July 25, 2015

KOO KOO FOR KUSHI MAYA - MY NEW FAVORITE SUMMER LILY

After a late afternoon summer thunderstorm - complete with small hail and gusty winds, the Kushi Maya lilies remained tall and strong. I expect these stems to be even taller and stronger next summer as the bulbs settle in - this was their first summer in our garden.

Hot, humid mid-summer days would never be the same without the rich scent of true lilies - particualy oriental and trumpet lilies, and most recently, the new Interdivisional lilies (those which are hybrids or crosses between lilies from different divisions, such as trumpets and orientals) which deserve as much praise as any lily today with lily aficionados, for they are changing how we all should think about lilies in the garden.

 Blooming this weekend in our garden is one called 'Kushi Maya', and I have to tell you - this one surprised me. I kind of suspected that something special was growing ( I ordered three bulbs from the United Kingdom this spring, but really I was just going off of a written description in a catalog, so you never know what it is going to look like). All I can say is this - look - if I am writing a single post about a single lily variety ( and you know I grow dozens of varieties), you can bet that it probably is a pretty awesome lily. This is a very special lily ( and it comes as no surprise that it won Best in Show in 2008 at the Chelsea Flower Show). Still uncommon here in the US, you must track some down now to plant in the fall (when one plants lily bulbs). I am planning to plant around 24 or so for a kick-ass display infront of the greenhouse. I kind-of like to go for the 'wow factor'.

With a greenish petal, and even a more olive-green reverse, the most striking color is the center, a dark blackberry purple.


Bred by Arie Pederse for H.W. Hyde & Sons in the UK, Kushi Maya is a true 'terst-tube- baby. What makes is so remarkable is the one of the parents in this complex cross is the very shy bloomer even temperamental lily Lilum nepalense - a treasure in any garden (if one could grow it well) but one which only produces single flowers, and is challenging breed with. We have modern breeding techniques to thank for this lily though, particularly in vivo culture and something known as embryo rescue - a process I am still trying to research but one which seems to be used with many inter-specific lilies. What 'Kushi Maya' does so spectacularly well, is takes the coloring and night-time fragrance of rare L. nepalense and then the fragrance and vigor of another complex cross   Lilium x auratum x speciosum. The result? An amazing five foot tall stunner - rich with the intense, spicy fragrance any lily lover loves, and a vigor which every lily lover respects.





And that name- 'Kushi Maya'? It's is an endearing term for young girls (children) in Nepal. embryo-recovery or embryo rescue techniques - test-tube baby

We have have some lily beetle damage, but very little considering how bad the lily beetle has been in past years. I am hopeful that the University of Rhode Island's release of a parasitic wasp near us, has reduced the beetle as the past two years have been relatively beetle free.


By Saturday, more flowers opened, and the scent became even stronger, floating across the entire garden.









July 22, 2015

HOW VERMONT HAS BECOME THE 'NAPA VALLEY' OF CHEESE MAKING

Cheese makers from the Von Trapp Farmstead  in Waitsfield, Vermont offer samples of some of their award-winning creations. Oma was our favorite, a distinctive washed-rind/Tomme style organic unpasturized cows cheese.

Ooo - cheese! We've been cheese fans for a long time so when we were offered a chance to attend this years' sold out  7th Annual Vermont Cheemakers Festival by our good friends Tom and Bennett, we couldn't resist. This past weekend Joe and I boarded the dogs and drove up to the lush Green Mountains of Vermont for a bit a rest, relaxation and cheese. On the way up we stopped by Tom and Bennetts farm, Tom happens to not only be the event's organizer but also is the executive director of the Vermont Cheese Council.  The two of them just adopted one of our dogs (Lydias last litter) so little Maeva was happy to see us, if only for an hour. After all, they are practically in-laws now.

Jasper Hill Farm  (Greensboro, VT) is one of the cheese makers who has helped change how the world and cheese enthusiasts think about Vermont cheese.  Their caves ( cellars) - an underground cheese-aging facility which they share with select cheese makers and local farms, offers the perfect temperature and  humidity for aging specific cheeses (such as blues). It is encouraging to hear about their collaborative efforts and about their many successes.
The event naturally focused on cheese, but many stalls featured other artisional items from Vermont and New England ranging from bourbon and other distilled spirits, to craft beer, wine, jams and jellies and even salumi.


