November 17, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Joe writes from Good Morning Gloucester, “Matt Cooney Aboard The Miss Merideth Landed This Extremely Rare Golden Colored. Watch it inhale and exhale in this video making itself appear much larger (probably as a defense mechanism against approaching predators).”
See also Joe’s video of sweet little one inch baby lobsters at Good Morning Gloucester.
November 15, 2010 § Leave a Comment
November 14, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Dear Gardening Friends,
We have been blessed with a delightfully warm autumn, which has made these last few weeks in the garden a delight. As I am preparing gardens for their winter rest, my thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays and the winter blooms that will make the season all that much brighter. I hope you don’t mind—the following is from the chapter on Coaxing Winter Blooms, excerpted from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! With our son’s soccer team headed to the state finals, I haven’t had the ability to focus, spare time to write, or accomplish much of anything besides work. We’re all on pins and needles in anticipation of the Big Game!
Warmest wishes and Season’s Greetings, Kim
P.S. Results of Sunday ‘s game: CONGRATULATIONS VIKINGS, the new Division Three North Massachusetts State Champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rockport Vikings 1, St.Mary’s, Lynn 0. Wednesday’s game against the winning southern region state champs will be held in Quincy at 5:00pm. GO VIKINGS!
A Note about Amaryllis
Living in New England the year round, with our tiresomely long winter stretching miles before us, and then a typically late and fugitive, fleeting spring, we can become easily wrapped in those winter-blues. Fortunately for garden-makers, our thoughts give way to winter scapes of bare limbs and berries, Gold Finches and Cardinals, and plant cat-alogues to peruse. If you love to paint and write about flowers as do I, winter is a splendid time of year for both, as there is hardly any time devoted to the garden during colder months. I believe if we cared for a garden very much larger than ours, I would accomplish little of either writing or painting, for maintaining it would require just that much more time and energy.
Coaxing winter blooms is yet another way to circumvent those late winter doldrums. Most of us are familiar with the ease in which amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs will bloom indoors. Placed in a pot with enough soil to come to the halfway point of the bulb, and set on a warm radiator, in several week’s time one will be cheered by the sight of a spring-green, pointed-tipped flower stalk poking through the inner layers of the plump brown bulbs. The emerging scapes provide a welcome promise with their warm-hued blossoms, a striking contrast against the cool light of winter.
Perhaps the popularity of the amaryllis is due both to their ease in cultivation and also for their ability to dazzle with colors of sizzling orange, clear reds and apple blossom pink. My aunt has a friend whose family has successfully cultivated the same bulb for decades. For continued success with an amaryllis, place the pot in the garden as soon as the weather is steadily warm. Allow the plant to grow through the summer, watering and fertilizing regularly. In the late summer or early fall and before the first frost, separate the bulb from the soil and store the bulb, on its side, in a cool dry spot—an unheated basement for example. The bulb should feel firm and fat again, not at all mushy. After a six-week rest, the amaryllis bulb is ready to re-pot and begin its blooming cycle again. Excerpt Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Coaxing Winter Blooms
November 14, 2010 § Leave a Comment
GO VIKINGS!! The Rockport Vikings are headed to the Divison 3 North state finals on Sunday, November 14th at 7:00pm at Manning Bowl, Lynn.
Rockport (14-3-1), seeded second in their division, is ready to take on St. Mary’s (8-8-2). Wednesday’s quarter final game against Lynnfield could not have been more hair-raising, with two overtimes and, finally, ending in a best of five shoot-out with Rockport defeating Lynfield 3 to 1!
The Vikings owned Friday’s semi-final game against Weston–with a thorough trouncing–Rockport 2, Weston 0. Congratulation Rockport Soccer Giants!
November 14, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Another succinct letter from my husband Tom Hauck, published in this week’s Time magazine.
To the editor:
To feature Republican candidates Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Christine O’Donnell on your cover a few days before the critical midterm election is utterly reprehensible. Why not simply endorse them? Or better yet, why not sell TIME magazine to Rupert Murdoch? He would be thrilled to add you to his media empire.
THCS Thomas Hauck Communications Services
November 14, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Pictured above are cascading mounds of Korean daisies blooming in the autocourt at Willowdale Estate, located in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Korean daisies will continue to bloom through several light frosts and support myriad late-on-the-wing pollinators. This photograph was taken on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2010.
November 2, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Our daughter Liv is singing every Sunday at the lovely St. Johns’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms. The music program, under the direction of organist and choirmaster Nicholas White, is divine. This coming Sunday afternoon (November 7th) at 4:00 pm is a special concert of Requiem ~ Gabriel Faure, with chamber orchestra and soloists, featuring the combined choirs of St. John’s Church, Beverly Farms, and Christ Church, Andover. The program will also include Felix Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer, as well as his Organ Sonata III in A Major. Barbara Bruns is the organist, with Nicholas White conducting. I hope you will come hear this gorgeous music, with Liv singing!
November 2, 2010 § 1 Comment
Dear Gardening Friends,
November 1, 2010 § 1 Comment
Exquisite Flora in Autumn
Green leaves ignite, transformed by a kaleidoscope of incinerating colors—devil-red, burnt tangerine, caramelized amber, searing saffron, and smoldering crimson-purple. The air is impregnated with the aromatic perfume of orchard fruits ripening in the fleeting flush of the sun’s warm light. Hazy, slanting rays gild the late season glory in the garden. Surrounded by flowers of dissipating beauty and juxtaposed against the dazzling brilliance of autumn foliage, we are urged to spend every possible moment savoring our gardens before the onset of winter.
