Welcome to Spring

March 20th, 2015 § 0

tiny-birds-nest-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden.com_ Seasonal Joys

W E L C O M E    S P R I N G   !

Our seasons are officially changing. The vernal equinox arrives in the Northern Hemisphere today, March 20 at 22:45 UTC, or 6:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

I’m sure ready to get back in my garden, how about you?

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Springtime Joy As Winter Wanes . . .

March 16th, 2015 § 0

Hamamelis_vernalis_April_sunset_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com_The Golden Glow of Springtime: Hamamelis vernalis 

It’s been a long, long, harsh winter in New England. This year, more than any in recent memory, we all seem anxious for any sign that the seasons are about to change. Bodnant viburnum, vernal witch hazel, pussy willow, golden spicebush, snowdrops, crocus; as gardeners we cherish these early-blooming harbingers of spring.

Crocus_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com_ Springtime Crocus, Still Sleeping Here; Not Far Beneath the Snow

512x768xLindera_benzoin_North_American_Native_Spicebush_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com_.jpg.pagespeed.ic.d56oqQ6fMB Early-Blooming Spicebush, Lindera benzoin is a Garden Favorite Throughout the Seasons

pussywillow_michaela_medina_harlow Pussy Willow, Salix discolor Catkins – One of the Earliest Signs of Spring

Take heart, cold-climate gardeners! Even in areas where sap is hardly running and buds are barely swelling, a cacophony of birdsong fills the air. Hibernating creatures are stirring and migratory birds are returning. April is just around the corner and springtime is well on her way.

Viburnum-bodnantense-Buds-ⓒ-michaela-medina-thegardenerseden The first blooms of Bodnant Viburnum, V. bondnantense ‘Dawn’ are My Personal Springtime Touchstone

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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A Moment for Peace: Artist’s Talk Friday, March 6th in Brattleboro, VT

March 5th, 2015 § 0

October_Thicket_2014_Michaela_Harlow_michaelaharlow.com October Thicket, 2014 – Pastel on Paper (limited-edition, archival prints available – click here for details)

 I’ve been invited to give a brief talk about the relationship between artist and natural environment as part of the creative process at “Moment for Peace” this Friday evening, March 6th at 5:30 p.m. in Brattleboro, Vermont. The talk will focus on conservation of woodlands as peaceful places for contemplation and meditation. I will be speaking as artist and landscape designer. The talk is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

“Moment for Peace” takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the church parlor meeting room at the Brattleboro Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., Brattleboro, Vermont. For more information visit the Gallery Walk website or call (802) 257-4588

Artwork & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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A Little Romance with Miniature Roses

February 12th, 2015 § 0

Red_and_Pink_miniature_roses_copyright_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com

Although I am very fond of winter, I confess that my indoor garden is a great source of pleasure at this time of year. There’s something undeniably delicious about waking up to the sweet scent of roses on a cold morning. Buying fresh flowers is part of my winter shopping routine, but I rarely purchase cut roses. Instead, I opt for miniature rose plants, which are usually much less expensive (less than ten dollars this week at my local florist), and when properly cared for, much longer lasting. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, they make beautiful, living gifts! In spring, after the last frost, these cold-hardy beauties can be moved outdoors, where they will thrive for many years (protect with a mulch mound at root zone, as you would other hardy roses, in winter).

Red_Red_Miniature_Roses_copyright_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com

Simple Tips for Success with Miniature Roses:

1) Provide bright, direct sunlight (near a south or southwest facing window).

2) Ensure even indoor temps from 55-75°F/16-24°C.

3) Water regularly, but avoid soggy soil. Allow planting mixture to dry out a bit at the surface, between waterings. I like to grow roses in double pots or in gravel-line trays to keep the root-zone properly drained.

4) Fertilize monthly with a balanced product, rich in micronutrients.

5) Deadhead spent blossoms and cut plants back after the first flush of bloom is complete (usually 1-2 months after they begin blooming)

6) Repot or move outdoors as soon as possible. When transplanting, any good, well-drained garden soil or quality potting mix will suffice. In the garden, a 2″ top dressing of well-rotted manure/compost serves as both mulch and fertilizer. During the growing season, once-per-month application of Rose Tone or similar, organic product provides a steady wave of bloom.

