Category Archives: Home and Garden


Following mating, a female Monarch will be ready to begin ovipositing her eggs after only several hours. She travels from leaf to leaf and plant to plant, typically depositing no more than one egg per leaf and only one or two eggs per plant. It is thought that when the female lands on a leaf she is testing the plant for suitability with the sensors on her feet that are called tarsi. She curls her abdomen around, ovipositing a tiny golden drop that is no larger than a pinhead.

In the short video, in the second clip, you can she she ‘rejects,’ the leaf. She first tests it with her feet, then curls her abdomen, but does not leave an egg. In the third and last clip, success! She finds a leaf to her liking and leaves behind a single egg.

The female continues on her quest to find milkweed, possibly returning to the same plant, but more likely, she will go on to the next patch of milkweed. In the wild, female Monarchs deposit on average between 300 to 500 eggs during her lifetime.

It’s a very different story for Monarchs that are captive bred. The attendant will walk into the enclosure where the frantic males and females are kept, with a handful of milkweed leaves. The female is so desperate to oviposit her eggs, she will dump a whole load on one leaf, without even testing it with her feet. I have observed this behavior at breeding locations and it is really quite disturbing, knowing  how wholly unnatural it is for Monarchs to deposit eggs in large clusters.

Four reasons to stop mass breeding and rearing:

  1. Mass production of Monarchs makes it easy to transmit disease.
  2.  More virulent strains of pathogens are spreading to wild Monarchs.
  3. Reared Monarchs are smaller than wild Monarchs.
  4. A genetic consequence of breeding closely related individual Monarchs weakens the species.

The Xerces Society, Monarch Watch, Journey North, Monarch Joint Venture, and the petition to list Monarchs as an endangered species all recommend the following:

From the Xerces Society

Answers to a few frequently-asked-questions and answers about rearing

How can I rear Monarchs responsibly?

  1. Rear no more than ten Monarchs per year (whether by a single individual or family). This is the same number recommended in the original petition to list the monarch under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
  2. Collect immature Monarchs locally from the wild, heeding collection policies on public lands; never buy or ship monarchs.
  3. Raise Monarchs individually and keep rearing containers clean between individuals by using a 20% bleach solution to avoid spreading diseases or mold.
  4. Provide sufficient milkweed including adding fresh milkweed daily.
  5. Keep rearing containers out of direct sunlight and provide a moist (not wet) paper towel or sponge to provide sufficient, not excessive, moisture.
  6. Release Monarchs where they were collected and at appropriate times of year for your area.
  7. Check out Monarch Joint Venture’s newly updated handout, Rearing Monarchs: Why or Why Not?
  8. Participate in community science, including testing the Monarchs you raise for OE, tracking parasitism rates, and/or tagging adults before release.



Come visit the spectacular sunflower field and ever expanding wonderful menagerie of animals at Felix’s Family  Farm. The flowers are peaking this weekend! See last week’s post about the sunflower field here

Felix’s Family Farm is located at 20 Lowe’s Lane, just off 1A/Rt. 133, in Ipswich. For tickets and more information, visit the Felix Family Farm website here.

Our Charlotte’s favorite, favorite thing to do at Paul’s farm is to feed and stroke the farm animals. Paul has been daily training all his animals to be super kid-friendly and it is working! I have taken Charlotte to many farms but have never seen animals, especially the alpacas, as comfortable around children as are Paul’s.

There is the Mama Belted Galloway cow, Cookie, and her baby calf Cupcake (Paul thinks of the best names for his mini zoo!).

Midnight the pony

super friendly Mama sheep and baby sheep

the most adorable friendly goats

And a herd of very gentle alpacas!

Our happy girl in her happy place!


