Category Archives: Home and Garden
Thank you Beth, Lynn, Frieda, Catherine, Mary Jo, Lise, Susan, Deborah, and Roger for a super meeting and weeding this morning. Thank you to all our newest “Friends of the HarborWalk” members who, although could not make it this morning, have expressed interest in helping.
If you would like to join the Friends of the HarborWalk, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In September I am giving a close-up photo workshop, in the garden, to all our Friends of the HarborWalk members. Date to be determined.
You do not need to be an expert gardener to join. Membership is open to all, and we’ll give you on-the-job training, no worries!
Note to Lucinda: I could not retrieve your email address from the comments. Please send me an email and I will add you to the mailing list. Thank you.
Look who joined us while weeding and meeting this morning at the gardens, an American Lady Butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis), and she was nectaring from the ginromously tall New York Ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis), a true North American native beauty and fabulous source of nectar for butterflies and bees.
That’s precisely what I wondered when I encountered this large member of the order Rodentia at a job site recently. Our eyes locked for several moments as we both stood perfectly still, it trying to disguise itself as an inanimate object and me trying to take a snapshot. I took a step forward and off it burrowed back into its tunnel.
Google search reveals that groundhogs and woodchucks are one and the same species (Marmota monax) and the critters also go by the names of whistle-pig (I like this one best) and land-beaver. The name whistle-pig is derived from their behavior of emitting a high-pitched whistle to alert members of their colony of impending danger. Woodchuck stems from either an Algonquin or Narragansett name for the animal, wuchak.
Whistle-pigs are the largest members of the Squirrel Family, although you can’t see that in the above photo as this is a juvenile. They dwell in areas where woodland meets open space. All summer long whistle-pigs stuff their little furry faces with wild grasses, other wild plants, tree bark, berries, and agricultural crops to build their fat reserves for the long winter hibernation. They are notoriously destructive in gardens. We have yet to see any damage in the gardens at Willowdale due to the resident woodchuck family. I imagine they are finding enough food in the surrounding forest.
HOLY CANNOLI and WOW–look how fantastically the Pathway’s Staff is taking care of their brand new one-month old butterfly garden–every plant looks well-loved!!!
Same View After Photo ~ July 18, 2014
My sincerest thanks to Caroline Haines for her vision to create a butterfly garden for the children at Pathways.
Thank you to the many donors who have made the butterfly gardens at Pathways possible.
Thank you to the Manchester Garden Club for their tremendous assisitance in planting the garden.
Thank you to the volunteers from Liberty Mutual for tearing out the old plantings.
And special thanks to Bernie Romanowski, Pathways for Children facilities director, for all his hard work and his extraordinary care and attention to detail, from the project’s inception through its continued maintenance. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) ~ Notice the pretty moth nectaring from the milkweed in the upper right. The gardens are alive with pollinators of every species imaginable, including butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, songbirds, moths, and sundry insects!
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Antennae for Design ~
The picnic table and trellis were designed to be stained a classic seaside blue. Why would we want to paint or stain the trellis and not simply allow it to gain a weathered patina? From an aesthetic point of view, the wood used for both the picnic table and trellis are two different types and will age very differently from each other. If this were a very large garden, it wouldn’t matter so much, but in a cozy garden room such as this, the difference will become quite noticeable and unappealing over time. Additionally, the blue will offset the flowers and foliage handsomely and is a cheery choice with children in mind.
From a very practical standpoint, untreated wood will quickly degrade in our salty sea air and neither piece will last more than ten years without protection. An opaque stain is the best solution because as the trellis and picnic table age, the obvious differences in wood will be disguised. An opaque stain also requires the least amount of effort to maintain over time. The architectural details were designed to be a coordinated focal point in the garden. Many, many have donated their time and provided generous funding to the garden and hopefully, the integrity of the garden’s design will continue to be honored by all.
UN Headquarters, NYC
Wednesday and Thursday were spent on a whirlwind trip to NYC for my husband Tom to meet with literary agents. Upon arriving Wednesday night, our daughter Liv took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant at Chelsea Market, Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, which specializes in pasta dishes. Every bite of every dish was out-of-this-world delish however, she and I both agreed that the Squid Ink Linguine, Broccoli Rabe, and Lobster entrée was extra-extraordinary. After dinner we explored the HighLine, which is only a short walk from the Market and is especially festive and fun at dusk.
