Garden In The Burrow

plants and rants by gardening diva Cheryl Monroe

  • Promises

    Filed under Posts
    Feb 24

    As the temperature dips to 8 below outside I am taking some time to appreciate the promise of things to come all around inside  the house. Stay warm out there my friends!

    Pink azaleas in budpink azalea

    tiny leaves on an akebia vine being forcedakebia quinata vine

    dark and dramatic buds on a crab apple branchcrab apple buds

    fothergilla flower opening  upfothergilla

    quince cuttings trying to rootquince

    red budredbud

    Tinkerbelle lilac budtinkerbelle lilacs

    Tulips growing in the kitchenDSC_0154

    Cyclamen buds unfurlingcyclamen

    sweet pea seedlingDSC_0147

  • Feb 6

    Can I just tell you  that today was not my day,,,,here is the long version of  how it all went down.

    Yesterday I had to be in Boston very early for some appointments with my daughter Faith. The commute is never an easy one , but for this one we got the added bonus of a snowstorm. Hurray! Yippee! Go ME! Anyway, we left super early and drove with 900,00 if our besties along the Pike for over 2.5 hours and arrived thankfully on time,

    She had a few tests and lab work then a doctors appointment , then we drove on back home ( only 1.5 hours this time ) and I hustled to get my flower arrangement packed and ready for Flora in Winter Part II at Tower Hill Botanic Garden  before driving back to Boston for a meeting at Dana Faber . The arrangement has to be dropped off  by 11 this morning and then I have to get ready to go BACK to Boston, this time for fun ,tonight.

    All was good , or so I thought.

    First off Wil, who does the dishes here when he is home, ( a rule I enforce even if it means there are always dishes in the sink) informed me that the dishwasher was not working. Of course the sink is full, as is the  still dirty dishwasher but there is no time for either of us to deal with this now. Moving on.


    I went in to check on the flowers  and discovered one of the little containers had been leaking and now the flowers in it were dead . It of course was the moss covered one so I had to uncover it, then frantically search for a replacement vase AND more flowers, which a voice I am trying to ignore in  my head keeps telling me “there aren’t any”

    My stress level was already high when I walked out in the kitchen and decided to take one second to wash the dishes in the sink before using it to deal with the flowers, and promptly shattered a glass whose shards covered not only the kitchen floor but flew into the mudroom , hallway, and dining room too. Great. Just perfect.

    I had no choice but to stop and sweep, vac , the wash the floors because dogs don’t wear shoes . It is hovering around 20 below zero so I can’t swish them outside and they are not well behaved and do not frankly care if I tell them to get out of the kitchen even if it means bloody paws. So, sweep, vac, wash etc..then back to flowers.

    Two of the leaves are quite limp and the water loving fern is crispy beyond help. I put the leaves in a warm water bath a go to see what I can find to fill in. Nothing. Zilch.  I now have to fit in a trip to the store.

    Last night, in a move I can only describe as brilliant, I had sent Bill down to the basement when we got home to cut a little birch stand for me in case I needed it, well guess what?  The replacement vase is taller than the one that broke throwing the balance all off so I grabbed the stand to lift the second piece and crossed my fingers. I quickly packed the stuff back into the box  and ran to the store  hoping they would have cyclamen, which they did. I dash to the express lane where the lady in front of me  who clearly has more than 12 items is also in possession of large  produce bag filled with a mixed variety of apples   so each apple has to be taken out individually and weighed  ,then ever so gently put back in one at a time.  ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH. Some people deserve a quick karate chop to the throat, but I just clenched my jaw and tried to remain calm as the minutes ticked by  and I found myself daydreaming that snow caved in her roof. There, now that feels better.

    After checkout , bags in hand  I head to Tower Hill  .It is 10:45.

    I go there just in time to set up, and honestly my woes are nothing compared to what is going on there. To start with they are dealing with all the snow ( canceled events, constant shoveling and de-icing of entry ways,lack of space to pile any more etc) , then they had a pipe burst and flood the library, then just for fun someone flushed a roll of paper towels down a toilet and now Service Master trucks are everywhere  and the sound of industrial  vacuums fills the air.   I quietly placed my stuff, tiptoeing around staff that are certainly dealing with more than their fair share of  sh*t and went on my merry way hoping a.) they don’t have to move my piece given how shakily I had to put it together, and b.) nothing dies (please please please  flower gods)!