7) Plants can be container-grown outdoors (be sure to re-pot and separate plants if necessary), however in cold climates, it’s best to overwinter pot-grown roses in a garage or cellar to provide a period of dormancy without freezing the root-zone.

8) If insect pests or spider mites become a problem, spray leaves (including undersides), with an organic, insecticidal soap containing neem oil. Repeat at 10 day intervals until the infestation has cleared. Spider mites are a common problem with roses. Prune away damaged/infested parts of the plant when possible. Because spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions, I like to raise humidity by misting the plants or using a warm-water room humidifier.

Miniature_Roses_copyright_2014_michaelamedinaharlow:thegardenerseden.com

For more houseplant tips & ideas, visit the Indoor Eden page by clicking here!

Need help selecting a miniature rose for a special Valentine? There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties of miniature roses. Visit the American Rose Society Website, here!

Minature_Roses_on_the_dressing_table_copyright_michaela_harlow_thegardenerseden.com

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Hearty, Potato-Cheddar Soup with Beer & Signs of Life in the Dead of Winter

February 1st, 2015 § 0

Winter is Soup Season: A Bowl of Potato-Cheddar Really Warms the Spirits

This article was originally published on January 30, 2011

“The Dead of Winter”: I spent a good part of yesterday ruminating on this phrase. Is winter really dead? I suppose it might seem that way if you spend all of your time indoors. But if you are curious, and bundle yourself up properly, it’s easy to find signs of life –even in January. A walk along the river yesterday afternoon revealed green-tinted leaf-buds, browsing rabbits and flocks of noisy ducks. Reflective waterways are always gorgeous places to enjoy the beauty of sunset. And even in the chill of winter’s twilight, I choose to linger along the shoreline, basking in the pink-tinted afterglow …

Mallard Ducks Swim Along the Pink River at Sunset

Birch Against a Winter Sky

Mallards Gathered Along the Snowy Shoreline at Sunset

Of course it helps to cozy up beside the wood stove after a romp through the snow, and nothing beats a hearty bowl of potato-cheddar soup for warming the bones and spirits. I love soups and make a big pot at least once a week during the winter months. I think the key to great soups is always in the base stock, and this old family recipe is my hands-down favorite. Use good, flavorful potatoes and the best homemade stock (chicken or long-simmered vegetable). I always add a cup of rich beer (an amber style brew or dark, sweet beer) and fresh herbs to my potato cheddar, and a very fine quality local cheese. With a pot of soup waiting back home on the stove, I never seem to mind the cold weather…

Winter Walks are Nicer with Thoughts of Warm Potato-Cheddar Soup

Favorite Potato- Cheddar Soup

Ingredients (makes 6-8 servings):

5          Cups homemade chicken or vegetable broth

1          Cup high-quality amber ale or porter beer

3          Tablespoons butter

1          Cup chopped onion

3          Cloves garlic, chopped

1          Tablespoon freshly chopped sage

1          Tablespoon freshly chopped thyme

2          Bay leaves

3          Lbs potatoes, peeled & diced (I like flavorful golds for this soup)

Kosher salt to taste (about a teaspoon)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (at least a teaspoon or more)

2          Cups grated, sharp cheddar cheese (I use Grafton VT cheddar)

Sour cream for serving

Freshly chopped chives for garnish (or sub other herb)

Directions:

Pour homemade broth and beer into a large stock pot and simmer over very low heat. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan on medium-low and add butter. When melted raise the heat to medium and add the onions and sautee for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, sage and thyme and reduce the heat. Cook for several minutes to release flavors and then remove from heat. Add the onions and herbs to the stock pot, grind in freshly ground black pepper and add salt to taste, and toss the bay leaves on top. Cover the broth and continue simmering on low heat.

While the broth is simmering, wash, peel and dice the potatoes. Slowly add the potatoes to the broth, raise the heat slightly and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Do not boil the soup. Remove from the heat. Fit a food processor with the metal blade and process the soup in small batches (or puree in very small batches in a blender). Be very careful when handling hot soup, and never fill the processor or blender beyond the max liquid line or you will be scalded! You can process the entire pot of soup for a very smooth texture, or leave half unprocessed for a chunkier soup.

