What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?

September 26th, 2013 § Comments Off on What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? § permalink

Red Fox in Meadow - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comA Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Peers, Curiously at Me, Through a Grassy Meadow

There are many things I enjoy about working outdoors, but the opportunity to spot wildlife ranks near the top. Recently, while scoping out the site of a new garden design project, a friend spotted this young red fox (pictured above), peering out from the edge of a grassy margin, where woodland meets meadow. Swift moving and stealthy, fox are usually difficult to capture in photos. However, the youthful curiosity of this young fella seemed to override his natural fear, allowing me a moment to snap a quick picture. I later learned from my clients that this fox was born in early spring —not far from where I captured this photo— in a hillside den.

Red fox are opportunistic omnivores —feeding on rodents, birds, fish, or even fruits and vegetables— and adaptable hunters, with wide-ranging habitat; from forests to grasslands and desert regions. Listen to the fox’s bark and read more fox facts at National Geographic, here. According to Discovery.com, scientists have recently discovered that the red fox uses the earth’s magnetic field to aid in hunting. Learn more —and watch an amazing and comical video of a fox diving head-first into snow, to capture mice stirring, three feet below— by visiting Discovery.com here.

What wildlife are you spotting in the garden?

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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Welcoming Autumn’s Colorful Splendor

September 23rd, 2013 § Comments Off on Welcoming Autumn’s Colorful Splendor § permalink

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eiler's' Coneflower - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comRudbeckia subtomentosa  &  Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens

Welcoming the Warmth & Brilliance of Autumn’s Kaleidoscopic Splendor on the First Day of Fall. Let the Technicolor Spectacle Begin! 

Meadow Border with Shasta Viburnum, Flame Grass and Coneflower in Autumn - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com  The Meadow Border Catches Fire to Burn Through the Equinox (Amsonia hubrichtii, Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum), Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, Juniperus pfitzeriana )

Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens & Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eiler's' in September - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Viburnum trilobum, Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens & Rudbeckia subtomentosa at Meadow’s Edge

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

September 22nd, 2013 § Comments Off on Celebrating the Swan Song of Summer: Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions & Pecans . . . § permalink

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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On the Magic of Harvest Moon . . .

September 18th, 2013 § Comments Off on On the Magic of Harvest Moon . . . § permalink

Harvest Moon - Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comMoonrise and Maiden Grass in the September Garden

Last night I caught moonrise —growing full and bright in sunset’s afterglow— in the garden as I scrambled to cover heirloom tomatoes and ripening bell peppers before dusk. With clear skies and a threat of frost in the evening air, it seems that autumn is arriving prematurely this year.

The Harvest Moon, more typically associated with autumn, is also early; making a late-summer appearance this year. Full at 7:12 am on September 19th, the moon will appear full as she rises tonight, September 18, at 6:13 pm ET and tomorrow night, September 19, at 6:45 pm. The Harvest Moon is so-named for its historic, agricultural importance; allowing additional light to farmers harvesting crops late into the evening. This much-anticipated celestial event is the closest full moon to the September 22, autumnal equinox (fall begins this year at 20:44 UTC, read more at EarthSky.org, here).

Although not-quite-full, the Harvest Moon was stunning last night as it rose beyond the Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens) in my garden. So spread out your blanket and mull some cider, it’s certain to be a glorious show over the next few nights!

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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September’s Most Stylish Party Goers: Fashionably Late-Season Flowers . . .

September 18th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

Rosa de Rescht - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comNorthern Climes can be a Challenge for Rose Lovers, but Rosa de Rescht Likes to Close Out a Party, Ending the Summer Season with a  Midnight Kiss from Jack Frost

Though sweet Summer shall stay with us a few more days, Autumn’s perfume swirls about in the chilly evening air. There’s no denying now that the seasons are about to change. This is the time of year when foliage takes center stage, but a few blossoming starlets will remain, occasionally stealing the spotlight in the late show, from now until deepest freeze. WindflowerFairy Candles, Yellow Wax BellsAsters, Bush Clover and Toad Lilies; some of my favorite flowers bloom at this time of year.

I’ve featured a few of these favorites before —or related cultivars— but as they are coming into their own again, I thought their delightful blossoms worthy of a September review. Come take a stroll and enjoy the warmth of a late summer afternoon . . .

Sweet Autumn Clematis - Clematis paniculata - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. paniculata/C.terniflora), Scrambles up the Trellis and Blooms to Beat the Band Beside My Studio Door

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com She’s No Wallflower: Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ Dips but Never Flops at Meadow’s Edge

Late Summer Meadow Beauties - Asteracea and Solidago - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com The Moody Overcast of Changing Seasons Does Nothing to Dull the Beauty of Native Asters and Goldenrod, Swaying with Wooly Rush in the Meadow

Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Late-Season Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ Plays Sweetly with the Low, Ruby-Glow of Heuchera Leaves

Ligularia dentata 'Britt-Marie Crawford' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comDrama-Queen Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford Struts Her Deep-Maroon Satin & Gold,Feather Collar in the Secret Garden

Ligularia dentata 'Britt-Marie Crawford' in the Secret Garden. - michaela medina  harlow - thegardenerseden.com Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, Provided by Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’

Secret Garden in September - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Colorful Foliage & Flowers —Shades of Chartreuse, Lime, Burgundy and Olive— Lights Up the Mossy, Secret Garden Path and Highlight Late-Summer Through Autumn Blooms

Actaea simplex 'Hillside Black Beauty' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Fashionably Late Fairy Candles Sway in Wind Song as Summer Waltzes Toward Autumn

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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Morning Coffee with the Eastern Phoebe

September 5th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Eastern Phoebe - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com An Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), Perches Upon the Rusty Metal Garden Bench in Front of Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Edo Shibori’

As part of an ongoing effort to savor every last drop of summer, I’ve vowed to take my work and meals outside whenever possible. For the past few days, I’ve been lured out to coffee on the sunny, stone terrace by the perky morning song of an Eastern Phoebe. A few years ago, this friendly, summertime garden resident built a nest beneath the steel balcony —just above the Secret Garden door— which it refurbishes and reuses each year.

