Yesterday while in Boston to meet with clients at their home on Comm. Ave, I couldn’t help but take a snapshot of the glorious saucer magnolias blooming along the avenue. I wished I’d had more time because just as I was leaving, the sun began to poke out. The stunning display that you see lining the south-facing side is the genius of one woman and when I have time, will write more about her brilliant accomplishment to which we are all the beneficiaries, more than fifty years after planting!
Magnolia soulangeana Commonwealth Avenue Boston
At the Gloucester HarborWalk Gardens, we planted two species of magnolia adjacent to each other. Many arboretums, such as Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, plant several species within the same plant family in close proximity to provide an opportunity to learn by comparing the differences and similarities. I wanted our community to enjoy a mini-arboretum experience by planting two of the most beautiful magnolias that grow well in our region, the saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) and sweetbay magnolia (M. virginiana). Stop by in the coming weeks to visit our gorgeous magnolias in bloom. M. soulangeana will bloom first, followed by M. virginiana.
The Friends of the HarborWalk will be back at the HarborWalk this Sunday (tomorrow morning), beginning at 9am. We’ll meet in front of the Gloucester House. Come lend a hand–its work, but fun with this growing great group of community-spirited friends. Everyone is welcome!
Please leave a comment in the comment section or feel free to contact me if you have any questions at email@example.com.
Tufted 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
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 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.
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.
American Lady Butterfly
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
Yesterday afternoon and evening while weeding at the HarborWalk butterfly gardens I encountered a gorgeous male Summer Azure butterfly, lots of friendly Red Admirals, and myriad bees. If you are there at the HarborWalk tonight watching the The Wizard of Oz, stroll through the gardens and have a look at these beautiful native wildflowers in bloom today!
You may notice some bare spots in the garden, which will soon be filled! Hose spigots were just installed this week at the gardens and we now have an improved way to water!!!!! Up to this point, for the past several years, Lenny Linquata has graciously allowed the city to hook up hoses and fill watering cans at his restaurant spigot.
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
See previous GMG posts for more information about Gloucester’s Summer Cinema:
Coming This Summer: Free Movie Night
Free Out Door Summer Cinema Series
Helenium autumnale and Dalea purpurea make a cheery bee and butterfly attracting duo!
Dear Friends of the HarborWalk,
I couldn’t decide if the title should read “Help with the HarborWalk” or “HarborWalk MugUp” and as you can see, opted for the MugUp, but we do need help, too. Several beds need weeding and I have a modest batch of annuals we’d like to get in the ground, just as soon as possible. The goal is to whip the butterfly gardens into shape before Fiesta. If you are interested in lending a hand, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a comment in the the comment section so we can get an idea of how many fabulous homemade Brother’s Brew doughnuts I should purchase! We are meeting at 9am Sunday in front of the Gloucester House Restaurant. We will have some spare tools and please feel free to bring your own. You don’t need to be a gardener and kids are 100 percent welcome.Thank you.
Very best wishes,
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
While weeding yesterday morning, there were several species of small butterflies flitting about, including a number of Spring Azures. Lots of bees were spied, too. The native Magnolia virginiana and sweet thimbleweeds are in bloom and and a good bunch of Purple Prairie Clover is becoming established. Stop by and take the opportunity to learn about some of our native beauties planted at the HarborWalk.
Gloucester HarborWalk Magnolia virginiana
What a challenge to try to schedule HarborWalk cleanups during the month of April! There’s just one more border along I4-C2, thanks to all our super awesome volunteers, and most gratefully to Lise Breen, who very kindly and all by herself last weekend cleaned up the other half of I4-C2. I will be there Sunday morning at 9am, unless it is raining buckets! Everyone is invited, you don’t have to be a gardener to lend a hand, and we will have extra hand tools and lawn and leaf bags. We hope to see you there!
Gloucester HarborWalk ~ Before Photo of I4-C2
Gloucester HarborWalk ~ After Photo of I4-C2 Summer 2012
Blue skies and warm weather are predicted for tomorrow’s HarborWalk Cleanup. I hope to see you there! You don’t need to be a gardener to pitch in; everyone is welcome!
The order for milkweed seeds and asters in being placed on Monday so please get your orders in before then. Thank you! Read more about the Cape Ann Milkweed project here.
I am presenting 2 lectures this coming week, Monday on Butterfly Gardening in Shrewsbury and Wednesday evening on The Pollinator Garden in North Reading. Please visit the events page of my website for more information.
Reader Dawn Puliafico writes about her recent visit to the Gloucester HarborWalk, “Hot day today! The gardens are lovely! We saw 2 Cabbage White, 1 American Lady, 1 Broad-Winged Skipper and 1 Clouded Sulphur. Not much activity…still nice to see though! We weren’t there long! Too hot! Thanks for your advice! We appreciate it!”
Thank you for writing Dawn.
Monarch Butterfly Nectaring at the Echinacea