Studio Days . . .

July 31st, 2013 § Comments Off on Studio Days . . . § permalink

Secret Garden Stairs - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Ladybells and Black-Eyed Susans Tumble Down the Misty, Secret Garden Stairs

Sweet, sweet summertime. As July slowly slides into August, I find myself falling into a familiar mid-summer rhythm. Up before dawn with the songbirds, I brew a pot of coffee and head outside to water containers on the terrace. From there, I meander on down to the potager with my harvest basket, where fresh vegetables and flowers await. The heirloom tomatoes are ripening quickly now, and fistfuls of basil fill my basket. There’s much work to be done at this time of year, here in the kitchen garden, but more of that on the weekend. Now it’s time to head back indoors. I have drawings to finish and fresh paintings to begin.

August belongs to me, my garden, my artwork and my studio… I can hardly wait!

studio arrangement - michaela harlowStudio Arrangement: Hydrangea quercifolia, Tanecetum achilleifolium, Achillea millefolium & dried Penstemon digitalis

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, Gearing Up for a Show-Stopping Performance

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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A Blueberry Smash in the Moonlight & Cocktail Gardening Gone Wild . . .

July 27th, 2013 § Comments Off on A Blueberry Smash in the Moonlight & Cocktail Gardening Gone Wild . . . § permalink

Blueberry Smash - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Icy, Cool, Blueberry Smash

Have you heard? Cocktail gardening is all the rage these days. Of course, mixing drinks from fresh-picked ingredients has been popular with gardeners for as long as booze and backyards have been around, but it always seems to take mainstream media awhile to catch up, now doesn’t it? Strictly speaking, I’ve never planted a cocktail garden, but I’ll make a drink out of pretty much anything in my potager, or the surrounding forest for that matter. And why not? Just about anything edible —wild or cultivated— can go into a cocktail recipe: cucumber for a Porch Swing/Pimm’s Cup, mint for Mojitos and Juleps, berries, rhubarb, melon and stone fruit for Smashes, Daiquiris and Mimosas, chile peppers and citrus for Margaritas, celery and tomatoes for Bloody Marys, edible flowers for pretty much anything, and the list goes on and on. If it’s growing in your kitchen garden, it’s fair game. But if you’re foraging, just be 100% certain that you know what you’ve gathered in that basket!

Blueberries at Last - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com To Extend the Harvest and Provide Good Pollination, I Grow Three Blueberry Varieties in My Garden: BlueRay, Northland and Jersey. Read More About Blueberry Cultivation Here.

picking blueberries in the garden - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Early Morning Blueberry Picking

blueberries from the garden Turns into a Hot Afternoon Dilemma. Shall I Turn on the Oven to Bake a Pie? Nah…

In high summer —when ripe berries and fresh herbs are plentiful— I love to take in sunset or moonrise on the terrace with an ice cold Cuban Mint Julep, fresh Strawberry-Mint Mojito, Raspberry Daiquiri or Blueberry Smash. At the moment, blueberries are particularly plentiful in my garden —despite the efforts of four local black bear— and when it’s too hot to bake a pie or muffins, I’ll take my blueberries with a bit of mint from the herb garden, fresh squeezed lemon/lime juice, vodka or white rum, a hint of St. Germain, crushed ice and a splash of seltzer, thank you very much!

Unknown The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart

Looking for a little inspiration to help liven up the home bar? Author, gardener and cocktail-lover, Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist is a fine, educational read —as well as cocktail gardening and recipe resource— for the horticultural enthusiast who enjoys the occasional homegrown and hand-crafted drink (or two). Curious about the botanical origins of gin and vodka? Want to learn more about the relationships between the various grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers? Wondering about how to play them against or with one another in a cocktail shaker? Well then, pull up a bar stool. Get ready to kick back a glass or two, and chase it with several chapters of cocktail gardening inspiration. And I have just the drink to whet your whistle . . .

Blueberry Smash Ingredients - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com How ‘Bout an Ice Cold Blueberry Smash . . .

Blueberry Smashes on the Terrace - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Now That’s More Like It. Now, Cue Up the Moon . . .

