Of Raindrops & Moody Morning Skies…

March 30th, 2012 Comments Off

Raindrops on Spring Blossoms at the Secret Garden Door (Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’)

Rain Mixed with Snow & Sleet in the Blushing Hills of Southern Vermont

But Even the Greyest of Days Still Glow: Spicebush Filled with Golden Buds of Promise (read more about Lindera benzoin by clicking here)

Well, it seems that Spring has decided to give New England the cold shoulder this week. We’re all complaining —it’s the local pastime— but of course we have no choice but to wait for her, so she knows she can get away with it. After all of that early sunshine and sweet perfume, this morning I woke up to an icy glare, bitter blast and spitting snow. In fact, overall, Spring seems rather raw today! Just when we’d gotten used to frolicking about in short sleeves and sipping evening wine on the terrace, she’s back to her moody ways. Oh, we all knew this would happen, and of course, this is just the sort of tormenting and teasing that makes us want her more. She’ll come ’round again, and we know it, so patiently we don our lined coats and strike a fire in the stove. There will be waiting. Then there will be more waiting. And after that, there will be some additional waiting. The waiting will continue for an almost an intolerable amount of time, until finally —finally— she comes back to us again …

Looking Down the Secret Garden Steps in Late March (Juniperus squamata ‘Holger’, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Cornus alba ‘Siberica’)

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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Seduced by Springtime Sunshine & Sweetly Scented Air …

March 24th, 2012 Comments Off

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ Scents the Air & Reflects in the Water Bowl at the Secret Garden Door in March {Stonework by Vermont Artist Dan Snow}

Seduced by the sweet scent of springtime and early morning’s soft light, chores in the Secret Garden —raking, weeding, edging and mulching— hardly resemble work at all. After filling the water bowl beside Dan Snow’s moss-kissed walls, I stand back to drink in the fragrance of bodnant viburnum, perfuming the cool spring air …

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ Glows in Morning Light, Filling the Air with the Incomparable, Fresh Scent of Spring

In Full Bloom: The Intoxicating Fragrance of Bodnant Viburnum ‘Dawn’ Lures Me Into the Secret Garden

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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Beauty Emerging on the Vernal Equinox: A Warm Welcome to Spring …

March 20th, 2012 Comments Off

The Carpet of Rose-Tinted Spring Heath (Erica carnea) is Blooming a Full Month Early on the Ledges (read more about this lovely plant here) in My Garden This Year

More often than not, the first day of spring arrives with a bit of blustery snow, sleet or freezing rain here in Vermont. But if there’s one thing no New Englander can ever predict, it’s the weather. With sunny days and balmy temperatures reaching up to the seventies, this year, the Vernal Equinox seems a mere formality. Spring arrived weeks ago, and she’s really strutting her stuff. Should I trust this notoriously coquettish season? Is she here to stay or just to flirt? Only time will tell, but for now, I will stretch out like a satisfied cat on the sun-warmed terrace and enjoy the sweet seduction …

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ Just Beginning to Unfold Along the Walkway

A Chilly, Naked Frog Warms Itself in the Sun, After Emerging From Cold Leaves and Mud

The Rich Rewards of My Early Morning Walks: Endless Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) Bouquets (read more about this native beauty and early season favorite of pollinators)

I Try Hard Not to Play Favorites, but Viburnum bodnantesnse ‘Dawn’ Always Melts My Winter-Weary Heart with Her Sweet, Cerise Color and Intoxicating Scent (read more about this exquisite shrub here)

Nature’s Beauty Suddenly Surrounds: Welcoming Pussy Willow on the Kitchen Island

In Full Bloom, The Stand of Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) in My Garden Fills the Air with a Honeysuckle-Like Fragrance, Attracting Swarms of Buzzing Bees from the Meadow and Beyond (read more about the season-spanning beauty of witch hazel 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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Marching Forward to Springtime …

March 12th, 2012 Comments Off

Cerise-Flushed Bodnant Viburnum Buds, Swollen in Morning Sunshine (Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’)

The sleepy garden is slowly rousing now from her long winter slumber. And as she greets the warmth of each early March morning, I slip on my wellies, grab a few tools and a hot cup of coffee, eager to join in her blushing, dawn reverie. Springtime is coming, and the garden is swollen and glowing with annual anticipation …

Bright & Cheerful at Daybreak: Golden Witch Hazel Blossoms (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’)

With late winter pruning completed, my eye turns toward autumn garden remnants in need of removal. Ornamental grasses and withered perennial stalks are cut back with manual garden shears or —in the case of large, tough specimens— a power brush cutter. Where snow has receded and the soil has been dried by sun and wind, I lightly remove debris with a flexible rake and clear pathways with a stiff garden broom; dragging a brown tarp behind me and collecting a heap to be dumped and chopped up near the compost pile. Protective wire cages —set into place to thwart greedy rodents— are removed from young trees and shrubs and returned to storage in the Secret Garden Room …

Late Winter/Early Spring Garden Clean-Up Begins!

