Author Archives: Kim Smith

Olive Kitteridge HBO Miniseries Premiering Sunday Night

Olive Kitteridge is an HBO two-night, four part, mini series airing Sunday, November 2nd and Monday November 3rd. The first two parts debut Sunday at 9pm, parts three and four air Monday night, also at 9pm. In the trailer you’ll recognize many of the locations! 

To see the complete GMG coverage during filming this past summer on Cape Ann, just type in Olive Kitteridge in the search box.

Dreaming of Spring Ephemerals at the Mary Prentiss Inn!

Spring Tulips Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge MA. ©Kim Smith 2014JPGLoads of earth-moving in the fall equals a world of beauty in the spring. Thanks to my awesome crew, Patrick from the Mary Prentiss Inn and Jackson from the Kendall Hotel!

Jackson and Patrick Mary Prentiss Inn ©Kim Smith 2014jpg copy

The Mary Prentiss Inn is truly the most welcoming of guest houses and yesterday while there planting the smell of the cook’s apple muffins baking wafted through the garden. A bit later, plates of warm muffins greeted guests; I couldn’t resist when offered. They were divine and are without a doubt the best muffins I’ve ever tasted! I’ve been promised the recipe and can’t wait to give it a go and to share!

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See previous GMG post here.

For more information on the project, visit my Design Projects page here.

Link to The Mary Prentiss Inn here.

Where Did Summer Go?

Swan and Cygnets ©Kim Smith 2014Henry’s Pond Swan Family, Rockport

Click on image to view the adorable cygnets larger.

Random snapshots not previously posted, taken during this past summer’s B-roll shoots for the Monarch Film and other film projects.

Where did summer go–she always flies by so swiftly–and this year seemed especially brief with the cooler than usual temperatures.

Cosmos and Coneflowers ©Kim Smith 2014Cosmos and Coneflowers

Rudbeckia ©Kim Smith 2014Wildflower Field, Essex

Silver-spotted Skipper ©Kim Smith 2014JPGSilver-spotted Skipper 

 

The Dreadfully Despicable and Despised Poison Ivy

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Eastern Bluebird and Poison Ivy Berries

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“Leaflets three, let it be!”

Perhaps the most disliked plant of all is poison ivy, despised throughout its range for the blistering rash that oozes and itches when one has the misfortune to come in contact with any part of the plant. What is the substance that causes that most dreaded of unpleasant of rashes? Poison ivy is infused with urushiol, a compound that not only wards off humans, but caterpillars, too (generally speaking, caterpillars are a plant’s number one enemy).

Toxicodendron_radicans_01Poison Ivy in Flower

Several of my landscape design projects are located on Plum Island. I laughed initially when it was first brought to my attention that poison ivy was one of the “approved” plants permitted on Plum Island. Of course, whether approved or not, I wouldn’t dream of planting poison ivy on a client’s property, but I did want to learn more about why it was on the approved list. And here’s the reason why we might want to rethink our disdain towards poison ivy: Plum Island is home to and breeding ground for hundreds of bird species and small animals. The blossoms of poison ivy are a rich nectar source for many pollinators and the berries are a prime winter staple for dozens and dozens of song birds, including cardinals, mockingbirds, and robins.

800px-Toxicodendron_radicans_(L.)_Kuntze_-_eastern_poison_ivy,_poison_ivy,_poisonivy_(3778180456)“Berries white, run in fright.” ~ More than 60 species of birds eat the fruit of poison ivy.

Malign poison ivy if you will for its dreadful rash and clamoring habit. Lets rip it out of our backyard play spaces and public pathways. But knowing it holds an important place in our ecosystem, lets allow it to continue to grow wild in wild and appropriate places. Poison ivy is one of the essential reasons why we are privy to the legions and legions of beautiful birds that dwell, nest, and migrate through our region.

140256018.pF0PzVtqYellow-rumped Warbler and Poison Ivy Fruits

Yellow-rumped warblers are able to withstand our cold winters by switching from a diet of primarily insects, to one of poison ivy berries, bayberry, and other small fruits.

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“Red hairy vine, no friend of mine!”

The telltale reddish hairs of the vine are clearly evident in the above image; leaves, vines, stems, and hairs are all toxic to humans. As I am constantly exposed to poison ivy due to landscape design projects, and oftentimes filming and photographing in locations where poison ivy is prevalent, my number one solution to avoiding contact is to identify its presence and to wear protective clothing. Knowing poison ivy’s mnemonic rhymes will help with its identification: “Leaves of three, let it be!”, “Berries white, run in fright!”, and “Red hairy vine, no friend of mine!”

