Celebrating the Swan Song of Summer: Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions & Pecans . . .

September 22nd, 2013 Comments Off

Grilled Peaches stuffed with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Pecans with Balsamic Glaze - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Glaze

Gloria Peaches at Scott Farm Orchard - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comGloria Peaches at Scott Farm Orchard, Vermont. According to Scott Farm orchard manager, Zeke Goodband, these beautiful, sweet, firm-fleshed peaches are the perfect choice for grilling and roasting!

Scott Farm Peaches in a Bowl - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comBeautiful Scott Farm Peaches, Almost too Good to Eat

Oh summer, summer, summer . . .Where have you gone? As I sit here in my garden chair —surveying the red-tipped Viburnum leaves and orange-tinted Flame Grass— once again I marvel at the quick passage of time. In just a few short hours, autumn will officially begin in the Northern Hemisphere, (20:44 UTC or 4:44 pm ET). Much as I love the fall —always my favorite season— this year I feel more than a touch of melancholy as I let sweet summer go.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' in Autumn - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Blushing Limelight Hydrangea (H. paniculata ‘Limelight’) in the Garden this Morning

Canada Geese and Harvest Moon - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com  Canada Geese Slip Away by the Light of the Full Harvest Moon

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' in late summer - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Morning Light Maiden Grass Dances in the Cool Breeze (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’)

Although this has been a rather cool and rainy season, the months were also filled with warm riches and delights; kayaking on the river, a trip to Block Island, Christmas-in-July fireworks, a picnic in the orchard at Scott Farm, milestone family birthdays, and exciting projects at work. This has also been a year of culinary exploration and adventures thanks to delightful produce from my kitchen garden and fruit from nearby farms.

Swan Song of Summer - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com The Swan Song of Summer 

Recently, after picking up fresh, late-season peaches from Zeke Goodband at Scott Farm, in Dummerston, Vermont, I decided to experiment with savory recipes featuring this delightful fruit. Grilling peaches has always been a favorite late-summer pastime, and after sampling a delicious appetizer of blue cheese, caramelized onion and pecan stuffed peaches at Magpie Restaurant in nearby Greenfield, Massachusetts, I decided to give the idea a whirl. Simple to prepare and delicious as an appetizer or side dish, these grilled, stuffed peaches are the perfect way to say farewell to summertime.

So as we listen to the swan-song of summer —crickets in the meadow and bluejays in the scrub— here’s a touch of sweetness to send the gentle season on her way . . .

Grilled and Stuffed Peaches on Platter with Balsamic Glaze - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com

Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Glaze

 Appetizer or Light Side for Six

Ingredients

6 Large Gloria Peaches (sliced in half & pitted, skin on)

1/8 cup Pecans (toasted, chopped fine)

1 small, sweet onion, caramelized and chopped fine

1/4 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese (or more)

Salt to taste

Butter for Grilling

Balsamic Glaze for Drizzling Platter

Grilling Peaches - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com

Method

Caramelize onions, chop/toast pecans, and crumble high-quality blue cheese in advance. Mix the three ingredients together in a small bowl and salt lightly to taste. Set aside.

Slice and pit peaches. Scoop out center neatly to make a bit of room for stuffing if pits are small, and set aside on a platter for grilling. If grilling over flame, brush peaches with melted butter and set on medium-hot grill, away from direct flame. If grilling indoors (Foreman grill or the like), heat the grill and then rub with butter. Grill the peaches until fragrant and soft, but still firm. Remove from heat and fill each peach with a tablespoon or more of stuffing. Arrange on platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled, Stuffed Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Pecans and Balsamic Glaze - Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com Grilled, Stuffed Peaches Make a Great Appetizer or Side Dish with Other Grilled Foods. Serve Warm or at Room Temperature.

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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In the Hazy Light of August . . .

August 30th, 2013 Comments Off

Hazy Late August Light - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comThe Home Stretch of Summer

Crickets, bluejays, morning fog, lazy sunrises & lengthening shadows; September is coming . . .

