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Rain gardens 101

I've been browsing for rainbarrels, thinking of ways we might make it easier to keep all the vegetable and flower beds watered this summer. The barrels themselves seem easy, and reasonably priced, but I'm trying to figure out how to get the water from the barrel to where it needs to be. In the course of my explorations online, I've learned about a different approach, called "rain gardens." This means making a garden where the rainwater already falls, with moisture-loving plants. This page of Rain Garden Tips from Wisconsin explains [...]

May 6th, 2006|Categories: Oddments|Tags: |

Sea to shining sea

Second day of spring garden clean-up. I found this a surprising activity when I moved to New England: raking in the springtime? But now I am an old-timer and know that the tide of winter recedes here slowly and leaving much debris behind. Branches and leaves, mostly, but also clumps of sod, thrown up by snow plows, and gravel drifts. Tom, home from college for two weeks, has become a gardener, and Rachel is full of enthusiasm for seed planting. We were all out this weekend raking and scraping, filling [...]

March 26th, 2006|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

First flowers

I followed one of our cats, Jelly, outside this morning. There's almost no snow left, and we've all been talking about spring this week because it's been so warm (it's going to be painful when winter comes back). I bent to pick up a plastic wrapper from my sunny border, which faces east, and saw the first flowers of the year: lovely tiny bright yellow winter aconite. These grow from bulbs and spread profusely in milder climates, even in nearby New York State. But mine survive and bloom every year, [...]

February 18th, 2006|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Lover of lawns

"I am not a lover of lawns. Rather would I see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated plantain with tall stems, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too-well-tended lawn." W.H. Hudson, The Book of a Naturalist, 1919. I am a lover of lawns, in moderation. There's nothing like the green sweep of a cricket ground, and to lie on my back watching the clouds swim gently across the sky was one of the great pleasures of childhood. And you're right: there's [...]

August 28th, 2005|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: |

Herbal harvest

This is the perfect time to harvest herbs from the garden, but I never think of it because summer seems barely to have arrived. But Rachel happened to ask about mint tea, which inspired me to locate, under some boxes of books, the drying rack I picked up at a tag sale last summer. We've been pleasantly surprised by just how many things we have to dry, and we'll be pleased next winter when we're using our own herbs instead of buying them in bottles. We have thyme, two kinds [...]

June 25th, 2005|Categories: Oddments|Tags: |