    Anyway here are some photos taken with my phone as the camera never made it into the car in all the craziness. Now I am off to pack and let me tell you how much I am awaiting that first drink!IMG_20150206_105033663 IMG_20150206_105039537 IMG_20150206_105103961


  • Feb 4

    So……..we got a little  snow. Just where is that “sarcasm” font I so desperately need? Last week here in New England we had a good old fashioned blizzard. High winds causing white outs and massive drifts of snow, tidal flooding on the coast , and  inland( where I live) a total o f 34 inches of snow. That would be  a lot…… gobs,loads, heaps, mounds, or as my kids would say a crap-ton of snow.

    Right on it’s heels was another storm that all day the weather people were describing as ” bad, but not anything like last week”.

    Ahem, and excuse me, but high winds , drifting snow and a total of 20 inches is also a crap ton, especially when added on to the other 34. That is 54 inches of snow in 9 days. The roads are terrible. At each intersection the snow mounds block drivers from seeing if it is safe to go, so you have to just gun it  , spin into traffic and hope for the best. It took me 2.5 hours today to run an errand that should have taken maybe an hour.

    As a general rule , I like snow. I like winter and I don’t mind shoveling at all. It has been bitter cold but we have still been out walking and up until last week I was getting some pruning done in the garden and cutting lots of branches for forcing. Today that all came to an end.

    I am in the process of designing another arrangement for Tower Hill ‘s Flora in Winter Part 2, and I had the sudden inspiration to add a nest to the top of a forced branch of quince and knew just where in the yard I could find one. Problem was 50+ inches of drifted  snow.  I had to clamber over the fence gate  and can I just say I was glad no one was around with a  camera? The snow is fluffy and deep and one step over the gate caused my left leg to sink while my right leg was in no way ready to join it. It was a  smidge on the uncomfortable side until I launched myself over and into the drift behind the gate. There was a flock of robins enjoying the berries in the holly bushes back there and I wonder what they were thinking as they watched me flounder around like an idiot. It took me quite some time to make a path and get to the nest, and it occurred to me on the way that I may be done pruning and cutting for a while.

    Luckily before the storm I had the wherewithal to go out and cut some more azaleas ( pink this time)  , some cherry and apple branches, and some akebia vines to add to the stock of stuff  already inside.

    So what am I making this week? As always , container first. I hollowed out a section of a birch log and after inserting a small glass vase in it added some moss, and lichen.DSC_0054 In front of it will sit a squat little vase I found at a local consignment place that has three tiny openings , which is also now covered in moss and lichen. Into the containers will go quince branches, cyclamen flowers from an indoor  plant, lily of the valley  that was forced in my window, begonia leaves, something vine-y ( my choices are dark green ivy, just leafing- out honeysuckle or the akebia or a combination thereof), forced muscari ( grape hyacinths)  and the birds nest. More pics to follow in a few days.DSC_0066

    Also ,for my talk on Sunday I deconstructed the arrangement from last week and will use some of the components make a cute little pail full of  chamaecyparis, euonymous, lavender, euphorbia, lindera and some fresh forsythia and azalea branches. It will be  a sweet reminder that spring is just around the corner,

    Oh, did I tell you? More snow is expected on Thursday and yet another storm is making it’s way here for Sunday.

    Huzzah!or should I say Uncle?

    Meanwhile here are a few pictures of what is blooming inside herehyc

    quince branch

    quince branch

    azaleas in the window

    azaleas in the window

    forced cherry

    forced cherry


    morning glory

    morning glory



  • Jan 29

    Here in New England we are hitting a stretch of winter ( late Jan through mid Feb) that is cold, dark and snowy. Those of us who adore the climate here, relish the thought of a snow day , and get giddy over blizzards, are happy campers indeed, while others complain and are miserable . What used to be   “water cooler ” talk about the weather has become social media blitz so all the  whining about the cold, the shoveling and  snow totals is posted  round the clock via status updates , photos and shared videos.

    Here in The Burrow, where there lives two knitters and thus  a plethora of woolly goods for warmth, two adorable corgis who rejoice when the snow is falling, and  people who generally don’t mind  the weather, you will find no complaining. Zero, Zilch. Nada.

