Category Archives: Home and Garden

PATTI’S CATTIES AND OTHER TALES FROM THE PAPOWS BEAUTIFUL GARDEN

My friend Patti Papows very thoughtfully invited me to come film and take photos in her gorgeous garden, especially her milkweed patch. Patti purchased milkweed plants from our Cape Ann Milkweed Project several years ago, both the Common and Marsh Milkweed that we offered.

Patti’s Common Milkweed has really taken off this year. The plants are about five feet tall, lush and healthy, and bursting with sweetly fragrant blossoms. The Monarchs are daily visitors, coming not by the ones and twos, but by the dozen. Not only are her milkweed blossoms beckoning to the Monarchs, but the plants are also attracting every bee species imaginable found in a Cape Ann garden, as well as myriad other pollinating insects.

I showed Patti how to find Monarch caterpillars. She found three in about three minutes; we weren’t even trying that hard! They are safer from spiders in my terrariums, so I brought her tiny caterpillars home where they are developing nicely alongside a dozen Monarch eggs. These eggs were discovered in my garden, and at the Common Milkweed plants growing along the edges of the Good Harbor Beach parking lot.

Patti’s patch of native highbush blueberries attracts loads of Catbirds, and dozens more species of songbirds and small mammals. This morning the foliage made a perfect perch for a male Monarch butterfly.

In the above photo you can clearly see the Monarch’s two-part tubular drinking straw, called a proboscis. The Monarch is probing deep into the Milkweed floret for a sip of sweet nectar. 

Who, me? I’m innocent! Chipmunk snacking at the buffet-of-plenty in Patti’s garden.

Patti placed the purple chair in the midst of the milkweed patch so that visitors can enjoy being surrounded by the beautiful pollinators buzzing all around and the delightful fragrance emitted by the Common Milkweed. I tried it out and her plan worked, it is pure Heaven!

I had an absolutely wonderful morning filming and photographing, despite the limiting overcast skies, and plan to return on a sunnier day, hopefully this week while the Monarchs are here on Cape Ann busy egg-laying and pollinating our gardens!

 

Patti shares that at the end of the day, her Monarchs are nectaring from the flowering hosta. She sent these photos this morning, taken yesterday afternoon with her cell phone. 

Bobbie Brooks Daylilies for Days

Bobbie writes,
Once a year Bobbie Brooks opens her private gardens for viewing the hundreds of award winning hybrid daylilies that she has collected. This is their peak week for blooms.

There are approximately 1000 cultivars being grown, including her own introductions, and they are mixed in with many other unusual plants, as well as being displayed in several formal daylily beds.

The Gardens will be open for 2 weekends; Fr, Sat, Sun

July 21,22,23
July 28,29,30

from 9-1
Rt. 127N on Langford St. – Lanesville section of Gloucester Ma on the tip of Cape Ann.

For More Info and pics – Lilylady@comcast.net ; http://www.distinctivegardendesigns.com/

In Face Book under Distinctive Garden Designs

Hope to see you!

bobbie brooks

masterclassflyer

SCENES FROM BACKYARD GROWERS INCREDIBLE EDIBLE FANTABULOUS GARDEN TOUR!

Although only able to visit just two of the incredible Backyard Growers Gardens, the two that I did attend were fabulous and beautiful and overflowing with deliciousness. Lara Lepionka, founder of Backyard Growers, and Amy Clayton (one half of the Crazy Hat Lady sisters fame) are across-the-street neighbors. As a matter of interest, Amy grew up in what is now Lara and Steve’s home, and Lara’s first Backyard Growers garden customer was Amy!

This was the first ever Backyard Growers garden tour. In case you missed, don’t despair, a second is planned for next summer.

Bea, Lara, and Jen

Amy’s zucchini

Lara’s Beacon Street terraced front border is a series of raised beds. Every spare inch is devoted to growing veggies, herbs, and flowers; no high maintenance lawn here. Lara supplies the fresh greens for three local restaurants, Duckworth’s Bistrot, Short and Main, and the The Market on Lobster Cove. 

Lara’s California Poppies

Amy’s pumpkin on the vine

Sunflower bud

Amy’s towering sunflowers.

Both Lara and Amy’s gardens were abuzz with pollinators!

SAVE THE DATE FOR MY POLLINATOR GARDEN LECTURE

The Pollinator Garden at the South Branch of the Peabody Library

The South Branch is excited to welcome landscape designer and professional photographer Kim Smith to talk about gardens designed to attract pollinators. She will be presenting a slideshow with stunning, original photographs and a lecture on how to work with the rhythm of the season to create a garden that will attract bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife essential to pollination for beautiful blooms. She will discuss native plants and organic and architectural features that have value to certain species that can visit (and even help!) your garden. This program is ideal for anyone who gardens, enjoys wildlife photography or likes to learn about nature.

