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I’m Back

February 19th, 2020

It’s been a while, thanks to those of you that have been e-mailing to see if things are all right. Last year was a bit of a crazy year for us, mostly we were super busy because we built a commercial building (office/warehouse space) for Mr Chiots’ company. This took up lots of our spare time and made things a bit crazy. We are just buttoning up this project and things look like they’ll be getting back to more of a normal pace (whatever that means). Last week we were lucky enough to head out to California to thaw out (sort of, it was chilly while we were there). We flew into LAX and then headed south to San Diego for a few days, stopping at the San Diego Botanical Garden on the way.

It was so nice to see so many tropical thing, so much color, and so much green. The blooming aloes were stunning, a breath of fresh air since we had left snow and sub zero temperature behind in Maine.

The gardening season is kicking off here, when we arrived home I started onion seeds for the coming year. This year will be a building year, I’m growing less in the main garden and focusing on building hedges and walkways. Stay tuned for more details and the garden plan I designed a few years ago finally gets implemented.

What’s up in your neck of the woods? Cold weather? Planting season?

Friday Favorite: Labeled Plants

June 21st, 2013

One of the things I really enjoy about visiting botanical gardens is that many of the plants have labels.  I find myself taking photos of plants and their labels in order to hopefully add a few of my favorite varieties to my own garden someday.  Here are a few that caught my eye this past Tuesday when we visited Kingwood Center.
broad leaf sedge 1
broad leaf sedge 2
hosta tokudama
leatherleaf sedge
shrub rose charlotte 1
shrub rose charlotte 2
Bears Breech plant 2
Bears Breech plant 1
Even though I always do this with hopes of adding a few of these plants to my garden, it never really seems to materialize. At least I know which plants are in my photos, which comes in handy sometimes for plant identification and for selling photos.

Have you ever spotted any must have plants while visiting a botanical garden?

Friday Favorite: Botanical Gardens in Winter

March 15th, 2013

Yesterday, Mr Chiots and I headed down to Boothbay for an errand.  Since we were in the area, we decided to stop at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.   I really enjoy visiting botanical gardens during the winter, it’s the perfect time to notice the structure of the gardens and the plants.  You notice interesting things you might not see at other times when you’re distracted by flowers and other things.
Coastal Maine Botanical Garden
I was particularly interested in seeing the witch hazels.  I’m planning on adding them to the gardens for color at this time of year and I was looking for varieties that would suite my climate.  Luckily, they had a nice selection.   Back in Ohio, we had native wild witch hazel that bloomed in November, they were pretty and understated, nothing compared to these showy beauties. ‘Arnold Promise’ looks almost like a forsythia, only it blooms much earlier.
Witch Hazel Arnold Promise 1
Witch Hazel Arnold Promise 2
There’s something so wonderful about a plant that produces blooms like this in a season like this.  When everything around is dull, muddy and gray, the bright pop of yellow is eye catching to say the least. This is ‘Aurora’ with hazel, it’s quite lovely don’t you think?
Witch Hazel Aurora 1
Witch Hazel Aurora 2
‘Limelight’ witch hazel has smaller, less showy flowers and had a slight greenish tint. The green was immediately noticeable with the other with hazels blooming in the area. You might not notice this if it was the only one in your garden.
Witch Hazel Limelight 1
Witch Hazel Limelight 2
‘Bernstein’ witch hazel was especially lovely, I think it was more wonderful than all the others. The blossoms were large and lovely, though there weren’t too many.
Witch Hazel Bernstein 2
Witch Hazel Bernstein 3
Witch Hazel Bernstein 1
I’ll definitely be adding a few of these to my garden this year, now I just have to decide where to put them.

Do ever visit botanical gardens in the off season? 


Kubota Gardens

February 28th, 2012

Many years ago when Mr Chiots and I spent a week in Seattle we stumbled upon Kubota Gardens and really enjoyed it. We took another trip back when we were out last August. It’s such an interesting garden because the emphasis is on coniferous plants not flowers, thus the structure, form, and texture are the features. Here’s a slide show of the flowers I spotted along the way. To view in full screen click on the icon in the top left hand corner, click the same icon to exit full screen mode.

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Generally, I’m not much of one for coniferous plants for some reason, but I did love the wide variety I saw at Kubota Gardens. I’m definitely more interested in adding more to the gardens for winter interest and structure now.

Do you like Japanese Style gardens? What about coniferous plants?

Quote of the Day: John Greenleaf Whittier

February 13th, 2011

Give fools their gold, and knaves their power;
Let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall;
Who sows a field, or trains a flower,
Or plants a tree, is more than all.
~ John Greenleaf Whittier

I think of this quote when I visit gardens that were planted and tended many years ago like: Pierre du Pont’s Longwood Gardens, Thomas Jefferson’s gardens at Monticello, and F.A. Seiberling’s Stan Hywet. All of these men had riches and they chose to invest some of those riches in their gardens, which we all can now enjoy. Here are some photos from Stan Hywet in Akron from a couple visits in 2009, if you want to see the slideshow in full screen click on the little icon in the top left corner of the first photo.

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I really enjoy going to gardens like this, I’ll never have a grand garden filled with rare plants, but I often find little ideas to incorporate in my own garden. There’s something quite wonderful about visiting an established garden that has been around for a long time.

Do you enjoy visiting botanical and public gardens? What’s your favorite?

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.