Category Archives: Home and Garden

BEE PART OF POLLINATOR WEEK!

HAPPY POLLINATOR WEEK!

We can all lend a hand helping pollinators. 

The three best practices –

1) Plant a habitat garden for bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, and songbirds.

2) Keep your home and garden free from pesticides, herbicides, and rodenticides.

3) Support local farmers and beekeepers by purchasing locally produced food.

Please join me tonight at the Salem Regional Visitor Center for a free screening of Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly


A wonderfully early-in-the-season for our region batch of Monarch caterpillars feeding on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), June 11.

QUITE POSSIBLY THE MOST FRAGRANT ROSE FOUND THE WORLD OVER

After Saturday morning’s arresting sunrise, I took a few more quick tests with the Fuji X-T4, shooting the roses blooming in our garden, or wall of fragrance, would be more apt at this time of year. The Lily-of-the-Valley are nearing the end of their florescence and quite dramatically, all the roses have popped open simultaneously. It doesn’t happen this way every year, usually the blooming times are a bit more staggered, but I am not complaining 🙂

The most potently fragrant rose that blooms in our garden is the Bourbon rose Madame Isaac Pereire. She is thought to be the most fragrant rose on Earth. That is an extraordinary claim to fame but I find it to be true in our little fragrant oasis, as well as in client’s gardens where I have planted Mme. Isaac Pereire.

Bourbon roses originated from Reunion, a small French Island in the Indian Ocean, which lies east of Madagascar. Reunion was formerly known as the Isle de Bourbon. Rose hedges ring the island and here there was a chance cross between the Old Blush China rose and the Autumn Damask rose. The resulting Bourbon roses are known for their repeat flowering, semi-climbing habit, glossy foliage, and intense fragrance.

Plant Bourbon roses and you will be transported to a dreamy Island in the Indian Ocean.

Blooming today in our garden is another deliciously fragrant Bourbon rose, Variegata di Bologna

Our “Mystery Rose” comes from a cutting of a rose found growing in a woodsy glen near our first house that we moved to in Gloucester. When we purchased our own home on the other side of Gloucester, I was afraid I would never smell that beautiful scent again and clipped some cutting (this was before I knew about Bourbon roses). The Mystery Rose surprised in how quickly and how tall it grew. Although only once-blooming, this wonderfully hearty rose some years grows up past my second floor bedroom window. How lucky am I to smell this rose every morning when lying in bed thinking about the upcoming day.

Mystery Rose

Another intoxicatingly fragrant rose of unknown origin is Darlow’s Engima, also blooming and clamoring up the side of the house where is located my office on the first floor, and bedroom on the second.

Two mysterious roses

 

You can read more about Madame Isaac Pereire, Variegata di Bologna, and more potently fragrant roses in my book on garden design, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, which I both wrote and illustrated, and published by David Godine here.

Read More Here: ROSES FROM THE FRENCH ISLE REUNION

 

IF YOU GO TO GOOD HARBOR BEACH AT SUNRISE BE SURE TO…

Take in the wonderful fragrance of the flowering Black Locust trees adjacent to the footbridge entrance. The air is redolent with the scent of orange blossoms and honey, along with the Rosa rugosa blooming nearby.

The stand at Good Harbor Beach has been increasing in size and I don’t ever recall the scent quite as potent as it is this year. You can smell the flowers halfway down Nautilus Road!

Black Locust are native to the Appalachian Mountains. The leaves are a host to over 67 species of Lepidoptera, including  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy, Giant Leopard Moth, and the Elm Sphinx Moth. A host plant is a caterpillar food plant. And they offer nectar to pollinators, including Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

TOMATO RELEASE DAY AND WARM WEATHER SEEDLINGS AT CEDAR ROCK GARDENS!

Hello and happy May from Cedar Rock Gardens

Starting May 18th, our warm weather seedlings will be available to come shop at the nursery.

With the next four nights predicted to be above 50 degrees and Saturday night predicted to be above 60 degrees it is a perfect time to bring the warm season vegetables, flowers, and herbs out of the greenhouse.

We have fully stocked the garden center with 40 varieties of tomatoes, a handful of cucumbers, squash, 33 varieties of sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, zinnias, basil, rosmary and much more. We are very excited for another summer growing season and are excited to play in the dirt under the warm sun. We have added some new varieties this year so take some time and ask any questions you may have on new items and staff favorites.

We will have sunflowers, sweet potatoes and melons coming out of the greenhouse along with some varieties of zinnias over the next couple of weeks.

If we do get any nights that go under 45 degrees F we recommend that you cover basil, cucumbers and squash with row cover.

We also have a great selection of hanging baskets and annual and perennial herbs and flowers. Our native perennials selection is stocked up and attracting all the pollinators you can imagine – bring them home to your gardens!

Hope you are having a wonderful spring!

We have posted all the Flower, Herb and Vegetable varieties we are growing this year on our website for you to check out and get excited for! Visit Cedar Rock Gardens Here

MAGNIFICENT MAGNOLIAS!

When Saucer Magnolias are in full bloom —This pair on Eastern Point has to be one of Cape Ann’s prettiest!

The Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) was first created in 1820 by French amateur plantsman Étienne Soulange-Bodin,  a retired officer in Napoleon’s army. He crossed Magnolia denudata with M. liliiflora.

