Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Are any of you wondering what my garden looks like?
Well, you may flabbergasted to discover that it's simply a large area of horse manure, followed by newspaper, than grass clippings and finally a layer of straw. It's what they refer to in permaculture as 'sheet mulching'. I knew nothing about it, but when I calculated the amount of compost I would need to pay for to improve our soil which was devastatingly low in organic matter, I was damn glad to learn about it. The pay off is supposed to be wonderful rich soil come spring and all I have to do is water and wait. Feel free to keep your fingers crossed for me . . .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Faded Coat of Blue

I've come to love blue in the garden. There was a time when I first began gardening, that I only had eyes for the warmth of orange, burgundy, and plum; I had no interest in blue. Now I find it the most interesting color because it changes so much depending on the light of day. My favorite time to see it is at twilight when everything begins to fade except for the blues, that is when they seem to come alive.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Today I went for my first walk in the woods of the summer. I'm ashamed to say that, living right by the ocean, I find I spend less and less time in the woods. It was so familiar and reassuring to be there. It was as if it were saying, "Remember me? I am older than all of your stories."
The mixture of shade and humidity create this illusion of deep breathing, enhancing the certainty that everything around you is alive or has given its life to the spirit of this ecosystem. It's such a perfect balance, there is so much to learn from this . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I apologize for the recent silence, I was away on family business.
Every year I say I'm going to make a point to spend more of the summer soaking up the wonders of camping, canoeing, hiking, etc. And each year it seems as if we're lucky to devote two long weekends to such simple pleasures. I wont give up on that goal but for the meantime I am working on living more fully in the present moment, when I do this I get the chance to appreciate more of the little things that summer has to offer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Friends in Flowers

This Lysmachia or Creeping Jenny came from one of my dear friends Susan Saunders. I worked for her landscaping business in Rhode Island for several seasons, many years ago, they were good times. Susan sent this large container full of plants up to me two summers ago. Each summer since I've neglected to replant the container but the bright green leaves of the Lysmachia poked through the bare dirt every spring after the snows ended. This year I finally gave it some companions. Thank you Susan, a summer in the garden doesn't go by where I don't think of you and the days we spent cutting back perennials along the coast.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memory Garden

This garden totally moved me. I was walking through a neighborhood not far from my own, enjoying not knowing where each street would take me next. As I began to make my way down a substantial hill I saw this unusual garden with a wonderful old woman tending to it, her big straw hat shading her face.
Keep in mind this is a very residential neighborhood, everyone with their allotted area, but this garden rambled. It was very purposely planted, a row of one kind of plant followed by an other. Instead of this appearing rigid or dull, it gave the illusion of space enough for rising and falling, like waves or rolling hills.
I stopped to admire the grounds and the lady of the house took a break from tending to them. She was gentle and cheerful. She was proud to share with me that she had grown up on that street, in that very house! She called her garden a 'memory garden'. She said instead of bouquets she thought it better to give plants that can grow along with you over time. Maybe she bought gifts for the garden in remembrance of certain people and events as well and this is how she acquired such quantities of each kind of plant. What a lovely theme and what a pleasant surprise to stumble upon this place and learn it's history on an ordinary afternoon.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I really enjoy deadheading, partly because it satisfies my obsessive compulsive side and partly because I find the repetitiveness rather meditative. I do not think deadheading always makes things look better however. I love the blanched color of the dead flowers, even though their petals have become crisp they appear softer as they diminish. Their edges become vague and they're less insisting on admiration. I appreciate these soft spoken beauties and I regret sending them away at the end of an afternoon.

Friday, June 11, 2010


The gardening jobs I most enjoy are maintaining well loved gardens; you are aware and appreciative of the careful thought that went into creating the space and as the caretaker you get to develop your own relationship with the garden. I'm looking after a lovely yard in Willard Beach this summer while the owner is away. As I weed and prune and dead head, I have a sense of this person that placed these plants and watered and watched them grow over time. I often think of him when I walk through the narrow gravel passageway from the front of the house to the back; this week it is scattered with petals from the Azalea. I wonder if he would have picked these petals up right away? I imagine that he would take pleasure in seeing them lying amongst the stones, as I do, so I'll leave them there to dry and join the ground or the wind.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Local Buzz

The local Buzz is the new (and only) coffee and wine bar that is opening up in Cape Elizabeth this month. I think they will be a popular spot due to their location and treats; they will be carrying all sorts of local products. I enjoyed brightening up their kids area with a local theme: birds and blueberry bushes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good Karma

I created a small front yard garden for this wonderful couple in Willard Beach last summer. They had just bought one of the most charming bungalows in the neighborhood, and they wanted to lose the yard and gain a garden. Their only real specification was yellows and blues. After one year, this garden is spilling out onto the sidewalk. It is so abundant that people often stop to inquire. Donald and Diane give me total credit for this, but I am convinced that this garden is prosperous due to their generous spirit and energy. I call this their 'good karma' garden . . . it's like when people and their dogs start to look alike. Donald and Diane are THIS full of love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Growing Community

Local Sprouts Kitchen and the Bomb Diggity Bakery just opened up a cafe downtown at 645 Congress St. I was so happy to be a part of this community effort, there were all kinds of folks from all walks of life: painting, building, making mosaics, and menus; not to mention all the behind the scenes work as well! The place, the people and the food are great; and they have an area just for kids . . . where this old tree lives.

Inheriting Flowers

Along with hundreds of square feet of coral colored peg board, we also inherited a large quantity of beautiful perennials with our old house. It is such a pleasure to simply walk outside and cut flowers for inside your home. I like to think of old Beatrice Rhuda when I'm out there, she lived in this house for 50 years before us, raised four children, and looked after her plentiful gardens.

Monday, June 7, 2010

After the Season

One of my most favorite things to see in the natural world is wild flowers 'after the season'; when the bright pigment of summer has faded and the colors of flowers begin to resemble more closely the layers of soil and clay that lay beneath them. Many times I've walked through brush and bramble in the fall and wished I could somehow capture the beauty of those muted tones.
I wanted to live with this season all year round on our bedroom wall. Unlike the Elm tree it didn't turn out exactly how I had envisioned. I plan to do a light wash over it at some point to soften it, but I'm choosing to live with it the way it is for awhile first.

Long Live The Elm

I imagined this tree for a long time before I got to work on it. I love to catch a glimpse of it as I walk by my sons' room, it's whiteness is like dappled light on the yellow walls.
It's also interesting to see how much distortion you can find in an image painted on a curved wall depending on where you are standing; it brings it to life in a new way.