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

September 26th, 2014 § Comments Off on Gathering Branches, Bramble & Berries: The Allure of Autumn Bouquets § permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Autumn Potager: Selecting & Planting Tasty Varieties of Gourmet Garlic

September 24th, 2014 § Comments Off on Autumn Potager: Selecting & Planting Tasty Varieties of Gourmet Garlic § permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Autumn Dons Her Golden Crown

September 22nd, 2014 § Comments Off on Autumn Dons Her Golden Crown § permalink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Fond Farewell to Summer

September 22nd, 2014 § Comments Off on A Fond Farewell to Summer § permalink

IMG_7872.JPG Farewell to Summer  (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

In the United States, the Autumnal Equinox will occur today, September 22nd, at 10:29 p.m. EDT (On the world clock, September 23 at 2:29 UTC). I feel that it is particularly hard to say goodbye to summer this year. Although it seemed a bit shorter than usual, for me, this has been a most joyous season.

In celebration of the fair months —late June, July, August and early September— an untethered look at the summer landscape from inside the sky. A selection of aerial photographs from my recent visit to Plum Island, Massachusetts.

So long, farewell, sweet summertime . . .

IMG_7904.JPG So Long to Sailboats, Bobbing in Harbors (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7838.JPGFarewell to Long Summer Sand Dunes (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7897.JPGFarewell to Toes in Warm Sand (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7939.JPG And Zippy Speedboats (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7884.JPG And Sunset Paddles (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7942.JPG Through Wild Inlets of Green Reeds and Rushes (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7929.JPGPeridot, Teal and Turquoise Sea (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7928.JPGSunlit, Silver-Blue Waters (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7914.JPG And Salty Sea Spray (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7927.JPG We’ll be Kissed by the Warmth of Sun Once Again, on Another Summer’s Day (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

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

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September’s Swing Season

September 18th, 2014 § Comments Off on September’s Swing Season § permalink

IMG_8369.JPGHenry Eiler’s Conflower (Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eiler’s) & Flame Grass (Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens), Catch Late Summer’s Low, Golden Rays 

With daylight hours diminishing, and evening chill settling in, the garden’s hues are changing quickly now. Leaves are taking on autumnal tints of red, orange and chartreuse and berries are brightening to shades of wine, purple, vermillion and cherise. It’s brilliant, beautiful and always just a bit melancholy as summer’s bright heat gives way to the glowing embers of autumn.

IMG_8183.JPG Fairy Candles (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ & ‘Brunette’), sweeten the Secret Garden’s air

IMG_8380.JPGLeopard Plant (Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’) Shines in Gold to Rival the September Sun

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

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

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Greeting the Full, Harvest Moon

September 7th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

Harvest Moon - Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com This Year, the Harvest Moon is Full Less Than a Day from Perigee. This Will Make the Moon Appear Much Larger on the Horizon. Find More Information on 2014’s ‘Supermoons’ here.

The Harvest Moon will rise near 100% full on Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 6:49 PM EDT and set at 5:42 AM EDT on September 9th. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, on September 23rd. This year, the Harvest Moon will appear larger than usual, as the moon is full less than one day from perigee.

Harvest_Moon_2013_copyright_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_www.thegardenerseden.comA Pair of Canada Geese Greet the Full, Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon ushers in a change of seasons. Geese are flocking and heading south, days are becoming noticeably shorter and nights are growing longer. Autumn is just around the corner now. Do you feel ready for fall? Learn more about the Harvest Moon by visiting the Earth Sky website here, and the Farmer’s Almanac, here.

Harvest-Moon-September-2010-ⓒ-Michaela-at-TGEAutumn is My Favorite Season, and I Always Anticipate the Harvest Moon with Great Pleasure 

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

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Endless Summer: Preserving the Harvest

September 2nd, 2014 § Comments Off on Endless Summer: Preserving the Harvest § permalink

Sun-Dried-Tomatoes-in-Olive-Oil-ⓒ-Michaela-at-TGESun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil – Summertime Red and Gold, Preserved for a Winter’s Day. Click Here for a Simple How-To

New England is well-known for long cold winters and short, hot summers. So gardeners here tend to know a thing or two about preserving the harvest for those freezing months ahead. August and September are prime-time in the vegetable garden. Heirloom tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, onions, herbs and pretty much everything else in the summertime potager is at its peak. Often fruits and vegetables ripen so quickly, that we can not consume them all and produce begins to pile up all over the kitchen.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to put food by. Click on any photo or link and travel back to past-posts on freezing, drying, pickling, braiding and otherwise storing your summertime favorites. Preserving fruits and vegetables need not be time-consuming or tedious, and in many cases, it can both save money and prevent the waste of extra produce that sometimes gets tossed in the compost bin.