    And  here, in the comfort of this house we are enjoying seasonal delights including flowers from the garden. Winter and garden flowers may seem incongruous, but if you have been following along for any time, you know I cut stuff year round to bring inside. The months of January and February can be a bit of a challenge because deep snow will bury things and also make walking around out there difficult, but I have tall boots and  Yaktrax for traction when needed. Add to that a “can-do attitude and of course I agreed to pull together an arrangement for Flora in Winter at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston to promote my talk Feb 8th at 1   titled   “Grow It! Cut It! Arrange It!

    I decided from the get go that it would be a mass arrangement. There are many cool ways to showcase what I can cut now, namely forced branches from flowering trees and shrubs, evergreens, and forced indoor bulbs, but  it made sense to me that showing a full arrangement of many things that are easily grown/found  would inspire people to try it on their own rather than a smaller and maybe more creative piece.

    The theme given to the designers was “Rustic Elegance” which is thankfully  in line with my own personal taste.

    Container first- I had an old wooden box that was my Grandfathers and I painted it in a  distressed- layered and crackled  finish , with  the base color being a deep purple that would echo the color of my magnolia and azaleas. The addition of fancy hardware rescued from a very old desk gussied it up a bit.DSC_0009

    I used a whole lot of  stems to fill it starting with branches; some still bare, some with catkins or unopened buds, some evergreen  and some blooming.

    In no particular order: chaemacyparis ( ‘Nana Lutea’ and ‘Sun King” ), magnolia,azalea,yellow twig dogwood,  flamingo willow, Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick , unopened pussy willows, and forsythia.

    The color theme was intentionally left simple.  Yellow, purple, green and white. I added ‘Kiwi” aeoniums and Firestick cactus ( which is really a euphorbia but I didn’t name it so don’t blame me for any confusion)  , which both have a yellow hue to them, euonynous’Gold Splash’ ( a favorite filler of mine )  and white birch bark curls and poppy seed heads for texture.

    The only thing in it that regrettably did not come from here are the white hyacinths as I started them too late for this show …in fairness I was only asked to do this show  a few weeks ago so there was no long term plan. I do have hyacinths and tulips and crocus bulbs all being forced for use in the next few weeks but none that were ready  now so I had to buy some. Kind of a bummer,  and I wish I had known so I could say EVERYTHING came from here,  but alas, I did not.  I don’t think it takes away from the idea that you can and should use your garden and window sills to grow stuff to arrange year round, because it is possible with proper planning.DSC_0033

    Over the past few days we have had a genuine full on blizzard with 34 inches of snow ….yes 34! The days have been gray and dark making photography difficult at best. I snapped  a boatlaod of pictures using every camera setting I could, but as Faith reminds me all the time , it is dark in here, ( well, I say cozy)  so they  are not great.  Once I get better light I will try again, or you could go to Flora and see it for yourself!DSC_0014 (2)

  • Jan 19

    For those of you unfamiliar with her work, let me introduce to you one of my flower arranging heroes, Debra Prinzing. Debra is a champion of what I call loca-flor and what she calls Slow Flower arranging, which is using material that is locally sourced ( either farm grown, garden grown, or roadside picked) to make beautiful seasonal arrangements for your home year round.

    As she has done  in the past, Debra is carrying out a Slow Flower Challenge in which participants cut and arrange using whatever they have and post their work onto  ( this link will take you to my personal board). You can find all the official  details here.

    I plan to add as many arrangements as I can throughout the year and also to spend lots of time enjoying the creations of others. What is so fun about it is that everyone has  different climates, and different taste in what they grow and cut, and therefore although you will see a few things you may grow, you will see many that you don’t ( and even some you immediately add to your ever growing wish list!)

    My first arrangement was a little cheat. I found the gorgeously colored carnations at the local supermarket for dirt cheap and just had to make something with them. I scavenged outside and came back in with lavender and santolina stalks that remain as yet unburied by snow ( sigh),curvy  branches of Harry Lauder’s Walking stick with their fancy catkins hanging down, magnolia branches with fuzzy gray flower buds, a single stem of the reddish rosa glauca, and some branches of butterfly bush that remarkably  are still holding gray foliage.Seed pods of poppies, leaves of the arrow head plant ( a houseplant) and vines from a bougainvillea that is overwintering in my window finished it out. DSC_0138

    As an added bonus, weekly misting of the magnolia will hopefully make those buds open to reveal  gorgeous purple flowers .

