Monday, July 31, 2006

Gloriosa Daisies

The Gloriosa Daisies are in their glory right now. It's early summer here on the coast and we are somewhat in between the late spring and late summer color, however, the Gloriosa Daisies (which I think are some variety of Rudbeckia) are just blooming their hearts out! Each one has a different face and I particularly love the ones with the dark eyes and bronze faces.

I picked yet another big mess of green beans today - egad! It seems as though they just explode overnight! The green bean salad recipe I learned at my German Oma Elise's has come in handy - we are eating lots of it! Once we tire of the salad, I'll start making the "Bohnen Gemuse" or bean casserole - very much unlike the American version with canned mushroom soup, this one is flavored with sauteed onions, summer or winter savory and a light Bechamel sauce. Combined with new potatoes and a bit of smoked sausage, it is a delectable meal in itself!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Big Mess O'Beans

The beans are coming! the beans are coming!

The Roma beans are producing like mad. I picked a huge colander full the other day and today, when I looked again, there were at least three times as many. Looks like it will be a bumper crop of beans and the pole beans haven't even begun producing! Oh my! Looks like lots of green bean casseroles over the winter.

The hollyhocks are blooming beautifully and I caught this one with a bumble bee inside the blossom.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tropicals in Maine

We may have a short summer season, but that's no reason to think we can't grow beautiful tropical plants up here! My deck garden is full of canna lillies, elephant ear, amaryllis, sweet potato vine and yes, even a banana my son in Florida sent me from his garden this spring! The banana is not only thriving, but also has a pup already.

Currently blooming in the garden are the hollyhocks which I planted for the first time, ligularia, filipendula, hydrangea, dahlias and lots and lots of rudbeckia! I'm trying to map out the garden this year so I'll know where to transplant the different colors when I have to divide perennials next year. Yep, next year is the garden's fourth year and things have gotten a bit thick!

Monday, July 24, 2006


This photo of my Fuchsia was taken before the last thunderstorm. She looks somewhat bedraggled right now. I purchased it this spring in a 2 inch pot and she is now overflowing a 12 inch pot. This plant is incredibly easy to propogate vegetatively. Just dip a cutting into rooting hormone, slip it into some potting soil and keep moist for a couple of weeks. The hard part is pinching back the growing tips when you can see blossoms beginning. However, serious pinching will produce a beautiful, bushy plant with loads of blooms.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Garden Brilliance

I've often wondered why all the flowers up here in Maine seem to have so much more color and brilliance than anywhere else? My husband, the meteorologist says it has to do with the atmosphere, but I think the flora just loves the cool days and nights and the occasional fog that envelopes them, keeping them nicely hydrated. Same reason I love it here so much. Although some might find the frequent fog annoying (particularly tourists), I find the quiet solitude gives me time for reflection and introspection.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Foggy Morn

While the rest of the nation roasts, we bask in yet another foggy beginning to our day. After a few showers, we hope to have our beautiful blue sky and sunshine back later in the day, but with Hurricane Beryl lingering in the sea to the east of us, it's hard to predict what will happen. Oh well, another day that I don't have watering chores!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sunrise over the island

After Monday night's severe thunderstorms (highly unusual here on the coast), we awoke this morning to a beautiful sunrise. The second day after a frontal passage generally brings a whole new, clean air mass and this morning is no exception. The temperatures are in the low 50's and it feels great after the heat and humidity earlier in the week!

The only downside is that the storm, which was accompanied by 1/2 inch hail, did a number on my garden. The canna's leaves were literally shredded and the taller perennials beaten down by wind, rain and hail. They're beginning to perk up a bit this morning, but I may have to get out this weekend and do a bit of staking.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ruby Spider

As promised, here is the photo of my daylilly "Ruby Spider". My hand is in the picture to show scale, but this bloom is huge - a full 6+ inches across. Every year I eagerly anticipate Ruby's blooming which is usually right around my birthday, but this year she caught me by surprise by blooming a full two weeks early. Must be the heat!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Yesterday was a day we had been looking forward to all year long - The Belfast Garden Tour! We so enjoyed our day last year and made plans to attend this year's tour again, with lunch in downtown Belfast and a trip to Ocean States Job Lots (an eclectic store with lots of different things, including my favorite things (gardening stuff).

When living in Louisville, we attended the Old Louisville Garden Tour every year and were so impressed with all the different styles of gardening and we've been hooked on garden tours ever since.

We packed our cooler with lots of water, made sure we had sunblock, hats, sunglasses, etc and set off on our fun adventure. Just before we rolled in to Belfast, the truck began misfiring with alarming shaking, feeling very much like we were driving over railroad tracks. Bummer! First priority was to get that checked out as we were a long way from home. Unfortunately, the Ford Dealership garage was not open, but they did direct us to VIP Auto parts where the nice gentleman hooked us up to the computer and informed us the catalytic valve was stuck (or something to that effect). We didn't feel comfortable going on the tour where we knew we would have to stop and start frequently, so disappointed we gingerly headed home. The trip was not a complete bust however, as luck would have it, the Ocean State store was right next to VIP Auto, so we did manage to get a brief shopping trip in. I found several nice Italian clay pots at ridiculously low prices.

We managed to limp back home safely and I found my Ruby Spider day lilly blooming a full two weeks earlier than last year! I'll try to get a picture tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Unnamed Beauty

Last year I purchased a clematis which was supposed to be variety "Jackmanii". I thought the deep purple hue of the clematis meandering through the rosy pink of "Climbing America" would be a stunning match. What weakly bloomed instead last year, was an unnamed variety in a pastel lavender shade. I didn't think the poor thing would make it through the tough Maine winter.

This year, instead of being disappointed in the unplanned match, I have come to see that Mother Nature often does a better job of planning than we mere mortals.

