Category Archives: Gardens at Gloucester Harbor Walk

A SPECTACULAR PAINTED LADY BUTTERFLY IRRUPTION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

The sheer number of Painted Ladies migrating are stealing some of the Monarchs thunder!

Many readers have written inquiring about the beautiful butterflies with wings in a tapestry of brilliant orange, brown, black, cream, and blue. Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) are often confused with Monarch butterflies, especially during the late summer. Both are currently migrating and you will often see the two species drinking nectar side-by-side.

As do Monarchs, Painted Ladies depart from Mexico to begin their northward migration in springtime. Both Monarchs and Painted Ladies belong to the brush-foot family (Nymphalidae) and can only survive in warm climates.

Monarch Butterfly, top, and Painted Lady bottom. Note that the Painted Lady is about half the size of the Monarch.

Sightings from the midwest recorded large numbers early in the season, and 2017 has proven to be an outstanding year for this most successful of butterflies. The Painted Lady is also nicknamed the “Cosmopolitan” butterfly because it is the most widespread butterfly in the world.

Painted Lady drinking nectar from the Seaside Goldenrod at the Gloucester HarborWalk

One reason we may possibly be experiencing a Painted Lady irruption in North America is because a rainy spring in the south was followed by a fabulous bloom of dessert annuals that provided abundant food plants for the caterpillars. Unlike Monarch butterflies, which will only deposit their eggs on members of the milkweed family (Asclepias), Painted Lady caterpillars eat a wide range of plants. More than 300 host plants have been noted; favorites include thistles, yarrow, Pearly Everlasting, Common Sunflower (Asteraceae), Hollyhock and many mallows (Malvaceae), various legumes (Fabaceae) along with members of Boraginaceae, Plantaginaceae, and Urticaceae.

Common Buckeye and Painted Lady Nectaring at the Seaside Goldenrod at the Gloucester HarborWalk  

Much, much more remains to be discovered about the beautiful Painted Lady, its habits and how their behavior and seasonal distribution varies by geographic location.

Read More about Painted Ladies here:

DANCE OF COLOR AND LIGHT

Painted Lady Drinking Nectar from the Purple-stemmed Aster

Help With the HarborWalk and Thank You Maggie Rosa!

Would you like to help us spruce up the pollinator gardens at the HarborWalk? The wonderful Maggie Rosa called last week expressing interest in helping care for the garden. We had a nice walk through the HarborWalk and talked about weed versus wildflower. Maggie has already made a tremendous improvement. If you would like to volunteer, I’ll be at the HarborWalk on Sunday morning from 7am to 8:30, before the podcast, and happy to show anyone interested how to identify the wildflowers. Please feel free to comment in the comment section or email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you.

LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP THE POLLINATORS AT THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY TONIGHT!

Seaside Goldenrod for Bees and Butterflies

Come on over to the Sawyer Free Library tonight and learn how you can create a welcoming haven for birds, bees, and butterflies!

Plant Cosmos for the Songbirds, Bees, and Butterflies

Marsh Milkweed for the Butterflies and Bees

Male and Female Luna Moths

Zinnias for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Bees, and Butterflies

Mexican Sunflower and Bee

Monarch and Hibiscus

MAGNOLIAS AT THE GLOUCESTER HARBORWALK GARDEN (AND CLEANUP SUNDAY MORNING)

Magnolia soulangeana ©Kim Smith 2015Yesterday while in Boston to meet with clients at their home on Comm. Ave, I couldn’t help but take a snapshot of the glorious saucer magnolias blooming along the avenue. I wished I’d had more time because just as I was leaving, the sun began to poke out. The stunning display that you see lining the south-facing side is the genius of one woman and when I have time, will write more about her brilliant accomplishment to which we are all the beneficiaries, more than fifty years after planting!

Commonwealth Avenue Boston Magnolia soulangeana ©˚im Smith 2015Magnolia soulangeana Commonwealth Avenue Boston

At the Gloucester HarborWalk Gardens, we planted two species of magnolia adjacent to each other. Many arboretums, such as Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, plant several species of the same family in close proximity to provide an opportunity to learn by comparing the differences and similarities. I wanted our community to enjoy a mini-arboretum experience by planting two of the most beautiful magnolias that grow well in our region, the saucer magnolia and Magnolia virginiana, or laurel leaf magnolia. Stop by in the coming weeks to visit our gorgeous magnolias in bloom. M. soulangeana will bloom first, followed by M.virginiana.