The HighLine was bustling with young couples, old couples, families, friends meeting for dinner and drinks after work, and tourists, too. The gardens are exquisitely maintained and beautiful any time of year, day or night. How well the gardens are cared for is reflected in how very much they are enjoyed by visitors. The HighLine gardens are so appreciated that they even illuminate the flowers!
The following morning, Thursday, I walked around Tudor City Parks in the UN headquarter’s neighborhood and then took Liv to a charming French restaurant near the theatre where she works.
The trip was too brief but very successful though I have to warn our readers that if you are traveling by car to New York City, the construction traffic homeward in the northbound lanes was horrendous, on both Routes 15 and 95. It took us seven hours to get home!
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If you go to Giovanni Rana Pastificio and Cucina, you have to try their Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli, a wonderful sparkling red wine that is round and flavorful of fruit and berries, but not at all sweet. The color is an inky purple red and the wine is equally as rich tasting as its hue. Lambrusco “Pruno Nero” Cleto Chiarli is not your grandfather’s Lambrusco.
Lambrusco Pruno Nero is definitely worth seeking out and makes a refreshing summer beverage. I’ll mention it to Kathleen at Savour Wine and Cheese and perhaps she’ll give it a try at the shop. We’ll let you know if she does.
Wildly wonderful wisteria can quickly become wild and wicked wisteria. Reader Alicia writes, “when is the best time of year to prune wisteria?”
Taming the wisteria (before photo). The first photo shows what the ancient wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) looked like when first I took over the gardens at Willowdale Estate. I removed much of the plant and bent one long trunk over and down, attaching it to a thick bamboo stake, to create the wisteria “arch.” The next photo shows what the wisteria arch looked like by mid-summer that same year.
Alicia asks: “Much to my surprise the wisteria is blooming and has never been this late. I really gave up on it and am wondering why? When is the best time to prune it?”
Wisteria throughout our region bloomed later than usual I think becasue spring got off to such a slow start this year.
Wisteria grows beautifully and is easiest to control when pruned biannually, or twice a year; a summer pruning and a winter pruning.
Summer Pruning: Cut the long shoots after the flowers fade to about six inches.
Winter Pruning: In late winter, before the buds begin to swell, prune all the shoots that have since grown after the summer pruning. The shape of the leafless wisteria is more clearly visible and you can easily see the unruly, long shoots at this time of year. Cut the branches to about 3 to 5 buds and over time, these shortened flowering branches will resemble a wisteria “hand.”
World’s Best and Zippiest Tartar Sauce Recipe ~ Made with Maitland Mountain Farm’s Holly’s Spicy Pickles
Best tartar sauce for your summer’s grilled fish dishes ~ and simplest, too!
Have you tried locally made Maitland Mountain Farm’s Holly’s Spicy Pickles? Not only are they super yummy, but when craving crunch they are fabulously satisfying. Using Maitland Mountain Farm’s pickles in tartar sauce makes for a wonderfully flavorful condiment, not the usual sticky sweet stuff more typically found.
Holly’s Spicy Pickles are available for sale at the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market on Thursdays as well as wherever fine pickles are sold!
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Recipe makes approximately 2 cups.
8 Maitland Mountain Farm’s Holly’s Spicy Pickle Spears, finely chopped
2/3 Cup Hellmann’s or homemade mayonnaise
1/3 Cup whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon pickle juice
S & P to taste.
Combine all ingredients and serve with fresh fish. The remainder can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
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TODAY: Thursday, June 26th at the Ice Cream Store on Bearskin Neck: Enjoy ice cream provided by the Ice Cream Store with all donations to benefit Rockport Fireworks! For more info go to the Rockport Fireworks Facebook page. Don’t miss the chance to eat some very tasty ice cream for a fun cause.
SATURDAY, June 28th: Pesto is back at the Rockport Farmers Market! We’re thrilled that Paolo Laboa’s award-winning pesto will be featured this week, along with scones and tea from Heath’s Tea Room, produce from Vintage Greens, First Light Farm and Grant Family Farm. Baked goods, from whoopie pies to anadama bread to focaccia bread will be at the market, along with fudge sauce, fresh salsa, maple syrup, tomato plants, amazing Trupiano’s Sausage, hot coffee and much more! The Farmers Market is located in Harvey Park, downtown Rockport and runs from 9am to 1pm. Did you see this post on the value of Farmers Markets? It really captures what makes the Rockport Farmers Market so special. (Plus it offers a really awesome Trupiano’s sausage recipe.)
