August 16, 2015


The top of Mount Mansfield in Stowe Vermont.

The Stowe Mountain Lodge, our home base for three glorious days.

I took this week off for a bit relaxation - oh, who am I kidding. I took it off to catch up, both in the garden, and in the house (I actually cleaned out 2 closets and filled a dumpster!). I also wanted to catch you all up on some posts that I had been meaning to post, but which never seemed to make it from iPhoto, to Photoshop, to Blogger in time. So - a bit of catch up from what's been happening this fine summer here in New England.

Click below for more!

August 11, 2015


Joe's nephew Curtis helped us throw together our budget fence project - the only way we could install a 100 foot long fence to keep the dogs on their side of the garden.

This past weekend we finally completed one of those projects that not only was enormous, but one which was long over due - rebuilding the dog fence - a long fence which divides our garden into a 1/4 acre plot where the dogs can run free.

The old fence has always been an eyesore, but fences are expensive to have installed professionally, and with a large garden like ours (2+ acres) fencing the entire garden in will require winning the state lottery. I really dislike lathe unless is is vertical and horizontal, but pre-fab panels with this pattern is very difficult to find, with most home centers carrying angled lathe, either in vinyl or pressure treated wood. We were lucky to find some vertical and horizontal lathe at a Home Depot ( sadly not near us, so we had to drive and hour after ordering it since they would not deliver it).

Click below for more:

August 5, 2015


The delicate, wiry stems of Anemonopsis each culminate with an upside down flower which looks more like a mid-century modern ceiling lamp than something from the floral world. August never looked so good.
As I try to get ready and catch up with projects at work before I take a well earned week off next week, I don't have much time to post - so I am collecting a few images that I took over the weekend to share with you all, as well as this --  a very rare relative of the common Cup and Saucer Vine - Cobaea campanulata, which I grew from seed that was so generously shared with my by a collector in the UK who read a post of mine from two years ago where I did just about anything but beg for a source of some seed of this Ecuadorian rarity. 

I'm sworn to secrecy about how I got this little packet of seeds, but you know me - nothing excites me more than raising a collection of plants which one would be hard pressed to find even at a very good botanic garden. I love that sort of thing. Expect a few more species of Cobaea to bloom here on this blog before the summer is over ( OK, I know - I might be the only person in the US who thinks that this plant is interesting - I'll admit, the plant is rather boring and the flowers look far better in photos than they do in person, but it's the rarity that interests me more than anything else).

The gorgeous green flowers of Cobaea campanulata from just three subpopulations in the coastal forest of Ecuador. Getting a couple of these rare seeds in the mail one day is one of the joys of social media - a blog follower read a post where I expressed interest in finding a source for this plant. This week, they are blooming on the east side of our back porch. So special. It is threatened by deforestation due to colonization and conversion of forest to pasture.

Brugmansia 'Blushing Ballerina' is a hard to find cross of a genus which can sometimes be overwhelmingly showy. This selection, bred by Hurstwood Brugmansias in the UK looks more like a well behaved wild species than it does a hybrid, with slender flowers which are more narrow than typical crosses, and it has a nice, strong evening fragrance ( apparently inherited from its Arborea parent). It's barely pink ( as in 'blushing' I suppose, but I think mine isn't that embarrassed, as it appears more white).
My dear friend Abbie Zabar sent an email out this week updating many of us about how her olive trees survived the fierce summer thunderstorms and hair that ravaged New York City this past week. We had storms too, but when I checked our olive trees, the baby olives looked as if they survived. 
I noticed these Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora) growing under one of our larger Japanese Maples. They always remind me when I was a young child, and my older sister showing me wild populations in the woods behind out house. These came up by themselves.
Eucomis 'Dark Star' blooms in a pot - I found this in the greenhouse a few weeks ago, all neglected and forgotten, as it spent the winter under a bench. It's always surprising to see how some bulbs survive without any water, and with intense heat.
Joe  mounted some Staghorn Ferns for the deck, I think they look pretty nice, don't you?

Weird and odd, I know, but that raised bed that I bought ended up with some cucumber plants in it, so I had to convert it into a space satellite. Hey, it works.

Many self-seeded annuals are popping up in the borders near the greenhouse. I really should call this new garden my pollinator garden, for the bees and butterflies are so abundant, that even the dogs take notice.

Cuphea ignea, the scarlet flowered Cigar Plant, may have a silly name, but it makes a terrific statement in the mixed border. This plant was shared with me by the folks at Blythewold Mansion and Gardens in Bristol, RI. I kept the rooted cutting in the greenhouse for the winter, and set it out in the spring - but I never expected a show like this. Neither did the hummingbirds, I have to say!