For more about the cheese festival, click below:

July 17, 2015

SATURDAY AT THE NEW ENGLAND LILY SHOW


The first Saturday after the Fourth of July is typically the date for the New England Lily Society Show, and I hate to admit it, but I think that I've been to nearly all of them since - here I go - 1974 or so. Yes, I am that old! Actually, I started when I was about a very nerdy 14 year old - when the NRLG, or New England Regional Lily Group used to hold their shows at the old Horticultural Hall in downtown Worcester, MA, the home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society,which today has moved and become Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

For whatever reason, the Lily Show is my favorite - and sadly, nothing like it used to be ( like most flower shows - why aren't more people getting interested in joining and competing in plant societies anymore?). I think that the first plant society show that I ever attended aside from a spring flower show, was the lily show ( maybe 1971 or so?). By 1974, I started entering, although I must admit, I am quite guilty for not joining the lily society. I did join, once or twice over the years, but honestly, I belong to so many plant societies right now, that I have decided to just enjoy raising lilies - I can join when I am retired. Not setting a good example here folks, but, it is what it is.



Lilies are confusing to many new gardeners, and even to relatively experienced gardeners, as there are different types which can be confusing. Asiatic and Oriental seem so similar by name, but they are easy to identify - Asiatics are earlier blooming, usually have upright flowers although some are outfacing or pendant ( most of the lilies in this show are Asiatic)whilst Oriental lilies have larger, later-blooming flowers, and, they are often highly fragrant. Just think Casa Blanca, the most typical and iconic Oriental. Trumpets are, well - think Easter Lily, but there are many named varieties of Trumpets. Naturally, to confuse things, there are species lilies ( those found in nature) in all categories - for example, there are many types of wild trumpet lily species. Turkscap lilies are generally a term which includes the Martagons ( with waxy, down facing turkscaps) and some of our native species such as Lilium canadense here in the North East, and then there are those 'tiger lilies'. Sure, they could be considered 'turks cap' in style, but generally speaking, all 'tiger lilies' are Lilium tigrinum, a species form.

For more, click below:

July 16, 2015

MY 'BACK FORTY' - MY SECRET GARDEN AREAS I'VE NEVER SHARED BEFORE

A HOSE BRINGS WATER TO THE CHICKEN COOP, 250 FEET AWAY FROM RUNNING WATER AT OUR HOUSE. HERE ARE SOME PARTS OF THE GARDEN THAT I RARELY SHARE ON THIS BLOG.

When folks call a tell me that they are 'stopping by' to see the garden, I usually panic. I feel that I need to manage expectations - honestly, I only focus on one tiny part of the garden on this blog - a small portion which is fenced off for the dogs, on the east side of the house, where the dogs have full run, and where the greenhouse is. It is a more manageable size, about 75 feet bu 250 feet, but that said, we live on about 3 acres of garden - garden which is mostly over grown, but which was a garden at one time when I was a kid, and when my dad was growing up here from around 1920 until 2000 when I moved back as my parents were aging. It's all too much to take care of, as you often hear me gripe about, but really, even when messy and overgrown, it has its charm. Since 75% of our property remains secret, I thought that I will share a few photos of these areas. You might find them interesting.

TODAY, NO PRETTY CLOSE-UPS LIKE THIS (BUT I DID WANT TO SHARE THIS NEW LILY THAT BLOOMED TODAY. THE BULB IS FROM ENGLAND (H.W. HYDE & SONS). THIS BEAUTY IS CALLED 'THE TORCH'.

THE LONG WALK - THE STONES ARE WEEDED, BUT THE FENCE IS STILL NOT UP. FOLLOW THIS PATH TO THE BEE HIVES AT THE END, AND THE DUCK HOUSE.


When you exit though the back porch at our house, and want to walk out back to see the chickens and ducks, you need to take the long walk, a stone path which was set out in 1926, and at 200 feet, it is rather long - to hand weed. I find it interesting to look at old photos, as see how the walk has changed and evolved over time. In the 1920's and 30's there was an apple orchard along the right side, but in the great 1938 hurricane, the old Roxbury Russet trees were all lost. 1950's it had blueberry bushes along one side of it, in the 1960's a large grape arbor and 70's,  just grass and lawn since there was a bad mitten court on the right hand side, and a golf green on the left ( don't ask, long story). In the 1980's, a new perennial border again. Garden grow, die, grow again, get cut back, redesigned and laid out again. At least this one has stayed in the same family through 5 generations which is pretty cool I guess.


A GIANT-LEAVED NORTH AMERICAN NATIVE FROM THE SOUTH THRIVES IN THE UNDERSTORY OUT BACK - MAGNOLIA MACROPHYLLA IS STARGING TO TAKE OFF, WITH 3 FOOT LONG LEAVES, IT'S LIKE A BANANA.


