Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sorry for the gap in time - just a quick check in at the end of summer 2010 season. Last year we were left asking "that was summer?" because of the cool, rainy, fungus filled season. This year we certainly knew it was summer - record breaking heat starting in May - and of course accompanied with the famous east coast humidity.
It has been a exhausting season for both gardeners and for the plants - when the august plants started blooming in July the big question was "what will we have for August?" Think this must be like gardening in Florida where you spend most of your time cutting things back.
Back to my favorite garden style - build in great foliage - color, texture, form - because sometimes you just aren't going to have flowers regardless of how you planned to cover the season. An all foliage garden should have as much excitement (tho quieter) as a flowering garden. Shade gardens are great in this department as you get delightful "white" leafs, nice purples, good limes that love the shade.
Not that sun gardens are shy on foliage selections - the Artemesias are great for light color and texture contrasts, lots of purple leafed plants & limes -
I also added many beautiful Asters - usually a September flower - for our August color.
The veggie garden is picking up - all that "lasagna" work we did last winter is paying off with a much deeper soil this year - good yields on everything - can't believe my Tomato crop - a first for me in my cool microclimate.
I've a huge compost pile that will go in there come November - covered in black tarp to cook it over winter.
Also got in some late season seeding that I plant to cover with "winter blanket" - expect I can harvest well into January if not longer - a more mild winter is predicted for us this year - with this summers heat that makes me sad as I've been looking forward to cool, clean snow and piles of it! Might also mean more bugs and disease - so keep an eye out and be sure to get your dormant spray on woody plants.
Off to finish my Beach Plum jelly!
I'll dig around for some photos - or head out to take some to illustrate
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I love this clients choice in colors! Nantucket's palette is generally soft - the color of sky and the soft grey greens are prominent here, and pinks are outstanding combinations in general.
This client is not so reticent, and I love her for it - I've hardly ever met a plant I didn't like and it is so great to have such striking combinations to work with.
The site is Squam, about 500 yards off the Atlantic - very sandy soils, extreme winds - grasses are the answer, interwoven with Japanese Maples, Crocosmia, this sensational Spirea "Ogon", Ladies Mantle - lime and red/orange
Another site opposite the mouth of the harbor - a few years back the harbor froze so solidly that when break up came there were sheets of ice a foot thick sitting on this site.
The hillside rock and grass garden, looking back toward the entry.
Now standing where the first picture was taken and looking back toward the entry - one year later - it's one of my favorite gardens.
The hedge in background is Rose of Sharon with a climbing white rose interwoven for an earlier bloom, thyme is planted in the patio to soften and bring in a more country feeling.
Unfortunately I can only put 4 pictures per blog on here - I will try to take you on a journey of this garden as it has been through so many changes over the years.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
The "new" garden is where we had
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
A 50-Year Farm Bill
THE extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature.
Soil that is used and abused in this way is as nonrenewable as (and far more valuable than) oil. Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute — and no powerful friends in the halls of government.
Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice.
To the problem of soil loss, the industrialization of agriculture has added pollution by toxic chemicals, now universally present in our farmlands and streams. Some of this toxicity is associated with the widely acclaimed method of minimum tillage. We should not poison our soils to save them.
Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods.
Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.
For 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. That is a mistake. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billons of dollars to the agribusiness corporations.
Any restorations will require, above all else, a substantial increase in the acreages of perennial plants. The most immediately practicable way of doing this is to go back to crop rotations that include hay, pasture and grazing animals.
But a more radical response is necessary if we are to keep eating and preserve our land at the same time. In fact, research in Canada, Australia, China and the United States over the last 30 years suggests that perennialization of the major grain crops like wheat, rice, sorghum and sunflowers can be developed in the foreseeable future. By increasing the use of mixtures of grain-bearing perennials, we can better protect the soil and substantially reduce greenhouse gases, fossil-fuel use and toxic pollution.
Carbon sequestration would increase, and the husbandry of water and soil nutrients would become much more efficient. And with an increase in the use of perennial plants and grazing animals would come more employment opportunities in agriculture — provided, of course, that farmers would be paid justly for their work and their goods.
Thoughtful farmers and consumers everywhere are already making many necessary changes in the production and marketing of food. But we also need a national agricultural policy that is based upon ecological principles. We need a 50-year farm bill that addresses forthrightly the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities.
This is a political issue, certainly, but it far transcends the farm politics we are used to. It is an issue as close to every one of us as our own stomachs.
Wes Jackson is a plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kan. Wendell Berry is a farmer and writer in Port Royal, Ky.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Next week the "Bridesmaids" bloom - flowering Crabapples I brought bare root across country one freezing February in my moving truck. It is my favorite week to be here - and I will be on the road collecting plants for clients - last weeks heat wave is pushing my schedule.
Ah, true spring comes to Nantucket - the Shad have bloomed. And I'm sure the Herring are running at the Massasoit bridge, Night Herons standing guard like Egyptian paintings and Gulls circling.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
A young artist, Laura Thorton created the artwork for these some years back, I've not had the time to design a display for them until now - many thanks to Anne Sutherland and the painting of my truck, Charlene, I now have a display and they will be on counter tops of Nantucket stores this season.
They were designed to create a small balanced garden for homeowners and contain some Nantucket native seed, some seed native to America that balance the garden and are not invasive on Nantucket.
The pink is Nantucket indigenous Hibiscus palustris, Eupatorium purpureum, Ascelpias incarnata, and non indigenous Echinacea purpurea and Monarda fistulosa
The blue consists of Nantucket native Iris Versicolor, Lupinus perennis, Aster novae-angliae, and non indigenous Lobelia siphilitica.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Charlene is my "flower truck" a 1953 chevy, named for the mad fellow i bought her from - Charlie.
I loved my Grandfathers '53 Chevy truck, when I was 8 he promised that it would be mine when I grew up. We both got a bit busy and just forgot that promise - but somewhere in my childs heart that love never ended. When I began to sell cut flowers on Main Street the whole memory returned - woe, I had just bought land, built a house, planted an acre and was subsisting and rice and lentils - and where on earth would I find one anyway?
Racing down 195 in my friend Lens van loaded with our findings from a great nursery visit and hoping to get to the boat in time - Len napping for a hot date when we got back - what should be in front of me? Charlene! booking a pretty good clip - and a FOR SALE sign in the rear window - my heart racing I caught up - no phone number - argh - so I just forced him off the road.
Len woke up with a mild grumble ... we test drove it, looked under the hood (he knows as much as I do looking under a hood - 0) oh, this was agony - to have found the truck, and a good one, and no money geeeeeeeeeessss - Len, dearheart that he is pulled out his check book and gave Charlie a deposit - knocked my sox off.
Story already too long - so Marcia bought her - dearheart that she is, lent her to me, I had body work done, repaint, new bed and one day finally she was mine.
The young women who drive Charlene to town each summer are thrilled to meet such a grand lady (on occasion bodacious broad - look at those curves!) learn to drive an automobile that has a real personality, and she keeps purring along - we pray.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I used to believe that spring on Nantucket was the 3rd week of May, followed by summer the first on June. But those were my early years and my eye had not attuned to the subtlety of this island. Nantucket is a "Zen" visual - subtle is the theme, meditate, look closely, learn to appreciate the small changes, soft coloring of this short grass Prairie that has found a home surrounded by ocean.
So once Spring actually gets underway, I start dreaming of the lovely fields we enjoy on our little island.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
In the early 90's The Nature Conservancy began their "Last Great Places" designation. They wanted to label places around the world that were the last of their kind, special, in need of protection.