Add all of the soup back to the pot and simmer. Now is the time to check texture and consistency. If the soup seems to thick, add a bit more broth or beer. When the soup is at the desired thickness, add the cheddar cheese and stir over medium low heat to blend and melt.

Once the cheese is melted, Remove from heat. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a garnish of freshly chopped chives.

Mallards on the River at Twilight

The Shoreline’s Pink Afterglow

Time to Head Home…

And Cozy-Up Beside the Fire

Article and Photographs are ⓒ Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent.

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A Bit of Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

January 24th, 2015 Comments Off

IMG_2551.JPG With springtime so far away, weekly trips to the florist are in order

Hello friends, I know, it’s been awhile. I confess that garden blogging has taken a back-seat to art-making and showing lately. My winter is quite different this year.

There’s much news to share —some happy and some sad— but I’m not quite ready. So, for now, I’ll melt away the grey with golden tulips from the florist. A bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Solstice Greetings

December 21st, 2014 § 2

IMG_2148.JPG

 

Wishing You Light and Joy in the New Season.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Winter Garden Guest, Cloaked in White

December 18th, 2014 § 4

Stoat, Ermine, Short-Tailed Weasel ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comMustela erminea, Commonly Known as an Ermine, Short-Tailed Weasel or Stoat

Meet the beautiful, white-cloaked ermine (Mustela erminea), also commonly known as the stoat or short-tailed weasel. This curious, swift-moving mammal —closely related to ferrets, weasels, otters, wolverines and badgers— is native to the woodlands, mountainous regions, wetlands and moors of North America, Europe, Asia and the Arctic Circle. Although considered a carnivore —with a diet consisting mainly of mice, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, rabbits and other small rodents— I have observed the ermine eating both nuts and berries in my garden. In fact, the little fella pictured above has become a regular guest at the bird feeder. The short-tailed weasel changes coats from brown to white, as suits the season, and is often called a stoat in summer (brown & white coat with black-tipped tail) and an ermine in winter (white coat with black-tipped tail).

Despite its tiny size (10-14″ long & 6-16 oz) the ermine is a fierce hunter; capturing larger prey, such as squirrel and rabbit, with sharp teeth and claws. Short-tailed weasels are solitary creatures —females raise litters solo— with an average lifespan of 4-6 years in the wild. Although its changing coat makes for a fine seasonal camouflage, the ermine is often a victim of predators; including hawks, owls, fox, coyote, dogs and both wild and domestic cats.

This post was originally published on The Gardener’s Eden in February of 2013

Ermine (Stoat or Short-Tailed Weasel ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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On Exhibit: “Who Robbed the Woods?” Paintings from the Vermont Forest

December 1st, 2014 § 2

Who Robbed the Woods - E-Vite AnnouncementClick on Image to Enlarge Show Announcement

Plans to visit beautiful Vermont this December? Please stop by Brattleboro to say hello, enjoy a cup of cider and view artwork inspired by the wilds of Vermont. I will be exhibiting new work this month at 133 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont. This special showing of pastels,”Who Robbed the Woods: Paintings from the Forest”, will be open for viewing on weekends from December 5th through the 21st. The opening reception is December 5th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.  I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to the Halifax Conservation Group, to protect the forestland surrounding my studio and gardens from the threat of development. Information about the Halifax Conservation Group and a donation box to support the cause, will be available throughout the exhibit.

For a preview of work, please visit my website here: Michaela Harlow.

Artwork ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Close Encounters with the Harris Hawk: A Visit to The New England Falconry

November 6th, 2014 Comments Off

IMG_1027.JPG Visiting The New England Falconry & Admiring the beauty of an 8-month-old, male Harris Hawk 

Over the past few years, as my interest in designing gardens with native plants and creating naturalized landscapes has expanded to include a passion for pollinators, wildlife and habitat preservation, I have become more and more curious about birds of prey. I grew up with an avid-outdoorsman father, who sparked my interest in the natural world and my respect for wildlife at an early age. Wanting to give back some of the joy he’s shared throughout the years, I purchased my dad a gift certificate for an introductory session at The New England Falconry in Hadley, Massachusetts. Yesterday, we were lucky enough to spend the morning with Master Falconer, Chris Davis and his amazing Harris Hawks.

