Category Archives: Home and Garden

Resplendent Newly Emerged Luna Moths

Male Female Luna Moth dorsal Copyright Kim Smith copyConsidered by many to be North America’s most beautiful insect, a newly emerged Luna Moth will melt the heart of even the most vehement of insectophobes. These male and female pristine beauties were photographed at new friend Jane’s lush garden in Gloucester. Jane, along with her friend Christine (who we met last week), intend to repopulate Cape Ann with members of our native Giant Silkmoth Family. See story here.

Male Female Luna Moth  underside ventral Copyright Kim Smith copy

In the photo above, the female is in the lower right. You can easily tell the difference because the male has much fuller antennae–all the better to detect the female’s pheromones.

Female Luna Moth Copyright Kim SmithHer abdomen is swollen with eggs. A female Luna Moth will oviposit between 400 to 600 eggs, more during warm weather.

Not quite as large as the Cecropia Moth, nonetheless its wings span nearly four and a half inches. You are most likely to see Luna Moths flying during evening hours and the caterpillars munching on birch leaves, one of their favorite food plants in our region. The adult moths only live for a week and during that time are unable to eat (they emerge without mouthparts). The mature Luna Moth’s sole purpose is to mate and deposit eggs of the next generation.

Many thanks to Christine and Jane for sharing their passion for the gorgeous Giant Silkmoths!

This short film of a Luna Moth in flight was made after finding a Luna Moth at Willowdale Estate. I returned home with the moth and as evening approached it began to quiver and vibrate in preparation for flight. I had been listening to Ave Maria and it was playing in the background so I left it in the video and think the music perfect for this most stunning of creatures.

Jane’s Garden

Blue poppies Meconopsis coyright Kim SmithRare-for-these-parts Blue Poppy (Meconopsis rudis)Jane's Garden copyright Kim Smith

Pink Poppies copyright Kim Smith

Sweet Blue Flag

Iris versicolor copyright 2016Blooming today all along the shoreline, pond bank, marsh, and meadow Iris versicolor goes by many charming common names including Sweet Blue Flag, Harlequin Blue Flag, and Northern Blue Flag. The specific epithet versicolor refers to the fact that it flowers in a range of blue to purple hues. No matter what shade of purple-blue, the falls are always yellow. Whatever one calls our native iris, it sure is beautiful, much prettier I think than hard-to-get-rid-of Siberian iris or the top heavy and overly showy bearded iris. And this American beauty is a hummingbird attractant!Iris versicolor -2 copyright 2016

The Alphabet Garden

Our alphabet garden at the Children’s Campus at Phillips Andover is coming along beautifully. In its second year, I’ll post photos later in the season as the garden begins to fill out and come into full bloom.

Thanks to Pam and her wonderful staff at Wolf Hill for locating our letter Q  plant, the towering ‘Queen of the Prairie.’ She is a gorgeous beauty for the back of the border, growing 5 to 7 feet tall, with panicles of deep pink and purple streaked lacy foliage. Can’t wait to see this native bee and butterfly attracting beauty in bloom!

P is for Peach leaf Bellflower copyright Kim Smith copyP is for Peachleaf Bellflower

Designs Inspiration: Triadic Color

Mary Prentiss Inn copyright Kim SmithTriadic color copyright Kim SmithPlaying with triadic color–the planters at the Mary Prentiss Inn are a great example of a classic triad. Triadic color schemes use colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. When successful, they are really quite vibrant and seem to sing. In these arrangements, the orange color dominates while the shades of purples and greens are the accents.

Mary Prentiss Inn poppies copyright Kim SmithMary Prentiss Inn copyright Kim SmithVibrant orange Iceland Poppies steal the show!


Poppies Mary Prentiss inn Cambridge MA copyright Kim SmithPoppies popping, tulips resplendent, and flower pots poised to bedazzle, The Mary Prentiss Inn, conveniently located near Harvard University, is an utterly charming bed and breakfast, outfitted with all modern amenities (and a secret garden around back). Homemade breakfast is served daily, along with freshly baked treats for afternoon tea. Jennifer, the proprietor, and Lisa, who runs the front desk, could not be more welcoming. For graduation, business, or simply a romantic get away in the heart of Cambridge, The Mary Prentiss Inn is tops!!

Tulips Mary Prentiss inn Cambridge MA copyright Kim SmithThe Mary Prentiss Inn front dooryard gardenTulips Garden Mary Prentiss inn Cambridge MA copyright Kim Smith

Tulips in the city were hard hit by a cycle of freezing and thawing, after they had started to emerge. Nonetheless the tulips at the Inn are still blooming great guns!Planters Mary Prentiss inn Cambridge MA copyright Kim Smith

Spring Ps – poppies, pansies, petunias – at the Mary Prentiss Inn!

A photo posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Prettiest Robin’s Nest (and Crabapple, too)!

Robin's Nest copyright Kim SmithThis beautiful Robin’s nest is located at the lovely home of the Del Vecchio family. Daughter Clara noticed that a sprig of lavender was used in nest building so they left out some colorful bits of yarn. The Robins built the nest atop a rolled up rug that was left standing beside their well-trafficked front door. Mama Robin doesn’t seem to mind a bit the constant comings and goings of the household. I’ve seen robins build nests in some crazy places, but this has to take the cake!

Thank you to Michele for allowing me to come and film what has to be the world’s most charming Robin’s nest!

Update on the Robin’s nest: Sadly, Michele reports that the nest was knocked over and the eggs have been scavenged. In our region, Robins typically have several broods and often use the same nest, so perhaps the nest can become reestablished.

pink flowering crabapple tree copyright Kim SmithDel Vecchio’s crabapple in full glorious bloom! 

Crabapple blossoms


Spring beauty Scilla siberica Kim SmithSpring Beauty (Scilla siberica ‘Blue’)

A sea of blue by the old wood pile ~ A lovely surprise to come upon this sweet patch of Siberian squill near to the place where I was photographing the sky over the harbor in yesterday’s fast moving storm. Squill is a carefree, pest-free plant, whether lighting up a woodland edge, carpeting a lawn, scampering through a rock garden, or carpeting the forest floor. Its one growing requirement: plant in well draining soil; squill does not like wet feet. They are small, so you will need to plant lots to make an impact, but squill will naturize over time and in a few short years, you’ll soon be digging up clumps to share with friends.

In mid-fall, plant the rounded end of the bulb down, pointed end up, about 3 to 5 inches deep and about 15 per square foot

Nicknamed Siberian Squill not because it is from Siberia, but because it is hardy through zone 2.