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Friday Favorites: The Pollinator Bed

September 6th, 2019

This spring I added a new pollinator garden by the driveway. It fills a space that was awkward, as well as quite dangerous to mow. I mulched the area heavily last fall with cardboard and compost, this spring I filled it with plants that pollinators love. I took care to select plants that bloomed at different times, so there’s be food in this area all year long. Currently it’s filled with anise hyssop, turtlehead flower, marjoram, echinacea, and Chinese chive blooms.



I’m currently planning spring bulbs to extend the season as early as possible. Deer and rodent proof bulbs are a must, as the deer have been nibbling and tasting what’s in this flowerbed already.

What’s your favorite pollinator plant? Do you have any great early bulbs to recommend?

Allium Sphaerocephalon

September 4th, 2019

Three years ago I purchased a small pack of bulbs on clearance at a local discount store. I think paid .75 for 25 bulbs. They weren’t labeled with a name, so I searched for them when they bloomed the following summer. Turns our they were Allium Sphaerocephalon.

These beautiful little bulbs are loved by pollinators of all sorts. They naturalize readily, expanding stocks of bulbs each season and blooming more profusely. They grow about two feel tall and the bloombs are about the size of an egg. They start off green and mature to a beautiful dark pink. They’re quite inexpensive to buy, you can get 100 for $10.75 from Van Engelen.

Yesterday, I spent some time harvesting bulbs and moving them into the new pollinator bed by the driveway (more photos of this garden coming soon). I planted them among the hyssop as they have small leaves and the blooms should rise just to the height of the hyssop. This should give me a longer bloom time in this small area, providing twice as much food for the pollinators.

Alliums are becomming a favorite flower around here. I currently grow only four or five different varieties, but hope to add more. Purple Sensation is on my list to buy this fall, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this variety (especially that it returns year after year).

What are you doing in the garden this week? Do you grow alliums? What’s your favorite variety?

Quote of the Day: Kate Morton

August 26th, 2019

“The sun shone just as brilliantly as if Adeline had put in an order with the Lord. The extra lilies arrived and Davies raided the garden for more exotic species with which to gild the arrangements. The nocturnal shower that had kept Adeline awake and anxious had succeeded only in adding sparkle to the garden, so that each leaf looked to have been polished specially…”

by Kate Morton in The Forgotten Garden

A few weeks ago I found this book at my local thrift store and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Though not specifically about gardening/gardens, there’s a lot in there about a specific garden. I read this passage after a day and night of rain.



Taking photos in the morning after a rain is one of my favorite things. The garden is always fresh, the colors somehow more vibrant. I don’t know if the plants are somehow greener because of the fresh soaking or if the water on the leaves makes them appear more saturated. Oddly enough, I have tons of photos of the day after rain in the garden but failed to label them as such so I couldn’t find a lot (not to self, new label in photo software).

What do you like about rain in the garden?

Uncommon Hedge Plants

August 23rd, 2019

I’m a lover of a good hedge, in fact I have several hedges planned for the gardens here and have been researching hedging options and noticing any hedges I see both here and elsewhere. Most likely, the large hedge around the main garden is going to be beech. They grow very well locally and the deer don’t bother them. Though I’m going to be trialing hawthorn as well to see if it works, a thornless variety as I have no desire to prune 270 feet of thorny hedge. When we were at Longwood a few weeks ago, we noticed this dwarf fals cypress hedge and loved it.


The unstructured loose feel of this hedge is quite nice. It’s not something I will use in place of the beech hedge as I want clean lines, but it’s an option for other parts of the garden, especially if it proves to be deer proof. It would make for a good windbreak in the winter since it’s an evergreen.

Do you have any favorite hedge plants?

Bee Hotels

August 22nd, 2019

There’s been a lot of talk of insect/bee hotels lately. I’ve been seeing them in most of the botanical gardens that I’ve visted over the past few years. This one was featured at one of the arboretums in Paris.

It’s very cute and looks lovely in the garden. While I’ve always thought about building one, I’ve never gotten around to it. Lately, studies have shown that they’re not as beneficial as once thought. It’s much more effective to produce more natural habitats for them. We have a few large brush piles in the woods where lots of these types of bees and other insects can live. We leave dead trees standing if they’re not a hazzard to us or the house. There are lots of things you can do to help native bees without providing apartment complexes for them. Now I don’t feel so bad about never making one.

Have you spotted any native bee hotels in local gardens?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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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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