Lobster Day at the Rockport Farmers Market: July 19th
Ice Cream Social at the Rockport Farmers Market: August 9th
Interested in volunteering at the Farmers Market? Click HERE (and thank you!)
What a terrific issue and the perfect read to bring to the beach (and not just because my story about the Cape Ann to Mexico Monarch connection is featured on the cover!).
Cape Ann Magazine’s Summer 2014 issue provides a wonderful window into summer living on our beautiful North Shore. I throughly enjoyed reading all the articles, including Gail McCarthy’s about Essex sculptor Shelly Bradbury and the beautiful work she does designing for Mariposa; Alexandra Pecci’s two articles, one about Mariposa, aptly titled “Elegance for Everday,” and a second interesting story about Woodman’s celebrating their 100th year in business; Andrea Holbrook’s story featuring Gloucester’s only sailmaker Josh Bevins; and Sean Horgan’s article about tuna-chasing Johnny Johnson. Pick up the Summer 2014 issue of Cape Ann Magazine. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed!
Luxuriating before work with Cape Ann Magazine’s summer issue and Brother’s Brew fab house-made doughnut!
Excerpt from “Cape Ann to Mexico: The Monarch Butterfly Connection”
Like many communities throughout North America, Cape Ann shares in the interconnected web of the wondrous migration of the monarch butterfly. The very same monarchs that we see nectaring in our gardens and along the shoreline in late summer make a journey of over 2,500 miles south to Mexico to spend the winter in the unique and magnificent oyamel fir and pine tree forests of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, known locally as the Sierra Nevada (Snowy Mountain Range).
Last December, reports began to pour in from Mexican and American scientists that the number of monarchs overwintering was the lowest ever documented, representing a 90% decline from population numbers recorded in the 1990s. This coincided with the lamentably few monarchs seen breeding and feeding in our Cape Ann gardens during the summer of 2013. For the past three years I have been filming the monarchs in Gloucester, and all around Cape Ann, for my forthcoming film, Beauty on the Wing—Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. I came to the realization that if I did not travel to Mexico at this moment in time, there may never again be the opportunity to film the monarch butterfly migration.
Read more in the Cape Ann Magazine Summer 2014 issue available at the following shops:
The Gloucester Times, 36 Whittemore St., 978-283-7000
The Book Store, 61 Main St., 978-281-1548
Good Harbor Liquors, 340 Main St., 978-281-7100
Harbor Loop Gifts, 1 Harbor Loop, 978-283-3060
Jeff’s Variety, 71 Eastern Ave., 978-281-5800
Richdale, 410 Washington St., 978-281-4670
Richdale, 120 E. Main St., 978-283-2179
7 Eleven, 50 Bass Ave., 978-283-6868
Savour, 76 Prospect St., 978-282-1455
Hershey Frame Shop, 8 Rr Pleasant St., 978-546-2655
Rockport Market, 21 Broadway, 978-546-3684
Toad Hall Book Store, 47 Main St., 978-546-7323
Tucks Candy, 15 Main St., 978- 546-6352
Richdale, 8 Beach St., 978-526-7294
Huge Hugs and Ninety-Nine Thank Yous to the Amazing and Super Hard-Working Friends of the HarborWalk Crew
Thank you to our most awesome crew today. We had friends from as far away as Spain (the Ryan’s cousins), Rosemary Banks from Boca Raton, and Kim from Medford, all lending a hand with the gardens today and it was a joy to meet you all. And special thanks to our Gloucesterites Maggie Rosa, Ed, Catherine, George, Charles, Lisa Smtih, April,and Sam.
Everywhere I traveled today, it was hard not to notice Rosa rugosa dazzling in bloom, not only becasue it is so pretty, but because of its welcome fragrance. That sublime combination of salty sea air and sweet roses beckons us to live everyday of our fleeting New England summer to the fullest.
Wishing Everyone the Happiest of All Summer Days Yet to Come!