If you are new to birding, the Eastern Phoebe is a relatively easy species to ID. One of the earliest of the migratory birds to return to my garden in springtime, and one of the last to depart in autumn, this flycatcher likes to announce itself —often, rather loudly— by calling out its name, “Phoebe, Phoebe, Phoebe”. Lately, I find one or the other member of this pair, twitching its tail on the armrest of my rusty garden bench. Although it’s an omnivore —consuming small fruits and nuts in addition to live prey— the Phoebe’s diet consists mainly of flying insects; including flies, beetles, moths, wasps and ticks as well as other insects and arachnids. Some years the Phoebes raise two broods in their moss-lined nest; making the Secret Garden a fun spot to observe fledglings as they experiment with new, wobbly wings.

Eastern Phoebes - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Eastern Phoebe and Family in a Moss-Lined Nest Above the Secret Garden Door 

Listen to songs and calls, view photos and videos and learn more about the Eastern Phoebe and other bird species on Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website,  All About Birds, by clicking here.

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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September Charmer: Chelone lyonii’s Late-Blooming Beauty Spans the Seasons

September 2nd, 2013 § Comments Off on September Charmer: Chelone lyonii’s Late-Blooming Beauty Spans the Seasons § permalink

Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' with Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ with Lovely ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea (H. paniculata)

September is a mostly summer month, and yet, there’s something about Labor Day weekend that signals the unofficial start of fall. Well, much as I love autumn, I’m just not ready yet and neither is my garden! Although the beds and borders look a bit blowzier —tidy mounds of springtime green now spilling voluptuous into the walkways— there are still plenty of blossoming beauties to be found in September. One of my favorite transitional blooms? She’s a lipstick-pink-clad, girly-girl known as Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’; one of my favorites for late-summer to early-fall color in the garden.

Turtlehead - Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' Blossom - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Chelone lyonii’s Beauty Transcends the Seasons with Gorgeous, Deep Green, Leathery Foliage and Long-Lasting, Vibrant Blooms

Native to the wetlands and moist, shady woodland regions of eastern North America, Chelone lyonii is hardy in USDA zones 3-8. With shiny, deep-green foliage and mid-size stature —2′ high and wide at maturity— this is a great perennial for filling the center of a semi-shade border or for naturalizing in difficult, water-logged sites. A fast-maturing, reliable August-September bloomer, turtlehead is the perfect perennial for impatient gardeners.

Because of her lovely, leathery foliage and late-seaon bloom, Cheloni lyonii combines well with many other perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Try placing her in mixed company as a mid-border plant with Little Lime or Limelight Hydrangea (H. paniculata cvs) in the background and Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra cvs), up front. She also pairs beautifully with silver-tinted foliage and black seedpods of Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis). If your garden has moist soil and gets a bit of morning light, but is partially protected from hot afternoon sun, try Turtlehead in combination with Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis cvs), as a backup and   place a bit of Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), Foamy Bells (Tiarella species) Coral Bells (Heuchra species & hybrids), at her feet to add some mound shapes and edge the border. Spring-bloomers with season-spanning foliage and other textural plants make great companions for late-season flowers. In my garden, I’ve paired Turtlehead with Fairy Candles (Actaea simplex cvs), Yellow Wax Bells (Kirengeshoma palmata), Rodgersia, Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’, Bethlehem Sage (Pulmonaria species & hybrids), Barrenwort (Epimedium), Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ and other cvs) Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium nipponicum)  Ghost Fern (Athyrium  x ‘Ghost’), Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamonea), Sedge (Carex species).

Turtlehead - Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com At Maturity, Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’ forms a Compact 2′ x 2′ Clump – Perfect for Mid-Border Placement in Semi Shade Gardens or Naturalized in a Damp, Cool Spot Beneath a High Canopy of Trees

Turtlehead’s snap-dragon like blossoms make great cut-flowers, and as an added bonus, this bubble-gum pink beauty attracts and supports a wide-range of late-season pollinators; including butterflies, bumblebees and hummingbirds. Although it remains upright in my garden, Chelone lyonii may need a bit of staking in some situations. Although largely pest and disease resistant, I did notice a bit of grasshopper damage this year (what is it with those hungry critters this season?). For best performance, mature clumps should be lifted, divided and replanted in replenished soil once every three years. Once established, a seasonal dressing of mature compost and thick mulch are all this pretty, reliable, late-summer knock-out desires to remain content for many years.

Why not invite a pink-lipstick wearing gal to your end-of-summer garden party? She’s cheerful, pretty and mingles well with others. I think she’s great company!

Turtlehead - Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' with Bumblebee - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Like Many Late-Blooming, North American Native Perennials, Chelone lyonii Provides Critical Support to Butterflies, Bees and Other Pollinators. On a Late Summer Day, Blossoms are Buzzing with Bumblebees and Hummingbirds

Garden Design & Photography Michaela Medina Harlow – Click Here for Information

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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September’s Golden Sunrise . . .

September 1st, 2013 § Comments Off on September’s Golden Sunrise . . . § permalink

September Sunrise - michaela m harlow - thegardenerseden.comSeptember’s Golden Sunrise, Through the Silverbell Leaves (Halesia tetraptera)

Savoring the Last Weeks of Summer and Anticipating the Sweetness of Autumn – Welcome, Beautiful September!

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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