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Hello Spring Color

March 20th, 2018

I’ve been a huge fan of witch hazels for a long time. In Ohio, we had a few native ones in the garden, they were always blooming when we were out collecting maple sap. A few years ago, toured the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens when they were in full bloom. Last fall, I planted a lovely specimen in my garden. I went out to look at mine last week and discovered in was blooming.

The variety is ‘Amethyst’ hamamelis and it’s quite stunning. The burgundy flowers pop this time of year. I can’t wait until this beauty grows taller, it’s planted right outside the living room window so we’ll be able to enjoy it fully this time of year.

What sorts of things do you have in the garden to provide some much needed interest in winter?

Overrun with Lady Beetles

March 19th, 2018

These warmer, sunny spring days are bringing out those pesky Asian lady beetles en masse. We always have some inside the house, this year it has reached infestation levels.

I’m not sure why there are so many of them this year and at this time, but it’s a bit crazy. I vacuum them up about 10 times a day, trying to keep the population under control. As soon as I put away the vacuum, there are just as many as I cleaned up. I’m guessing I suck up about 300-400 a day. We also have lots of stink bugs and wasps coming into the house. Those get sucked up as well.

What are you biggest indoor pests?

Digging Out

March 15th, 2018

Tuesday into Wednesday another big nor’easter hit us here in Maine. In fact, this one was classified as a blizzard. It’s still snowing outside the window as I write this post, but so far we’ve gotten about two feet of snow. We have a metal roof, which sheds the snow. Unfortunately, the vents for the dryer and gas water heater are about a foot off the ground on that side (we’re still trying to figure out why they were put there instead of by a roof that doesn’t shed snow).

The snow pile in front of the house has grown to be about tall as it’s ever been.

Before the two storms this week, we had pretty much no snow left on the ground. It was warming up and felt like spring outside. This is no longer the case, but I guess spring isn’t officially here until next Tuesday. I think it won’t be here in Maine for a few more weeks.

What’s your garden looking like this week?

Munch, Munch, Munch

March 14th, 2018

The last two years have been great for acorns in our area of Maine, which translates to a large deer and turkey population. While deer are beautiful creatures, they’re also destructive to a garden. This winter has been particularly rough. Almost every shrub and tree in my gardens have been browsed heavily.

They hydrangeas were hit especially hard, I doubt there will be any blooms this coming summer. Now I have to take extra care to protect plants. Next fall you’ll find me wrapping things with burlap, adding fencing around the garden, and probably spraying some things with hot pepper oil to keep them safe from browsing deer.

Do you have issues with deer in your garden? What’s your preferred method of dealing with their winter browsing?

Winter Garden

March 12th, 2018

The garden can be a bleak place in the winter and when you live in an area where it’s winter for at least half of the year, you want to make sure there’s something interesting in the garden during those winter months. The easiest thing to add to the garden for color and beauty during the winter months is red twig dogwoods.

I took this photo last week before the big nor’easter hit. These shrubs are lovely when it’s dreary and gray outside and they’re even more stunning when there’s snow on the ground. I like to prune my back every year because the new growth is the deepest red. You can also find yellow version of this, but I don’t have any of those in my garden quite yet. Around there, the deer don’t eat it either, which is a big bonus since they mow down everything else.

What’s your favorite plant for winter interest in the 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.