Looking Forward, Looking Back - Swans on the Cove - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comSeems We’re all Soaking Up the Last, Warm, Hazy Days of August . . .

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Scott Farm’s Springtime Renaissance: Above the Orchard, Beauty in Full Bloom

May 15th, 2013 § 4

Scott_Farm_Orchard_Apple_Blossom_Aerial_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comBeauty in Full Bloom: Above the Apple Orchard, Scott Farm, Vermont

It’s apple blossom season at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, and the orchard is in full, fragrant glory. Having posted many articles here on The Gardener’s Eden about the Scott Farm orchard —both during the springtime bloom and again during the autumn apple harvest— I decided to do something a bit different this year. Change is in the air at Scott Farm, and inspired by the uplifting mood, I took to the sky for a fresh, symbolic perspective on this beautiful, Vermont treasure.

Scott_Farm_Aerial_One_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comRow upon row of heirloom fruit trees —including apples, quince, peaches, plums and pears, as well as berries—  fill the orchard at Scott Farm

With Tristam Johnson now serving as interim executive director at Landmark Trust, the springtime excitement at Scott Farm has reached an all-time high. Kelly Carlin, office manager, has been updating Scott Farm’s website, and long-time orchard manager and heirloom fruit tree expert, Ezekiel Goodband has recently begun blogging; journaling about day-to-day orchard keeping, as well as posting updates on fruit tree sales, educational programs and community activities at the farm. There’s a springtime renaissance happening at Scott Farm, and the entire orchard is buzzing with the lively energy of a newly invigorated hive. Be sure to visit the Scott Farm website throughout the growing season for information about the availability of ecologically grown orchard fruit and berries, as well as seasonal events and educational opportunities at Scott Farm.

Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_Two_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com 
Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_Three_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com

Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com

A heart-felt thank you goes out to Landmark Trust’s new, Executive Director, Tristam Johnson, Scott Farm’s Office Manager, Kelly Carlin and Scott Farm Orchard Manager, Ezekiel Goodband for extending a warm welcome on my visits, both aerial and terrestrial. Wishing everyone at Scott Farm a bright and happy new growing season!

And a very special note of thanks to William Bonnette, offering flight training, photo flights and aerial photography services in New England, and beyond. Thank you so much for donating your time, expertise and use of your aircraft for this flight! Click on image below for more information or to schedule your own flight above New England!

flypioneervalley.com

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Purple Finch & Springtime Blossoms: Rejoicing as Sleeping Beauty Awakes . . .

April 24th, 2013 Comments Off

Purple_Finch_Copyright_2013_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com_no_use_without_permission Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) in Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

It’s been a raw and chilly April in Vermont, and yet springtime songbirds, undaunted by the lingering chill, have flocked to my garden in search of sustenance. Some species are merely passing through, but others will settle and set up summer residence. This month’s standout is the Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus, pictured above), with plum-stained plumage and a sweet, rich, warbling song. An occasional winter-guest at my bird feeders, the Purple Finch may be scouting for nesting territory (learn more about this beautiful native species at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, here). I am grateful for the brilliant-colored beauty and musical backdrop provided by my winged, garden guests and the delicate buds and blossoms, decorating my hilltop.

pussywillow_michaela_medina_harlow Harbinger of Springtime: Native Pussy Willows (Salix discolor), Shimmer Like Grey Pearls on a Misty Morning

 With cold, grey days and bare branches on trees, I find my eyes drawn to even the slightest hint of color. Blossoming maple —ruddy tipped twigs glowing against low clouds— stain the hilltops a subtle shade of raspberry. With cooler-than-usual temperatures, native Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and shrubs like Vernal Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis), have extended their early-spring show. I love how the early-season buds and blooms catch light; like drops of berry-colored jam and sweet, golden honey in the sun . . .

crocus_tommasinianus_Copyright_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com_no_use_without_permission Crocus tommasinianus in Morning Light

Hamamelis_vernalis_April_sunset_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com A Flower I Normally Associate with March, Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) Continues to Seduce with Luminous, Golden Beauty and Honey-Sweet Fragrance

Crocus_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com Sunlit Crocus: Beautiful, Brilliant Colored Reward for Garden Clean-Up

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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First Hints of a Changing Season . . .