I Like to Cut Back Ornamental Grass in Late Winter or Early Spring. After Chopping Up the Grass, I Gradually Add It to My Compost Pile

As Snow Recedes, I Remove the Protective Wire Cages Placed Around Ornamental Trees & Shrubs Last Autumn, and Store Them in the Garden Room for Re-Use Next Year

Of course between garden clean-up and indoor-eden chores, there’s always a bit of time for spring dreaming. As I stroll through the melting pathways, I gather a few budding branches for forcing in vases and begin pulling out frost-hardy garden accents  —such as urns and flower pots— placing them here and there, in anticipation of early bulbs and pretty pansies…

An Annual Pleasure and Bi-Product of Late-Winter Pruning: Forced Branches of Fragrant, Bodnant Viburnum

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!

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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Tip-Toe Through the Tree-Tops: Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica …

March 7th, 2012 § 3

Selvatura Park, Santa Elena, Costa Rica: Suspended Bridges Span Verdant Valleys & Lush Canopies of Mist-Covered Tree Tops

When describing a great adventure, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to begin. Such was the case when I returned from my recent travels in Costa Rica. Because I truly fell in love with one particular area —the Monteverde Cloud Forest Region— I knew right away that I would find it impossible to tell the tale in chronological order. So I skipped right to the middle, and I hope you won’t mind!

Getting to Monteverde Cloud Forest —4,662′ above sea level— is quite a journey in and of itself. Miles and miles of narrow, dusty dirt roads twist and turn up, around and through the rugged mountainous terrain in the Puntarenas region. The travel is slow-going, with tourist-filled busses and supply trucks popping up around perilous corners. Although I love to drive, for once, I was very happy to be in the passenger seat!

The View from the Mountains Leading to Santa Elena, Looking Down to the Coast and Nicoya Peninsula 

The Monteverde area sits high above sea level, spanning Costa Rica’s continental divide, and encompassing a variety of microclimates.  The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a protected, natural area founded by American Quakers when they settled the area and began farming in 1951. Since that time, more Cloud Forest area has been devoted to parks and preserves …

Mist-Covered Tree Tops at the Edge of the Continental Divide, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Cloud Forests are truly some of the rarest, most magical places on Earth. Only 1% of the world’s wooded areas are cloud forests. While staying in Santa Elena de Monteverde at the beautiful Arco Iris Lodge, I visited two of these mysterious, mist-covered forests within minutes of each other: Selvatura Park and Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

Michaela in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

Selvatura Park alone boasts 8 suspended bridges, carrying hikers through and above the cloud-shrouded forest canopy. We spent approximately 3 hours hiking in Selvatura Park, and a similar amount of time in Monteverde Cloud Forest; listening to the sounds of tropical birds, breathing in the moist, warm air and ogling countless botanical beauties. There are far too many photographs and stories to share in just one post, but here’s a first glimpse at some of the incredible flora I observed at ground level. I truly felt as if I were roaming a gigantic terrarium …

Slender Threads of Mucuna Vine (there are seven different species in Costa Rica) Drape Between the Trees Like Emerald-Hued Web

Delightful Combinations of Hart’s Tongue (Elaphoglossum eximium) & Tree Ferns Mingle Upon & Between Moss-Covered Trunks

Begonia convallariodora, a cloud forest native, blooms in the shadowy, blue mist

This gorgeous, pink-tinged Blechnum occidentale, stands out amid her lush, verdant neighbors

Another Native of the Monteverde Reserve, This Beautifully Pink-Tinted Begonia involucrata Shimmers with a Fresh Coat of Raindrops

Familiar, Yet Strange: It’s Always a Pleasure to Stumble Upon a Common Houseplant —Like this Leathery Philodendron— Growing in Its Native Environment.

Bright Red, Tubular Cuphea appendiculata Flowering on the Forest Floor

Pathway Through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Floor, Lined with Senecio cooperi

At the End of One Trail, a Waterfall Spills Into a Fern-Lined Pool, Carved into Earth and Stone

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina and WB 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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Field Notes from Costa Rica …

March 4th, 2012 Comments Off

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Where in the world is Michaela? Yes, it’s been a long time since my last blog post, of this I am well aware. But, if you have been following The Gardener’s Eden page on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been hiking all over beautiful Costa Rica. With warm, moist air and lush, tropical cloud forests filled with begonias, epiphytes, moss, ferns and so much more, this country is a hortimaniac’s dream-come-true!

I have so much to share with you! Now that I have returned to snow-covered Vermont, I have many photos to sort through and stories to tell. I’ll be back with more soon, but here are a few photos to wet your appetite!

Michaela Standing in the Wet Winds at the Continental Divide – Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve – Costa Rica

Enjoying a Hike, Surrounded by Lush Moss, Ferns and Epiphytes of Every Kind Imaginable in the Costa Rican Cloud Forest at Monteverde

Enjoying a Canopy-View of the Cloud Forest & Strolling the Suspended Bridges in Selvatura Park, Santa Elena, Costa Rica

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina and WB 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!

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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