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Blogoversary Giveaway

Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin

On December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, I will celebrate my Fourth Blogaverary! It wasn’t an ideal time to start a garden blog, but I had just learned about blogs and ‘met’ Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening, Carol at May Dreams Gardens and all the Ranters at Garden Rant. I was lucky to meet such stars early on because they have taught me so much and continue to inspiremme.  I even got to meet them all at at the last two Garden Blogger Flings.

And of course the greatest gift I gave to myself that December 6th, was the opportunity to meet so many knowledgeable gardeners from all over the country. They all have something to teach me, new ideas, new perspectives and new resources. I thank the entire community of garden bloggers for their generosity in sharing with me – and with all their readers.

This year Timber Press and I are celebrating by offering a Giveaway – Debra Lee Baldwin’s new and fabulous book, Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye Catching Displays with 350 Easy Care Plants. Debra opened up a whole new world of succulents to me – which is wonderful because these easy care plants may be the only houseplants I can keep going for more than a year or two. While I have a large jade tree, orchid cactus and Christmas cactus, I am now ready to create what people in my area call a ‘dish garden’, a container planted with a variety of succulents. I never knew there were so many, and that you could fit so many into a beautifully photographed book. Plant porn!

Besides design ideas, and ways of thinking about design, Debra gives information about some of the most interesting and unusual succulents, and basic care information. This informative and inspiring book could be yours. Just leave a comment on this post by December 6 at midnight.  On December 7 I will draw a name at random and will announce the winner. If you wanted to leave a sentence or two about your experience with a succulent that would be wonderful, but all you have to do is leave a comment saying you want this book.

The Roses at the End of the Road

IN ADDITION I will include a copy of my own book, The Roses at the End of the Road which was only the barest seed of an idea when I began my blog. These essays are not about How To grow roses, but how I live among the roses in my rural community. My husband provided the charming illustrations.

I have been having a wonderful time signing my book at local events, and will be reading and  signing at Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls on December 4 at 2 pm, and signing at Tower Square in Springfield right next to the festival of Trees on December 6 – my blogoversary!  I even got to show off many of my roses when I gave a talk at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, focusing on disease resistant roses.

Leave a comment and enter the Giveaway!


Turkeys in the Road

Yesterday we again saw turkeys walking across the field; they came right up to the end of the road. Turkeys are no longer a rare sight in our neighborhood, however – – –

one day I was visiting a friend and he showed me this – and asked if I could guess what it was.  I could not. It is a well filled turkey crop, that part of a turkey that is an important part of its digestive apparatus.  This wild turkey had been eating corn and beans that had spilled in the barn. When the turkey was butchered everyone marveled at the turkey crop which has to be very strong to hold all the grain it eats, but looks so thin and fragile.

Don’t forget to check out the Giveaway for Starter Vegetable Gardens by Barbara Pleasant in my earlier post. It could be yours!

Slowly, Slowly

Snow in the Sunken Garden

The weekend was chilly and windy; the snow is nearly gone. There was work to do.

Cardinal Richelieu in the Shed Bed

Four potted rosebushes arrived from High Country Roses: Cardinal Richelieu, Agnes, Madame Hardy and Goldbusch. Their arrival inspired me to go out and clean out the Shed Bed which is right next to the hen house.  I could not resist planting Cardinal Richelieu which will add its rosy purple hues to this assortment of pink roses.  You will notice the arrangement of stones around the Cardinal and Mary Rose. Their purpose is to keep the hens from taking dust baths in the newly cleared soil.  The weather cooled down after I planted Cardinal Richelieu so I have covered it with a bucket each night, and it is doing fine.

My husband has been busy removing, not adding to the garden. Naturally I didn’t get a Before picture so the After difference is somewhat subtle. For thirty years we have allowed the old pasture fences, posts and barbed wire, define our space, but no more. The south fence  in the photo above and the west fence have been taken down. The advantage will be greater ease in mowing around the roses to the south, while the western space will allow a stroll to what will become our Windbreak Grove. Yet to be planted.


Slowly, slowly spring is coming. The rhubarb is sending up its ruddy shoots, the garlic is up and the grass is greening.

Don’t forget the Giveaway of Starter Vegetable Gardens by Barbara Pleasant. Leave a comment on the previous post and I will choose a winner on Saturday, April 23.  Good luck to you all.

Starter Vegetable Garden Giveaway

Tis the season to start gardens. If you have been tentative about starting your first garden this year here is an opportunity to win a book that will be an immense help.

Storey Publishing generously sent me a copy of Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens by Barbara Pleasant to giveaway to my readers. If you would like to win a copy  leave a comment at the the end of this post.  I would love to hear about your own garden plans for this season, but all you must do is let me know you want to win the book  When you post your comment you’ll have to give your email address which will not appear publicly, but which I can use to reach you if you win and get your street address. The lottery will close on Friday April 22, Earth Day at midnight. The winner will be chosen on Saturday, April 23.

While this book will be an excellent guide for the new gardener it also has valuable information for the more experienced gardener with sections on stretching the season, organic remedies, high value verticals. There is something for everyone.

