Tag Archives: Willowdale Estate Topsfield

Groundhog or Woodchuck (or Whistle-pig)?

Groundhog woodchuck whistle-pig ©Kim Smith2014Marmota monax

That’s precisely what I wondered when I encountered this large member of the order Rodentia at a job site recently. Our eyes locked for several moments as we both stood perfectly still, it trying to disguise itself as an inanimate object and me trying to take a snapshot. I took a step forward and off it burrowed back into its tunnel.

Google search reveals that groundhogs and woodchucks are one and the same species (Marmota monax) and the critters also go by the names of whistle-pig (I like this one best) and land-beaver. The name whistle-pig is derived from their behavior of emitting a high-pitched whistle to alert members of their colony of impending danger. Woodchuck stems from either an Algonquin or Narragansett name for the animal, wuchak.

Whistle-pigs are the largest members of the Squirrel Family, although you can’t see that in the above photo as this is a juvenile. They dwell in areas where woodland meets open space. All summer long whistle-pigs stuff their little furry faces with wild grasses, other wild plants, tree bark, berries, and agricultural crops to build their fat reserves for the long winter hibernation. They are notoriously destructive in gardens. We have yet to see any damage in the gardens at Willowdale due to the resident woodchuck family. I imagine they are finding enough food in the surrounding forest.

BLUETS IN BLOOM, OR QUAKING QUAKER LADIES

Blue bird nesting box Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea Field ©Kim Smith 2014Bluebird Nesting Box and Bluets

At this time of year, when you pass by a field with patches of white, stop and have a closer look. The Bluet’s tiny florets are actually a dreamy azure blue; the little bunches also “quake” in the seasonal breeze! Also called Quaker Ladies, the sweet petite blossoms attract Little Carpenter bees, Green Metallic bees, small butterflies, and the Meadow Fritillary Butterfly (Boloria bellona). Both nectar and pollen are the pollinator’s floral reward!

Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea -2 ©Kim Smith 2014Azure Bluets (Houstonia caerulea)

Azure Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Houstonia caerulea ©Kim Smith 2014Ipswich River Canoers and Bluets at Willowdale Estate

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! and Happy Spring!

The Power of Flowers!

Pink Tulip ©Kim Smith 2013White Bleeding Heart ©Kim Smith 2012Feathered Tulips © Kim Smith 2012Purple Pink Tulips © Kim Smith 2013Carolina Silverbell Pink ©Kim Smith 2013Pink Carolina Silverbell is a native flowering tree (Halesia tetraptera var. rosea)

Carmine tulip ©Kim Smith 2013 copyTemple of Beauty

American Dogwood Cornus Florida © Kim Smith 2012Native American Dogwood ~ Cornus florida

Tulips Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge ©Kim Smith 2013Mary Prentiss Inn Cambridge

Red Tulip ©Kim Smith 2012

Beautiful Video Filmed at Willowdale Estate and Produced by Long Haul Films

Mary Foss Murphy writes ~

I am a faithful GMG reader and enjoy your posts and pictures.  Thank you for sharing your talents with us. Knowing of your work at Willowdale and your work as a video producer, I thought you would enjoy this wedding trailer from Long Haul Films of a recent wedding there. The intro to the trailer mentions the beautiful setting; I wish a few more scenes of Willowdale had made it into the trailer.  I love the cranes as the backdrop for their vows. I have been following the Long Haul blog for a few years. I’m always cheered by watching two people in love get married!

Enjoy!
Sincerely,
Mary Foss Murphy

P.S. My mom bought me your book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! for Christmas a few years ago.  I garden, though have not had time to do your book justice.  I love having it anyway.

My response ~ Thank you so much for sharing Mary and thank you for your good words regarding my book. I loved seeing this film and am so glad to become acquainted with Long Haul Films!  The video must have been created very recently as I planted the sunflower window boxes just a month or so ago!

*  *  *

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! is currently selling for only $15.00 on my publisher’s website, which is a $20.00 value off the list price of $35.00.

Click here to purchase a copy of Oh Garden.

Incredible Wedding at Willowdale Estate

Spring Tulips ©Kim Smith 2013

I have shared many photos and stories about the garden and events that take place at Willowdale Estate. Not only because I love working with everyone there, but also because several people who live in Gloucester work at Willowdale (Michele and Audi) and because everyone in the Willowdale offices reads GMG on a daily basis. The following glowing review was recently published in The Knot and I thought perhaps prospective brides looking for a venue would like to read about one bride’s beautiful experience at Willowdale.

Incredible Wedding!

Review - May 2013 Healey

Spring Tulips ©Kim Smith 2013 -1Spring Tulips at Willowdale Estate

Garden Tour at Willowdale Estate

Please join me Monday evening for a tour of the butterfly gardens I designed for Willowdale Estate. Come experience a taste of Briar’s gracious hospitality and enjoy refreshments served in the conservatory. The tulips are at their peak and look simply spectacular this year. I will also be showing several of my short films. Please RSVP to Sarah at: Sarah@WillowdaleEstate.com ~ 978-887-8211.

I hope to see you there!

5-13-13 Kim SmithFINAL

Think Pink! if you want that quel-que chose

Cornus florida rubra Pink Flowering Dogwood ©Kim Smith 2012Pink Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida rubra)

Peony 'Adored' ©Kim Smith 2012Peony ‘Adored’

Viridiflora Tulip ©Kim Smith 2012China Town Viridiflora Tulip

Magnolia 'Alexandrina' ©Kim Smith 2012Magnolia ‘Alexandrina’

Kay Tompson sings “Think Pink!” in Funny Face (1957, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire). The character of Dick Avery, played by Fred Astaire, is in part based on the real life fashion photographer Richard Avedon.

The Supervising Editor for my Black Swallowtail film, Craig Kimberley, and I, spent Saturday afternoon adding titles and color correcting. I have been looking at lots of films to study how some of my favorite film titles are created and discovered that Richard Avedon designed the opening title sequence and provided the stills for Funny Face, including this famously over-exposed iconic photo of Hepburn.

Funny_Face_Verve531231vladimir_restoin_roitfeld_favorite_photographer_richard_avedon_audrey_hepburn_funny_face

Think Spring!

Narcissus 'Geranium' ©Kim Smith 2012

Narcissus ‘Geranium’

Tulipa Willowdale Estate ©Kim Smith2012

Bleeding Heart and Tulips Willowdale Estate ©Kim Smith2012.

Bleeding Heart and Tulips

Tulip Garden Willowdale Estate ©Kim Smith2012.

Tulip Garden Willowdale Estate Topsfield