Kim Smith is a celebrated landscape designer, documentary film maker, photographer and author. Her specialty is creating butterfly and habitat gardens that primarily utilize North American wildflowers and native trees, shrubs and vines. For more information about Kim Smith, you can visit her website: kimsmithdesigns.com

Pollinator Gardens will take place at the South Branch of the Peabody Institute Library, 78 Lynn St. on Thursday, August 10 at 7PM. The program is free, but space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to reserve your free spot, please go to www.peabodylibrary.org or call 978-531-3380. This program is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Peabody Institute Libraries.

If your deck chairs are missing…and you want to see a coyote

We found them at Good Harbor Beach, July 4 2017. The striped cushions are the right color! The pair were upended and cushions scattered along with various party remnants between the pedestrian bridge and the piping plover enclosure. We righted them and set them up for Piper Plover viewing.  Some folks vandalized the endangered species signs and littered, and others were picking up trash and repairing.  The coyote and birds were on the move.

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There was a great crow ruckus in the trees across from Blue Shutters Beachside Inn and out popped the coyote. Hung around the creek and then off down the road past http://www.blueshuttersbeachside.com/ 

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Patti Amaral July 4, 2017

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Peggy and Patty July 4, 2017– Peggy spotted the plover family of 5 this morning, Day 12. All are ok after an eventful Day 11 — see Kim Smith’s glorious photojournalism update 

 

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Piping plover 3rd shift brought a hammer

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HELP WITH THE HARBORWALK AND THANK YOU MAGGIE ROSA!!!

Would you like to help us spruce up the pollinator gardens at the HarborWalk? The wonderful Maggie Rosa called last week expressing interest in helping care for the garden. We had a nice walk through the HarborWalk and talked about weed versus wildflower. Maggie has already made a tremendous improvement. If you would like to volunteer, I’ll be at the HarborWalk on Sunday morning from 7am to 8:30, before the podcast, and happy to show anyone interested how to identify the wildflowers. Please feel free to comment in the comment section or email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you.

ALPACA SHEARING DAY AT THE MARSHALL’S FARM

Just like sheep, alpacas need to be shorn at least once a year. Their beautiful fleece is so thick by the time spring comes along, the animals would suffer tremendously in warmer weather if not shorn.

Family and friends lend a hand for alpaca shearing day.

Malcolm Cooper arrived Sunday morning with his assistant Krystian Hoszkiewicz.

Expert shearing, with a firm but kind touch. 

Andrew Spinney from Paynter Saltwater Farm in Essex brought three of his alpacas for shearing, along with Maggie the sheep. Maggie likes getting shorn, so much so that she turned into an acquiescing blob of jello.

Angela administers a monthly shot to prevent parasites.

Here’s Nikki helping with the Paynter alpacas. Next is an after-shearing photo, with the Marshall’s daughter Jennifer. What a difference!

Alpaca lower teeth and upper dental pad.

Alpacas only have bottom teeth. On the top they have a hard dental pad. Alpacas eat by trapping grass between their teeth and the dental pad, and then nipping it off. Some alpacas are genetically pre-disposed to misaligned teeth and need to have their teeth trimmed. If the teeth were not trimmed, it could lead to eating disorders and starvation. A protective guard is placed in the mouth and the teeth are quickly ground with an electric grinder. It takes all of about 30 second for an alpaca’s dental treatment!

Pippi Longstocking’s first dental check up.

One-year-old alpacas Maisy, Rascal, and Pippi Longstocking had their first shearing. The yarn made from the first shearing is referred to as baby alpaca, and it is silky soft, luxurious, and super warm.

Maggie’s wool is more course and contains lanolin. After she was shorn, you could feel the sticky lanolin on her skin. Because alpaca fleece bears no lanolin, the yarn is hypoallergenic.

Pippi Longstocking’s first buzz cut.

Phew, I was exhausted just filming the Marshall Family corral twenty plus alpacas and one tubby little Maggie. The Marshall’s alpacas are beloved family members, each named, and each with a unique personality to go with their name–Pokey, Magnolia, and Rascal, to mention just a few. Animal farming is super hard, non-stop work, especially when the animals are as well taken care of as are the Marshalls.

The public is welcome to come stop by and visit the alpacas. Yarn from the Marshall’s alpacas is available to purchase. At the present time, Angie’s Alpacas is open by appointment. Call 978-729-7180 or email Angela at Angiez65@hotmail.com. Marshall’s Farm is located just next to Marshall’s Farm Stand at 148 Concord Street in West Gloucester.

SREAMIN’ PEACOCK

Today was alpaca shearing day at the Marshall’s farm. We have lots of photos to share and I’ll have time to post them tomorrow. All the while alpaca shearing was taking place, Perry, the Marshall’s peacock, was struttin’ his stuff. There was no peahen in sight, but a certain chicken seemed to have caught Perry’s attention. The peacock mating call sounds more like a piercing scream, very startling the first time heard. Have a listen!

Baby alpacas Pippi Longstocking, Maisy, and Rascal had their first shearing today.

WOLF HILL GARDEN CENTER HAS IT ALL!

Happy Memorial Day from Wolf Hill!