Come see the latest magnificently beautiful and wonderfully immersive creation by farmer Paul Wegzyn and his Dad (also Paul) at Felix’s Family Farm. Formerly named School Street Sunflowers, the farm with the new name is the same beautiful field, same wonderful family owned operation, only with many new additions. Just to name a few – a healthy, growing and glowing pack of alpacas!, a herd of baby goats <3, live music, picnicking, and yoga classes in a Yoga Yurt!  

The field is at its peak this week and next and Paul says it is truly their best field ever. I agree one thousand percent. Row upon row of freshly opened and newly opening flowers will take your breath away. The Farm is utterly enchanting. Bring your family and take lots of photos or just wander through the fields. I hope you will be as enthralled as was I.

Felix’s Family Farm is located at 20 Lowe’s Lane, just off 1A/Rt. 133, in Ipswich. For tickets and more information, visit the Felix Family Farm website here.

In year’s past, the sunflower field has had a theme. One of my favorites from several years back was “Transcendentalism.” This year, the theme is “Family.” Quotes placed throughout the field leave you to stop and take a moment to reflect on our families and how dear they are to us.

Father and Son Paul Wegzyn and Paul Wegzyn


For visitors and locals alike, very special treasures celebrating Gloucester and Cape Ann can be found at Alexandra’s Bread.

For summer visitors especially, if you were fortunate enough to have spent time on Cape Ann  and are looking to take home a memento, you will find a trove of whimsical new and vintage collectibles and souvenirs, including plates, silverware, block prints, cards, T-shirts, onesies – why even the local honey features a Gloucester schooner on its label!

Alexandra herself collects commemorative plates and silverware from around the region. The shop is bursting with her finds. Here is jut a sampling – notice the granite outcropping nicknamed Old Mother Ann etched in the spoon  third from the left.

Not to be remiss, our Piping Plover Tees and stickers are available at Alexandra’s, and they too make a great remembrance of a Cape Ann summer vacation 🙂 Alexandra’s Bread is located at 265 Main Street, Gloucester.


I have read and heard many sorrowful tales of people’s roses dying this past winter. We do not have that problem because all of our roses are grown on their own roots, many I propagated myself.

Own-root roses simply means that the plant is not grafted to root stock, but develops it’s own set of roots. You can learn more about this technique in my book on garden design, which I both wrote and illustrated, Oh Garden of fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden. Oh Garden is usually available for sale at The Bookstore of Gloucester.

Both these roses are divinely fragrant. The white rose reaches our second story bedroom window and when windows are open, the fragrance wafts through the entire house.

Drop in Planting Night at Cedar Rock Gardens!

Thursday May 25th from 6pm to 8pm

Join us for a fun night of planting! We will have a mini class discussing planters and hanging basket combinations. We will talk about utilizing plants that work for you and making the most of bloom time and combination placement.

We will go over maintenance, design and try to answer any other questions you may have!

Feel free to BYOB – we will have light refreshments and snacks. You may also bring your own planter from home if you wish, we will have some pots and hanging baskets available for purchase.

The drop in style class will be held on Thursday, May 25th from 6PM to 8PM. Class attendees will get 10% off all materials purchased for planting.

Please send questions to Elise (978) 471 – 9979

Cost $15/ Class. Please sign up no later than Wednesday night.

Sign up Here

The beautiful array of plants in the above photo all came from Cedar Rock Gardens. The photo was taken at the urban pollinator garden I designed for The Mary Prentiss Inn, Cambridge.

The featured photo (top) is of the planters at the Kendall Hotel, also located in Cambridge, and all the flowers in the planters are also from Cedar Rock Gardens!


Lucas, Xavier, Mark, Nick, Kim, Molly, and Sarah

What a joy to meet these members of Creating Commons Collective, a grassroots organization passionate about developing beautiful, native plants landscapes for our community.

The project at Blackburn traffic circle began last spring.The soli was tilled (with the help of Mass DOT) and the first batch of plants were introduced. The group is selectively adding native flowering plants with the long term goal of creating a self-sustaining, pollinator friendly, native plants meadow.