I wish I knew more about the history of this grand old home and if the trees were planted when the house was first built. If anyone knows more about, please write. Thank you 🙂

 

 

 

CEDAR ROCK GARDENS HAS FRUIT PLANTS AND NATIVE PERENNIALS!

Fruit plants are out and available for sale along with other edible Perennials!

Blueberries
Strawberries
Raspberries
Elderberries
Rhubarb
Asparagus

We also have plenty of perennials and natives that are ready to go in the ground now.

Mark your Calendars:

Warm Weather seedlings will begin to be available
May 18th!

This includes Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, basil, loads of flowers and so much more!

Cedar Rock Gardens is located in West Gloucester at 299 Concord Street.

Cedar Rock Gardens is carrying both Asclepias (milkweed) and Eupatorium (Joe-pye). Both of these wildflowers are two of the best plants for supporting native pollinators and creating a wildlife friendly garden.

PICK-YOUR-OWN TIP TOP TULIPS IS OPEN FOR THE SEASON!

Charlotte and I visited Tip Top Tulips and were we ever wowed! Not only are the tulips that are blooming perfect for picking and photographing but there are rows and rows of tulips that are about ready to burst into bloom at any moment.

Paul Wegzyn and his Dad, also Paul, have outdone themselves with combining colors and  creating lovely vignettes for photos. Wonders of wonders, Tip Top Tulips is now home to a menagerie of adorable farm animals. We met Midnight the pony, very feisty and fun, along with the more laid back Fancy, the donkey. Next to become acquainted with were nine six-month old Nigerian goats, two tiny baby lambs (and their Moms), and Chad, the sweetest Border Collie puppy you can imagine.

Chad

While Charlotte and I were picking tulips, Midnight decided to cut loose and have a frolic in the tulip field, which made for some very funny moments. Tip Top Tulips is the most wonderfully kid-friendly flower farm and certainly gets Charlotte’s award for the best farm animals ever!

Midnight

Tip Top Tulips is open seven days a week and on weekends, there are extra fun activities, including goat yoga for kids and adults. This coming weekend, the weekend of April 30th – May 1st, a brand new batch of baby goats are arriving to join the menagerie.

Tip Top Tulips is located at 20 Lowes Lane, Ipswich, just off 1A, behind the Dairy Queen.

For more in formation on tickets and goat yoga, visit Tip Top Tulips website here and follow on Facebook an Instagram.

The tulips fields are dedicated to Debbie Wegzyn, who recently passed away. She was the beloved mother and wife of Paul and his Dad.

Fancy

BEFORE AND AFTER #BLIZZARD

Sunny skies following the #blizzard of January 2022

#BLIZZARD #DIGGINGOUT #SNOWMAGGEDON #BOMBOGENIS #NOR’EASTER

Four feet, thigh high snow drifts, and still falling. Stay safe friends <3

 

Holiday wreath made from supplies purchased at Wolf Hill still holding up!

2021 WILD CREATURES REVIEW! PART TWO

Cape Ann Wildlife – a year in pictures and stories

July through December continued from part one

July 2021

Conserve Wildlife NJ senior biologist Todd Pover makes a site visit to Cape Ann beaches, summer long updates from “Plover Central,” GHB Killdeer dune family raise a second brood of chicks,  Cape Hedge chick lost after fireworks disturbance and then reunited with Fam, Great Black-backed Gulls are eating our Plover chicks, thousands of Moon Snail collars at Cape Hedge,  Monarchs abound, #savesaltisland, missing Iguana Skittles, and Earwig eating Cecropia Moth cats.

August 2021

New short film for the Sawyer Free Library The Marvelous Magnificent Migrating Monarch!, Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting new short Piping Plover film, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the garden, why we love Joe-pye and other wildflowers, butterfly friends, Monarch cats in the garden, what is the purpose of the gold dots found on Monarch chrysalides?,Black Beauty came calling, Tigers in the garden, School Street sunflowers, Hoverflies, luminescent Sea Salps return to Cape Ann beaches, Petal Dancers and lemony Yellow Sulphurs on the wing.

 

September 2021

Flower Fairies, irruptive Green Darner migration, mini glossary of late summer butterflies, what to do if you find a tagged Monarch, Painted Ladies, White-tailed Deer family, Monarchs mating, Tangerine Butterflies,  yellow fellow in the hood, and Beauty on the Wing first ever live screening at the Shalin Liu.

October 2021

Bee-sized butterfly the American Copper, Monarch conga line, Thunder and Cloud, abandoned Piping Plover egg, School Street Sunflowers, Monarchs migrating, quotidian splendor, Monarch fundraiser updates, collecting milkweed seeds, the Differential Grasshopper, Cooper’s Hawk – a conservation success story,  #ploverjoyed, and nor’easter from the EP Lighthouse.

November 2021

Bridges between life and death, ancient oak tree uprooted, autumn harvest for feathered friends, Monarch migration update, we have achieved our fundraising goal!, Harbor Seal pup hauled out,  flight of the Snow Buntings, and a very rare for these parts wandering Wood Stork calls Cape Ann home for a month.

December 2021

New short film Wandering Wood Stork, tiny tender screech owl suffering from rat poison under the care of Cape Ann Wildlife Inc., Praying Mantis in the autumn garden, masked bandits in the hood, short film The Majestic Buck and Beautiful Doe Courtship Frolic, Snowy Owl boy in the dunes, short film Cedar Waxwing vocalization, the story of the Steller’s Sea-Eagle’s foray to Massachusetts, and Harbor Seal Pig Pile.