Tag Archives: Gloucester garden


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.


Warm Weather Seedlings!
Starting May 15, our website will feature all the warm weather vegetable, flower and herb seedlings that we’ll be releasing from the green house later that week. This will be your first chance to scroll through the bounty and fill your online shopping cart!

We’ll be assembling everyone’s order during the week, then opening for pre-scheduled pick-ups beginning May 22.

You can schedule your preferred pick-up day when you checkout online. Call us from your mobile when you arrive at the farm on your selected pick-up day, then pop the trunk and we’ll gently place your garden treasure right in for you to take home and plant, no in-person transaction or contact required!

If you have some favorites in mind that you just can’t live without, May 15 will be your opportunity to be first in line to lay claim to that heirloom tomato or special nasturtium that you’ve been dreaming about all winter! So mark your calendar for May 15 to visit our site and get your garden started!

Artichoke Imperial Star
Beets Chiogga
Beets Red Ace
Beets Touchstone Gold
Broccoli Imperial
Broccoli Dicicco
Brussels Sprouts Dagan
Cabbage Faro
Cabbage Omera
Cauliflower Mix
Celery Conquistador
Corn lucious
Cucumber Corinto
Cucumber Diva
Cucumber Lemon
Cucumber Marketmore 76
Cucumber Northern pickling
Cucumber Tasty Jade
Eggplant Beatrice
Eggplant Clara
Eggplant fairytale
Eggplant Nadia
Eggplant Orient Charm
Eggplant Orient express
Eggplant Patio Baby
Escarole Natacha
Kale Red Russian
Kale Toscano
Kale Winterbor
Kale mix Continue reading


Warm Weather Seedlings!

Starting May 15, our website will feature all the warm weather vegetable, flower and herb seedlings that we’ll be releasing from the green house later that week. This will be your first chance to scroll through the bounty and fill your online shopping cart!

We’ll be assembling everyone’s order during the week, then opening for pre-scheduled pick-ups beginning May 22. You can schedule your preferred pick-up day when you checkout online. Call us from your mobile at 978-471-9979 when you arrive at the farm on your selected pick-up day, then pop the trunk and we’ll gently place your garden treasure right in for you to take home and plant, no in-person transaction or contact required!




My friend Patti Papows very thoughtfully invited me to come film and take photos in her gorgeous garden, especially her milkweed patch. Patti purchased milkweed plants from our Cape Ann Milkweed Project several years ago, both the Common and Marsh Milkweed that we offered.

Patti’s Common Milkweed has really taken off this year. The plants are about five feet tall, lush and healthy, and bursting with sweetly fragrant blossoms. The Monarchs are daily visitors, coming not by the ones and twos, but by the dozen. Not only are her milkweed blossoms beckoning to the Monarchs, but the plants are also attracting every bee species imaginable found in a Cape Ann garden, as well as myriad other pollinating insects.

I showed Patti how to find Monarch caterpillars. She found three in about three minutes; we weren’t even trying that hard! They are safer from spiders in my terrariums, so I brought her tiny caterpillars home where they are developing nicely alongside a dozen Monarch eggs. These eggs were discovered in my garden, and at the Common Milkweed plants growing along the edges of the Good Harbor Beach parking lot.


Patti’s patch of native high bush blueberries attracts loads of Catbirds, and dozens more species of songbirds and small mammals. This morning the foliage made a perfect perch for a male Monarch butterfly.

In the above photo you can clearly see the Monarch’s two-part tubular drinking straw, called a proboscis. The Monarch is probing deep into the Milkweed floret for a sip of sweet nectar.

Who, me? I’m innocent! Chipmunk snacking at the buffet-of-plenty in Patti’s garden.

Patti placed the purple chair in the midst of the milkweed patch so that visitors can enjoy being surrounded by the beautiful pollinators buzzing all around and the delightful fragrance emitted by the Common Milkweed. I tried it out and her plan worked, it is pure Heaven!

I had an absolutely wonderful morning filming and photographing, despite the limiting overcast skies, and plan to return on a sunnier day, hopefully this week while the Monarchs are here on Cape Ann busy egg-laying and pollinating our gardens!