Sarah mentioned Creating Commons Collective native plants project at Burnham’s Field, which I am very eager to go check out, and Nick shared a recent article “Improvised Landscapes” that he wrote for Arnoldia, the quarterly publication of the Arnold Arboretum. It’s a great read and you can find the link to the article below.

Improvised Landscapes

By Nicholas Anderson April 4, 2023

OVER THE YEARS I have abandoned and inverted my horticultural training, and today, I struggle to describe what I do. When time is short, I simply say that I make meadows with native plants; sometimes I use the term “ecological maximalism.” But definitions don’t really matter when it’s late September, and I’m stopping off at a patch of dirt in Gloucester, Massachusetts, sandwiched between a new housing development and a Market Basket on the edge of a woodland remnant. Just now I don’t particularly need any new plants, as I have a dozen or so ongoing meadow projects that double as plant nurseries, but I can’t resist a salvage mission before going grocery shopping. I walk past orange-painted surveyors’ stakes through one of the spots where I scattered seeds the previous winter. Most of the seedlings have succumbed to the drought, but a few anemic partridge-pea plants (Chamaecrista fasciculata) are visible amidst the tire tracks. This space is used as a parking lot for little league games in the summer and the city deposits untold tons of salty snow here every winter. Remarkably, whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia) and sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) insist on colonizing into the very spot that gets savaged by the plows year after year. I pull up four rhizomes of the sweet fern and grab two tiny volunteers of winged sumac (Rhus copallinum) before heading over to the other side of the lot, where frost aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) and oldfield goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) are in bloom amidst mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and tendrils of asian bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). Out of the midst of these introduced species, I yank up twenty-odd plants with tender violence and put them in a wet, plastic bag.

READ more here

Monarchs drinking nectar from Seaside Goldenrod florets


Elise from Cedar Rock Gardens writes –

Warm Weather Seedlings!
Starting May 17th, our warm weather seedlings will be available to come shop at the nursery.

Hello and happy May!

We have fully stocked the nursery area with 40 varieties of tomatoes, a handful of cucumbers, squash, 33 varieties of sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, zinnias, basil, rosemary 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, and melons coming out of the greenhouse along with some more varieties of zinnias over the next couple of weeks.

If we do get any nights that go under 40 degrees F we recommend that you cover basil, cucumbers and squash with row cover, they do not like to be cold.

A little PSA – the bridge going over Walker Creek that takes you from Harlow Street in Essex onto Concord Street is out for the summer so please re route to using the Sumner Street turn off 133 or the other end of Concord Street.

Also, our internet has been a little slow lately which means running credit cards and apple pay has been a little slow – we can definitely still take all forms of payment but cash or check will make the line move faster.

Looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces and talking warm weather plants!

We 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. I saw my first hummingbird today flitting over the Cuphea Vermillionair – 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!

For more information, visit Cedar Rock Gardens website here.

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

Shadblow blooming in a gentle spring rain

Simply one the most beautiful sites has to be when our native Shadblow comes into bloom. The airy white flowers light up the woodland scene and water’s edge.

Shadbow, Shadbush, Chuckleberry Tree, Serviceberry, and Juneberry are just a few of the descriptive names given the beautiful Shadblow tree.

Shadblow (Amelanchier canadenisis) is one of the first of the natives to bloom in spring, growing all along the Atlantic coastal plains. A fantastic tree for the wild garden, over 26 species of songbirds and mammals, large and small, are documented dining on the fruits of Shadblow (including bears). The small blue fruits are delicious, though rarely consumed by humans because wildlife are usually first at the table.

The foliage of Shadblow is a caterpillar food plant for the Red Admiral Butterfly. Look for her eggs on the upper surface at the tip of the leaf.

Shadblow buds with dewdrop necklace


From National Audubon

Providing Safe Passage for Nocturnal Migrants

Every year, billions of birds migrate north in the spring and south in the fall, the majority of them flying at night, navigating with the night sky. However, as they pass over big cities on their way, they can become disoriented by bright artificial lights and skyglow, often causing them to collide with buildings or windows.