March 30th, 2013 § 3

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenersedenApril’s Promise: Beloved Blossoms on My Bodnant Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’). Read More About this Beauty in My Previous Post Here

The first hints of a changing season: warm breezes from the south and silvery pussy willow catkins, soft against the skin, flirty pink buds on my favorite viburnum and the taste of sweet new maple syrup in a springtime cocktail.

Finally, as the snowbanks reluctantly recede, Spring has decided to make her fashionably late arrival. Of course we all smile in eager anticipation —watching her seductively saunter up the garden path— even if she always makes us a bit impatient in our wait. Hello gorgeous, we sure have missed you . . .

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise' Blossoms in Snow ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Sweetness to Melt the Snow: The Golden Blossoms of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ Sparkle Like Drops of Honey, Begin to Open in the Late Afternoon Sunlight (Read More About this Lovely Witch Hazel Here)

Pussy Willow Bundles ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comjpg Harvesting Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), Branches by the Armful. (Read More About this Delightful Native Here)

Shall we make a toast to Spring and all of her irresistible charms. Here’s looking at you, kid . . .

Sugar-Moon-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden  My Annual, Frost-Melting Treat: Sugar Moon Cocktail (Click Here for Recipe)

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Late March Musings: Welcoming Spring

March 25th, 2013 § 2

Springtime in the Secret Garden ⓒ 2012 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden My Secret Garden Path, Fragrant with Woodland Phlox (P. divaricata), in April of Last Year

Somewhere, beneath the melting snow, the garden is stirring; restless to feel the sweet kiss of springtime sunshine . . .

Have only just returned from my travels  —busy downloading photos and editing stories to share— but wanted to pause for a moment to say hello and welcome the fresh new season. Welcome Spring. Won’t you drop your cold shoulder and show us a little tenderness?

Spring Along the Secret Garden Path ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comSecret Garden Steps in Springtime

Garden Design and Installation: Michaela Medina Harlow

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Caramel-Drizzled, Spiced Coffee Cake, Daylight Savings & Winter’s Last Hurrah

March 9th, 2013 § 5

Caramel Drizzled Coffee Cake ⓒ 2013 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com Caramel-Drizzled Coffee Cake Takes the Edge Off a Winter Storm

Late winter snow storms are real heart-breakers. And it seems that, no matter how many times we’re hit by an early March ‘weather event’, I’m always caught by surprise. Songbirds are returning, buds are swelling on trees, and clocks are about to spring forward to daylight savings time (p.s. Don’t forget to move clocks ahead an hour before you turn in tonight, as DST starts 3/10/13).

It’s just starting to feel like a new season, and then. . .  It hits. A wet, heavy snowstorm. Doesn’t seem quite fair!

At times like these, I usually feel the need to bake something to lift my weary spirits and give me energy to dig out; something warm and golden and just a little bit gooey. What to do? I scanned the kitchen and my eyes focused in on my Finca Rosa Blanca coffee beans, sitting on the countertop. Mmmm. That’s it! Something like . . .

Caramel-Drizzled Coffee Cake

(ingredients for one 10-inch tube cake or two smaller cakes)

1/2 lb (2 sticks) of butter at room temperature

1 cup of granulated sugar

3 eggs at room temperature

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup sour cream or plain, Greek yogurt (full fat or 2%)

1/4 cup espresso or very strongly brewed French roast coffee, cooled*

5 teaspoons vanilla extract (or rum for a twist)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Caramel Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method

This is a very simple cake, but first, make yourself some espresso or some very strong French roast coffee to wake yourself up. Then, set aside 1/4 cup of espresso/coffee to cool and preheat your oven to 350° fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 10″ tube or Bundt pan (you can also use other shapes and types of pans of similar size, or make two cakes in 8″ spring-form pans, as I did for the photo). Now go gather your ingredients.

