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The Mad Dash

May 7th, 2018

Here in Maine, we have black fly season. It’s annoying. Black flies buzz in your ears and bite, hard. Typically, the season goes from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. We wear head nets during the season if there’s no breeze, but we try to spend LONG days in the garden before they arrive to get as much done as possible before the little buggers hatch out.

I often take a lot of days off work this time of year, or I work in the evenings when it’s dark. These past two weeks have been no different. Any day it’s nice, I’m outside working, unless there’s something pressing I need to get finished. Naturally, I always have furry helpers when I’m working outside.

This weekend, I accomplished a ton in the garden. All brassicas, lettuce, celery and beets were transplanted. Peas were seeding, shrubs were pruned, perennials were transplanted, perennials borders were weeded and a layer of mulch was applied.

I also started working on a rock wall around part of the old apple tree up front. It’s really starting to look GREAT! On Saturday evening, after a long day of working in the garden, a black fly buzzed my ear. Even though I’ll still be out working in the garden, I won’t be out quite so much.

What insects are annoying you this week in the garden?

Quote of the Day: Monty Don

May 6th, 2018

“I would not want any garden of mine to be like anyone else’s any more than I would not want my bedroom to be like a hotel room. I increasingly long for the personal and the idiosyncratic. I want as much as possible to be handmade, one-off and distinctive. I like gardens that have their own accent and their own rules, and are ruck in dreams and memories that everyone can share but no one can replicate.”

-Monty Don in Down to Earth

As I finally am approaching the point where I can start making this garden my own, adding plants, hedges, sheds, greenhouses, and other things, I find myself constantly thinking about what would look good, what would work for my gardening styles, what works with the climate.

I have grand plans of soft fruit gardens, a hazel copse, a woodland garden, a spring garden and a parterre potager. Big plans, but I often thinks it’s better to dream big and size them down that to not dream big enough.

What are you big plans for your future garden?

Friday Favorite: Finding a Plant

May 4th, 2018

I read about ‘New Dawn’ roses many years ago and have been looking for one for my garden ever since. A few years ago, I saw one at a local garden center, but with a price tag of $60, I decided to keep looking. I knew I could order one on-line, but generally prefer to support small independent local greenhouses when I can.

Yesterday, I was out with a friend and we stopped at Guini Ridge Farm in Rockport, Maine. There it was, a ‘New Dawn’ rose for $25! I grabbed one and a ‘White Dawn’ as well.

If this rose is as hardy and prolific as they say, I’ll be pleased as punch to have it grow up and cover the ugly part of the house. Since this is an own root rose, I’m hoping I can take cuttings and propagate my own. I have a few spots around the farm that could benefit from a large climbing rose and I’ve been wanting to try my hand at taking rose cuttings.

Naturally, I also left with a few herbs for the garden. Look at all those variegated leaves! I couldn’t pass up the lovely variety of Lobularia either (it’s ‘Deep Lavender Stream’).

Have you ever looked for a plant for years before finding it?

Soaking it Up

May 3rd, 2018

This time of year really is the sweetest. It’s warming up, the soil is ready to be worked, there aren’t many insects, and there aren’t many weeds either. Yesterday, it was 85 degrees here and perfect. I spent the day madly planting seedlings the main vegetables garden: onions, spinach, lettuce, beets, etc. I worked until I could barely see.

I planted four trays of alliums: Patterson, Redwing, Red long of Tropea, and Conserver Shallots (all seeds from I’m really looking forward to fresh onions, the ones in the root cellar are starting to sprout and the stocks are getting really low. Luckily, chives are coming on and those give a great onion flavor. I’m starting to get excited about this summer and what the garden will bring.

What are you transplanting?

Taking Shape

May 2nd, 2018

I’ve been slowly working on smothering all the perennial weeds under the old apple tree out front. It’s take a few years of mulching with cardboard and grass clipping, but it’s finally in good enough shape to start thinking about the final garden that will evolve in that space.

After looking at it for the past few years, this spring I noticed that since it’s right outside the front of the house, we see it all the time when we walk by. This time of year in particular, we notice the tiny scillas that bloom there. That’s when it dawned on me, this space would be a fabulous spring garden.

I started moving snowdrops from another bed, I’ll plant a few small tulips and daffodils this fall. When those die back, it will pretty much be left as is, except for the various boxwood I planted underneath that will be pruned into spheres.

I may make a few cement spheres to go under here as well. The focus will definitely be in the spring, when we can notice it and really enjoy the beauty of the new season.

Do you have any great plants to recommend for a spring garden? Do you have any themed garden areas, or areas that a specifically designed for certain seasons?


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.