The Blueberry Smash

Ingredients for one cocktail*

1 1/2 oz of Vodka (or White Rum)

1/2 oz St. Germain or Cointreau (and/or 1/2 oz simple syrup)

1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries

Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime (or a mix of the two)

Slices of Lemon or Lime for garnish

1/8 cup Fresh Mint Leaves, loosely packed, plus a sprig for garnish

Chilled Seltzer Water (optional, for a long version)

Crushed Ice

Method

Reserve a few mint leaves and berries for garnish and place the remaining amount in a cocktail shaker cup and smash with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon until the blueberries are pulpy and the mint leaves are crushed. Fill the cup near to the top with ice. Add citrus juice (and if you like it sweet, optional simple syrup) and spirits and place the cover on your cup. Shake, shake, shake until well mixed. Set aside. Place a couple of the reserved mint leaves at the bottom of a highball or goblet and crush them with a muddler. Fill the glass with ice. Strain the mixture into the glass and, if you prefer a longer, less-potent tasting drink, top off with chilled seltzer. Add a few fresh blueberries, a sprig of mint and/or lemon/lime slices, then serve. This recipe may be adapted and modified in a variety of ways for various berry/herb/citrus combinations**.

Cheers!

*For pitcher sized portions of this cocktail, see John Derian’s version at Bon Appetit, here.

**Find more of my favorite libations in a collection of archived cocktail posts, here.

**For more garden-fresh cocktails as well as recipes for homemade bitters, simple syrups and a shot of good wit, check out Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist Blog, here.

Thunder Moonrise through Halesia tetraptera - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Blueberry Blue Sky & Moonlight, through the Carolina Silverbell Leaves (Halesia tetraptera)

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! 

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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Embracing the Long, Hot Summer . . . Designing a Water Wise Garden

July 24th, 2013 § Comments Off on Embracing the Long, Hot Summer . . . Designing a Water Wise Garden § permalink

Golden Wildflower Walk - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Rudbeckia hirta, Blooming a Wild River of Gold in Morning Fog

Welcome to high summer! With temperatures soaring and scant rainfall last week, suddenly this gardener switched from wellies and rain ponchos to flip flops, sundresses and watering wands. New England —always known for its fast-changing weather— has been experiencing some atypical summer extremes. For the past three summers, it seems like it’s either raining non-stop for months —with severe flooding here in Vermont— or not at all. After weeks of downpours and washouts, I had quite a bit of hydrating to do last week —running here and there with hoses and timers for newly installed gardens— but my wildflower garden, pictured here, hasn’t cried out for a single drop. The vast majority of plants in this drought-tolerant design are North American natives —or hardy, non-native cousins— chosen for their willingness to not only survive, but thrive with Mother Nature’s wild mood swings. When I think ‘low maintenance’, I always look to heat and drought-tolerant plants for summer sun.

Maiden Grass and Rudbeckia - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Self Sown Rudbeckia hirta and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ Line the Secret Garden Path

Even in the Northeast, full sun gardens require perennials, shrubs and trees that can really take the heat. When designing gardens in hot, dry locations, I take my inspiration from the native prairies, meadows and even high desert regions of North America, where drought tolerance is essential to survival. Rudbeckia, Penstemon, Panicum, Agastache, Filipendula, Amsonia, Coreopsis, Asclepias, Echinacea, Liatris, Achillea, Pennisetum, Lupine, Heliopsis, Salvia and other wildflowers and grasses are all good, perennial choices for full sun and lean soil. I also look to the Mediterranean, where boney earth, sunny summer days and low rainfall place similar demands on plant life. Perennials and shrubs with narrow, fine. shiny, silvery, and/or sun-reflective foliage —Lavendula, Achillea, Tanacetum, Festuca, Perovskia, Nepeta, Artemisia, Stachys, Thymus, Echinops, Eryngium, Centranthus, Ceratsium, Salvia, Juniperus, Caryopteris, Calluna and Erica, to name a few— not only survive in full sun and fast-draining soil, but they actually require it in order to thrive. Hardy succulents and their close cousins —including many Sedum, Echeveria and Euphorbia— perform well during hot, dry spells and the many low-growing species fill empty nooks and crannies between stones and walkway pavers. Although all gardens require supplemental watering until established, by choosing drought-tolerant plants, mid-summer water-demand and garden labor is significantly decreased. And aren’t we all looking for just a bit more time in the hammock?