IMG_1029.JPG Master Falconer, Chris Davis gives my father an introductory lesson on handling and flying a young, Harris Hawk at The New England Falconry 

Falconry is an ancient art, with evidence of the practice dating back to the Chinese Heian Dynasty, 2200 BC. Later, historic references to humans hunting with trained birds-of-prey can be found in the artwork and tales of ancient Arabia and Europe. The popularity of falconry soared in Medieval Europe during 500-1500, eventually becoming an aristocratic symbol of great wealth and status.

 Sport falconry and hunting with trained raptors came to the United States from Europe in the 1900s, and although it gained popularity in the early part of the twentieth century, interest died out again around the time of the second world war. It wasn’t until the 1960s —when Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” awakened and energized the environmental movement— that falconry came back into focus as concern about the destructive effects of now-banned pesticide DDT reached a critical state in the near-extinction of the Peregrine Falcon. With the help of falconers —who donated birds to The Peregrine Fund‘s breeding and repopulating efforts— the Peregrine Falcon was taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 1999. Today, falconers like Chris Davis provide an important service as both conservationists and educators. We learned a great deal during our short visit to The New England Falconry, and our introductory lesson sparked further interest and research!

IMG_1031.JPGMy father smiles after successfully flying this Harris Hawk for the first time

Although I am familiar with the high mortality rate of birds in the wild, I was surprised to learn that 75% of young raptors will not survive their first year of life. The natural world is difficult for young birds of prey. Harris Hawks and other raptors depend exclusively upon small mammals, reptiles and occasionally other birds for their sustenance. Their presence within the eco-system is key to keeping the population of fast-reprocucing rodents in check. However, during the winter, wild food is scarce and the energy demands of large predator birds are extremely high; many die of starvation during the cold, barren months of the year. Human beings pose another great threat to raptors. Countless owls, hawks and other predators are killed each year by the careless use of mouse and rat poison. Hunting, accidents, pesticides, pollution and loss of habitat also take a toll on raptors.

IMG_1035.JPG Nice catch, Dad!

The Harris Hawk —native to open areas of the North American Southwest, as well as Central and South America— is a unique species of raptor. With an average weight of 1.5-2.5 pounds and a wingspan of 3.5-4′ this hawk is a lightweight, highly maneuverable creature. Most birds-of-prey are solitary animals, joining together seasonally for mating and raising young. Harris Hawks are unusual. The species forms small, familial units with a distinct hierarchy. Not only to the birds join and remain together for the purpose of nesting and raising young —offspring will remain with their parents and siblings for three years or more— but they also band together as hunters. Much like a pack of wolves, Harris Hawks work as a team, increasing their success rate when pursuing fast, agile prey. Once they’ve made a kill, the hawks share the bounty. The cooperative, social nature of the Harris Hawk makes it an ideal bird for falconry. To learn more about the Harris Hawk, visit The Peregrine Fund’s page on this beautiful and intelligent raptor, here.

IMG_1033.JPG Although this young Harris Hawk was born in captivity, he was raised by other Harris Hawks and is not a pet. These birds are wild animals, driven by an instinct to hunt and eat for survival

Learn more about birds of prey and their important role in our environment here online at The Peregrine Fund and All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Website.

Thank you to Chris Davis and the Harris Hawks at The New England Falconry! We can’t wait for our next chance to visit and learn more about these amazing and important predator birds! If you live in New England, and you’re looking for a great educational gift or special experience for yourself, contact The New England Falconry. We had a wonderful time!

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Welcome November

November 2nd, 2014 § 7

IMG_0863.JPGWelcoming November Light & Leaf-Strewn Wandering

Stripped of most deciduous leaves, suddenly the forest is shockingly bright at sunrise again. And now that the clocks have changed, November mornings belong to us early birds once more. It’s a trick of course, and we’ll pay for this daylight loan in afternoon hours —but I’m willing to pony up. I’d rather get going with hot coffee at dawn and linger later by the fire with a mug of hot-mulled cider.