    Even if you only follow along and enjoy the creativity and eye candy , it is worth checking out this year’s Slow Flower Challenge!DSC_0153

  • Jan 17

    I decided over the holiday season to try to simplify things a little this year. There is always the usual load of Christmas activities; shopping, wrapping, baking , decorating, and my plan was to cut myself some slack in the work arena ( blog, presentation writing, social media upkeep etc)  and enjoy the season. But this year we added in to the holiday stress the arrival of a new niece and  in some ridiculous trick of karma, the worst case of the flu any of us ever had. I was well on my way to a happier more relaxed season ,enjoying  puttering around decorating and menu planning and wrapping to Christmas music on the Sonos. I thought I had it all figured out. This was great, no pressure , only one day of real work ( a workshop in Natick) and I was ahead of the game shopping because I was prepared for new baby to arrive  and I would have  my sweet little niece Scarlett while her mom and dad were in the delivery room. It was all good.

    And then, the baby didn’t arrive on time. She finally arrived late on the 23rd, just at the exact time the worst flu  ever was starting to hit our house. Wil got it first, or should I say, brought it home. Let’s place blame where it belongs ;)   then one by one we were all stricken. Sore throat, then fevers aches and chills. The congestion, coughing  and sneezing and wheezing. Then , as if that were not bad enough  a mean trick was up it’s sleeve and for two days each and every sufferer had bloodshot swollen eyes . All of this happening in waves as we all got sick on different days. Wil usually  takes his vacation time around the holidays, which this year he spent mostly in bed or on the couch. We missed parties and gatherings. I saw the new baby the night she was born, and then not again for almost two weeks.

    I  did not work, no photos taken, no blog posts, no presentations written. I vegged on the couch, slept, and then slowly recovered.  The  workshop I did in  Natick  sat unfinished for two whole weeks…so unlike me! When we all felt up to it we made little outings to try to have some fun, and then napped from the exertion.

    Now that we are recovered,  I am playing catch-up. I actually worked this week in  North Andover with a group of delightful ladies, and am busy getting ready for a crazy February. In addition to a bunch of  lectures all over the state, I will be at Tower hill  Botanic Garden  on February 8th at 1:00. The presentation there  will be on  growing cutting and arranging “stuff” from your own garden  year round and without decimating the view outside. In tandem with that I will be doing two demonstrations; one on floral arranging without floral foam ( oasis) which I abhor

    - ( an aside rant:  how can anyone use and sell this stuff loaded with proven carcinogens and  completely non-biodegradable.? Why has no one taken up the course to invent and sell an better alternative?  In the UK  a biodegradable and non-formaldehyde laden product is just coming to market but by the time it crosses the pond all our florists will dead from poisoning.)

    …and back to the demos, one on Forcing Branches. The dates and times for those are still being worked out, but all of the above will be free with admission to Tower Hill.  To get ready I  have been venturing outside cutting  and  the whole left side of the living room in adorned with vase upon vase of twigs and branches, misters , and  watering cans.  I  was also asked to design an arrangement for their annual Flora in Winter display on the weekend of the 30th.DSC_0169

    I have cut two different forms of honeysuckle,  cherry ,pussy willows, flamingo willow, quince, , rosa glauca, azaleas, magnolia, filbert, lindera,  viburnum, pear ( which looks so lovely from a distance but smells awful)  two kinds of forsythia, and  yellow and red dogwoods that are mostly for branch color. It is very early for a lot of it. The closer to when something blooms that you cut it , generally the more successful you are at getting it to flower or leaf out. Some things are wrapped in plastic, some covered in trash bags  and all are being misted and monitored for bud swelling and  breaks of color.DSC_0161DSC_0163DSC_0162

    Some things, like pussy willows and forsythia are beyond easy to force.  every year I  cut forsythia branches on a weekly basis so there will always be some  sunshine in the house until spring arrives. other branches are more difficult. Here are some general guidelines.DSC_0166

    - most shrubs form their buds in fall and need at least 6 weeks of cold to vernalize and then break dormancy to  flower/leaf out again. Watch the weather  so you don’t cut too early.