The Friends of the HarborWalk will be back at the HarborWalk this Sunday (tomorrow morning), beginning at 9am. We’ll meet in front of the Gloucester House. Come lend a hand–its work, but fun with this growing great group of community-spirited friends. Everyone is welcome!

Please leave a comment in the comment section or feel free to contact me if you have any questions at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com.

 

Kim Smith Event for Essex County Greenbelt, Thursday March 5th: Planting An Essex County Pollinator Garden

 Catbird eating Pagoda dogwwod fruits ©Kim Smith 2014.Catbird Eating Dogwood Fruits

Please join me at the Essex County Greenbelt’s Cox Reservation headquarters on Thursday, March 5th, from 6:30 to 8:30. I will be presenting my pollinator garden program. The program is free. RSVP to alice@ecga.org.

I look forward to seeing you! 

American Lady Butterfly New York Ironweed ©Kim Smith 2014 Painted Lady Butterfly and New York Ironweed, Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden

From the ECGA website:

Our second session to our pollinator film/lecture series will feature local designer, writer, filmmaker and gardening expert Kim Smith. Kim specializes in creating pollinator gardens, as well as filming the butterflies that her plants attract. She will present a 90-minute slide show and lecture about how to create a welcoming haven for bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Native plants and examples of organic and architectural features will be discussed based on their value to particular vertebrates and invertebrates. Kim will also discuss specific ways to be sure your gardening practices are not harming pollinators. There will be time for questions from the audience about particular problems and quandaries they may have with pollinators and their gardens.

To learn more about Kim Smith’s work, visit her website here. This lecture will take place at our headquarters on the Cox Reservation in Essex, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to alice@ecga.org.

monarch-butterfly-c2a9kim-smith-2012-1Monarch Butterfly Nectaring at New England Asters

Harbor Walk Butterfly Garden ©Kim Smith 2012Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden

Gloucester Harbor Panoramas

The light was unfolding in such a glorious way late yesterday afternoon that on my way home from the Trident Art Restart event I stopped to take a few pictures of the Harbor Walk. The harbor view in the golden light made for a beautiful panorama and rotating around more fully, there was the sun going down over the Fort! Click images to view larger.

Gloucester Harbor Panorama ©Kim Smith 2015

Gloucester Harbor and Fort Panorama ©Kim Smith 2015

Huge Hugs and Ninety-Nine Thank Yous to the Amazing and Super Hard-Working Friends of the HarborWalk Crew

Thank you to our most awesome crew today. We had friends from as far away as Spain (the Ryan’s cousins), Rosemary Banks from Boca Raton, and Kim from Medford, all lending a hand with the gardens today and it was a joy to meet you all. And special thanks to our Gloucesterites Maggie Rosa, Ed, Catherine, George, Charles, Lisa Smtih, April, and Sam.

Friends of the HarborWalk Gloucester ma © Kim Smith 2014

My First Article is Up for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism!

View of Downtown Cultural District from Smith's Cove ©Kim Smith 2013 copyMy first article for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism  was posted today. The article is part one (highlighting fall and winter) of a two part series about our Harbortown Cultural District. Part two showcases events that take place during the spring and summer, for example, the Feast of St. Joseph, St. Peter’s Fiesta, and the Schooner Festival, and will appear early this spring.

MOTT Article
Gloucester HarborTown Cultural District
Part One
By Kim Smith

I stand on a rooftop facing east toward Gloucester Harbor. Brisk autumn breezes and fresh salty scents lend color to the air of the moment. I can see far out to the Dog Bar Breakwater and Eastern Point Lighthouse, and still further beyond to the white diamond-studded sparkling sea. I see a single seagull arcing through the sky followed by hungry bevies chasing vessels. But it is the view of the harbor’s inner beauty that causes me to standstill and absorb all that I see. The beauty is in the mix of large fishing ships and smaller lobster boats powering through the water—coming and going—in and out to sea; the beauty is in the mix of flat-topped boxy ice buildings, the old Paint Factory, hipped-roof homes, and fish shed peaks; the beauty is in the mix of ships’ masts and riggings, hulls painted shiny red, ochre, and marine blue, new wooden docks and weathered wharf pilings, and everything playing to a soundtrack of gull cries and ships’ engines.

