Monthly Archives: February 2010

Wild and Windy Night

With power outages around Essex County, and kids home from school, I headed over to Good Harbor Beach after the storm to photograph the surging waves. One of my favorite-homes-to-admire, located along the backshore drive, suffered tremendous damage to their property. Prior to renovations, it was a charming, albeit tiny, pink clapboard home nestled amongst a grove of pine trees and sited atop a granite outcropping along the shoreline. With renovations completed, it is presently a lovely New England shingle-style home. I call it the yin yang house for several reasons– with the whispering pines juxtaposed against the constant roar of the crashing Atlantic surf, and because the shingles are stained seashell pink, which contrasts handsomely against the weathered granite boulders that form the foundation and walls of the first floor. They lost many of their beautiful pines that comprised the grove, which also afforded them privacy along Atlantic Road. There were at least half a dozen thirty- to forty-foot trees, upturned by their roots, and laying on the ground and across the road. At this time of year, with snow melting and torrential downpours, the ground is heavily saturated with moisture and trees are particularly vulnerable to being pulled out of the ground by powerful wind gusts. Fortunately, it appears as though the house suffered very little damage–all the trees fell towards the roadway and not towards the house

I find fascinating homes that are situated in close proximity to the ocean, surviving savage storms year in and year out. Case in point–the house at the tip of Sherman’s Point in the old postcard is the same house in the photo that follows. While our house shuddered and shook, I lay cozy under a stack of comforters and quilts, and found reassuring the fact that our home was built in 1851 and that we are tucked half a block up from the inner harbor. We sustained only very minor damage compared to what many suffered. Part of the granite retaining wall that supports our fence fell and now the fence is tilting, and one of the pair of the Dragon Lady holly trees is partially uprooted, but that was easily remedied with large stakes and twine. We gently, but firmly, guided the rootball back into the hole and pressed the soil around the roots. The tree is along a narrow path close to the house, so we were unable to wire stakes around the perimeter. Instead, we used two six-foot lengths of hardwood stakes and twine. Some were without power for days, roofs were blown off buildings, and the streets littered with downed trees and branches. I know I will be looking at the trees on our property and that of my clients with a sharper eye for pruning for safety’s sake.

Renee’s Garden Shirley Poppies

Please join me at the The Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show, which is held in Providence, in partnership with the Rhode Island Horticultural Society. I am having a book signing for Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! at a wonderful bookstore there, Other Tiger, tomorrow at 1:00, Saturday, February 20th. Renee from Renee’s Garden sent along packets of her beautiful Shirley Poppy seeds. I write quite a bit about Shirleys in Oh Garden and we will be giving away Renee’s seeds with the purchase of my book. I can’t wait for this event and early spring preview!!

“Flower treasures for the eye and heart.” -Renee Shepherd

Renee's Garden Shirley Poppies

Happy Valentines Day!

Glitter Greetings from Anthropologie–a sweet set of twelve Valentine postcards in a handy re-usable tin.

Valentine Greetings from Anthropologie

Alex and Liv at House of Blues

House of Blues

Thursday night my husband’s band, Big City Rockers, a new version of their old band, The Atlantics, played at House of Blues on Landsdowne Street to an enthusiastic crowd of old and new fans. WFNX organized the event and it was great to hear hits like Pop Shivers and Lonely Hearts. Congratulations Big City Rockers! xo

Haiti Projects Interview with Sarah Hackett Part Five

To learn more about Haiti Projects and how to help, please visit the website at

Haiti Projects is a model grassroots program designed to help the rural community of Fond des Blancs, Haiti lift themselves out of poverty, through the education initiative, the library, the artisan cooperative, and the family planning clinic.

Haiti Projects Interview with Sarah Hackett Part Four

Haiti Projects Mission Statement

The mission of Haiti projects is to lift the families of Fond des Blancs out of extreme poverty. Our goals are to empower the community to become self-sustaining:

By training its members to develop marketable skills that generate revenue that goes back into the community.

By providing emplyment and educational opportunities that open minds to unlimited possibility.

By empowering women to have control over their own fertility.

When you empower women financially, you raise up a family, which in turn raises a whole village.

Haiti Projects Interview with Founder Sarah Hackett Part Three

Excerpts from a recent study of Haiti Projects (conducted in December 2009)  provides evidence of the powerful impact the Women’s Cooperative has had on the lives of its workers, their families, and their villages:

“I have been able to feed my children and start building a house for my family.” – Women’s Cooperative embroiderer

“I can feed my children and send them to school, now. They have a library where they can borrow books.” – Women’s Cooperative seamstress