Close Encounters with the Harris Hawk: A Visit to The New England Falconry

November 6th, 2014 § 0

IMG_1027.JPG Visiting The New England Falconry & Admiring the beauty of an 8-month-old, male Harris Hawk 

Over the past few years, as my interest in designing gardens with native plants and creating naturalized landscapes has expanded to include a passion for pollinators, wildlife and habitat preservation, I have become more and more curious about birds of prey. I grew up with an avid-outdoorsman father, who sparked my interest in the natural world and my respect for wildlife at an early age. Wanting to give back some of the joy he’s shared throughout the years, I purchased my dad a gift certificate for an introductory session at The New England Falconry in Hadley, Massachusetts. Yesterday, we were lucky enough to spend the morning with Master Falconer, Chris Davis and his amazing Harris Hawks.

IMG_1029.JPG Master Falconer, Chris Davis gives my father an introductory lesson on handling and flying a young, Harris Hawk at The New England Falconry 

Falconry is an ancient art, with evidence of the practice dating back to the Chinese Heian Dynasty, 2200 BC. Later, historic references to humans hunting with trained birds-of-prey can be found in the artwork and tales of ancient Arabia and Europe. The popularity of falconry soared in Medieval Europe during 500-1500, eventually becoming an aristocratic symbol of great wealth and status.

 Sport falconry and hunting with trained raptors came to the United States from Europe in the 1900s, and although it gained popularity in the early part of the twentieth century, interest died out again around the time of the second world war. It wasn’t until the 1960s —when Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” awakened and energized the environmental movement— that falconry came back into focus as concern about the destructive effects of now-banned pesticide DDT reached a critical state in the near-extinction of the Peregrine Falcon. With the help of falconers —who donated birds to The Peregrine Fund‘s breeding and repopulating efforts— the Peregrine Falcon was taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 1999. Today, falconers like Chris Davis provide an important service as both conservationists and educators. We learned a great deal during our short visit to The New England Falconry, and our introductory lesson sparked further interest and research!

IMG_1031.JPGMy father smiles after successfully flying this Harris Hawk for the first time

Although I am familiar with the high mortality rate of birds in the wild, I was surprised to learn that 75% of young raptors will not survive their first year of life. The natural world is difficult for young birds of prey. Harris Hawks and other raptors depend exclusively upon small mammals, reptiles and occasionally other birds for their sustenance. Their presence within the eco-system is key to keeping the population of fast-reprocucing rodents in check. However, during the winter, wild food is scarce and the energy demands of large predator birds are extremely high; many die of starvation during the cold, barren months of the year. Human beings pose another great threat to raptors. Countless owls, hawks and other predators are killed each year by the careless use of mouse and rat poison. Hunting, accidents, pesticides, pollution and loss of habitat also take a toll on raptors.

IMG_1035.JPG Nice catch, Dad!

The Harris Hawk —native to open areas of the North American Southwest, as well as Central and South America— is a unique species of raptor. With an average weight of 1.5-2.5 pounds and a wingspan of 3.5-4′ this hawk is a lightweight, highly maneuverable creature. Most birds-of-prey are solitary animals, joining together seasonally for mating and raising young. Harris Hawks are unusual. The species forms small, familial units with a distinct hierarchy. Not only to the birds join and remain together for the purpose of nesting and raising young —offspring will remain with their parents and siblings for three years or more— but they also band together as hunters. Much like a pack of wolves, Harris Hawks work as a team, increasing their success rate when pursuing fast, agile prey. Once they’ve made a kill, the hawks share the bounty. The cooperative, social nature of the Harris Hawk makes it an ideal bird for falconry. To learn more about the Harris Hawk, visit The Peregrine Fund’s page on this beautiful and intelligent raptor, here.

IMG_1033.JPG Although this young Harris Hawk was born in captivity, he was raised by other Harris Hawks and is not a pet. These birds are wild animals, driven by an instinct to hunt and eat for survival

Learn more about birds of prey and their important role in our environment here online at The Peregrine Fund and All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Website.

Thank you to Chris Davis and the Harris Hawks at The New England Falconry! We can’t wait for our next chance to visit and learn more about these amazing and important predator birds! If you live in New England, and you’re looking for a great educational gift or special experience for yourself, contact The New England Falconry. We had a wonderful time!

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. 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 November

November 2nd, 2014 § 7

IMG_0863.JPGWelcoming November Light & Leaf-Strewn Wandering

Stripped of most deciduous leaves, suddenly the forest is shockingly bright at sunrise again. And now that the clocks have changed, November mornings belong to us early birds once more. It’s a trick of course, and we’ll pay for this daylight loan in afternoon hours —but I’m willing to pony up. I’d rather get going with hot coffee at dawn and linger later by the fire with a mug of hot-mulled cider.

