellow faces in the my garden this spring. There are two bulbs so far, but it looks as if the two bulbs I brought have already started to multiply. It’s wonderful to have these little lovelies in my garden once again.

Do you have any plans that you have acquired, then lost, then reacquired?

Out of the Cellar

April 18th, 2017

The dahlia tubers came out of the cellar last week and were potted up in containers and put on the back porch to start sprouting. The porch is enclosed and stays much warmer than outside, this will give them a toasty spot to start sprouting and get a head start on the season. My tubers survived wonderfully in the root cellar. I dug them in late fall and tucked them into large totes filled with wood shavings. I’m happy with the results, it was my first time ever growing dahlias and the first time overwintering the tubers in the basement.

The only problem with these tubers is that they are so much larger than the new tubers I bought, I had to get out some very large containers to pot them up. Next year I’ll experiment with planting them directly in the garden to see if they bloom at the same time as the potted ones. I’m always happy to give plants a boost if it’s beneficial, but if it’s not I can use that time for something else.

Do you grow dahlias? Do they benefit from being potted up early?

The First Blooms

April 12th, 2017

Both Monday and Tuesday were beautiful days this week, both in the 70’s and sunny. It’s amazing how quickly things grow when the sun comes out and the air warms. On Monday I walked around the garden looking for bulbs coming up, there was nothing. Yesterday afternoon I noticed the crocuses blooming.


I don’t have a ton of crocuses in the garden here, there were a few in the garden when we moved in. In my Ohio garden, I planted around 1000 crocus bulbs, in the lawn and in the perennial borders. I’m thinking of adding a few underneath our old apple trees. I’ve spent the last three years smoothing all the invasive weeds, now that I have them under control a carpet of crocuses might be in order! But then again, maybe I’ll plant lots of snowdrops, or tiny narcissus, or bluebells….choices, choices.

What’s your favorite tiny spring flower?

So Many Dahlias

October 14th, 2016

My dahlias are blooming like crazy, it’s like they know that they only have a week or two of blooming left. They have been blooming nicely since August, but now they’re really putting on a show. I was happy to see them welcoming me home from my travels over the past two weeks. There’s nothing like seeing some final colors in the garden.
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I’ll be digging these tubers after the first frost, if you’ve wondered how to overwinter dahlias in a cold climate stay tuned. I’ll make sure to take lots of photos and write up a post about the process.

Do you grow dahlias? Do you have a favorite variety?

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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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