    - Try to cut branches on a warmer day ( above freezing) . It has been so cold here that I have been immersing everything into a bath of warm water for a few hours after cutting to get them going.

    - re-cut the branches right before they go into water indoors and either split the bottom or shave some bark off very gently with a vegetable peeler…never ever crush with a hammer as you will disrupt the very pathways you need to get water up to the buds

    -change the water on a frequent basis to ensure good water uptake , cloudy water with decomposing material in it will block the water from reaching the buds.

    - keep containers out of the sun and away from a heat source so the buds don’t dry out. After they come into bloom and hot and sunny location will also shorten their vase- life considerably

    -mist buds daily if you can. with forsythia this is unnecessary , but with something like magnolias, invaluable!DSC_0167

    -make note when each shrub you want to force comes in to bloom.  If you look at timetables offered by many extension services and arboretums that will tell you generally what to cut when, keep in mind that there are many varieties within a plant species and they all bloom differently.

    Take  lilacs, syringa vulgaris, the common lilac, comes into bloom very early and if you follow a timetable of three weeks before to cut for optimal forcing  that would be mid February-ish. But here I have lilacs that span the whole of spring and for the later bloomers ( like Miss Kim  and Donald Wyman) that would be way too early.

    -Try everything!  What have you got to loose? Make note of what you cut and when and see what succeeds and what does not. After time you will learn which shrubs and trees from your garden  will force reliably , then you can plan great displays all through the dreariest part of winter.

    As for me, I am under the gun , and have no choice but to dunk and mist, and pray, that somehow the timing will work out and I will not have everything come into bloom to early and thus need to be moved to a really cool location to keep it going, or too late and not have a decent showing .  The stress almost makes me miss laying on the couch shivering and sniffling.DSC_0170


  • Nov 15

    The 15th of the month is when many Garden Bloggers gather virtually at a wonderful site called May Dreams Gardens to share what is currently spectacular in their gardens. Here in New England there are months when the list of what is blooming on the 15th  is so long that I have to edit down to a few plants that are currently holding my heart  by the strings to write about. As the year wanes on, it gets easier to pick what to show, and in November it is usually chrysanthemums that appear here.

    This year, for whatever weather or any other of Mother Nature’s reasons, it’s  the the sheffield mum called Chrysanthemum x rubellum ‘Copper Penny’ *that is at the height of bloom. I love this mum for all it brings to the fall garden, and as an added bonus for me it is the “right” color for the autumn. ( …For those that know me will be perfectly aware that plants like evergreen holly ripening  their  red berries on green foliage conjuring the Christmas season too early , irritate me ) . True to its name these adorable blossoms are indeed coppery  in bud and beginning of bloom and open to a lighter russety-orange with bright yellow centers as time goes on. I have divided this plant a few times to increase its visibility in the garden, and will do so again in the spring (BTW  NEVER divide and transplant perennial mums in the fall).

    I have been cutting this for arrangements since a couple of weeks before Halloween, and , in fact, one of the pumpkin shaped bowls that adorned the buffet on Halloween is still sitting there looking as beautiful as the day I cut them.DSC_0010 (6) When I went to speak to a Garden Club in Welsley/Dover on Thursday I brought a little tussie-mussie  bouquet to starring Copper Penny to give away. 001008I meant also to tell the gals in attendance that if anyone is looking for a division of this plant ( that is unavailable in commerce to my knowledge) they can come for a visit and I will give them a plant division .  Now I will extend the offer out to all the locals, if you visit ( and ask ) in the spring , I will gift you one. I will also be potting up its cousin , the pink sheffield and a few Red Mammoth and maybe some Wil’s Wonderful as well. fall14

    * the

    *name told to me,as yet  unverified

  • Oct 29

    This week I had the good fortune of speaking to the Norwood Garden Club. This delightful group is made up of very dedicated and educated gardeners ( 9 Master Gardeners are in their ranks) and they are also very committed  both to the success and mission of their club as well as serving the town they live in.