Patti shares that at the end of the day, her Monarchs are nectaring from the flowering hosta. She sent these photos this morning, taken yesterday afternoon with her cell phone.

More Snowy Day Photos

Winter Garden©Kim Smith 2013

The morning after the beautiful snowfall (I hope it isn’t the only real snow of the season!), I took several snapshots of our garden before heading over to the Harbor Walk, then ended by photographing at Niles Pond. The Harbor Walk photos are posted here, and I am just getting to the rest of the images.

Winter Garden

The waves that can be seen crashing in the distance beyond the narrow strip of land are at Brace Cove. Click photos to view larger.

Niles Pond

Niles Pond after new fallen snow

Monarch Caterpillars on Common Milkweed Leaves

Dear Gardening Friends,

I’ve updated the article on common milkweed (see below). The second video of the caterpillar pupating goes a bit dark in the beginning because I was trying to capture the caterpillar’s exoskeleton splitting apart, just below the head.

My husband, Tom Hauck, was quoted on Sound Off in this week’s issue of Time Magazine. His quote can also be found here (scroll down).

Looking at our thriving patch of common milkweed, I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Monarch butterflies to our garden in Gloucester. It is difficult to reconcile the enjoyment we derive from life’s simple pleasures when looking into the faces of the victims struck by the unfolding tragedy in the Gulf Coast region—a tragedy for the nation. I hope and pray that the net result of this catastrophe will be a wake up call, and that we will all come together to fully realize the potential of non-polluting alternatives to our unsustainable use of fossil fuels.

Best wishes, Kim

The pair of Monarch caterpillars, hanging in the characteristic J-shape, are attached to the underside ribs of common milkweed (Asclepais syriaca). They were filmed at approximately 7:30 am on August 22, 2009, one hour prior to pupation. The “twins” pupated within six minutes of each other. “Twin #2” is pupating in the video.

Flowers of the Air

This beautiful Summer Azure  butterfly (Celastrina ladon ‘neglecta’), seen in our Gloucester garden, is ovipositing eggs amongst the buds of native meadowsweet (Spirea latifolia).

She tightly curls her abdomen in a c-shape and deposits her eggs amongst the unopened flower buds, while pausing every now and then to drink nectar from the opened florets. Just as many species of milkweed plants (Asclepias) are utilized by Monarch butterflies, to both take nectar from the florets and as a larval host plant for their caterpillars, the blossoms of meadowsweet provide nectar and the foliage is a food plant for the caterpillars of the Summer Azure butterfly.

Plant native meadowsweet near to where you will enjoy their delicately shaded rose-pink blossoms and the insects attracted. We grow ours along a sunny path and also grow a patch in the dappled shade cast by our pear trees. The plants sited in sun bear far more blossoms. The shrub grows fairly quickly, three to four feet high and equally as wide, and is easily divided. To create a tidy shape, prune lightly, in very early spring. Playing host to the azures, long season of blossoms, and lovely bright green and finely-cut foliage, meadowsweet is a fabulous native shrub for the ‘wild’ garden.

Flowering and Fruiting Apricot Trees

Prunus armeniaca ‘Harglow’

The genus Prunus evokes a multitude of images of picturesque spring flowering and summer fruit-bearing trees. The wands of branches shrouded in five-petal blossoms hold their color high up while the floor of the garden is carpeted in companionable tulips, jonquils, forget-me-nots, and lily of-the-valley. Falling blossoms swirling like snow sift their fragrant petals through the floral carpet, clinging and scattering along the pathways.

The apricot tree (Prunus armeniaca), abricocke as it was known of old, may seem like an odd selection of fruit tree for a garden in the northeastern region of the United States. Apricots are generally considered more suitable for a warmer Mediterranean climate, though several cultivars are hardy through zone five! Prunus armeniaca was formerly thought to originate from Armenia, therein the name armeniaca. There is little doubt that its original habitat was in the temperate areas of Asia. Never having seen a living apricot tree, nonetheless we were inspired to grow Prunus armeniaca from an old photograph of one pictured in an enclosed garden setting, as well as by our desire to make apricot tarts from our own tree-ripened fruit.