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My sincere thanks to Bob Snyder for the use of his photos. Permission to post the bluebird and poison ivy berry photo was requested and John not only graciously allowed the photo, he also forwarded along the photo of the Yellow-rumped Warbler. You can see more of his beautiful photos here: Bob Snyder Photography.

All other images are courtesy Wiki Commons Media. 

October Nor’easter Storm Snapshots

Eastern Point Seagulls ©Kim Smith 2014Out on Eastern Point this morning great flocks of seagulls were riding the waves while the Niles Pond swans and ducks were tucked into their shoreline retreats. The cormorants were many and could be seen clustering on rocky perches all around the inner harbor.

Niles Pond Swans ©kim Smith 2014Gloucester’s DPW crews were out and about clearing the streets from downed limbs.Gloucester DPW ©Kim Smith 2014

I only stayed for a moment at the Brace Cove berm because the waves were so tremendous that it really didn’t feel safe. I am glad to report though that at 10:30 this morning the narrowest slip of land that prevents Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh appears to have weathered this October nor’easter.

Brace Cove seagulls ©Kim Smith 2014

storm damage Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Downed Tree Mangles Portable Potty

Steve Almond Writer’s Book Club Event at Duckworths

Stever Almond Duckworths ©kim Smith 2014Sunday evening’s Writer’s Book Club event featured best selling author Steve Almond and the sublime cuisine of Chef Ken Duckworth. Steve Almond is a gifted storyteller and wonderfully entertaining, as well as a superb moderator. He could teach any book and make it interesting!

SAteve Almond, Ken Duckworth, Chris Anderson ©Kim Smith 2014

Next month’s Writer’s Book Club event features Ken Duckworth moderating The Catcher in the Rye. This event will sell out quickly so purchase your tickets today.

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Cape Ann TV with Henry Cooper

Henry Cooper ©Kim Smith 2014A tremendous turnout today for Henry Cooper’s presentation on Adobe Premiere!

Marty Luster, James Eaves, Lisa Griffiths (That Nutty Redhead), John Grant, Kathy Chapman, and Charlie Caroll were just some of the guests attending Henry’s well-presented tutorial. Henry comes from a background of using Final Cut, Avid, and Adobe, which made his take especially informative and interesting on the (mostly) pros of using Adobe Premiere.

I’d love to hear from our readers on their experience with different editing programs, and why they chose the system they most frequently work with.

Cape Ann TV ©Kim Smith 2014Lisa Smith, Wally, Lisa Griffiths, and John Grant

Motif No. 1 Day from Henry Cooper

Pollinator Gardening Tip: Deadheading

Tufted titmouse Baeolophus bicolor ©Kim Smith 2014Tufted titmouse ~ Baeolophus bicolor

In my garden design practice, the topic of deadheading flowers comes up often, especially at this time of year. The habitat garden is designed for people and for pollinators and the objective is to find a balance between the two. Esthetically speaking, to some, a garden only looks its best when every plant is tidily trimmed and every spent flower blossom removed. But to a hungry bird on the wing, an expiring sunflower or cosmos is bird food. Some plants should be deadheaded and pruned however, the next time you get a jones to neaten a plant, take a moment to look at it from the perspective of a songbird.

Black-capped Chicakdee Poecile articapillus ©Kim Smith 2014

Black-capped Chicakdee ~  Poecile articapillus

I like a bit of unruliness in the garden and don’t even deadhead cosmos any longer. They will continue to flower whether deadheaded or not. A few weeks ago while working with several of our wonderful HarborWalk volunteers, I was explaining what plants to deadhead and what plants not to deadhead, and why, when at the very moment that I was speaking those very words, three brilliant cadmium yellow goldfinches flew on the scene and began devouring the seed heads of a nearby coneflower!

American Goldfinch male Cosmos bipinatus ©Kim Smith 2014

American Goldfinch Eating Cosmos Seeds

And too, a batch of Echinacea not only provides mid-winter sustenance to hungry birds, the seed heads sure look pretty silhouetted by new fallen snow.

Coneflowers in the snow ©Kim Smith 2012Gloucester HarborWalk

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