Light-Catching Textures in the Entry Garden - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Fine Textures & Transparant Colors Catch the Light & Slightest Breeze 

Cotinus coggygria with Miscanthus sinensis and wildflowers - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com A Drought-Tolerant Mix for Summer-Autumn Color: Rudbeckia hirta, Amsonia hubrichtii, Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, Callicarpa dichatoma ‘Issai’,  Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

Welcoming Summer Garden - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com A Warm Welcome Home, Atop the Drive

Ladybells (Adenephora confusa) - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Although Non-Native, I Notice the Lady-Like Ladybells Keep Their Cool Charm on a Hot Summer Day (Adenephora confusa)

Daylilies in July - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comWhile Daylilies Match the Thermometer in Raging Hot Shades Along the Drive

Agastache and Rudbeckia - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comAgastache & Rudbeckia Lure in the Pollinators with Bold Color, and Stand Tall on Hot Summer Days

Daylilies and Sunlight in July - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com  Late Day Light on the Golden Daylilies Along the Drive: Though Hemerocallis are Often Shunned as ‘Common’, I Love their Long, Cheerful Show and Indestructible Ease. Many of Mine are from Olallie Daylily Gardens in South Newfane, Vermont.

Bumblebee in Daylily - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Bumble Bee Enjoying Hemerocallis in the Entry Garden

On My Bookshelf: Resources & Inspiration for Designing & Planting a Water-Wise Garden . . .

The American Meadow Garden The American Meadow Garden – John Greenlee and Saxon Holt – Click to view/purchase from Amazon.com

Gardening the Meiterranean Way Gardening the Mediterranean Way – Heidi Gildemeister – Click to view/purchase from Amazon.com

Sun-Drenched Gardens - Jane Smithen Sun-Drenched Gardens – Jan Smithen

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! 

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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Celebrating July’s Thunder Moon . . .

July 22nd, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

July 2013 Full Thunder Moon - copyright - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comJuly’s Long Daylight Hours and Dramatic Skies Make for Spectacular Moon Viewing 

Be sure to watch for tonight’s full, Thunder Moon when it rises at  8:03 pm ET. The Thunder Moon is also commonly called the Buck Moon, and with July’s long days and dramatic skies, this month’s moonrise is often a spectacular show. The moon is 100% illuminated at 2:16 pm ET today, July 22, 2013. However our lovely celestial neighbor —pictured above— appeared completely gorgeous last night, rising through the blushing indigo cloud line. With a chorus of woodland thrush serenading in the surrounding forest, I can’t imagine a better way to spend a summer evening than watching the Thunder Moonrise.

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! 

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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Flight of Fancy: Gardens Filled with Song

July 15th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Cedar Waxwing in Halesia tetraptera - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com A Young Cedar Waxwing Perches Upon a Carolina Silverbell Branch (Halesia tetraptera) Outside My Door 

I’ve always been fascinated by birds, and enjoy the challenge of identifying them visually, as well as by their calls and songs. This is a pastime I picked up from my parents, who are both avid bird watchers. One of the great joys I’ve discovered on my remote, forested hilltop, is the astonishing number and incredible variety of beautiful birds visiting and nesting here. In my garden room, I’ve started a small collection of fractured eggshells and abandoned nests, gathered on autumn walks. And lately, as my ornithological interests have grown, I’ve become obsessed with bird-patterened fabric, teacups, notecards… Well, let’s just say it’s quite a flight of fancy!

Bird Nest and Bird Patterns - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comBirds of a Feather, Flock Together: A Growing Collection of Curios, Inspired by Ornithological Interests

At this time of year, trees and shrubs in my garden and surrounding woodland are filled with Cedar Waxwings (above, at top ), Chestnut-Sided Warblers (below), as well as a wide variety of Finches, Grosbeaks, Thrushes and other songbirds. A great garden helper, the Chestnut-Sided Warbler forages for insects beneath leaves and sometimes feasts upon fruit and berries. Read more about the Chestnut-Sided Warbler and listen to its song on my favorite birding website, All About Birds (from Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology). Cedar Waxwings flock to the ripening Viburnum and Physocarpus opulifolius fruits in my garden (find more tempting garden treat ideas for your feathered friends here). Fledglings follow their parents from shrub to shrub, anxiously beating their wings and waiting, beaks wide open, for plum, juicy berries. They are particularly fond of Shasta Viburnum (V. plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shasta’), fruit. Read more about the Cedar Waxwing and listen to its high-pitched calls and song at All About Birds, here.

Chestnut Sided Warbler - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comChestnut-Sided Warbler Sings from His Perch Within the Betula x ‘Royal Frost’, Outside My Window on a Rainy, Summer Morning

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! 

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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