Surrounding the harbor is a blanket of golden hills, made rugged from granite outcroppings formed of earth’s crusty movement long ago, glowing golden from the angled sun’s light and brilliant fall foliage. Saffron tree ribbon circling the harbor runs into silhouettes of neighborhoods with bright sandy beaches that meet ultramarine water. I turn to the west, and looking north and south are the densely packed rooftops of nineteenth- and twentieth-century gables, pitched in shapes and sizes manifold, their architecture mirroring the many cultures and centuries that have shaped this city’s skyline.

This is my adopted city, Gloucester. Like many New England cities and towns Gloucester has riches thought unique to their community, but unlike many hometowns Gloucester’s richly varied and thriving cultural community is grounded from the inside by a framework created from families long associated with her working waterfront. Abounding in maritime heritage, Gloucester is the oldest seaport in America; Gloucester is home, too, to Rocky Neck, the nation’s oldest art colony. For over four hundred years her beauty and bounty have attracted fishermen and artists alike. Along with Rocky Neck, Gloucester’s Harbortown Downtown district is a designated Massachusetts Cultural District; Gloucester is the only city in Massachusetts to boast two such cultural districts! Throughout the four seasons visitors from near and far travel to Gloucester to enjoy her beautiful shores, take part in her fiestas and festivals, dine on fresh seafood, meet her friendly people, and explore her arts, architecture, and entertainment.

Read More Here

Gloucester Harbor Olive Kitteriedge Film Trucks ©Kim Smith 2013 copy

Lecture Wednesday Night at the Pepperell Garden Club: The Pollinator Garden

7- HW Summer ©Kim Smith 2012Gloucester HarborWalk

On Wednesday evening, November 13th, at 7 pm, I will be giving my program, “The Pollinator Garden,” for the Pepperell Garden Club. Following the rhythm of the seasons, I present a slide show and lecture demonstrating how to create a welcoming haven for bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Native plants and examples of organic and architectural features will be discussed based on their value to particular vertebrates and invertebrates. I hope you will come join me!

6- HW Great Spangled Fritillary ©Kim Smith 2012 copyGreat Spangled Fritillary at the Gloucester HarborWalk

Gloucester HarborWalk Tulip Tree Image to Travel Around the World

Recently my friend Joey (the creator of Good Morning Gloucester, the blog for which I am a daily contributor) was contacted by The Field Museum in Chicago about a GMG post from May 2012. They were interested in acquiring an image of mine from a post about our beautiful HarborWalk Tulip Trees, planted at St. Peter’s Square.

Tulip Tree Gloucester HarborWalk ©Kim Smith 2012 copyTulip Tree at the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden

The Field Museum is currently developing an engaging new scientific exhibition on the topic of Biomechanics that will debut in the spring of 2014.  Led by the curatorial efforts of Field Museum Curator of Zoology, Dr. Mark Westneat, the exhibition will explore the science of looking at living things as machines built by nature and evolution.  One of the topics presented includes wind and how the leaves of a tree change in the wind.

I selected Tulip Trees for the gardens not only because they have a lovely ornamental bi-color effect when the leaves catch the wind, but primarily because they have a storied connection to Gloucester history. Liriodendron tulipifera was one of the primary woods used for tall ship’s masts, and because much of the wood from which the CB Fisk organs are built is Tulip Poplar (thank you to Greg Bover for the information about the Fisk connection to tulip poplar!). Tulip Trees are also a caterpillar food plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly!

See post about Tulip Trees ~ Welcome Tulip Trees!

Monarda is the Bees Knees!

Monarch at the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden Tour Today

Wintry Harbor Walk at Dawn

The Harbor Walk was beautiful yesterday morning at dawn after the first significant snowfall, with a deceptively warm-appearing orange sherbet sunrise. Despite frozen fingers and toes, I couldn’t help but feel blessed by the beauty that surrounds.