    The topic they chose was “Shrubs For Year Round Color and Interest” ,and as I like to do whenever I can,I brought along some colorful arrangements to raffle off to the members. Given the topic, the arrangements were made using all materials from the garden with a focus on the shrubs that were outlined in my presentation. I grow so many different shrubs and when choosing them follow a carefully laid out selection process based on their ultimate size, site and maintenance requirements ( I prefer minimal pruning and flexibility in moisture and soil needs)and their usefulness in making indoor arrangements . I like to have as much “stuff” as possible year round to cut and bring in and with careful planning  you too can have your own year round cutting garden too. On February 8 ,2015 at 1pm I will be giving a talk at Tower Hill Botanic Garden on growing, cutting and arranging .If you are interested, details will be in their next education brochure and on their website  for registration closer to then. I will post a link when it is available.

    For now you can look at the three arrangements  I brought with me.

    009 014040 (2)This first one is a sweet little side table decoration composed of the reddish bracts from a Heptacodium minconoides tree, red dogwood stems from Cornus alba (dogwood) ‘Ivory Halo’, the delightful pink berries of symphoricarpos (coral berry)  ’Amethyst”, foliage from a spirea called ‘Firemound”, rosa glauca and  physocarpus opulifolius(ninebark) ‘Coppertina’ and the only flowers are those of a Chrysanthemum called Sheffield Pink.001

    004The second one is done in traditional centerpiece format, and has foliage from Euonymous fortuneii ‘Gold Splash’, greens from several different chamaecyparis ,more red twig dogwood, crab apples, little red peppers ( from the japanese  four color pepper) and again the only flowers are a Chrysanthemum , this one called ‘Red Mammoth’.032 (2)036

    The last one is a kitschy piece of fun I duplicate in some format every October for my Halloween dessert table. this year I used a plastic tumbler from the dollar store that I spray painted it with chalkboard paint so I could write on it (BOO!)  The berries are from  the calliarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’, and Ilex verticellata ( a deciduous holly)  ’Winter Gold’, the pods are from baptisia australis or false indigo,  toward the back there is a  scary-spiny  stem of  solanum quitoense ( from seed I got from Nan Ondra at in the center is a stem of yellow twig dogwood  and the flowers are yet another Korean  chrysanthemum called’Copper Penny’. I added some fluffy seed heads from clematis tanguitica ‘Bill McKenzie’ right when I was leaving to look ghost- like, but forgot to snap another photo.

    After my talk, the club raffled off these three as well as 5 shrubs the club’s president and VP brought in , including my #1 favorite hydrangea “Twist and Shout” Congrats to all the winners!

    One more photo before I go and a reminder that if you have any annual vine seeds leftover from this season to pop a few in a container and get them in a sunny window pronto…here is morning glory ‘Sunrise Serenade’  blooming in my picture window today.

  • Oct 17

    So, I missed GBBD graciously hosted every month on the 15th by, but I am going to share with you today a mini-post anyway.

    Today I finally had the time to get out and plant the rest of the several hundred bulbs I bought ( tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and chionodoxa, and dogs tooth violets if you must know) , and while outside I noticed a few surprise garden happenings that warrant some acknowledgement.007

    This clematis, Ernest Markham, came into bloom in May and has not spent one single day out of bloom since. Polite golf-clap if you will for its status as MVP in the garden this year.

    002A coneflower I just had to have, called ‘Green Envy” has done anything bit make anyone envious as it rarely blooms at all. This year it has waited until this week to start flowering , so I believe that some positive reinforcement may encourage it to try a little harder next year.019

    The feverfew which usually only blooms once a season, is is full bloom again and this little stem was broken in a wind storm yet has continued on despite the injury. Good effort, my friend, good effort.004

    Despite several light frosts which usually mean the end of the annuals, they are still standing and today I ripped many out just because, frankly,  I am  tired of them.  Cosmos, morning glories,dahlias verbenas,coleus,  the list goes on and on of stalwart survivors.020

    One of my favorite roses, Julia Child, is cycling through yet another bloom cycle. Record year for her too.

