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  • Published
    December 6, 2010

    Make a living Sempervivum wreath

    What could be more symbolic of the holiday season than a Sempervivum — Latin for “always living” — wreath? Recently Jeanne Hollingsworth of the Garden Institute in Camden showed me how to make a fairly simple one. Jeanne began by placing moss in a pan of water to saturate it. Those of us with extensive, damp, mossy ground in our landscapes can take small clumps of sheet moss from those areas to use in wreaths; …

  • Published
    November 27, 2010

    Yews in the landscape: More than a foundation plant

    By Thanksgiving, the landscape can look pretty barren; but this can also be a time when plants with winter interest begin to stand out. Evergreens are in that category, and yews are among the most popular evergreens in landscapes. Yews belong to the genus Taxus. Most common in landscapes are T. baccata, the English or common yew; T. cuspidata, the Japanese yew; and T. x media, a cross between the English and …

  • Published
    November 13, 2010

    Winter Luxury pie pumpkin

    Long Pie pumpkin has long been my favorite pie pumpkin. From now on, however, it may have to share that spotlight with Winter Luxury, which I grew for the first time this year. While some people disparage Winter Luxury because it doesn’t have that deep orange color we associate with fall, I see its unique appearance — a pale orange color covered with a lighter-colored netting on its surface, and a perfect, …

  • Published
    October 30, 2010

    Sweeetfern: valuable native for tough sites

    Whenever I drive to my mother’s house in New Hampshire, I think that her portion of the state is held together by sweetfern, which lines her dirt road and invades parts of the large sand and gravel pit nearby. Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) is a member of the bayberry family, also known as the myrtle family, or Myricaceae. The genus name honors the Rev. Henry Compton, bishop of Oxford and London in the late …

  • Published
    October 2, 2010

    A few new varieties

    Every year brings some new plant or variety to the garden. This year’s “finds” — new to me — are keepers. Top of the list is ‘Klari Baby Cheese’ sweet pepper, a productive, easy-to-grow pepper that produces fruits that start out whitish-yellow and become red, sweet and thick-walled when ripe. Fedco Seeds carries this open-pollinated variety that is also called ‘Golden Delicious Apple Pepper.’ The “cheese” in …

  • Published
    September 18, 2010

    Monroe garden thrives using ‘lasagna method’

    Seven years ago, Lynn and Charlie Biebel of Monroe attended a demonstration at the Common Ground Country Fair about the “lasagna method” of starting a garden. They’ve been cooking up fantastic gardens ever since. At a tour sponsored by the Belfast Garden Club in August, Charlie noted a raspberry patch in the couple’s vegetable and flower garden that seemed intrusive there. He and Lynn want to move it outside …

  • Published
    September 4, 2010

    Organic gardening: It is for the birds

    When a family of cedar waxwings took up residence in one of our balsam firs this summer, I was glad we do not use synthetic pesticides in our landscape or on our Christmas trees. The fir tree provided cover from rain, sun and predators, an environment free of toxic chemicals, and access to numerous nearby fruits and flying insects that fed the birds. The waxwings would sometimes land in our high bush blueberries…

  • Published
    August 18, 2010

    Gather ye rose hips while ye may

    Most noticeable in the garden now are the big, reddening rose hips, the large fruits of Rosa rugosa and R. glauca (and, if you have them, R. pomifera). These three species of roses are easy to grow and welcome in the edible landscape. Rosa rugosa, the beach rose or saltspray rose, is so common along the Maine Coast that it is often thought to be native. In fact, the species is native to Northern China, Korea …

  • Published
    August 4, 2010

    The Garden Institute focuses on edible ornamentals

    The Garden Institute in Camden is seeking its niche. The institute sits on the Mechanic Street site where Merry Gardens previously sold herbs, scented geraniums, ivy and more, beginning in 1946. Mary Ellen Ross wanted the property to become a horticultural education center, so she formed The Garden Institute. In 2002, she turned the property over to the nonprofit Garden Institute, and since Ross died a few …

  • Published
    July 21, 2010

    Succession plantings in the vegetable garden

    When the midsummer harvest is keeping you busy, it’s easy to forget to plant succession crops — additional plantings that will keep your garden producing well into the fall. Scratching out five minutes for planting now and then, though, can make a huge difference in your garden’s productivity. If you hurry, you can still get in a planting of bush beans and they’ll probably produce before the first frost. Carr…

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