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June 25th, 2014

I’ve been thinking about getting a companion cat for the Sweets, our little feral garage cat.  She loves hanging out with Big D and Samson when they’re out so I know she loves having companions.
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A friend of mind had a cat with kittens and I asked if they had a home, they did, but one of his friends had a cat that she was looking to rehome. Zippy was living with an 80 year old woman and was always trying to get outside. In fact, she knocked the lady over several times darting out the door in front of her. As a result, she needed a new home where she could live outside like she wanted to. Her owner’s daughter contacted me to see if I’d be interested.
We have loads of space and could use another outdoor cat so I told her to bring her up. Zippy, as she was called by her previous owner, made the journey up from Connecticut yesterday and is now in a kennel in our kitchen. It will take a few weeks to get all the cats acquainted with each other, but I have no doubt they’ll all become fast friends within a few month. I can’t wait for Sweets to have a buddy to pal around the garden with, she really is a social cat. We’ll probably come up with a new name for Zippy, not quite sure what yet.

Any great suggestions for a new name for this sweetie?

Hello Beautiful

June 24th, 2014

Yesterday, as we were driving down the driveway, I noticed a lovely pink flower out of the corner of my eye. When we arrived home a few hours later I walked down to inspect it. This is what I found:
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This is down at the edge of the woods right by the old stone foundation from the original homestead that was built on this property back in the late 1800’s. No doubt this rose, along with the lilac that blooms nearby were brought and planted by the lady of the house. I don’t know much about heirloom roses, looks like I have a new topic to read about this coming winter. If any of you have any recommendation for books on the topic be sure to let me know.
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It’s a beautiful rose, the perfect shade of pink and very fragrant. It’s hard to believe that this plant, along with a few others, has been living here for three times as long as I have been alive or maybe even longer. Since this rose has been living in this garden for so many years I know it will be a good one to propagate. I’ll be out when it’s finished blooming taking cuttings and hoping to add more just like it throughout the gardens.  I was looking at the heirloom roses plant and it looks a lot like ‘Blush Hip’ rose.
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When I get plants started I’ll be sure to pot one up for my mom. She appreciates a plant with history just as much as I do. We both have plants in our gardens that came from the house she grew up in, plants she remembers being in the gardens at the house when they moved in when she was 3 or 4 years old.

Do you have any heritage plants in your garden?

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?

Quote of the Day: Monty Don

June 22nd, 2014

“There is a group of plants that grow lustily every year, whatever the weather and however negligent I am of their care.  They never fail, and never let me down.  Almost certainly they are the same ones that are thriving best in your garden too, because they are all weeds.  However you arrive at it, weeds are there in every garden and take up an awful lot of a gardener’s time and energy.

Tackle weeds when you notice them.  In practice this means that it is a constant job.  But – and I think that this is really important and underrated – weeding is at the heart of gardening.  I use it as a chance to get close to my plants and to judge the state of the soil, s well as port of keeping the place looking beautiful.  So don’t see weeding as a terrible burden imposed upon you but enjoy it as part of real gardening.”

Monty Don in Gardening at Longmeadow

It’s the season for weeds, which I don’t mind really. I like filling my bucket and then filling the compost pile. Many weeds pull up specific nutrients so they are valuable to have around. I spend a little time each day pulling weeds, this helps me stay on top of them and they never seem to get out of hand. My most prolific annual weed seems to be wild amaranth.

What weed do you pull most in your garden?

Belfast Garden Tour #1

June 21st, 2014

Yesterday morning I attended the first in the garden tour series put on by my local garden club. It was the Wolfe-Cunning Garden on the outskirts of town. The lady we purchased our house from was manning the booth at the garden, so we had a chat to catch up on what was going on in each of our lives. The garden was great. It’s always nice to see a real life garden, not one in a magazine that has been staged and manicured. Sometimes seeing real life gardens make us realize that our gardens are truly wonderful as well.
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This garden is lovely, simple and lovely. There’s lots of mulch and lots of native plants. You can see that they are keen a little human cultivation but allowing nature do it’s thing. Sometimes that’s a hard balance to find as a gardener. I won’t go into too much detail about the garden, the photos speak better than it do. There are a lot of them, so get a cup of tea and enjoy a tour of this lovely garden in midcoast Maine.
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So what do you think of the Wolfe-Cunnin Garden?


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.