Earth Day is the perfect day to win this book which is all about growing the most local food that can be produced -right in your own backyard – saving all kinds of energy.

I Won Tropicannas!

Tropicanna Gold from Tesselaar

There was a Giveaway over at Garden Rant and I won some Tropicannas from Tessalaar Plants!  I’m not exactly sure what, but I think this new Tropicanna Gold is coming my way. Cannas are dramatic plants so I am very excited.  I don’t think they will be in bloom in time for the Franklin Land Trust Farm and Garden Tour on June 25 and 26, but it will be a great treat for mid-summer.

They will not overwinter in my climate but I think these will make spectacular container plants, and it just so happens that I bought a couple of nice big containers on sale last fall.  What do you think I should plant with them?

I’m starting to browse through my new copy of the Encyclopedia of Container Plants  by Ray Rogers from Timber Press.  Cannas have such magnificent foliage; do they need anything else?

Thank you Amy Stewart and Tesselaar!

The Final Winner!

Rose at Ramble 0n Rose has won The Perennial Gardner’s Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy Ondra. Congratulations!  I want to thank everyone who has helped me celebrate three years of blogging this month.  And thank you Storey Publications for being so generous in making this Giveaway possible.

Bloom Day – December 2010

It isn’t quite Christmas so it is no surprise that the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is mostly fat pink buds. As usual my angelwing begonia has a very few pink blossoms. Along with my dependable and ever blooming abutilon these plants are now in our bedroom in the beneath the west window, but very near the south window. This room is very bright during the day, and very cool at night. We had to move plants from the guest room because we have been trying to fix a leak in the dormer roof for months.  We removed the moldy plasterboard and the wet insulation giving us a view of wooden slats and the metal roof that is sometimes icy these days, even on our side of the roof.  The roof only leaks when it rains hard and the wind comes from a certain direction so we cannot finish the interior until we are absolutley  certain we have made a good repair and we are not. Absolutely certain. So the room is really too cold for plants and we keep that door closed.

My Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)  is a very Christmasy color and it is still giving us quite a show.  You can see the little ‘barbs’ on the foliage that give this cactus its common name, Crab cactus.

As I said the abutilon, or parlor maple, is always blooming. It is a dependable plant as the holiday cactuses. Cacti?

Even though I do not have many flowers blooming in my house right now, it is the season for friendships and good will to bloom throughout the family and the community with Tuba Christmases, Moonlight Magics, Nutcrackers and carolling. And latkes. I never like to forget the latkes.   The seeds for some new friendships were sown this summer when I met 70 other garden bloggers in Buffalo, including the wise and funny Carol of May Dreams Gardens who hosts this Bloom Day. Please visit and see what else is in bloom around the country.

And for the friends of this blog you have a chance to win a great book about perennial blooms if you click here and leave a comment.

Another Chance to Win – Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer

I remember when I first learned about perennials and thought – what a great idea, I’ll never have to replant again. LOL.  Even if pernnials didn’t have to be divided, or die, most of us still have to move plants, add plants or remove plants in our attempts to have a garden that pleases the eye and the heart.  For my full review you can click here, but I can tell you briefly that The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer: The Essential Guide to Creating Simply Sensational Gardens delivers design instruction and advice that will be useful to every gardener, novice or experienced. The authors, Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra will be familiar to some of you, and will immediately indicate the value of this useful book.

I like Stephanie and Nan giving us a peek at their own garden designs.

Through Storey’s generosity I am Giving Away a copy of this book next Sunday, December 19. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post if you want to participate in the Giveaway. Maybe you can tell me about the thing you find most difficult about design, a success or a disaster.

Another Winner!

Chosen by a random number generator Ellen Sousa of Turkey Hill Brook Farm is the winner of Recipes from the Root Cellar!  In her comment she mentions that there is a passageway between her garage and basement that maintains a consistent temperature that allows her to store winter vegetables so she’ll be able to put this cookbook to good use. Congratulations, Ellen.  I will get Ellen’s address and send this book right out. I’m sure she will find a some recipes perfect for the holidays.

Ellen will be celebrating the publication of her own book, The New England Habitat Natural Garden, this spring. Two hoorays and congratulations to Ellen.

Don’t forget, tomorrow there will be my third Giveaway – of particular interest to those who have, or want to have, a beautiful perennial garden.

Thank you Storey Publishing for being so generous and helping me celebrate my third blogoversary.

Christmas Lists

I have barely begun my shopping, but I admit that much of my shopping is done in the bookstore.  On the other hand many gardeners like to get plants – or gift certificates for plants to be used in the spring.  I did let a comment slip about how many new roses I’d like in the spring.

Fountains and birdbaths attract the birds, but they are also a beautiful ornament in the garden.

Of course some things wear out and need to be renewed from time to time. Gloves. Clogs.  What do you need or desire?What’s on your Christmas list? Plant society memberships?  Garden magazine subscription? If you want books be sure to comment on Monday’s post, and next Monday’s post, and the Monday after that. Storey Publications we love you for helping me celebrate my third blogoversary!