Maine’s Gardens

Folks in Maine like their gardens.  The blooming season may be short, but it is alive with color and texture that enhance the state’s natural beauty.

It is unusual to pass a home, no matter how modest, that doesn’t have a neatly manicured yard and some blooming things.

In addition to individual gardens, there are several public spaces that are delightful.  A popular one is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.  All the planted material there is what does well in Maine so it’s a great resource.

Botanical GardensThe gardens have something for all ages, and I have to admit that I have a hard time getting past the children’s area.

It is filled with energy provided by vibrant colors and activities that keep kids entertained for hours.

Botanical GardensWhen children need a break, there are quiet spaces filled with games and books.

For overwhelming beauty, there is no place like the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor .

It is full of vibrant color, and the buzzing of bees fills the air.

There are  calm areas perfect for quiet reflection.

Rockefeller GardenThis is a private garden open one Thursday each month from July through early September.  Reservations are required and should be made early as the garden is a coveted destination.

In nearby Northeast Harbor is Asticou Garden, one of the jewels of Mount Desert Island.  Its quietness invigorates the soul.

Most of its blooms are gone by early July, but that doesn’t keep the garden from being a delightful place for a relaxed stroll.

I have been to each of these three gardens a number of times, and each visit is as special as the first.  Should you come to Maine, be sure they are on your list of places to see.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Gardens Galore

Home and Garden Thursday

Learning As I Go

I’m crazy for beautiful gardens, but I’ve never been much of a gardener.  Now there is no choice as every area of our yard has growing things that require attention, and that has meant a pretty sharp learning curve for me.

Gardening is a bit of a challenge as much of the growing area is on a rocky cliff which makes footing in some areas rather treacherous.  

Much of the area facing Rockport Harbor is in shade, and I have learned the hard way that not all plants do well without lots of sunshine.  Hostas are one of the exceptions, and right now they are coming into their own. The oodles of varieties make them a most interesting garden addition when it comes to color and texture.

Day lilies are doing their thing, and I do love their vibrancy, 

Peonies have been deadheaded though there is one lone bloom that refuses to give up, perhaps because it doesn’t want to leave its insect dweller homeless.

I don’t know where they came from, but this year dainty forget-me-nots have shown up in every garden area.  Earlier in the summer I was pulling them up, but the task was never ending and I decided to leave them as ground cover.  Their little blue blooms are sweet, but I’m still not sure how I feel about their presence.  Any ideas for getting rid of them?

Climbing hydrangeas bloom through the summer and need little attention other than an occasional trim.  It’s best for the hubby not to be the one who takes on that task as he gets carried away and they get scalped!

Lacecap hydrangeas line a garden path.  They are trouble free which is a good thing.  The down side is they don’t last as long as some of the other varieties which is sad because they may be my favorites.

A favorite part of the yard is what the kids call beautiful land.  Among the rocks, ladies’ slipper, mosses, ornamental thyme and other ground covers flourish.  Best of all, this area requires little maintenance other than some weeding.

Wherever I look there is something of beauty whether it’s lining a pathway

or adding its own unique touch in another garden area.  

Even the unruly, unkept areas that belong only to nature make their individual statements.  One thing’s for sure, I won’t be scaling the rocks to try to get any of it under control.  That’s a lesson learned early on!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Gardens Galore


Garden Bounty

While I may not be very experienced  when it comes to laying out a garden and choosing complementary plants, the garden does provide bountiful beauty from spring until fall.

Gardening is a learning process filled with errors and rewards.

The reward comes when the garden blooms making it possible to cut a few stems varied in color and texture.

flowers/rhdodendronThe rhododendrons are all but gone,

peony but coming in right behind them are peonies changing daily from tight little buds

peonyto partially open teasers

peonyto full blown beauties.

They don’t last long, especially if it rains, so I cut them and fill the house where they can be enjoyed.

Their differing colors and textures make each bloom a special gift.  Salvia, which tries to take over my little garden, provides wonderful contrast, and the alium which is past its prime adds an interesting texture.

So grows my garden.  It may not be perfect, but the same is not true for the beauties that grow there. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Gardens Galore


Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind


Gardens Galore

Grow It!