Welcome November!

IMG_0859.JPG The bones of a landscape are slowly revealed as autumn leaves catch the wind  

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

October 31st, 2014 § 1

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary …

While I Pondered, Weak and Weary …

Over Many a Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore …

While I Nodded, Nearly Napping, Suddenly There Came a Tapping …

As Of Some One Gently Rapping, Rapping at My Chamber Door …

Was It the Wind, or Something More ?

Doubtless We’ll be Left to Wonder …

Evermore !

Halloween Greetings from the Secret Garden

 Happy Haunting xo Michaela

Post originally published: October 31, 2011

Series of Crows, Created by Vermont Artist Virginia Wyoming: Click Here

Lines of Poetry Quoted from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. To Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum Online: Click Here

You May Also Enjoy “Haunting Forest Hills Cemetery with Talented Photographer Liz Kelleher”. Click Here or on Image Below

Photographs and Text, with Exception of First Five Lines of Poetry and Liz Kelleher Image, are ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions) are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

Vivaterra

A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Late October, Burning Bright

October 29th, 2014 § 2

IMG_0743.JPG Late October chores can wait: Taking a moment to pause and enjoy the beauty of imperfection

It’s post-frost, tidy-up season in my garden. Time to gather and clean-out seasonal pots, cut-back unattractive perennials, rake-up leaves and button-up the borders with mulch. This has been a busy year for me as I’ve begun to switch my focus away from garden design, and back to art. As a result, the garden suffered a bit of summertime neglect and I have my hands full this fall. But standing here today at the Secret Garden door —gazing out at the brilliant autumn colors— I realize that by taking on fewer projects, there will be more time for this place again in the coming seasons.

Dahlia Tubers ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden Digging and cleaning up Dahlia tubers. See past post here.

Patient observation is a skill I constantly practice in gardening, and although I’m no master, I notice a bit of improvement here and there as the years pass. I’m a note taker, and thanks to my iPhone, I can both take notes and photos while out working to help remind me of garden tasks. After losing far too many Dahlia bulbs to forgetful placement, I’ve learned to flag them with tiny, red, plastic tags. I can easily spot these after the killing frost and safely dig and store my tubers in the basement. I also make note in my calendar —with audible alerts— as a reminder to pick up and plant spring bulbs. Early-spring favorites —such as ErythroniumGalanthus, Eranthus and Anemone, to name a few— must be planted in late summer or very early autumn for best results, but others —including most Tulipa and Narcissus bulbs— can be planted as long as the ground remains frost-free. So I’ve learned to shop the end-of-season sales, and often find great bargains. This is also true for deciduous trees and shrubs. A great garden can be built on a shoestring budget, with patience, luck and a bit of good timing.

Tulip Bulbs in Basket ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com jpg Over the years I’ve learned that Tulips can be planted quite late in the season, so I often grab them at bargain basement prices. What I can not plant, I will pot up and chill for forcing.

IMG_0776.JPG Tidying up the Secret Garden room is a fun, end-of -season chore. I love to rearrange my chairs, tools and books and pull house plants back inside for winter. Everything looks so cozy and inviting, nestled back into its place.

Shears-and-Cape-Cod-Weeder-in-Secret-Garden-Room- Terra cotta pots are especially vulnerable to cracking during the winter. While I will leave  frost-proof stoneware and glazed pots out as recommended by their makers, I always bring my un-glazed clay urns and vessels in by the first week of November.

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

Vivaterra

A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Indian Summer-Inspired Archival Prints

October 7th, 2014 § 2

September_Waters_II, 2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_michaelaharlow.com_all_rights_reserved. September Waters II, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed, Archival Print $150

After many months spent setting up an online gallery to showcase my artwork and offer archival prints for purchase online, I’m happy to announce that the site is now officially open. I’ve included here a few recent additions from the ever-growing collection of pastel pieces now offered as affordable, small to mid-sized archival prints. I plan to update the online gallery monthly, with archival print selections from $85, special, limited editions and eventually, original pieces available exclusively through my studio’s online gallery.