Contribute to Lights Out

  • Turn off exterior decorative lighting
  • Extinguish pot and flood-lights
  • Substitute strobe lighting wherever possible
  • Reduce atrium lighting wherever possible
  • Turn off interior lighting especially on higher stories
  • Substitute task and area lighting for workers staying late or pull window coverings
  • Down-shield exterior lighting to eliminate horizontal glare and all light directed upward
  • Install automatic motion sensors and controls wherever possible
  • When converting to new lighting assess quality and quantity of light needed, avoiding over-lighting with newer, brighter technology


Reminder –

We’ve had several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds passing through our garden and one male is checking in regularly. There isn’t much yet available in the way of nectar plants blooming, either in fields or gardens. If you place your feeders out at this time year, you may encourage a female to nest in your garden. Every year we see (mostly) females, and by summer’s end, two juveniles appear at the feeders. I wish I could see their nest but it is so small, merely the size of a walnut! 

Don’t you love this poster for Lights Out for Birds!


Happy Spring Dear Friends!

Azure Blue Chionodoxa, also known as Glory of the Snow

Chionodoxa are carefree, super hardy bulbs (zones 4 -9) that bloom in early spring. They are excellent for naturalizing and will soon form a sky blue carpet of beauty.  Not usually bothered by deer nor rodents.


Most of us that reside on Cape Ann know of Gloucester’s Lobster Trap Tree, but just in case not, this original-to-Gloucester tree makes a splendid setting for holiday snapshots. The tree is constructed of donated lobster traps and what makes ours especially, especially beautiful is that the buoys adorning the tree are all hand painted by kids at Art Haven.

Charlotte finding the buoy she painted  – Liv photo

Another wonderfully unique feature of the tree is that you can walk through and take photos from the inside looking up. Local resident Shawn Henry designed and installed the lights so that the arrangement is equally as beautiful from the outside as it is from the inside.

Next time you are thinking about holiday photos, think Gloucester’s Lobster Trap Tree. Every time while visiting the tree we meet people from all around the north shore region who are either there purposefully or just happened upon the tree.  There is always much ooouuuing and aawwwing to be heard; people just love our tree. Not only for family snapshots, one time while I was there taking photos, a wedding party stopped by! Gloucester’ Lobster trap Tree is located at the plaza next to the Gloucester police station at 197 Main Street.Photos at the Lobster Trap Tree is a family tradition – Charlotte at one and a half <3


Elise from Cedar Rock writes,


Wishing you all a good holiday season! I know it can get busy and overwhelming this time of year; don’t forget to take a breath and remember, we are all only human. The best thing, in my opinion, is to simply give each other your presence and, if possible, a smile.

We will be at Iron Ox Farm this Saturday the 17th from 10am to 1pm selling some beautiful greenhouse produce at their holiday Market. We will not be doing online orders for produce at Cedar Rock again until late January.

Iron Ox Farm
656 Asbury Street
Hamilton, MA 01982

We will be bringing
Carrots, beets, kale, scallions, head lettuce, parsley, cilantro, and lots of mixed greens!

Hope to see you there, we have a wonderful line up of other farms, makers and food at the market so feel free to just come say hello and catch up!

All the best,

Elise, Tucker and Fae



Late Friday afternoon I dashed into Main Street Art and Antiques to look for teeny tiny treasures to fill Charlotte’s Advent calendar’s teeny tiny boxes with. While there, a lovely red, green, and cream antique applique quilt caught my eye. The red tulips with green stems, leaves, and flower pots is similar to quilts from the 1930s I think. The stitching is exquisite and there were no tears or holes as far as I could see. Unfortunately, the whole quilt was very badly yellowed. After talking to proprietor Kimberly Cox (David Cox’s daughter), who offered the quilt for a very fair and reasonable price, I decided to take a chance and see if the yellowing and stains could be removed.

