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Archive for the ‘In the Garden’ Category

I was honored to be asked to do a video interview about Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping, for The Chestertown Spy. Here it is for readers who don’t get the Spy. Below, I’ve added a photo that illustrates one my other overwhelming interests!

Barbara-and-Dogs

Above: Front row: Bienn and Bonnie. Back row: Bing, Casey, Me, and puppy Charlie.

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Spring was late this year, to be sure, but in recent weeks the pace has picked up considerably in my garden. This morning, I am sharing a few spring plant combinations. For the most part, my spring combinations depend on self-sowing perennials such as wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) and Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginiana). I am also seeing self-sown plants of great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) that are just getting large enough to bloom. My division of this early blooming wildflower originally came from my mother’s garden.

Later today, I hope to see some Eastern Shore Gardeners at Twigs & Teacups in Chestertown, Maryland, for First Friday. I’ll be at the store from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. signing books, answering questions, and talking about gardens. Also, don’t forget to come to the plant sales next Friday at Fountain Park in Chestertown and Saturday in Rock Hall! Both sales begin at 9:00 a.m., and you will find a number of the plants pictured here among the offerings!

Uvularia-grandiflora,Sangui

Above: Favorite spring flowers, taken April 17. Great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), double bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Flore Pleno’), and Dutchmen’s breeches (Dicentra cucularia)

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Months ago, the University of North Carolina Press asked me to write two blog posts that relate to Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping. The first of them was published today, and I wanted to share a link to it here on Eastern Shore Gardener. Six Tips for Creating an Eco-friendly Landscape, outlines the fundamental principles covered in the book that help create a sustainable landscape. Each principle offers many options for implementation. Chapter One presents ten tips for each principle that gardeners can use to move toward a beautiful, sustainable landscape.

Since it looks like spring is really finally here, I am spending the afternoon outdoors cleaning up beds and replenishing the leaf litter on the garden. The simple act of mulching works toward several principles. It is especially important for #4, Manage Water Runoff, but it also is an essential part of principle #6, Garden Wisely, because of all the benefits mulch brings to soil, weed control, and more. I wait until spring to clean up and cut down, because deep leaf litter and stems provide overwintering sites for insects and good hunting grounds for birds. All the stems and other plant parts pulled off the garden in spring go directly to the compost pile, and eventually are returned to the garden to complete the cycle.

If you don’t already have a copy of Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping, consider coming to one of the events listed in the calendar. Adkins Arboretum has copies available by mail. It is also available from Amazon.

Uvularia-grandiflora

Above: Large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) is finally beginning to emerge from the soil. It brings yellow spring flowers and handsome foliage to the garden.

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New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s mind this time of year. This year my list starts with a very general vow: Spend more time out in the garden. At this point, I don’t care if that means time spent weeding, planting, pruning, propagating, or just watching the plants grow. During 2014, I simply spent far too little time doing what I love to do best. My garden suffered as a result, and so did I. With any luck, working in the garden will also help with resolutions relating to getting in shape and losing weight. According to Web MD, you can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories per hour in the garden, depending on the activity.

Galanthus

Above: All my resolutions will make room for more plants, including bulbs like these snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis).

I also want to continue taking steps to make my garden and landscape more Bay- and earth-friendly. Obviously, this is an issue I have been thinking quite a lot about in recent years, since it is a major focus of my new book, Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping. Since I don’t want to start off the year with a daunting list, today I am concentrating on steps that will help reduce maintenance or bring other benefits.

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The end of April is nearly upon us, and I am already behind in the garden. Late season snows and a book deadline eliminated most of my gardening time this month. As it always does, spring weather finally arrived and eliminated the snowy weather, but the most important change in my schedule results from turning in the manuscript, photographs, and photo captions for Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping. It has been a labor of love, and although I still have pages to read and an index to write, I am happy the worst is behind me. I am still very excited about the book, and think that it will be a great resource for anyone who wants to garden in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Readers of Eastern Shore Gardener will be among the first to know when the publisher, University of North Carolina Press, gives us a publication date!

Uvularia-grandiflora

Above: Great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) a native woodland wildflower.

For me, playing catch-up in spring means weeding. I am trying to keep hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) and ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) from taking over.  I am also lifting and dividing a few perennials and teasing self-sown seedlings out of the ground for potting up to give as gifts or donate to local plant sales. (You know who you are, shoot me an e-mail!) My favorites this year are seedlings of great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora). My original plant came from my mother’s garden, and it has spread nicely. In addition to enlarging by politely spreading rhizomes, seedlings appear around the original clump. I also have spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) everywhere. These are trickier to dig because their corms are deep in the soil and it is easy to miss them with a spade.

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I don’t have a light and cheerful lead sentence for this post, because it centers on the fact that my mother died recently. She passed away unexpectedly on August 17, and her death will cause fundamental change in the lives of all her children and grandchildren, along with her first great-grandchild, Charlotte, a.k.a. Charlie, who joined our family just barely a year ago. As I was pulling weeds in mom’s backyard a day before the funeral, I realized that her death also begins the inevitable separation of our gardens.

Mom's-Garden

ABOVE: The sunniest part of mom’s garden, located on the edge of her woods, is cram-packed with hostas, ferns bear’s breeches (Acanthus spp.), peonies, and more.

Surprisingly, thinking about our life-long connection as gardeners, and not just as mother and daughter, brought more comfort than sadness. It also yielded insight into the plants I love and why I garden the way I do. (more…)

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I’ll keep this post short and sweet, but I wanted to share a picture of my husband’s latest welding endeavor. His welded boats and trellises have periodically appeared in photos of my garden, and he has recently begun making flowers as part of his garden sculpture experiments. The daisies below are his latest.

Welded-Daisies

Above: Welded Daisies by Peter T. Evans, a.k.a. the Mad Welder!

He is donating this piece to the silent auction to be held June 9 for the “Art in Bloom” fundraiser held by RiverArts and Community Mediation in Chestertown. The piece is 4 feet tall and 20 inches wide. I hope some Eastern Shore Gardeners will attend the benefit and bid on it!

Also, in case anyone is interested, I am donating a collection of plant divisions (at least 5)  from my garden to the silent auction. Divisions will be selected to suit the winner’s garden.  I hope some of you will bid on that as well!

Hope to see some of you at the reception. For more information, click here: Art in Bloom!

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