In a large bowl, blend the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together with a fork. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream or Greek yogurt with the espresso (or coffee) and 5 teaspoons of vanilla, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer), beat the butter for a few seconds, add in the sugar and beat a minute or two. Add in three eggs at room temperature and beat until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Very slowly, combine the dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Add in the sour cream or yogurt/coffee/vanilla mix and beat the mixture a bit longer.

Pour the cake batter into the buttered/floured pan, stick it into the oven and set your timer to bake for 45-50 minutes. It’s done when the top is golden colored and a stick pulls out clean from the center of the cake. When done, let rest for 5 or 10 minutes and then remove the cake form/invert to cool. Flip the cake onto a serving platter. Now, at this point, I like to prick little holes in the cake with a stick or fork so that some of the caramel drizzle gets inside. That’s up to you.

To make the caramel drizzle: combine the brown sugar, yogurt and vanilla in a small bowl and stir well until blended. Set aside until cake is cooled and then drizzle over to your heart’s content (and set some aside for sinfully delicious dipping).

*If you’d rather not add coffee (even decaf?), you can omit this ingredient and instead use one full cup of yogurt or sour cream in the main cake.

Snow-Covered Nest ⓒ 2013 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com

Now, if you’re like me, you hate waiting, so you go outside to shovel while your cake bakes. This gives you the heart to clear snow from the roof, which has slid down and piled atop the already snow-covered terrace and drifted into the walkways. Finish that off, then come in, drizzle the coffee cake, have a thick slice, and then go back out to clear the pathways, cars, truck, tractor and utility areas. Meanwhile, your partner-in-crime plows and pushes back snowbanks, while troubleshooting a stalling engine on the ’86 Chevy. Winter sure is a lot of work!

I recently read that shoveling snow by hand burns something like 400 calories (or more) per hour. Of course, the heavier the snow  the harder you work, and the more calories you burn. Oh, and don’t worry, this probably won’t be the last work out you get before spring. Keep that shovel ready. You’re gonna need a LOT of coffee cake to clear the nest!

Snowy, Sunlit Viburnum trilobum ⓒ 2013 michaela medina - thegardenersedenFrosted Viburnum trilobum Along the Sunlit Walkway

Lavender Hills ⓒ 2013 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com To the Southwest: Warm, Lavender Hills

March Sunset in the Garden After the Storm ⓒ 2013 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com Sunset in the Northwest Gardens, After the Storm

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Forward, March . . .

March 1st, 2013 § 3

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida' ⓒ 2012 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com Not just yet, but in a matter of weeks, the Witch Hazels will begin to bloom (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ in March of 2012). Read more about spring blooming Witch Hazels in my previous post, here.

Although March belongs, in large part, to Winter, this never seems to stop Spring from sending flirtatious hints our way. Just step outside, and already you will hear her sweet song in the treetops. Beneath the snow, below the cool, naked branches and icy stone, sap is running and life is stirring . . .

Sugaring-Season-Deer-Ridge-Farm-ⓒ-michaela-at-thegardenerseden Sugar Maple sap is running, and the local shacks are busy boiling (Click Here to Read About Maple Sugaring at Deer Ridge Farm, Guilford, Vermont)

Hamamelis-vernalis-in-the-Garden-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden.com_ The buds of native, Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) wait patiently for a warm sunny day, to release their honey-sweet scent into the breeze. Read about the Vernal Witch Hazel here.

Hamamelis-vernalis-Forced-Branches-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden For now, this northern gardener must be satisfied with an armful of forced branches for her Eden indoors. Read more about how to force branches by clicking back to my previous post, here.