The clematis not only survived, but thrives in the thorny arms of the rose, embracing her companion with tender touch. Her lavender petals and deep purple "eyes" are lovely. I have since named this beautiful, delicate plant, who's determined to "just get along in this world", "Miss Sunshine"!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pass the Peas, Please

Romas in the foreground with pole beans in the background. Romas were planted about 2 weeks ahead of the pole beans.

Had our first batch of peas out of the garden last night - Yummy! With just a bit of salt, pepper and a small bit of butter, we steamed them to bright green perfection. Along with the sauteed Haddock, tomato, cucumber and fresh herb (herbs from the garden, of course) salad, it was a meal to remember.

The beans are coming on strong and should be producing soon. We have both Roma Bush and Kentucky Wonder Pole beans and as prolific as they tend to be, we should have plenty for the freezer this year.

Had our second paddle of the season in the kayak yesterday, however, the hot, hazy, humid weather did not make for as pleasant an experience as usual. We did make a stop on the island for our picnic lunch and spent a nice hour just sitting and watching birds.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It was a dark, stormy night!

Wow! Thunderstorms like we seldom see here on the coast! Usually, we say "did you just hear something"?, as the storm passes overhead, but last night was a doozy and we had almost one inch of rain in a very short time. Good thing too, as I was going to have to drag the hose around to water the garden today. Hooray! Leaves more time for a possible kayak paddle later on this morning, seas permitting.

The garden blooms more beautifully by the day and this last round of rain will help the astilbe, ligularia and Joe Pye weed get a good start on their blooms. The lillies continue their concert of color around the garden.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Daffy About Delphiniums

I just can't seem to get enough of these delphiniums! The photos never seem to do justice to the beautiful hues of violet and cerulean. The goatsbeard and William Baffin in the background just seem to set them off.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pretty Annabelle

Two years ago, I purchased a small, half dead, pitiful looking Annabelle Hydrangea from our local nursery. It was on their "needs tlc" table and only cost $1.47. So, being the sucker I am for ailing things, I snapped it up, took it home and proceeded to nurture it back to health. This year, she is rewarding me with dozens of gorgeous, huge blossoms!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sultry Sunday

Today was warm. I think we have finally acclimated to Maine weather when we think 70's are warm. A bit more humid today, but nonetheless, I worked in the garden most of the day. This morning I weeded and mowed the lawn and this afternoon, I planted more kale - can't get enough kale to suit us, fertilized the potted plants and watered everything else.

The lillies are all beginning to pop. We had a problem early on with the lilly borer - nasty little red bugs that eat the buds. I took care of them in June, but now am seeing their offspring; equally nasty little slug like things that eat the leaves and leave the plant bare. I sprayed water on the plants to get rid of them, but as an added bit of insurance, dusted Bug B Gone on them for good measure. I don't like using chemicals, but sometimes, it's the only way.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

View from the Top

Today we made our annual trek to the top of Champlain Mountain in Acadia National Park. Despite the hazy, somewhat humid day, the view was as spectacular as we had remembered it! It took a good hour to reach the summit of 1038 ft and about 1/2 hour to come back down. The trip up was hot, but once we got to the top, all was forgiven and we enjoyed a lovely snack and chatted with a young couple from New Hampshire. The trip down was a bit more frightening as you could envision how easily it would be to fall off the face of the mountain in a moment of inattention!

At home, the daisies are almost in full bloom. In the background, the Joe Pye Weed is reaching for the sky and should be setting blooms soon. The Ligularia has buds shooting skyward and lillies are popping out all over. The Fuchsia is finally beginning to bloom on the porch and I m amazed at the blooms - they look like folded purple fabric!

All in all a wonderful day. John and I are both tired and happy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

No Fireworks

No fireworks on the 4th because, as usual, the fog rolled in just in time to squelch them! However, the next day, I found several of my unnnamed lillies blooming beautifully.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Celebrate July 4th

Happy Independence Day!

Today looks as though Mother Nature may give us a display of her "fireworks" later on in the day as it is warm and muggy this morning.

I've just come back from a walk through the garden and this morning, several of the oriental lillies are blooming, some of the Rudbeckia are beginning to bloom and the Stella d'Oros are in full bloom.

Freddie the Frog seems to have flown the coop as I haven't seen him in a couple of days. Maybe the weasel got hold of him - who knows. Copper Charlie will just have to hold the fort down til Freddie (or Fredrika) returns.

In celebration of our nation's birthday, here is a bouquet I just picked from my garden!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Wierd Weather Today

Today started out with cloudy skies and a bit of rain. I had planned on mowing the lawn, but 'twas not to be. The rain gave way to high winds and the cove actually had white caps - something we seldom see around here. Good thing we went kayaking yesterday!

The sun finally came out this afternoon and I did manage to repot a hanging basket and stake the Shasta Daisies, which look as though they might bloom any moment now. The Stella d'Oro day lillies are blooming and my Angelica is, after three long years, also in flower.

Expecting severe thunderstorms this evening. Will hope for the best for my garden.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Good Mornin' Sunshine!

The Earth says "Hello, nice to see you again"!

Looks like a great day to tackle the weeds which have popped up literally overnight. However, I must pace myself as today is the day we have the first launch of the season for the Mango Moose, our ocean kayak. Last year, we were able to have our first paddle on June 5th, so we are just about a month behind in paddles. As our paddling depends on weather, tides and my work schedule, we just don't seem to get out often enough to suit me.

I got up early enough to catch the sun just coming up over the spruce trees and illuminating the delphinium in bloom.

I also caught Freddie the Pond Frog out for an early morning stroll, er hop, in the lawn. Guess he was looking for a slug snack.