It had been a while since I had purchased vintage textiles. On my way home I stopped at Stop and Shop and was in luck with a small box of Oxiclean. The directions are vague but after reading a bunch online and taking advice from the lovely sales girl at Main Street Art and Antiques, I first wet tested a corner of the quilt to make sure the red wasn’t going to bleed everywhere. After half an hour, all clear, with no bleeding! Then filled a large plastic tub with icy cold water and two scoops of Oxiclean. For the next several hours, I stirred the quilt very gently every twenty minutes or so. After three hours, the tub was filled with a deep orangey yellowish water. Drained all, rinsed repeatedly, refilled the tub with cold water and one more scoop of Oxiclean. The water stayed fairly clear and the quilt was beginning to look amazing. I drained the tub again, and being very careful not to let the weight of the quilt pull on its self, to avoid damaging the fabric, I put the quilt in the washing machine. The settings were on delicate cycle, extra rinse, and cold water but with no additional soap added.

The quilt washed and dried beautifully. The applique and quilt stitches are phenomenally tiny. I am so glad I took a chance with this exquisite quilt from Main Street Art and Antiques!

Thank you to my darling daughter Liv who took the snapshots and video with her new iPhone14 camera. See more from Liv on Instagram here.

This is our first Christmas with a white cotton duck slipcover and I am having so much fun changing it up for different seasonal looks. Our former sofa upholstery I absolutely loved but was 20 plus years old and somewhat limiting in choice of coordinating fabrics. The quilt goes beautifully with the red, green, and cream Colefax and Fowler block print fabrics that I made new pillows from (thank you Zimmans!) and our new winter red and white striped cotton rug from Annie Selke. The rug is wonderfully textured and cozy on the feet! Last night I made some new Christmas stockings to hang around the house with remnants from the pillows. A sort of French-Indian-American blend of fabrics and I think our little music/living room is feeling very hygge 🙂

Main Street Art and Antiques is located at 124 Main Street, Gloucester.


Friday 11am – 5:00pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm

Sunday 11am – 4pm

Kimberly Cox shares that her Dad, David, is often in the shop on Wednesdays if you want to pop in and say hello <3

There are holiday and home treasures to be had at all our local Cape Ann shops. I’ve only touched on a very few here and with Christmas just around the corner and our daughter home from LA, I don’t think I’ll have time to write more. Enjoy the lights, the coziness, the friendly proprietors and staff and have fun shopping local!


Wonderfully eclectic and whimsical holiday treasures and treats are found at Alexandra’s Bread. You’ll find an assortment of hostess gifts including tea towels, aprons (with matching potholders), and tea cozies. There is beautiful fair trade holiday decor, along with lovely and unique handmade Christmas ornaments (see the Loons from Nova Scotia in the photo gallery).

Adding to the wonderfully whimsical atmosphere, Alexandra curates the bakery with a fun collection of vintage ceramics, textiles, local mementoes, curios, and glassware.I love shopping at Alexandra’s Bread, for the the fun cheeriness of the bakery, but mostly to say hello to Alexandra, Jon, and oftentimes their son Henry is there helping, too. We always have great conversation and I invariably leave thinking how fortunate we are to have a shop like Alexandra’s in our community. By-the-way, Henry is a GHS alumni and a recent graduate of Bates College, with a degree in conservation biology.

In addition to their exquisite French bread, cobbles, and olive bread, our family LOVES Alexandra’s cranberry scones and CHOCOLATE biscotti! While shopping be sure to get your bread and baked good’s orders in for the holidays ahead of time. The bakery will be open through Christmas Eve.

Alexandra’s is located at 265 Main Street, Gloucester.

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30am til 2pm

Phone: 978-283-3064


Stepping into the decorating workshop at Wolf Hill is like entering a Christmas do-it-yourselfer’s dream. The shop and tree yard are overflowing with festive decor and Christmas delights to make your holiday-making extra especially merry!

