This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Belfast Garden Club Tour Garden #2

June 29th, 2017

My local garden club (which I should join but have a hard time getting to their Tuesday afternoon meetings), puts on garden tours every Friday during the summer. I really love this schedule. Since I got to town to hit the farmers market, the grocery store, and run other errands, I’m always in town on Fridays. In the summer I add garden tour to my list of places to go. Garden number two was in town, which was nice. Whenever I visit a garden like this I think to myself “wow, this is really small” and it’s not really. It’s almost a double lot garden. But since my current property is so vast and the mowed/garden areas are so huge, I’m always think they’re small.

One of the first things I noticed when stepping into this garden was the turf underneath my feet. Good turf is a beautiful thing, both in look and in texture underfoot. We hear a lot about lawns and the horrors of them, but a nice small square of good turf is truly a wonderful addition to the garden. I’ve been wanting to add a small piece of good quality grass somewhere in my garden.

The perennial borders were filled with lovely perennial: roses, euphorbia, campanula, ligularia, clematis, peonies, and hostas, along with shrubs and small trees. The kousa dogwood in the middle of the back lawn was superb!

The hostas, ferns, and goats beard under the mature trees was peaceful and calming.

One of my favorite things was the clematis vine on the side of the barn blooming its heart out, there really isn’t a better climber for a garden in my mind. Check back for upcoming gardens on the tour (and maybe some from last year because I don’t know if I shared many of those with you).

Do you have local garden tours in your area? 

The Last Garden in the Tour

September 3rd, 2014

A week and a half ago I visited the last garden in the tour series put on by my local garden club. I’ve been meaning to get to the photos from all the gardens I toured this summer (there were lots) but I just haven’t been able to find the time. With my upcoming trip, I’m trying to get ahead on a few posts, which is the perfect time to take you along on the garden tours I was lucky enough to enjoy this summer.
last garden in tour 1
This garden was tiny, probably not any larger than the average house, but that didn’t stop the gardener from filling it with all kinds of beauty. That didn’t stop her from having a seating area, and edible space, a small lawn, a swing set for the little ones and a nice composting area. There were terra-cotta pig heads on the shed, twinkle lights in the trees, bird baths, a raised rock bed, rock walkways and so many wonderful details.
last garden in tour 2
last garden in tour 3
last garden in tour 4
last garden in tour 5
last garden in tour 11
last garden in tour 6
last garden in tour 7
last garden in tour 8
last garden in tour 9
last garden in tour (1)
last garden in tour
There is something quite nice about small gardens, they are very cozy and intimate. Back in Ohio our garden was rather small (a quarter of an acre) and I liked the smallness in some aspects. Not having space to grow as many tomatoes as I wanted proved to be too much for me and we had to buy the lots on both sides and eventually upgraded to 153 acres. My main challenge now is how to make a very large garden seem intimate.

What size is your garden: small, medium, large? What do you find to be most difficult about the size of your space?

Friday Favorite: Local Garden Tours

July 18th, 2014

This past week has been a whirlwind of garden tours.  It seems every town has a tour during this week.  On Sunday, Mr Chiots and I attended the garden tour series organized by a local land trust.  We visited seven garden in all.  Yesterday I attended the Camden garden tour and visited 5 gardens, two were home tours.  Today I’m headed to the next garden in my local garden club series and tomorrow night we’re heading to the McLaughlin gardens Illuminated event, where they light up the garden with candles and lights. (Don’t mind the dirty fingernails, I am a gardener after all!)
garden tour 1
It may seem like a lot, and it is, but summer is short in Maine so we have to get in all the touring we can. Next summer I plan on spending a long weekend near Philadelphia to visit Longwood, Chanticleer and Winterthur. If anyone is interested in joining up let me know, we can arrange a fun weekends of gardening!
garden tour 2
I’ll be posting photos as I get through them, with work and other things I simply haven’t had the time to get through all the photos I took on all the tours. There was one garden in particular that was stunning and I’ll definitely be devoting a day to that garden. If you have local garden clubs and garden tours I highly recommend that you participate. Not only are you supporting local clubs and groups, you’ll be inspired by what you see and it will help you nail down your personal garden style.

Do you attend any local garden club tours? Do you plan vacations around garden destinations like Longwood?

A Day in the Garden

April 2nd, 2010

My mom has nice soil and a nice open sunny area in her back yard with a traditional rowed garden (here’s her garden last summer). She’s been generous enough to increase the garden each year to let me grow sun loving crops in exchange for some seeds, plants and work. On Wednesday I went to my mom’s house and we spent a day getting the garden ready for the season. She covers her garden with a tarp over the winter to protect the soil and to keep the weed seeds out. We uncovered the garden and went to work amending the soil a bit and planting a few early crops.

Traditionally here in Ohio you plant peas and potatoes on St Patrick’s day. It was too cold on that holiday and it’s been pretty wet this spring, so we’ve been waiting for the weather to break to start planting. We spent the entire day getting the garden ready and then planting 8 rows of peas and 4 rows of potatoes and some onions. We follow a more intensive planting system so we plant wider rows of plants instead of single rows with walkways in between. In the walkways we’re planning on adding stepping stones and lower growing plants to make even better use of the space, perhaps beets, chamomile, and other low growing herbs.

We planted peas and potatoes for the freezer and the pantry. I’m hoping for a good pea harvest so I can enjoy lots of peas in our winter stews and a pantry full of potatoes to eat on all winter. What varieties did we plant?

Wando peas: 68 days, produces good yields of 3 ½” long sweet peas. Pods have 6 to 8 dark green peas. A remarkable high quality variety that is resistant to warm weather and drought conditions. The Wando Pea will grow a crop during the driest, hottest summer months, at a time other varieties fail. High in Vitamin A, B, and C. Excellent freezing and canning variety. Vines are 26″ tall.

Kennebec Potatoes: a late maturing white potato variety. An excellent one for fries; chips; baking or hashbrowns.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: A favorite among gardeners, consumers and chefs. Delicious flesh is drier than most other yellow varieties, perfect for baking and mashing. Yellow flesh appears to be buttered. Bred and selected by AgCanada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food in 1966. Excellent yields and a great keeper. 80-90 days.

What are you planting right now?

My Mom’s Garden

August 7th, 2009

This year we planted some popcorn at my mom’s house in her garden. She gets a lot more sun than we do, so she offered to expand her garden so we could have some space over there. We planted popcorn quite a while ago. While over for a visit on Wednesday, I took a photo of our lovely corn.
We’re keeping our eye on it, as soon as ears start to form we’re going to put an electric fence around it. My parents have always had trouble with coons in the corn. If you notice the pumpkin vines growing through the corn, this is a ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ Cinderella pumpkin from my saved seeds. There are a few pumpkins set on the vines, I can’t wait to see them this fall (unless the deer get them like they did last year).
My mom’s garden is looking quite nice this time of year. This is what it looked like 2 months ago? As you can tell by the brownish color of everything, it’s been a little dry for the past couple weeks.
It’s always nice to have photos so you can see how well the garden is doing.

How do you monitor your gardens growth?


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.