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Beautiful Natives

July 31st, 2018

I’ve had echinacea blooming in my gardens for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, I purchased a pack of seeds with the intention of starting a mass planting on the hillside behind the garage. Last year, I sowed a row of seeds in the vegetable garden in early spring. They germinated well, grew well, and I transplanted them this spring.

They’re blooming beautifully this year and the bees and butterflies are really enjoying them. I plan on saving seed from these beauties to start more and more plants. Eventually, I’ll have a HUGE swatch of them growing on the hillside behind the garage (across from the main entrance to the vegetable garden). Not only will they be much better than the weeds that are growing there now, they will provide much food for pollinators. Echinacea is probably my favorite native wildflower, I love that it’s so delicate in beauty, but tough as nails as a plant.

Do you grow any native wildflowers in your garden? Which is your favorite?

Spring Poppies

June 5th, 2017

The bright spring poppies started blooming last week. They used to grow throughout the front foundation garden, but I’ve slowly been reducing their numbers and letting them grow in one specific spot. They are allowed to grow and bloom at the base of the rock wall below the living room windows.

I think buds are just as pretty as the flowers actually, their gooseneck shape is stunning, especially with the low evening light. This area should be aflame for the short season they bloom. To be honest, orange isn’t my favorite color when it comes to flowers, I’m also not a fan of super vibrant flowers. My favorite blooms definitely are more pastel and range from purple to white.

What’s blooming in your garden right now?

Apple Blossom Amaryllis

January 17th, 2017

Growing up, I remember that my dad always gave my mom an amaryllis bulb for Christmas. She’d plant them and we’d have bright red amaryllises blooming in the house in February. This year, my parents gave both my and my sister bulbs. I planted mine as soon as I got home and it started blooming last week. (note that we celebrate Christmas the week after Thanksgiving when we are in Ohio, so I planted this in early December).
apple blossom amaryllis
It’s quite a bloom and it brings lots of color to the upstairs garden. I have it in a bright window by the grow lights with a wide variety of other plants. My mom always kept her bulbs and they rebloomed year after year. I may or may not keep mine, I haven’t decided yet.

Do you grow amaryllises for winter color?

I Spy – My Favorite Peony

June 23rd, 2014

Ah, I was so happy to see this bloom in the garden late last week. This plant made the long journey to Maine with us from our garden in Ohio. It was dug up and moved in December, which is not the ideal time for moving plants, especially in this zone.
peony 1
There were several peonies that made the trip, two of them survived, the rest did not. I was happy when I saw this particular peony had survived. This beauty was one of the first plants I ever purchased and planted in my garden in Ohio. That was probably 15 years ago.
Way back then I didn’t tag plants, take photos, or keep track of plant varieties. I have no idea what the name of this peony is. I’m sure with research I could find it, but I’m glad I don’t have to track it down to purchase it.
single_pink_peony 1
My ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony didn’t seem to make the trip, so I purchase one this spring at a local greenhouse.  It’s one of my favorite peonies, so graceful.
peony 2
I also have an heirloom peony that came from my grandmother’s house, it was at the house when it was purchase when my mom was a little girl. She got starts from my grandma and I had one of it’s offspring growing in my garden back in Ohio as well. I need to get a start from that one once again so it can live on here in my garden in Maine.
peony 5
Peonies are wonderful garden plants, hardy and long lasting.  They truly are perennial unlike many other plants bearing that label.  Plant one in the right spot and you will be graced with it’s beautiful blooms for years to come!  I miss all the lovely peonies I had established in my garden back in Ohio. I know I had: ‘Dr Alexander Fleming’, ‘Bowl of Beauty’, ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Suzanne Kreckler’, and ‘Felix Crousse’ along with a few unidentified ones. Here are a few photos of them:
If you’d like to learn more about peonies, the different types, growing tips, etc – head on over to Peony’s Envy, they have everything you need to know about peonies.
Front Hillside Garden 7
Front Hillside Garden 8
peony 6
peony 1 (1)
peony 7
peony 3
peony 4
peony 2 (1)
At least I have photos of them and I know the names of my favorites, I just have to track them down. It certainly isn’t a cheap proposition to reacquire my favorite plants, luckily I was able to bring starts of many and I can get starts of many more from my mom and fellow gardeners.

Do you have peonies in your garden? Which is your favorite?

It’s a LIME

August 11th, 2012

I have 2 citrus trees that lead a very pampered life. If you remember, I purchased them on my trip to Monticello in 2010. The prime window acreage in the living room is all theirs during our cold NE Ohio winters. They’re even lovingly carried out to the front porch to enjoy any unseasonably nice weather we have in late winter. These two plants truly are my favorite houseplants, mostly because I want them to produce fruit.

This spring, the key lime tree produced 3 or 4 blooms, sadly none of them were pollinated. That gave me hope that it was finally old enough to fruit. I’ve been watching it like a hawk all summer waiting for blooms. Sure enough, two weeks ago I noticed buds. Last week it started blooming profusely. I moved it to the front porch right by the catnip plant, which is blooming at attracting tons of pollinators thus hopefully increasing the odds of pollinating the lime blossoms.

Sure enough, earlier this week I noticed that at least a few of the blooms had been pollinated and were sporting tiny lime fruit. Will they mature into fruit? You really never know when it’s the first time a plant blooms. Sometimes it takes them a cycle or two to figure out what’s going on. I certainly hope all these little blooms turn into limes, if so, our glasses will be filled with limeade in a few months!

When we get to Maine I hope to add to my citrus collection. I’ll have a bigger house and more windows to house them. Kumquats, Meyer Lemon and a few other varities are on my “must-buy” list.

Do you have any favorite houseplants? Do you grow any edible houseplants?

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.