So when March snow falls softly, coating trees and obscuring the view, I remind myself that these are the last few weeks of Winter. Soon, her icy beauty will vanish and we’ll be saying hello again to coquettish Spring . . .

Black-Capped Chickadee ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com Ever-wary of predators, a Black-Capped Chickadee surveys the feeding stations for safety before swooping in for a snack . . .

The Hills of Southern Vermont in Late Winter with Snow- Covered Trees ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com

Ermine (Stoat or Short-Tailed Weasel ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.comPerhaps the Ermine (aka Stoat or Short-Tailed Weasel) is hunting today? Read more about this fierce, tiny hunter in my previous post on the white-cloaked ermine, here.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Farewell to February . . .

February 28th, 2013 § 5

February Sunrise ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden A Soft, Snowy Farewell on the Last Day of February

A foot of new snow fell on the hilltop yesterday, coating the last morning of February in a blanket of soft white. With longer days and warmer temperatures ahead, there’s much to look forward to in March. But for now, there’s the beautiful stillness of my sleeping garden to enjoy at apricot-tinted dawn and smoky-pink sunset . . .

Sunset in the Winter Garden ⓒ 2013 Michaela - thegardenerseden.com A Dramatic Season from Start to Finish . . .

February 28th in the Garden ⓒ 2013 Michaela - thegardenerseden.comWinter Still Holds the Garden Seat . . .

Winter at the Secret Garden Door ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com Laces the Treetops . . .

Cornus kousa with a Dusting of Snow at Sunrise ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com Blushes the Sky . . .

Blonde-Streaked Garden in Late Winter ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden And Paints the View

Snow in the Back Garden ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden February is the Shortest Month . . .

Southern Hills in Snow ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  - thegardenerseden.com But She Always Seems to Linger the Longest . . .

Winter View to the North ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenersedenClinging with Chilly Fingers to the Hills

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Love The One You’re With . . . Renewing My Appreciation Of Winter

February 22nd, 2013 § 12

Snowshoeing and Shadows in Winter ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  thegardenerseden.com Snowshoeing the Woodland Trails . . .

Time is relative, and it always seems to pass most slowly when you’re waiting. At this time of year, many of us in New England start to feel a bit down. Winter is a long season here, and in spite of what the calendar might say, it often lasts well into early spring. For me, living in the future —counting the days until apple trees blossom— only makes the winter seem longer and more brutal. When I was a child, like most children, I loved winter. Back then, snow storms meant adventure: cancelled classes, homemade cookies, sleds and snow forts. Of course once you grow up, other realities —shoveling, plowing snow, power outages and rising fuel costs— begin to steal the fun away from wintertime.

This year, I decided to take back winter, and focus on the joy. Instead of longing for the scent of moist earth and the colors of springtime, I turned my attention to the delights of snow and ice. I chased away the February blahs on a fast-moving toboggan and lightweight snowshoes; entertaining myself by flying down the driveway and rediscovering the joys crashing through paper-thin ice. Amazing what a bit of fast-paced activity will do for your mood!

Beech Leaf in Icy Pool ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.comA Half-Frozen Brook, Filled with Fallen Beech Leaves . . .

Tiny Speck of Orange on Ice ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com And Torn Specks of Orange on Ice . . .

Winter Green ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comNaked Branches Dancing in Chilly Pools, Swaying with Winter Worn Leaves and Hints of Spring Green

My twelve-year-old dog, Oli adores the winter. And why not? There are animals to track and snowballs to chase and opportunities to roll in fresh, white powder. He lives for a belly-deep blizzard; the chance to grab an enormous stick and “lead” the plow down my long, winding drive. He whines and wiggles and wags his tail, impatiently waiting for the engine to turn over so his fun can begin. Oli never seems to mind the cold when he’s moving. In fact, I can often see him smiling though the snow; digging to China as I struggle to connect an extension cord and charge yet another dead battery. “Winter is great fun.”, he says, “Quit your complaining and you’re bound to notice.”

