Spring – Trying hard to make an appearance

  • Post published:April 3, 2018

Spring is trying its best to make itself known. For over  a week all I saw poking up through matted grass and leaves were golden buds. Then hooray - golden crocus blossoms.  Then it snowed. Blossoms closed, but remain ready for a reprise. With such encouragement, I took a walk around the garden, and brushed away leaves while making a note that it is time to really finish spring clean up. The bed of primroses is green and…

Witch Hazel – Hamamelis Spring Bloomer

  • Post published:March 20, 2018

A  shrub with golden blossoms, a witch hazel, is blooming our our street. Some thought it was a forsythia that got it's dates mixed up, but it is witch hazel, properly known as a Hamamelis, and about the earliest blooming plant in our area. You have to get up close to appreciate and admire the twirly little blossoms. This is probably Hamamelis mollis, a Chinese witch hazel, because it is blooming in  the spring, beginning in February. Our…

May – A Golden Month

  • Post published:May 3, 2017

It's May and the flowers that bloom in the spring are beginning to show themselves. Lots of gold in May, not counting the dandelions. The barren strawberry plants on The Hugel are thriving and blooming. They are not really strawberry plants at all. It's just that Waldsteinia have strawberry-like foliage and flowers. Trollius laxa is a more lackadaisical form of Trollius europaeus, which is taller and even more golden. It is also called globeflower which is more prominent…

Spring Has Sprung – Theoretically

  • Post published:March 20, 2017

Theoretically spring has sprung. The first day of spring dawned chilly, but temperatures got to 56 degrees before they began to fall again. I thought wistfully of this time of the year in 2016. Last year I went shopping and bought potted shrubs which I planted on March 22, along with a Lindera benzoin, spicebush. Spicebush swallowtail butterflies like to eat the foliage of Lindera Benzoin. I had a wonderful day last year working in the garden, cleaning…

K is for Kalmia latifolia

  • Post published:April 13, 2016

K is for Kalmia latifolia, the beautiful mountain laurel, is a hardy broadleaf evergreen that blooms in May. It should be deadheaded after it blooms. Kalmia prefers acid, moist but well drained humusy soil, and some shade. In nature it is an understory shrub in the woodlands. It tolerates deer and rabbits. The native Kalmia used to bear white flowers tinged with pink, but now hybrids bring an array of colors to the garden from a pure  white…

How to Start Seeds Indoors

  • Post published:March 26, 2016

It is easy and fun to start seeds indoors. Seeds are just magical - tiny bits of stuff that can turn into a delicious fruit or vegetable or gorgeous flower with only the help of a little soil, sun and rain. That magic is available to us all. All of us can plant seeds, and wave our magic wands to keep ourselves busy while we watch the magic show produced by Mother Earth, Father Sun and Sister Rain.…

I Went Shopping for Spice Bush for the Swallowtail Butterfly

  • Post published:March 24, 2016

It's spring and I went shopping  for Spice Bush. Yesterday, at the Hadley Garden Center I found a Spice Bush with bursting green buds. This Spice Bush, Lindera benzoin, is hardy, takes shade, and gets big, up to 12 feet tall and just as wide.  I will plant it next to the fence which a relatively dry spot, but spice bush can also tolerates some wet. One special reason for planting spice bush is that it attracts Spice…

Spring is Crocus Season

  • Post published:March 17, 2016

These crocus were just beginning to bloom when my husband and I were visiting our across-the-street neighbors. This is our neighbors first spring in the house and the patch of crocus was a lovely spring surprise. I think these crocus are tommasinianus, fondly known as 'tommies.' They are known for spreading generously because they propagate by seed and offset. These purple crocus are growing in  the garden of my down-the-street neighbor. She has quite a stand. Both neighborns…

Master Gardener’s Spring Symposium – Lilian Jackman

  • Post published:March 12, 2016

Lilian Jackman is one of the presenters at this year's Western Mass Master Gardener's Spring Symposium, When Lilian Jackman was 22 she worked in the gardens of three elderly Vermont women. They each had their own way of gardening in their old age. One woman was very angry because she wanted the garden to stay exactly the same – and of course she was not successful. Gardens never stay the same. This made her critical, and unhappy. The…

Smith College Bulb Show

  • Post published:March 10, 2016

The theme of this year's Smith College  Bulb Show is The Evil Garden of Edward Gorey. There is more black and white in this show than usual, but the tongue-in-cheek tableaux next to various Gorey drawings, a dark but humorous look  at the garden. The photo above is a reference to a Gorey drawing Great Uncle Franz being strangled by a snake. But I ask you - how evil could any garden be  with all that fragrant pink?…