Blossoms thrown in autumn, as opposed to those of spring and summer, are perhaps the most keenly appreciated. Our rambling ‘Aloha’ rose embowering the front entryway abounds in blooms in June, flowering again and again throughout the summer. With a twinge of melancholy, I cherish most Aloha’s lingering remontant rose—inhaling deeply the sensuous fragrance when approaching or upon leaving our home, knowing all will be dormant in only a few short weeks. Manifold members of the composite family hold their flowers well into fall. Forming a substantial clump (four feet wide and equally as tall) is a passalong from a generous friend. From a few cuttings of this heirloom chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ‘Single Apricot Korean’), with apricot pink-tinted, daisy-like single flowers, we now have a patch of our own to share with friends. Arrayed with a single row of ray flowers encircling the nectar-rich cadmium yellow disk florets, the Korean daisy is host to sundry late on-the-wing pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and beetles. The form is loose and lovely; opposite in appearance to that of the ubiquitous blobs of mums commonly seen in autumn.
Chrysanthemum ‘Emperor of China’ begins its lovely tableau in mid-fall and continues to bloom through the first hard frost. Plum rose with silvery highlights, the quills shade paler toward the outer margins. When the plant is in full bloom, the rich green foliage shifts colors to vibrant hues of bronze and scarlet red. The ‘Emperor of China’ exudes a delicious lemon-spice fragrance noticeable from some distance.
As with asters, it is helpful to pinch the tips of each shoot to encourage branching and more blossoms. Repeat this process at each four- to six- inch stage of new growth until the middle of July, or when the buds begin to develop. ‘Emperor of China’ is hardy through zone six and thrives in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil. This cultivar forms a 2 and 1/2′ mound in only a few years. Give the plant a top dressing of compost and mulch after the first hard frost.
An ancient variety of chrysanthemum originating from China, the ‘Emperor of China’ resembles and is thought to be the chrysanthemum depicted in early Chinese paintings. Chrysanthemums are also grown for their medicinal properties, and their purported magic juices were an important ingredient in the life-prolonging elixir of the Daoist. Fragrant chrysanthemum tea was considered good for the health, and tonic wine was brewed from an infusion of their petals.
Chrysanthemum tea is a tisane made from dried chrysanthemum flowers. The flowers are steeped in boiling water for several minutes, and rock sugar or honey is often added to heighten the sweet aroma. Popular throughout East Asia, chrysanthemum tea is usually served with a meal. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, the tisane is a “cooling” herb and is recommended for a variety of ailments including influenza, circulatory disorders, sore throats, and fever.
Although thought to be rich in healing properties and lovely in form, a more modest well-being was conferred by the vigorous blossoming of the chrysanthemum. Perhaps the late flowering chrysanthemum suggests their connection to a long life, for other plants have finished flowering just as the chrysanthemums begin.
The techniques for learning to paint the orchid, bamboo, plum blossom, and chrysanthemum comprise the basis of Chinese flower and bird painting. They are referred to as “The Four Gentlemen” and are thought to symbolize great intellectual ideas. The orchid is serene and peaceful, though sophisticated and reserved from the world. Bamboo is vigorous and survives throughout the seasons, forever growing upright. The plum blossom expresses yin-yang dualities of delicate and hardy, blooming through snow and ice to herald the arrival of spring. Chrysanthemums continue to flower after a frost, are self-sufficient, and require no assistance in propagating themselves.
China owes its astonishing wealth of plant life to a combination of geographical incidents. The mountains escaped the ravages of the great ice caps and unlike much of Europe and North America, where many plants were wiped out, plant species in China continued to evolve. Additionally, the foothills of the Himalayas are moistened by soft winds from the south, creating an ideal climate for alpine plants. In this warm and moderate environment three different floras– that of the colder, drier north; that of the sub-tropical south; and that of the alpine species—all mingled and crossed freely for thousands of years.
Ernest Wilson, one of the world’s greatest plant hunters, was not the first collector to explore this botanical paradise, but his determined efforts to push through to remote areas led him to the “richest temperate flora of the world.” From 1899 to 1911, Ernest “Chinese” Wilson sent the seeds of more than 1,500 different plants to the United States and England. Altogether his collection numbered 65,000 plants, representing about 5,000 species, all gathered from the wild. Through his exploration, and the work of the nurseries for which he collected, more than a thousand plants were established for Western cultivation. Despite the wealth of flora collected by Ernest Wilson and his fellow plant hunters, Chinese gardens remained wholly unaffected. Although shiploads of plants were sent to London, St. Petersburg, Paris, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Chinese horticulturists continued to develop plants their ancestors had loved and that had long since been domesticated. The tradition of conferring qualities of morality to plants and plants’ allegorical to intellectual ideas made the newly collected wild plants unsuitable for the Chinese garden.
The love of flowers was and continues to be a passion among the Chinese. Trees and plants are genuinely loved as living creatures.
Enjoying flowers with tea is the best, enjoying them with conversation the second and enjoying them with wine the least. Feasts and all sorts of vulgar language are most deeply detested and resented by the spirit of the flowers. It is better to keep the mouth shut and sit still than to offend the flowers. —from a Ming Dynasty treatise on flowers Walters Art Museum
The idea that flowers can be offended by bad manners reflects the belief that the world we inhabit is an organism in which all phenomena interrelate. By the same reasoning, someone who drinks tea from a peach-shaped pot will live longer (peaches symbolize longevity), and someone who dips his writing brush in a peony-shaped bowl will have good fortune, as the peony is a metaphor for success and wealth.
Several passages from above were excerpted from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! (David R. Godine, Publisher).