Oli ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com The Joy of Finding Abundant Beauty and Surprise in Snowy Forest, on a Sunny Winter’s Day

Oli’s right, of course. Winter is both fun and amazing. And so I vow from this day forward to end the seasonal lament. No more waiting for the arrival of sweet springtime. She’ll be here soon enough. And if you find yourself suffering from the blues, join me in building a snowman. And remember, as Stephen Stills once sang . . .

“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with . . .”

Sunset Over Barton Cove, Gill:Turners Falls, Massachusetts ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow From a Recent Flight Above the Valley: Winter Sunset Above Barton Cove, Gill, Massachusetts

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Dramatically Draped in Sequins & Lace, In Swept the White Witch of Winter…

December 28th, 2012 § 3

Christmas Tree in Snow ⓒ 2012 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.comWinter Swept in Upon a Blue Velvet Evening …

Winter is a drama-queen. In she sweeps on her snowy chariot, with a chilly air. She bears little resemblance to her sisters; coquettish Springtime, carefree Summer, or even melancholy Autumn. Wrapped in sheer white lace and silver sequins, Winter certainly possesses bare-boned beauty and elegance, but she can also be cruel, cold and unforgiving. How will she treat us in the coming year? Let us hope she keeps her dark shadows to a minimum and her stormy drama light; enchanting us with blue velvet evenings, sparkling, moonlit nights and shimmering, sun-kissed mornings…

Snow and Sleet Blasted Window ⓒ 2012 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.comWrapped in White Satin & Crystal-Coated Lace…

Snow-Bound Garden Chair ⓒ 2012 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.comShe Danced & Swirled About the Garden with a Long, Heavy, White Cloak, Covering Everything in Her Path…

Kalmia latifolia with Snow ⓒ 2012 michaela medina - thegardenerseden.comSleep Well, Sweet Laurel, Cozied-Up in Winter’s Soft Blanket (Kalmia latifolia)

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Welcoming December . . .

December 4th, 2012 Comments Off

Sunrise Flurries and a Fresh New Month

Welcome December. Late Autumn greets Winter as we prepare to celebrate the coming solstice. Long, dark nights bring flickering candles to the dinner table and twinkling lights along the garden paths. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be gathering pinecones, winterberry, evergreen boughs and bittersweet for wreaths, swags and garlands to create a warm welcome at the door.

It’s a beautiful time of the year . . .

Welcoming the Coming Solstice with Candlelit Garden Paths

Snow Flurries! Just in Time for the First Weekend of December

Gathering Evergreen Boughs and Pinecones from the Forest

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Into the August Haze …

August 1st, 2012 § 5

Ladybells (Adenophora confusa) Spill, Languid Blossoms to the Lawn

August is a languid month; hazy, verdant hills saturated with the weight of humid air. It’s mid-summer, and the fields are ripe. Come stroll with me through the blowzy gardens and wildflower meadow; gathering Black-eyed Susans, Ladybells and Queen Anne’s Lace for carefree bouquets. It’s time for fruit picking in the peach-filled orchards, cocktails on the sun-warmed terrace and drifting off to sleep beside the deep blue lake …

Like an August Sunset, Woodside Daylily Mix adds Fiery Heat to the Entry Garden

Queen Anne’s Lace and Goldenrod in the Wildflower Meadow

Peaches at Walker Farm

The Sun-Warmed Hammock Floats Above the Tickle of Tawny Hairgrass (Native Deschampsia  flexuosa)

Rudbeckia hirta and Adenophora confusa Along the Wildflower Walk

Sultry Summer Moonlight in the Indigo Haze

Remember to Look for the Full, Green Corn Moon Tonight! The First Full Moon of August Moon will Rise Tonight at 7:37pm ET. A Second, Blue Moon  will Rise this Month on August 31st. See the Old Farmer’s Almanac Online for a Listing of Full Moon Dates, Times & Names

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, 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. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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In the Good Old Summer Time…

June 20th, 2012 Comments Off

Summer Time in the Wildflower Walk. Read About Oli’s Wondrous Wildflower Walk Here

Long days, balmy nights, bare feet and the smell of freshly mown grass: summer time at last. And now, with the rush of spring time planning and planting behind us, it’s time to begin reaping the garden’s rich rewards. Step inside the sapling fence and snip a few sprigs of fresh mint. There’s sun tea brewing on the terrace and later, fresh raspberries for homemade daiquiris.