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter ©Kim Smith 2012

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-2 ©Kim Smith 2012

Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-3 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-4 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -5©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -6©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter-7 ©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -8©Kim Smith 2012Harbor Walk Dawn Winter -10©Kim Smith 2012Gloucester Harbor Walk December 30, 2012

Johnny Linville and Friends of the High Line

Johnny Linville©Kim Smith 2012

Perhaps the Future Holds a Friends of the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens

Last night I had the joy of hearing Johnny Linville, Manager of Horticulture for the Friends of the High Line, at Bolyston Hall in Boston, presented by COG Design. The dynamic Mr. Linville spoke to a full house of designers, landscape architects, and students eager to hear his presentation and he did not disappoint. With slides and a great sense of humor, Linville shared their successes, and some few failures, reminding us that the ‘park in the sky’ is a living experiment.
Bolyston Hall ©Kim Smith 2012
The High Line is an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York and maintained by Friends of the High Line. This event is timely for Gloucester as Chris Muskopf, the lead architect of the Gloucester Harbor Walk, and I have been speaking about the possibility of developing a Friends of Gloucester Harbor Walk. Friends of the High Line is a non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure the High Line is maintained as an exceptional public space for all visitors to enjoy. I am hoping that perhaps we can create interest in developing a Friends of Gloucester Harbor Walk to help with the educational component of the butterfly garden and to help with maintenance.
Johnny Linville -2©Kim Smith 2012.

Available on the High Line webstore, and at the top of my Christmas wish list, is the book High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s park in the Sky, written by Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 100% of the proceeds from this book go toward maintenance and operation of the High Line.

From the High Line website: The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.

Special thanks to Lucia Droby, COGDesigns Executive Director for organizing the event and for assistance with my ticket!

Is Joe-pye a Weed?

Sneezeweed, Butterfly Weed, Ironweed, Milkweed, Joe-pye Weed–these are names European colonists assigned to the wildflowers they found growing in North America. Is it any wonder these native beauties have long been overlooked for gardens. The name Butterfly Weed gives us a clue that what to the early settlers was a “weed,” is a pollinator’s dream.

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

                                                     ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past week, our blooming patch of six-feet-tall Joe-pye Weed has been covered in a bevy of butterflies including more Painted Ladies than ever I even imagined visiting our garden, dozens of newly emerged Monarch butterflies, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Question Marks, and thousands of bees.

The Eupatorium growing in the Harbor Walk Gardens is a lower growing species called ‘Baby Joe,’ and it too is as equally attractive to the pollinators.

Joey-pye Weed

Baby Joe

In full bloom this month at the Harbor Walk is the fabulous North American native ‘Baby Joe’ (Eupatorium). While maintaining the Harbor Walk gardens, Jay Ramsey of Farm Creek Landscaping reported seeing no less than half a dozen species of butterflies nectaring simultaneously at the ‘Baby Joe’ on a warm sunny morning this past week. Given your average warm sunny summer day, butterflies are typically on the wing throughout the day; I find the very best time of day to see the very most is between 10:00 am until 12 noon.

Before and After Photos of the Gloucester Harbor Walk

Yesterday was the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony of the Gloucester Harbor Walk. I designed the pollinator gardens that you see along the walk. While there photographing, deadheading, and weeding in preparation of the big event, not only did I see myriad species of butterflies and bees, a flock of goldfinches flew into the scene and were dining on the seed heads of the Echinacea. Needless to say, I didn’t do much dead heading of the coneflowers!

Helenium autumnale ~ a bee and butterfly attracting magnet

A  few ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the area know as I4-C2. The before photos were taken only a few short months ago, in May of this year. The after photos were shot in August. Click photos to view larger images.

I4-C2 May 2012

Gloucester Harbor Walk August 2012

Gloucester Harbor Walk ~ What a Difference! Construction Phase Accomplished in Only a Few Months!

Congratulations and thank you to Mayor Kirk,  Sarah Garcia, Chris Muskopf, Jay Ramsey, and including everyone involved (there are many, many more than named here–these are the people I have had the pleasure to work with on the project) for having the vision, courage, tenacity, and talent to create Gloucester’s Harbor Walk.