Niles Beach Rosa rugosa
Rockport is kicking into summer this weekend with the Rockport Garden Club Tour, which starts on Friday June 20th. It’s a walking tour this year, which is cool because well, you can walk from garden to garden. Just imagine, instead of getting into your car between gardens on the tour, you can stroll at a leisurely pace, enjoying the hidden botanical gems of Rockport. No more fumbling with your keys, no more peering from the map in your hand back to the windshield as you try to find the next location, no more nearly side-swiping some unsuspecting tourist or one of your fellow Garden Club members in your desperate attempt to find a parking space. The Garden Tours are always wonderful, but this one might just be the most relaxing and inspiring one yet — you don’t want to miss it. Tickets are available at Toad Hall Bookstore now through the dates of the tour, and on the dates of the tour (June 20th and 21st) at Harvey Park under the Rockport Garden Club tent.
Spiran Hall is hosting their annual Scandinavian Mid-Summer Fest this Saturday, June 21st, also in Harvey Park at the corner of Pleasant Street and Broadway. The Mid-Summer Fest features all sorts of good clean Nordic fun: pickled fish, strawberries and cream and nisu bread for starters. Folk dancers and singers will be on hand and a maypole will be set up for a little ceremonial welcome to summer. And if summer ever deserved a welcome, it is this year. Glad Midsomer! as they say.
Finally, the ROCKPORT FARMERS MARKET is back! This is all-caps, because I’m excited. Fresh food made, grown or produced by hard-working folks in cooperation with the earth. Rockport may not have a grocery store, but we have our sweet little Farmers Market, so that’s a good start. And since the market falls on a Saturday, it’s a great complement to the Thurday Cape Ann Farmers Market. Patrons can go to both each week and stuff themselves with good stuff. Fresh food all the time, that’s our motto on Cape Ann. Well, not really, but it’s not a bad idea. The Rockport Farmers Market vendors will offer fresh produce, small-batch salsa, hummus and guacamole, baked goods, coffee, maple syrup, eggs, and more and more.
See you in downtown Rockport on Saturday, June 21st for some good food, beautiful gardens and Scandinavian rituals!
Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), the American native small tree, is so rarely planted today. Trees and plants trend at nurseries and, unfortunately, Fringetree has become one of those beauties that we need reminding of its great merits. The above specimen can be seen today in full glorious bloom on Rocky Neck, across the street from Judith and Gordon Goetmann’s Gallery. The botanical name translates lossely as snow flower, aptly describing the fluffy panicles covering the Fringetree when in bloom.
The sweetly scented airy blossoms are attractive to bees and butterflies and the ripened fruits are a wonderful food source for songbirds and small mammals. In autumn, the foliage turns a brilliant clear golden yellow. Fringetree grows from Canada to the Gulf Coast, and famously tolerates air pollution, making it ideal for urban landscapes. Grow Fringetree in sun to part sun, in moist fertile soil. At maturity, the tree tops out at twelve to twenty feet high and equally as wide.
The one negative is that Fringetree is slow to leaf out in spring, with a tendency to look dry and woody. Don’t plant it with your spring ephemerals and you won’t notice!
Fringetrees are dioecious, which means they have separate male and female plants, similar to hollies. Some flowers are “perfect,” meaning they have male and female parts. The male’s flowers are showier than the females, and the female and perfect flowers give way to blackish-blue fruit in late summer. Chionanthus virginicus is a member of the Oleaceae, or Olive Family, and the fruits of Fringetree are similar looking to that of Olea eruopea, the olive tree cultivated throughout the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia for its edible fruit.
I ran into Anne Malvaux while photographing the Rocky Neck Fringetree and she reports that she doesn’t recall seeing any fruit, which means it is most likely a male of the species, or that the fruit is so delicious it is quickly devoured by wildlife (often the case with native trees and shrubs). Or if it is a female and doesn’t bear fruit, it may because there is no males growing nearby. We’ll have a another look in late summer.
Meet my hero! I love this guy! If you need some work done on your house you’d be crazy to not call Matt Gardner. Last year I saw a small platform deck on the sweetest little house in Nantucket and I took one distant photo from the end of the home owners’ long driveway.
With that photo and lots of babbling about what I love….and I what I really don’t like, Matt Gardner saw my vision (even when I wasn’t completely sure I could see it) and created what I consider a true work of art! I am so smitten with our new deck I can’t even stand it! Not only is he completely skilled, but he was patient, honest and reliable…which made working with him really wonderful.