Summer begins tonight at 7:09 pm ET, and though her days are long, they are also fleeting. Make time to pack a picnic from the garden, roll up a lavender-scented blanket and slip off to the lake. Oh, and don’t forget the sparklers for twirling in twilight’s blue hour. You’ve worked hard all spring, now it’s time to relax…

A Warm Welcome to Good Old Summer Time…

Minted Ice Tea with Lime: Click Here for Past Post & Recipe

Refreshing, Lime-Kissed Raspberry Daiquiris: Click Here for Past Post & Recipe

Song of Summertime Salad: Click Here for Recipe & Post

Garden-Fresh Frittata on the Terrace: Click Here for Recipe

My Favorite Potato Salad, Patricia Wells’ Pommes À L’Huile: Recipe & Post, Click Here

Find Vegetable Gardening Tips and More Kitchen Garden Recipes & Cocktails on the Potager Page: Click Here

Long, Lingering Sunlight in the Wildflower Walk

In the Good Old Summer Time – YouTube Link by RagtimeFreak86

Photographs and Text ⓒ 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!

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A Kiss Goodbye: Farewell to Springtime

June 20th, 2012 Comments Off

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Visits the Mountain Laurel Along the Secret Garden Path

Early this morning, warm sunlight streaming through dewy fog lifting from the valley, I slipped outside for my last springtime walk through the garden. The seasons change tonight —7:09 pm ET marking the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year— as we say goodbye to Spring and hello to Summer. How to celebrate? With so many lovely options, I’ve yet to decide. How will you ring in this much-anticipated season? A swing in the hammock? A cool cocktail? Maybe a dip in the lake?

Perhaps a Strawberry Flirt? Click Here for Recipe

But before she slips through the gate, let us wish a fond farewell to sweet Springtime. She shall ever remain in our hearts!

Springtime Sunshower in the Secret Garden

Spring Dances with Summer at the Secret Garden Door

Farewell to Springtime’s Sweet Ephemerals: Blushing Aquilegia and Fragrant Woodland Phlox

Photographs and Text ⓒ 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!

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Musings on the Merry Month of May…

May 14th, 2012 § 1

The Secret Garden Steps and Path, Yesterday Evening (Blooming Here and Below: Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’, Muscari armeniacum, Ajuga reptans ‘Purple Brocade’, Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’, Fothergilla major ‘Mt Airy’, Viburnum lantana ‘Variegatum’, in a Sea of Emerging Wildflowers)

It’s a rainy Monday morning in May, and I’m at my desk catching up on all of the things that have fallen by the wayside during this garden designer’s spring rush. Overwhelmed with professional commitments, projects, and twelve-hour planting shifts, I find myself a stranger in my own garden these days. But yesterday evening, after hanging the hammock between trees at forest’s edge, I took a break from my chores to stroll around the garden; drinking in the delicate beauty of May…

Having self-sown along the wildflower walk, fragrant woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’) fills the air with a ever-so-subtle, spicy scent, accented by sweet and fruity grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum). Bees buzz and bounce about the ajuga-lined stone path, gathering pollen from the rich, violet-blue carpet of blossoms. Nearby, hummingbirds —just recently returning from their winter travels— sip nectar from the throats of silverbells, dangling from twin Halesia trees (H. tetraptera). As I walked, I realized that my personal experience of spring is no different from all of nature; it’s quite simply a bustling, beautiful time of year…

Inside the Secret Garden, Emerging Tufts of Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra ‘All Gold’) Adds a Bit of Bright Chartreuse to the Woodsy Tapestry: Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia pensylvanica), Spurge (Euphorbia), Grape Hyacinth (Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’), Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’), Foam Flower (Tiarella Cordifolia), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Tree Peony (Paeonia mouton x lutea ‘High Noon’, Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestevium) and various Narcissus

Silverbell Blossoms on a Rainy May Morning (Halesia tetraptera). Read About This North American Native Tree by Clicking Here and Following Hyperlinks Below the Photos & Within the Essay

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, 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!