As referenced in my last post, fresh and local is readily available these days at farmers markets, but what about in your own back yard or rooftop or patio?

gardenGardens can be anywhere you can put a planter, and they don’t have to be major projects that require lots of digging, planting and maintenance.

gardenIf herbs are your fancy, they are easily grown in pots

gardenwhich can work beautifully into a patio setting.  Not only do they add color and texture but herbs are the absolute easiest to grow with no more than a little TLC.

gardenMy daughters came up with very clever  ways to garden.  One used wine crates to create multiple growing spaces for herbs, lettuces and tomatoes.   Since they are wood, it is a good idea to have drainage holes in the bottom of the crates and to line them with plastic to keep them from rotting.

gardenThis daughter chose watering troughs from a farm store for her garden, and they have worked great.   These are totally filled with dirt which makes them a little heavy should they need to be moved.  An alternative would be to fill them about 2/3 full with styrofoam packing material which would lighten them considerably and still leave plenty of room for dirt.

gardenWhere there is yard space, a raised garden is perfect. It is simple and inexpensive as it only requires a wood or, as in this photo, stone frame and enough dirt to fill it.  I have found this to be a very successful way to expand my vegetable selection, and a 4×8 dimension makes it very easy to work.

gardenThis has to be my favorite garden in that it is as visually appealing as it is practical.  Finding the old tubs is a bit of a challenge, but you could just as easily use galvanized ones.


gardensWith all the interest in gardening, there is no shortage of books on the subject.  These three, for example, are loaded with helpful hints.

What I love about having my own little garden, be it in pots or in a raised bed, is the satisfaction that comes with knowing I did it.   I check on my growing things every day, and I am so pleased when I can harvest that first basil stem, tomato, lettuce or radish.  If you haven’t tried growing some of your own fresh and local, get started…..NOW!

If you have gardening tips or stories, I’m betting the rest of us would love to hear.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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It’s a Knockout II

As the name suggests, the Antique Rose Emporium specializes in roses which have such descriptions as vigorous climbers, mannerly climbers, creepers, small and large bush.  There is a rose for everybody, and folks leave with them by the wagonload.

Though I have a few knockout roses in my yard, I mostly like roses in other people’s garden so my favorite place to browse was the herb and vegetable area.

I bought lots of gorizia rosemary as it is supposed to be good for your memory.

Stevia,according to the tag, is a sugar substitute for tea and coffee.  The leaf sure tastes sweet, but could somebody tell me whether it’s supposed to be used as is or dried?

Sage and parsley will come in handy for Thanksgiving cooking, and I’m hoping some of the five different lettuces I bought will be ready for a little harvesting.

Though we haven’t touched on all there is in the way of plants, let’s move on to the gift shops where there’re many tempting garden accessories.  As I browsed, I couldn’t help but think of so many of you who would have found something to like.

I collect birdhouses, so there’s no way I could pass by this display.

The birdhouses are made by this gentleman who is a retired Methodist minister with a very generous heart.    In recent years, he has given over $100,000 to various causes, and all the money has come from the sale of his birdhouses.  Knowing that, how could I not buy one!

As you might expect, wandering and wondering builds an appetite, and this day visitors were treated to cuisine from  Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro, America’s favorite food truck according to  the Food Network.

Food preparation is done right here

Gourmet Rice Bowl prepared Korean style

and what comes out of that very small space is delicious.

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to the Antique Rose Emporium.  If you are ever in the area of Independence, Texas, be sure and stop, but if you can’t make it and love roses, you can order online.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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It’s a Knockout!

Hey, what’re you doing?

Not much.

Wanna go on an adventure?


So it was that an ordinary day turned into something special thanks to a friend wanting to go to the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas.

What a place!  As the crowd of men and women indicated, it is an outing for anyone who enjoys and appreciates growing things.

The Antique Rose Emporium is more than a nursery, it’s an experience.  Everywhere  is beauty whether growing

or an enchanting example of creativity.

What great uses for what I thought were ordinary flower pots!

Throughout the grounds are delightful scenarios

and clever displays.

The gardens are very well organized and have plentiful varieties no matter what you’re looking for,

and if you want a little something extra, feel free.

Needless to say, butterflies are free in this environment,

and I couldn’t get enough of the monarchs fluttering among the blossoms.

By this time I’m in sensory overload, but there’s still more.  I think I’ll save it for tomorrow….won’t you please come back?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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