With its ornamental round-headed silhouette and broad, oval leaves, it is a tree of graceful beauty. The sweetly scented pure white flowers issue forth from plump violet colored sepal-enclosed buds. The two colors of violet and white are visible while the tree is leafless and in bloom and, from a distance, create the illusion of a delicately pale pink flower. We sited our apricot tree at the top of our fragrant path to savor the lilting honey scent of its blossoms.

The apricot buds swell at the earliest hint of warm air and are the first fruit bearing trees to flower in our garden. Unfortunately the flowers, and therefore the fruit crop, may be damaged by a late spring frost. Spring in New England is predictably unpredictable; some years the tree sets fruit and some years it does not. Nevertheless, the apricot is a worthy specimen for the beauty of its blooms and branches alone.

There are several varieties of European apricots that are suitable to grow in a northern climate. We chose ‘Harglow’. Named varieties beginning with ‘Har’ (‘Harval,’ ‘Hargrand,’ Harcot,’ and ‘Harlayne’) were developed in Canada at the Harrow Research Station. For the most part, these cultivars are resistant to fungal and bacterial diseases caused by exceedingly damp, wet springs and humid summers. They are an ideal choice for a garden in a temperate zone where the growing season is shorter than a Mediterranean climate and are grown extensively in the Pacific Northwest.

Apricots are also a sound selection for the urban garden as they are less affected by air pollution than other fruit trees. ‘Harglow’ is a perfect cultivar for the small garden. They are self-pollinating and grown on a semi-dwarf rootstock, ultimately reaching only fifteen to eighteen feet in height. For four seasons of beauty I encourage every gardener who lives in a suitable climate, including those with only a wee bit of space, to consider growing the elegant apricot tree. When planning where to site an apricot tree, choose a sunny, sheltered location out of the path of drying winter winds. Plant apricot trees in loose soil with excellent drainage. After the first hard frost, cover the root area with several inches of compost. Water apricot trees deeply, once a week during the growing season and more if you are experiencing drought-like conditions.

Standard and semi-dwarf apricot trees require regular pruning to maintain their height for ease of harvesting fruit and to allow light and air to penetrate the interior of the tree. Most fruits are borne on one- to three-year-old spurs that look like short, stubby branchlets. To best see the overall shape of the tree, prune in late winter or early spring, just after flowering, while the tree is leafless.

Apricots are plagued by many of the same pests as peach trees. Be on the lookout for signs of the Oriental fruit moth and peachtree borer. Peachtree borers burrow into the bark of the tree, leaving a gummy exudate of sap and tree dust. To prevent this problematic creature from destroying the tree, wrap the trunk of a newly planted tree with strips of brown paper up to the first lateral branch. Cultivate the soil four inches deep within the drip-line of the tree, being mindful of the tree’s root system. With its distinguishable black body banded with vermilion or yellow, the adult peach tree borer moth is easy to detect, and unlike most moths, this one flies during the day. From the first indication of an infestation of Oriental fruit moth, you will observe the new growing tips have a drooping and wilted appearance. Caused by adult moths burrowing into the tips of the tender new shoots, the subsequent generations of larvae will then burrow into the fruit. Cut (and discard) the infested twig tips back to healthy growth. Again, working the soil at the base of the tree will help to destroy the pupae and therefore any future attacks by the Oriental fruit moth. The adult Oriental fruit moth is a mottled gray-brown with a relatively small wingspan (1⁄2 inch).

At the first sign of disease or pest problem, cut out the infected growth. Practicing good housekeeping and growing disease-resistant varieties may be the best remedies for growing healthy, strong fruit trees. Weak and stressed plants are at a much greater risk than those that are healthy and vigorous.

Apricots are ready to be picked when all traces of their green color have disappeared and they turn a glowing golden yellow. Gently grasp the fruit and pull with a bit of an upward twist. As with pear trees, do not pull the fruit off vigorously. The fruit-bearing spurs may be damaged, thereby reducing next year’s potential harvest. The Persians referred to apricots as “seeds of the sun.” Some cultivars (‘Stark Sweethearts’ for example) produce fruits with large and edible sweet pits inside the stone fruit. And since apricots and almonds are closely related, the edible pits taste characteristically like an almond.

Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden, written and illustrated by Kim Smith (David R. Godine, Publisher).