Wolf Hill has just about everything under the sun to make your garden sing, and then some. If not in stock, they will order it and have the item to you in a few short days. Choose from a gorgeous and super healthy selection of native perennials, shrubs, trees, flowering vines, annuals, tropicals, and every kind of garden tool and accessory needed.

Grace and owner Pam

The staff is beyond helpful at Wolf Hill. I hear customers asking questions non-stop and they always provide a pleasant and knowledgeable response. Whether answering questions, loading your car, or assisting with placing orders, the customer service at Wolf Hill is simply stellar. You can always tell when the owners are super special people when the same staff are there year after year.

These Guys! Always lending a helping hand – Jacob, Rick, and Ricky. Not only is Rick the tree and shrub manager, for which he has a wealth of information, but he is also very knowledgeable butterflies. Ask him what butterflies have been in the garden lately.

Late spring is the best time of year to pick out roses because most flower earlier at nurseries than they would in our Cape Ann gardens. You take the guesswork out and test the roses for fragrance and for color when in bloom. Wolf Hill has an extensive selection of shrub, climbing, and topiary roses.

We are so blessed to have not one, not two, but three fabulous garden centers here on our small island.

Happy Memorial Day and Happy Gardening!

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM MARSHALL’S FARM STAND (AND HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY, TOO)!

Happy Memorial Day from Marshall’s Farm Stand

Marshall’s Farm Stand is chock-a-block full of a tremendous assortment of annuals and perennials just waiting to be planted.

Owners Melissa and Karen created the colorful red, white, and blue Memorial Day themed display and all the pots are ready to set out in the garden, no fuss, no muss.

While there, wish the Marshalls a happy fiftieth year in business! Check out the 2017 Farmer Bob cards, with daily deals on just about everything at the farm stand. The photo on the flip side of the card is a wonderful family portrait. What a beautiful family! I wonder what year and am guessing, based on the outfits, the 1970s. I forgot to ask and hope a family member writes and lets us know. Marshall’s Farm Stand is located at 144 Concord Street in Gloucester, and they are open seven days a week, from 9am to 6pm.

Ann and Dolly loading up their truck to plant red and white flowers at her relative’s grave sites.

One more of adorable Dolly.

 

CEDAR ROCK GARDENS IS ROCKIN THE FLOWERS FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

Come see the ever expanding selection of gorgeous flower and veggie seedlings at Cedar Rock Gardens. Not only are they offering annual flowers, herbs, and vegetable this year, but they are also growing native perennial wildflowers such as New England Aster and milkweed.

It was so cloudy and overcast when I was there picking up an order; these photos don’t do the garden justice. Come on down and see for yourself, Cedar Rock Gardens is bursting with beauty and fully stocked for the Memorial Day weekend.

Open seven days a week, from 8am til 5pm, Cedar Rock Gardens is located at 299 Concord Street in Gloucester.

Marigold Mania!

Sweet William

Loads and loads of peppers, in every degree of heat imagineable.

I love stopping by just to say hello, Elise and Tucker are so friendly and helpful. Tucker built the new office shed.

Coming later this spring are pick your own peonies!! And after that, sunflowers, zinnias, and straw flowers 🙂

CEDAR ROCK GARDENS IS OFFERING A VERITABLE BONANZA OF BLOSSOMS, VEGGIES, AND HERBS FOR MOTHER’S DAY!

Elise and Sunshine

Cedar Rock Gardens is bursting with a fabulous selection of blossoms and veggies and all would be much loved by Mom. Load up now on milkweed, petunias, pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, violas, osteosperum, alyssum, thyme, cilantro, parsley, dill, and much, much, much more.

Check out Cedar Rocks Gardens updated and complete plant list here.

NEXT WEEKEND CEDAR ROCK GARDENS IS RELEASING THE TOMATOES!

 

Tucker is building dozens of new tray tables to hold all the fantastic seedlings coming along.

Jeffrey Thomas, Tucker Smith, and Irv Falk

Join Betsy Williams at the Stevens Coolidge Place

Join Betsy Williams Sunday, May 21 at the beautiful Stevens Coolidge Place in North Andover to create a Fragrant Flowering Garden in a 14” pot.
We’ll plant a combination of 6 sweetly scented annual and perennial plants, such as nicotiana, stock, heliotrope, nepeta, lavender, sweet alyssum, violas and miniature roses, accented with climbing, twining vines and fragrant variegated greens. 
 
With proper care, your pot will bloom happily all summer long on a patio, porch, sunny balcony or doorstep.
Please bring an apron and floral scissors to class.
 
Sunday, May 21, 2017.  1-3pm
 
To register contact Kevin Block <kblock@thetrustees.org

VIDEO: AERIAL FILM OF THE TULIPS!

A  very huge thanks going out to all of the hard-working folks at GenerousGardeners.org for helping add some amazing beauty to our little island. Keep up the great work!

BUTTERFLY BLUE

One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.

You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.

Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.

If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.

The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.

Cornus florida ‘rubra’

*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.

Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden

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