Whether in need of a beautiful Fraser fir or pine Christmas tree, white pine roping, birch logs, wreaths of every dimension, lights, or holiday treasures for your tree, Wolf Hill has it all.

They have all the ingredients to do it yourself, but if pressed for time, proprietor Pam and her crew have filled the shop with ready made gorgeous wreaths, bows, and pots filled with greens and berries, pinecones, and bows.

Thank you to Makenzie, Jarred, and Piping Plover Friends Pat and Delores for allowing me to take your snapshot <3

I love shopping at Wolf Hill, not only because of the stellar quality of holiday and landscaping plants and supplies they sell throughout the year but mostly because the staff, to a person, is always helpful, kind, and wonderfully friendly. Many, many thanks to Pam and Crew for always making it a joy to do business with Wolf Hill, throughout the year!
One more note- check out these fun stocking stuffers for little ones that Makenzie pointed out. You look at the tree lights through the glasses and see shapes dancing around the lights. I tried on a pair and it works!


Amanda Cook and artisan friends have created another grand pop up shop, chock-a-block full of holiday delights. You’ll find lovely hand made gifts, art work, stocking stuffers, and lots of unique, yet practical, items for your home and family. Just some of the items featured in the photos include prints by Mary Rhinelander; Amanda’s Salty Yarn’s line of yarn, children’s gifts, and ornaments; and Hold Fast’s Dog Bar soap and wreaths made from recycled dock lines. There is a rich variety of gifts, far more than featured here –

You’ll find a super fun array of stocking stuffers at Present!

I stopped in Sunday on Present’s opening day and plan to go several times more during this upcoming stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas as they are constantly making new treasures and restocking the shelves.

Present  is located at 273 East Main Street, at the Last Stop cafe.


Open everyday except Tuesdays, now through Christmas Eve.

Monday, Wednesday through Saturday 10am to 5 pm

Sunday 12pm to 5pm

Mary Rhinelander print for Present


We Dream in Colour Shop is the newest venture by local designer Jade Gedeon. You may be familiar with Jade’s work through We Dream in Colour, the extraordinarily beautiful hand-made nature-inspired jewelry line that sells regionally and globally.  For the new shop that goes by the same name, Jade and her sister Mika have curated an exquisite collection of gifts for all ages, jewelry, books, and decor for your home.

Jade and Mika

Featuring We Dream in Colour’s complete line of jewelry, along with fanciful collections of home goods, and all exuberantly inspired by nature, the sun-drenched shop is overflowing with treasures.

We Dream in Colour is located at 166 Main Street Essex in the lovely white washed 1700s brick building at the intersection where RT. 133 meets Southern Avenue.

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5. Sunday 12-4


Instagram: @wedreamincolourshop

Parking is located behind the shop. Please enter via the driveway between 164 & 166 Main. 

For more about We Dream in Colour, the complete jewelry line, and Essex shop visit Jade’s website here: We Dream in Colour


Gorgeous, organic, homegrown produce is available from Cedar Rock Gardens for your beautiful Thanksgiving feast. Colorful beets, crème brûlée shallots, leeks, Brussel sprouts on the stalk, luscious potatoes, greens of every sort, parsley, and much, much more. Plus, you can order a bunch of lavender and strawflowers which will make a lovely and lasting holiday arrangement. I am getting hungry just thinking about all this gorgeousness!

Produce Ordering!

Starting Today, November 14th, our website will be open for ordering farm fresh produce. Orders must be in by Friday at noon.

We’ll be assembling everyone’s order during the day Friday, then opening pick-ups on Saturday 11/19, between 9 AM and 12 PM

Order Here

We will be adding more produce and variety as it becomes available each week.

Cedar Rock Gardens if located at 299 Concord Street, West Gloucester



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.


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.




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.


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


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 🙂