Shattcuk Brook, 2014

Shattuck Brook, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

As long time reader’s may recall, this summer I took a sabbatical from seasonal garden design work to re-focus on my career as a painter. It’s been a very successful three months and going forward, I plan to limit my garden design work to a few, select projects per year as I continue my transition back to a full-time career in art. I’ll still be writing about and photographing gardens and the landscape, of course, and hope to expand more on this site. If you are interested in following my artwork —and watching the behind-the-scenes process as new pieces and series emerge— you can check out my studio journal by following the link here, where I regularly post about my process, work-in-progress and offer sneak-peeks of completed pieces, not-yet-listed for sale.

Thank you so much for your many, emailed words of encouragement & for all of the wonderful new follows on my studio Instagram feed and Facebook page! I’ve also just recently joined Ello, the beautiful,streamlined, ad-free social networking site based in Vermont. Have you seen it? I have high hopes for a fresh alternative.

Sound_of_a_Coming_Storm_2014_Copyright_MIchaela_Harlow_ michaelaharlow.comSound of a Coming Storm, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

Artwork ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

Vivaterra

A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Welcoming October’s Fire

October 1st, 2014 Comments Off

IMG_8854.JPG Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’ with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ along the Secret Garden Walk

 With fiery colors peeking through a misty, morning shroud, October began on a moody note today. The Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’) has turned the brightest shade of red that I can ever remember and beyond, Fragrant Abelia (Abelia mosanensis) and Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), have caught fire in an orange and yellow blaze of glory.

It’s a month filled with luscious colors, textures, tastes, fragrances and temperatures. Welcome beautiful October!

IMG_8889.JPG Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’ dons her technicolor dream coat, surrounded by the seasonal alchemy of her leafy neighbors 

IMG_8891.JPGI love to play with changing, seasonal contrasts and harmonies in my garden designs. Here, Amsonia illustris, Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’ light up the entry garden in gold, red and maroon. 

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Gathering Branches, Bramble & Berries: The Allure of Autumn Bouquets

September 26th, 2014 Comments Off

IMG_8719.JPGIn the Garden with Freshly Cut Tea Viburnum (V. setigerum) & Limelight Hydrangea (H. paniculata ‘Limelight’)

 Although I love springtime vases filled with fragrant peonies, blue iris and cabbage roses, I equally adore the vibrance and longevity of autumn bouquets. At this time of year, foliage colors and textures are so rich and varied, that it’s almost unnecessary to add flowers —but of course, who can resist? Hydrangea, asters, dahlias, sunflowers, fairy candles, and other late summer and early autumn blossoms are at peak beauty right now, and they often need little embellishment. Just add a few Viburnum branches, orangey ferns or feathery grasses and you have a stunning arrangement.

Dried flowers alone, or mixed with fresh elements, are especially beautiful in fall. For tips on how to dry flowers, and which ones work best, travel back to my post on drying flowers and herbs, here. For fresh-cut flower care tips, visit my past post on the subject here.

IMG_8868.JPGThe simplest and easiest way to dry hydrangea blossoms, is to harvest when mature (after cool weather sets in is best), remove leaves from stems and arrange in vases with a small amount of water. Instead of refilling the vase each day, simply allow the vessel to run out of water, drying the flowers naturally.

Viburnum x 'Mohawk' - www.thegardenerseden.comMohawk Viburnum branches, filled with scarlet fruits, make spectacular additions to flower arrangements. While the berries add bright color, the green leaves provide complementary contrast and the woody branches lend excellent support to more ethereal elements.

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Autumn Potager: Selecting & Planting Tasty Varieties of Gourmet Garlic

September 24th, 2014 Comments Off

Gorgeous, Gourmet Garlic! Bulbs, Clockwise from Top of Ceramic Bowl: German White, Russian Red, Bavarian Purple & Spanish Roja. On Table: Two Heads of Doc’s German & One Each of German Red & Music. In Basket: A Combination of All Garlic Varieties, Plus Continental.

Creatures of the night, beware: I grow garlic! Garlic and onion braids hang from the wooden beams of my kitchen, and they inhabit colorful ceramic keepers on my shelves. I have garlic galore planted in my garden, squirreled away for winter use upon shelves in paper bags, hanging from floor joists in my cellar, and I cook with this delightfully stinky herb most every night.