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From April Showers to May Flowers…

May 1st, 2012 Comments Off

Trout lily (Erythronium tuolumnense), Daffodils (Narcissus ‘Snipe’), Coral Bell Leaves (Heuchera americana) and Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume’). (Click here to read more about Erythronium)

Happy May Day! Here in Vermont, we begin the new month with a day of much-needed rain.

May is a busy month for gardeners. Thirty one days of planning, prepping, planting, weeding and harvesting early crops. Luckily, longer days make all of our harried, summer-time preparations possible. Temperatures in the northeast can still be quite chilly at this time of year and I always check the forecast on clear nights and protect tender plants when the mercury drops.

Still, as we steadily wind our way toward summer, the May nights grow warmer and sweeter. We shed our layers, kick off shoes and wiggle our bare toes in newly-mown grass. It’s May Day at last, and the gardener celebrates; dancing to the percussive beat of raindrops and the symphony of birds in springtime song…

Lovely, dark, Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus ‘Royal Heritage Strain’) Blooms Along the Mossy Stone Wall (Click here to read more about the Lenten Rose)

Trout Lilies Blossom Amongst Fragrant Blue Woodland Phlox (P. divaricata ‘Clouds of Perfume)

With Clusters of Pale, Pinkish-Hued Sisters Nearby (Helleborus x hybridus ‘Royal Heritage Strain’)

Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Raspberry Splash’ and Narcissus, Dance in the Wind-Driven Rain (Click here to read more about Pulmonaria)

The Return of Cooler Temps Extends the Bloom-Time of This Deliciously Fragrant Burkwood Viburnum (V. x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’)

Creamy-White Witch Alder Blossoms (Fothergilla major ‘Mt. Airy’) and Golden Spicebush Buds (Lindera benzoin) Add Scent to the Damp, Thick Air. (Click here, and also here, to read more about season-spanning beauty of North American native Witch Alder, and click here to read more about North American native Spicebush)

And at the Secret Garden Door, a Water Bowl Catches Raindrops as They Bounce from the Mossy Rock

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, 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!

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In Anticipation of April’s Pink Moon …

April 5th, 2012 § 1

The Pink Moon (Shown Here, Rising on April 4th) is Full this Friday, April 6th, at 3:19pm ET

Longtime followers of The Gardener’s Eden will recall that this starry-eyed gardener has a particular fondness for April’s Pink Moon. Previous posts (such as this one, here ) have also included links to Nick Drake’s beautiful song by the same name, and various pink-hued flowers; including the moon’s namesake, phlox.

Last night as I was driving home from a late-day meeting with a design client, I happened to notice our nearly-full, celestial neighbor, flirting above the horizon in a pouf of pinkish clouds; perfection between budding trees. And as I rounded the bend between historic farms, there she was again; rising beauty, high above the wet, April fields…

The Pink Moon will be full this Friday —coinciding nicely with the start of Passover and Good Friday— at 3:19pm, and will rise at 7:38pm ET. Of course, at 98% full tonight, the Pink Moon will be a pleasure to watch a bit earlier this evening (rising at 6:20pm ET on 4/5/12). And you can bet I will be raising a glass to the first full moon of this sweet new season (even if it is still just a wee bit nippy outside).

For more information on the moon and its phases, and highly entertaining lunar lore, visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac moon page, here.

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina for The Gardener’s Eden. All photos, 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!

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