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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