I met Catherine initially through my work designing the HarborWalk gardens as she was very much involved with making the wonderful granite story markers placed throughout the HarborWalk (she also had a hand in many aspects of the HarborWalk’s creation). Catherine is a regular contributor to Good Morning Gloucester and her posts most often feature the work of Gloucester artists, along with covering a wide range of art and cultural related events.
I am so appreciative of our friendship, and also want to highlight some of the valuable volunteer pro bono work she does as the Mayor’s Representative on Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts. In that capacity, she works with the steering committee for the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District, provides on-going expertise for the Gloucester HarborWalk, and works on countless other statewide and New England regional outreach projects, coordinating with many cultural districts beyond our own.
As you may or may not be aware, Catherine created the interactive Google map with over 100 sites and images by Edward Hopper from his many visits to Gloucester: See Edward Hopper All Around Gloucester here.
I was so touched by Catherine that she made the above map for my participation in the Berkshire Museum’s exhibit “Butterflies” and for my upcoming film screenings there. On Friday I learned that the Museum has scheduled a showing of Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly to air on Sunday, July 13th. We are planning additional activities around the event and I will keep you posted. So many thanks to Catherine for making this helpful map and providing a handy visual for GMG readers planning to make the trek out to Pittsfield and the Berkshires.
Catherine writes ~
“I am SO HAPPY for you! Here’s a visual map to Western MA and proximity of some of the major Berkshire art & cultural highlights including 5 nearby Cultural Districts.
Gloucester to Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 169 miles
Berkshire Museum to Mass MoCA 35 miles
Berkshire Museum to newly re-opened Clark 31 miles
Berkshire Museum to Tanglewood 14 minutes
Berkshire Museum to Amherst (many museums in this area, too) approx. 1 hour and twenty minutes
*Gloucester has 2 Cultural Districts and Pittsfield has one also. There are 4 other cultural districts in western MA (3 are within the Amherst vicinity): Springfield, Northampton, Easthampton + Shelburne.”
Wednesday while planting at Willowdale in the on-again off-again rain, the luminesce orange of the crinkly tissue paper-like poppy petals kept catching my eye. They seemed especially incandescent juxtaposed against the drizzly gray light. I don’t really mind planting in the rain for a few hours and actually much prefer it to the heat of planting at mid-day on warm sunny days. The only thing with planting in the rain is that on long, non-stop nine- to ten-hour planting days, I get very chilled, which leads to a tired muddy mess that arrives home to my husband, who has actually been looking forward to my coming home. “Please don’t talk to me,” I say when first arriving but, after a solid half hour soak in a steamy tub, I cheer up and am ready to converse and get dinner underway.
We planted this urn back on May 1st, and it has filled out handsomely. The sweet peas are climbing up the pussy willow basket handles and their fragrance, along with the scent of the dianthus, Viola ‘Etain’ and sweet alyssum is really very enchanting. From one initial bud to dozens still yet to come, going on six weeks now this little poppy plant just keeps on bestowing her gift of great beauty!
May First May Basket
Another little weekend project that my boys and I tackled. Some of our favorite little getaways. The boys did a great job painting the arrows and it was fun to guess how far away each place was…before finding the real answers on MapQuest.
Round No. 1 DONE!! Round No. 2, Ready to Plant!
Perennial growing tip: Several days ago Lisa Smith from Cape Ann TV helped me upload a film project. While working and catching up, she shared that she had purchased one each of a Marsh Milkweed plant and a Common Milkweed plant last year at our first Cape Ann Milkweed Project. Lisa thought hers weren’t doing that well and that they were not going to make it through the winter. She was very pleasantly surprised to see a strong sturdy stalk of Common Milkweed emerge as well as a nice little clump of Marsh Milkweed stems also emerge.
There’s an old-fashioned saying regarding growing perennials that goes something like this: The first year they sleep; the second, they creep; and the third year, they leap! Especially this year, where the ground and air temperature are cooler than what we have become accustomed to in recent years, perennials may be a little slower than usual to emerge.
A little bit of elbow grease never hurt anyone. Its about time the boys start pulling some weight around the house for pete’s sake.
Loving our new fire pit!! A totally fun afternoon project for VERY little $$$! And…the boys and I were very proud of ourselves…which is a bonus. Had we been thinking we would have saved this project for Father’s Day….damn.