Herb-Oil-Cubes ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com1 Fresh-Frozen Herbs in Olive Oil, Butter, Broth, Water or Juice – Enjoy Garden Fresh Cuttings in the Dead of Winter. Cubes Pictured Here were Frozen in Egg Holders with Light Olive Oil, Click Here for the Original & Popular Post on Freezing Herbs in Oil/Butter/Broth and Beyond.

Frozen Heirloom Tomatoes ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com Tired of Spending Hot Summer Weekends Over a Stove? Start Freezing Tomatoes Whole, with Skin-On. Thaw and Can Them Later or Use Them as You Would, Cooked  in Pasta Sauce, Soup, Stew and Beyond. Click Here for a Few Simple Tips on This Process.

Drying-Herbs-ⓒ-Michaela-at-TGE Dried Bundles of Herbs from the Garden, Saved for Savory Soups, Stocks, Tea and Infusions. Click Here for Some Helpful Tips on How to Successfully Dry and Store Herbs.

It’s hard to imagine cold weather on this humid, eighty-degree summer day, but winter is just three and a half months away. Savor these golden days of fresh-from-the-garden produce and as you are cutting up those fruits and veggies, remember to set some aside. When winter winds howl and snow banks reach the windowsills, you’ll feel snug and smug as you cozy up in your favorite chair with fresh tomato soup and herb focaccia. Yum.

Dilly Beans ll - Jennifer Audette - thegardenerseden.com Dilly Bean Delight! Bring on the Polar Vortex Picnic Basket to Shake-Off the Mid-Winter Blues. Click Here for Jennifer Audette’s Intro to Canning Post & Dilly Bean Recipe.

Sun-Dried-Tomatoes-on-the-Terrace-ⓒ-Michaela-at-TGE Sun-Dried Tomatoes Can Also be Stored in Baggies or Storage Containers and Frozen or Kept in a Cool, Dark Space. So Good in Pasta or with Roasted Chicken. Click Here for Process.

Sun-Dried-Tomatoes-Tomatoes-on-Screen-ⓒ-Michaela-at-TGE No Dehydrator? No Problem. Place Tomato or Other Fruit Slices —Such as Apple or Pear— Out in the Sun on Screen Mesh. Leave Out by Day and Bring in at Night. Cover with a Second Screen if You Want to Protect Fruit from Insects. Click Here for More.

Braided Sweet Onions ⓒ Michaela at TGE Braided Garlic and Onions are Pretty and Practical. Learn the Simple Process by Clicking Here.

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

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Welcome September . . .

September 1st, 2014 § Comments Off on Welcome September . . . § permalink

Raydon's Favorite Aster with Amsonia and Flame Grass - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comRaydon’s Favorite Aster with Amsonia and Flame Grass in the Background

Welcome, September. The golden bridge between late Summer and Autumn. Some of my favorite flowers, fruits and foliage are at their peak during this beautiful time of the year. September is a mostly-summer month, with warm days and star-filled nights. Right now, late-season Garden Phlox, Hydrangea, Fairy Candles, Rudbeckia, Turtle Head, Asters, Lilies and many other perennials are at their best. On evening walks, the still-humid air is filled with the heady perfume of summertime.

Sweet-September-Sangria-

Labor Day may be here, but we still have three more weeks of summer. Grab a glass of summertime sangria and soak up the sunshine while you can!

Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' with Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Turtle Head (Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’) with Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in the Background

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum 'Shasta' Fruits in Sunshower - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Viburnum plicatum x tomentosum ‘Shasta’ in September Sunlight

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eiler's' Coneflower - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ with Flame Grass (Miscanthus purpurascens)

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' in Autumn - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ Blushes in the Chill of a September Morning

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

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