Each autumn, I plant many varieties of cold hardy, gourmet hardneck garlic in my potager (hardneck garlic is the best choice for climates with long, cold winters). It’s a good idea to purchase garlic from growers close to your own home (this ensures the hardiest selections for your climate and local conditions), and traditionally, in early autumn, I visit the annual Garlic & Arts Festival in nearby North Orange, Massachusetts, to select a few more gourmet bulbs for my garden. One of my all-time favorite garlic varieties, which I finally found at the festival a few years ago, is Spanish Roja (a rocambole hardneck garlic). This beautifully colored, hot and spicy selection possesses a true garlic flavor and easy-to-peel cloves, making it one of the most popular —and sometimes hard to find— bulbs at market. This zesty variety and others —including German Red, Bavarian Purple and Russian Red—-  tend  to be my favorite types for roasting and cooking. But I also love the milder varieties of garlic —including smokey, medium heat Continental— for salad dressing, salsa, cold pasta and other recipes calling for raw cloves, and for use in subtler dishes.

Garlic Bulbs are Harvested in Late Summer, When the Tops Yellow, Wither and Flop (Also True for Onions). Once Lifted from the Earth with a Garden Fork, Excess Soil is Shaken from the Bulbs as They ‘Cure’ for Two Weeks in a Warm, Dry Place.

Many hard neck garlic varieties (including rocambole, porcelain and striped) store beautifully in cool, dark, dry conditions. Porcelain garlic bulbs, such as German White and Music, are exceptionally good selections for long-term (up to 9 months under optimal conditions) storage. Russian Red, another good-sized porcelain hardneck variety, is also a top-notch keeper. I hang garlic braids in my kitchen and always have a few bulbs on hand in ceramic keepers, but most of my garlic is stored on shelves in a cool (approximately 55 degrees) part of my dark, dry cellar. After harvest and curing (for more detail, see previous post by clicking here) I like to store my garlic bulbs in braids (click here for my popular onion/garlic braiding tutorial with step-by-step photos) and in loosely folded, brown paper bags (this provides ample air circulation). I mark the name of the variety on the outside for quick reference. Some bulbs return to the garden every autumn, and the rest remain in stock on my shelves for winter and springtime use.

Preparing to Plant Garlic: Breaking a Basket of Large, Firm, Hard Neck Bulbs into Cloves

Mid-autumn is the best time to plant hardneck garlic in my climate. Every year I rotate my crop; preparing a new garlic bed with fresh compost in late September. Selecting large, firm bulbs from my crop, I carefully separate the cloves and prepare tags for each variety. On a cool, dry October day, I plant each clove approximately 2″ deep and 4-6″ apart (space wider for big, porcelain bulbs like Music). Mulching is very important in cold climates like Vermont. I use throughly rotted compost and clean straw or ground oak leaves for a nice thick mulch. Read more about garlic planting, and find a link back to removing and using garlic scapes, in my previous post “A Thousand Mothers Set Into Earth” by clicking here.

Of Course the Best Part of Growing Garlic is Eating It! Click Here for a Delicious Garlic and Potato Soup Recipe

This article was originally published here on The Gardener’s Eden, October 2011 

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

Autumn Dons Her Golden Crown

September 22nd, 2014 Comments Off

Aerial View of Autumn Above Lake Whitingham, Vermont - Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com Above Lake Whitingham, Vermont, 2013

Welcome to Autumn and her kaleidoscopic splendor! Here’s to fiery maples, lapis lazuli skies, starry nights, roaring bonfires and frosty mornings. Pour yourself a glass of hot, mulled cider and let’s toast the season.

Here’s to the beauty of fall! A warm welcome to Autumn as she dons her glorious crown . . .Cheers!

The 2014 Autumnal Equinox occurs at 10:29pm EDT, September 22nd (World Clock: September 23rd, 2:29 UTC) 

Autumn Color and Farm Fields, Above Deerfield, Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Color Bands Above Deerfield, Massachusetts, 2013

October Blue, Newfane, Vermont - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comAutumn’s Fiery-Blue Heart, Above Newfane, Vermont, 2013

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

Gardener's Supply Company

A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!