Gloucester Harbor Walk ~  View of Gus Foote Park

The Harbor Walk is nearing completion. Despite the plethora of unforeseeable problems with the landfill at I4-C2, and current drought, the walk looks gorgeous. Come, take a stroll!

Gus Foote Park Last Year at this Time. What a difference–the build phase of the project was accomplished in only a few short months!

I will be bringing you more ‘before and after’ photos, as well as information about the native plants habitat gardens (and how you can translate that information to your own garden), in the coming months.

Joey Ciaramitaro Harbor Walk Video

Video Walking Tour of Gloucester Harbor Walk with Good Morning Gloucester creator Joey Ciaramitaro

Meet Chris Muskopf

Chris Muskopf and the newly planted Tulip Trees at St. Peter’s Square

Friday late afternoon I took a stroll along the Harbor Walk to have a look at the newly planted gardens. I heard a friendly hello from behind and there was Chris Muscopf, primary architect and project manager for the Harbor Walk, stopping by to check on the gardens, too. Chris was later meeting JD MacEachern and they were on their way to a running race at Good Harbor Beach.

Chris Muskopf and JD MacEachern

Chris lives in Jamaica Plain with his wife and young daughter Beatrix and rides his bike, or runs, to his job at Cambridge Seven Associates nearly everyday, rain or shine. I’ve gotten to know Chris a little bit over the past year and he is an all around great guy, with a wonderful sense of humor. Chris is working tirelessly, and always with much enthusiasm, to make the Harbor Walk a success. Stop in and see the work in progress. I think you’ll agree, the Harbor Walk is coming along beautifully!

Winter King Planted in the Harbor Walk Gardens

Jay Ramsey with his crew Mauriocio Tuquerres and Mike Rogers planting hawthorn Crategus viridis ‘Winter King’ at Gus Foote Park.

Last week Jay Ramsey and his crew planted the garden at I4-C2 and two trees at Gus Foote Park. Jay (Farm Creek Landscaping) suggested the hawthorn ‘Winter King’ and project architect Chris Muskopf and I agreed it was a great suggestion. Jay has had good success with ‘Winter King;’ notably with the several he planted along a windswept bank of the Annisquam River. ‘Winter King’ is relatively disease and pest free (atypical for members of the Rose Family) and is noted for its profusion of white flowers in May and tight clusters of bright red fruits that persist through the winter. The fruits are usually not eaten by birds until late winter. Crategus viridis is tolerant of poor soils and urban conditions. Crataegus means strength and viridis refers to the greenish bark of the species, however ‘Winter King’s’ bark is more silvery.

Tulip Tree

Welcome Tulip Trees!

The magnificent Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar, is named and noted for its tulip-shaped flowers. Tulip Trees are native to the eastern United States and are relatively fast growing, without the problem of weak wood strength and the short life span typical of fast growing trees.

Tulip Tree foliage of the newly planted Tulip Trees at St. Peter’s Square, Gloucester

The foliage of the Tulip Tree has a distinct four lobed shape, with a beautiful fluttering habit when caught in the wind. Come fall, the tree is ablaze in brilliant clear yellow. Rich in nectar, Tulip Trees are a major honey plant of the east. In our region the tree typically flowers in June. The nectar also invites songbirds Cardinal and Gold Finch, as well as Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Liriodendron tulipifera is one of only two species in the genus Liriodendron in the Magnolia Family.

Fun fact from wiki: Native Americans so habitually made their dugout canoes of its trunk that the early settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains called it Canoewood.

Planting Underway at the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens

Tulip Trees (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Monday the Tulip Trees were planted at St. Peter’s Square and Tuesday was devoted to Whale Watch and General Store planting areas. Today we are tackling Gus Foote Park. You may notice a few bare spots; not all plants have been delivered. We’ll be adding more to the gardens as they arrive.

Jay Ramsey and his crew from Farm Creek Landscpaping are doing a top-notch job—professional and so enthusiastic. We are all so excited to see the installation of the city’s Harbor Walk gardens underway. I’ll be bringing you information on some of the native beauties we have planted and their value to the landscape and to wildlife. People often ask me why they have so few bees in their garden and I respond, “What have you planted for the bees and for all the pollinators?”  When you plant for the pollinators, they will come!