    As for what else is blooming, the list is long. Sheffield mums ( both the standard pink and the variety called Copper Penny), ‘Ruby Mound’ ‘Lilac”and ‘Centerpiece’  Chrysanthemums, Montauk Daisies, ‘Major Wheeler ‘honeysuckle, dahlias, the Drift roses, monkshood , asters, persecaria,agastache, cupheas, verbenas, geranium ‘Rozanne’  sedums, petunias…053 052 050 042 047 049 036 035 032 028 029 030 027 025 023 017 019 022 015 014 013 009 011 012 008 007 006 ‘Bloomerang’ lilac, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’, nasturtiums, roses ( New Dawn and an unknown red climber)  a smattering of hydrangeas, berries on the symphoricarpos, callicarpa, viburnums and hollies, …did I miss anything? Oh yes! I am still picking ‘Heritage’ Raspberries, apples and grape tomatoes! Not bad for a New England garden in mid October.005BTW….I will be giving a talk Sunday in Lancaster, MA on successfully blending native and non-native plants in the garden..wish me luck!



  • Move in Day

    Filed under Posts
    Sep 16
    seeds are in , plants next!

    seeds are in , plants next!

    Two weeks ago , Wil, and I headed up to New Hampshire with Erin for her very first move-in-day at her new college home. The weather was perfect and we had the car all loaded the night before . We happily headed off early in the morning  for what turned out to be a very pleasant day indeed. Upon arriving at campus, we were placed into three  lines to wait  as only 16 cars at a time went to unload in front of her dorm. When it was our turn, a  cheery co-ed sent us on our way to the small road in front of the dorm which  was lined with many more cheering co-eds including the football team (and other fall sports athletes), all  shouting , waving and clapping for the incoming freshman. Very sweet! Even sweeter still , as we pulled up in front of the doors a swarm of said athletes jumped to the car grabbing each and every bag, box, suitcase and stuffed animal to carry up to her room leaving us to trail behind  with our baby in tow and just take it all in.

    New adventures await her and although I miss her here, I know she is going to just love  campus life and all the opportunities that will present themselves while she is there.

    Back here in The Burrow, a different kind of move in day is happening altogether for which  there are no cheering studly football players, no smiling co-eds,  no helpers of any kind.

    I have been closely watching the weather so I will be aware of temperature drops below 50 . Loads of plants that live indoors in the winter are right now still blissfully enjoying their summer vacation outdoors, but the jig is almost up. Night temps on Acu-weather have been predicted to be in the 50′s for as far out as they guess. but this morning on the news the weather person shared that some communities have, and did , dip into the 40′s overnight. Which communities these were and will be was left to the imagination so of course I got to thinking that it will most certainly be mine the minute I decide to leave plants outside for another week, so in they must go!

    I am not ready for this, not at all. The garden is beautiful right now with many very intensely colored plants that just shine so beautifully  in the waning  late summer sunlight. The houseplants are thriving and growing and  most certainly do not want to come back into the doom and gloom so soon, but it is inevitable  began the Great Houseplant Move in Day of 2104.

    The proper way to do this is to plan ahead, clear and clean the spaces the plants will be going and find all their plant stands and drip trays. Then a solid day should be spent grooming and de-bugging everyone so they are at their best for their new home and no critters come along for the ride.

    However,  it always ends up here  with me just grabbing , plunking, and maybe swearing a little as they all come in as is, leaving curled dead leaves in their wake from the door to the window sills , and slugs and sow bugs being jettisoned off by hand at the door and whipped onto the lawn. Not a pretty sight. Then I will have to deal with the fact that they have all grown and now new places need to be found to accommodate their ginormousness   and/or generous haircuts will need to be given so they can all squish in. ( look at the size of this ‘Firesticks ‘Catus??!!)

    Firesticks cactus

    Firesticks cactus



    There are just too many to list. Some, like this huge bougainvillea, just overwinter inside as they are more at home in a garden setting. This rambuntious thorny vine will now reside on the window seat ledge behind one of the recliners where I am sure it will cause some discomfort during TV watching to an unwitting  human.




    Some are true houseplants that have just been enjoying some fun in the sun











    And some are just ridiculous things, like this poinsettia ( now blocking my  printer) I have grown into a small shrub and hang onto for no reason other than the fact that it is still alive and well  and my ego likes the bragging rights.DSC_0010

    Anyway, they are all inside now…no football players needed.



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Garden in the Burrow

Garden in the Burrow


February 2015
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my garden