JOES NEW BEE HIVE IS CALLED A TOP BAR TYPE. SO FAR, IT SEEMS TO BE DOING FINE NEAR THE EDGE OF THE WOODS. THE PETASITES TO THE LEFT OF IT IS A NEW SPECIES FOR US - A GIFT FROM THE BERKSHIRE BOTANIC GARDEN, AND SMALLER THAN THE PETASITES JAPONICUS SSP. GIGANTEUS, THIS ONE IS A EUROPEAN SPECIES - PETASITES HYBRIDUS



THE LONG WALK PASSES THOUGH AMNY SHRUBS AND PLANTINGS, MOST OVERGROWN AND UNKEMPT. ALL OF THIS USED TO BE A LARGE YEW HEDGE WHICH SADLY, MY PARENT REMOVED 20 YEARS AGO.

THIS RARE ARALIA ELATA 'SILVER UMBRELLA' IS MASSIVE, AT NEARLY 20 FEET TALL. IT SUCKERS TERRIBLY WITH THE THORNY TYPE OF ARALIA, WHICH GIVES THE GENUS ITS COMMON NAME, BUT I WOULD NOT BE WITH OUT THIS BEAUTY.



THIS, LOOKS LIKE A PATH IN THE WOODS, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY OUR COMPOST PILE. THIS IS A HILL, AND IT'S ALL COMPOST. WHEEL BARROWS OF LEAVES, BRANCHES, LOGS AND WEEDS ARE ADDED WEEKLY, AND HAVE BEEN FOR ABOUT 60 YEARS. IF ONE KEEPS WALKING ON THIS PATH, YOU WOULD FALL OFF INTO A SWAMP JUST BEYOND WHERE THE PATH ENDS.

THIS OLD AMERICAN ELM, iS DEAD, BUT WE KEEP IT FOR THE WOODPECKERS - CAN YOU SEE HOW MANY HOLES THERE ARE IN IT? THIS YEAR WE HAVE HAS NESTING HAIRY WOODPECKERS AND A PAIR OF RED BELLIED WOODPECKERS.

THE BASE OF THE ELM SHOWS HOW LARGE IT IS, AND IT'S READY TO FALL. NOTICE THE BABY INDIAN RUNNER DUCKS - GETTING BIG.

OUR CHICKEN COOP WILL NEVER MAKE IT ON A LIFESTYLE BLOG, BUT IT WORKS. I HAVE A PHOTO OF MY DAD FROM 1917 SITTING IN A CHICKEN YARD WITH PIGS ON THIS VERY SAME SPOT, MAYBE I SHOULD POST SOME OF THISE COMPARISON SHOTS?

TURN AROUND FROM THE CHICKENS, AND YOU WILL SEE THIS - LOOKING WEST.  I AM THINKING OF PLANTING MORE HYDRANGEA HERE, SINCE THEY SHOULD ENJOY THE UNDERSTORY EXPOSURE.
TURN AND LOOK SOUTH, AND YOU WILL SEE THIS - SEE, THE BACK OF THE GREENHOUSE.



YES, OLD LAWN MOWERS AND TRACTORS - BELIEVE ME, WE NEED THEM. IF ONLY WE COULD AFFORD A REAL SMALL TRACTOR - ANYONE HAVE AN EXTRA 20K TO SPARE?

HOSTA, HOSTA EVERYWHERE - WHY? THEY HELP SUPRESS THE WEEDS, AS WE CAN"T KEEP UP - SO LOTS OF INVASIVE OR NICELY LUSH RUNNING PLANTS LIKE PETASITES, HOSTA AND TALL GRASSES LIKE THIS MISCANTHUS FLORIDULIS AT 12 FEET TALL HELP MAKE UNTIDY AREAS LOOK MORE GARDEN LIKE.



IN ONE OF MY FAVORITE AREAS OF OUR YARD, THE OLD HEMLOCK GROVE, THERE ARE A FEW DOZEN EASTERN HEMLOCK TREES THAT MY FATHER AND HIS BROTHERS PLANTED IN THE 1930's. SADLY, THEY ARE DIEING FROM THE WOOLY ADELGID INFESTATION, AND ONLY HAVE A FEW MORE YEARS TO LIVE.

IT GETS MORE AND MORE RUSTIC OUT BACK, WITH LESS LAWN AND MORE TREES UNTIL IT ALL TURNS INTO WOODLAND. THIS IS TOM THE TURKEY'S HOUSE ON THE RIGHT., AND ON THE LEFT, THE DUCK HOUSE AND THE CHICKEN COOP. THIS POST IS ONE LEFT OVER FROM THE OLD GRAPE ARBOR THAT ONCE STOOD HERE IN THE 1950's AND 60's. CONCORD GRAPES.



LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Posts