Welcome November!

IMG_0859.JPG The bones of a landscape are slowly revealed as autumn leaves catch the wind  

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. 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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Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

October 31st, 2014 § 1

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary …

While I Pondered, Weak and Weary …

Over Many a Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore …

While I Nodded, Nearly Napping, Suddenly There Came a Tapping …

As Of Some One Gently Rapping, Rapping at My Chamber Door …

Was It the Wind, or Something More ?

Doubtless We’ll be Left to Wonder …

Evermore !

Halloween Greetings from the Secret Garden

 Happy Haunting xo Michaela

Post originally published: October 31, 2011

Series of Crows, Created by Vermont Artist Virginia Wyoming: Click Here

Lines of Poetry Quoted from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. To Visit the Edgar Allan Poe Museum Online: Click Here

You May Also Enjoy “Haunting Forest Hills Cemetery with Talented Photographer Liz Kelleher”. Click Here or on Image Below

Photographs and Text, with Exception of First Five Lines of Poetry and Liz Kelleher Image, are ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, 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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Late October, Burning Bright

October 29th, 2014 § 2

IMG_0743.JPG Late October chores can wait: Taking a moment to pause and enjoy the beauty of imperfection

It’s post-frost, tidy-up season in my garden. Time to gather and clean-out seasonal pots, cut-back unattractive perennials, rake-up leaves and button-up the borders with mulch. This has been a busy year for me as I’ve begun to switch my focus away from garden design, and back to art. As a result, the garden suffered a bit of summertime neglect and I have my hands full this fall. But standing here today at the Secret Garden door —gazing out at the brilliant autumn colors— I realize that by taking on fewer projects, there will be more time for this place again in the coming seasons.

Dahlia Tubers ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden Digging and cleaning up Dahlia tubers. See past post here.

Patient observation is a skill I constantly practice in gardening, and although I’m no master, I notice a bit of improvement here and there as the years pass. I’m a note taker, and thanks to my iPhone, I can both take notes and photos while out working to help remind me of garden tasks. After losing far too many Dahlia bulbs to forgetful placement, I’ve learned to flag them with tiny, red, plastic tags. I can easily spot these after the killing frost and safely dig and store my tubers in the basement. I also make note in my calendar —with audible alerts— as a reminder to pick up and plant spring bulbs. Early-spring favorites —such as ErythroniumGalanthus, Eranthus and Anemone, to name a few— must be planted in late summer or very early autumn for best results, but others —including most Tulipa and Narcissus bulbs— can be planted as long as the ground remains frost-free. So I’ve learned to shop the end-of-season sales, and often find great bargains. This is also true for deciduous trees and shrubs. A great garden can be built on a shoestring budget, with patience, luck and a bit of good timing.

Tulip Bulbs in Basket ⓒ michaela medina - thegardenerseden.com jpg Over the years I’ve learned that Tulips can be planted quite late in the season, so I often grab them at bargain basement prices. What I can not plant, I will pot up and chill for forcing.

IMG_0776.JPG Tidying up the Secret Garden room is a fun, end-of -season chore. I love to rearrange my chairs, tools and books and pull house plants back inside for winter. Everything looks so cozy and inviting, nestled back into its place.

Shears-and-Cape-Cod-Weeder-in-Secret-Garden-Room- Terra cotta pots are especially vulnerable to cracking during the winter. While I will leave  frost-proof stoneware and glazed pots out as recommended by their makers, I always bring my un-glazed clay urns and vessels in by the first week of November.

Photography ⓒ Michaela Harlow. 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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Indian Summer-Inspired Archival Prints

October 7th, 2014 § 2

September_Waters_II, 2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_michaelaharlow.com_all_rights_reserved. September Waters II, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed, Archival Print $150

After many months spent setting up an online gallery to showcase my artwork and offer archival prints for purchase online, I’m happy to announce that the site is now officially open. I’ve included here a few recent additions from the ever-growing collection of pastel pieces now offered as affordable, small to mid-sized archival prints. I plan to update the online gallery monthly, with archival print selections from $85, special, limited editions and eventually, original pieces available exclusively through my studio’s online gallery.

Shattcuk Brook, 2014

Shattuck Brook, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

As long time reader’s may recall, this summer I took a sabbatical from seasonal garden design work to re-focus on my career as a painter. It’s been a very successful three months and going forward, I plan to limit my garden design work to a few, select projects per year as I continue my transition back to a full-time career in art. I’ll still be writing about and photographing gardens and the landscape, of course, and hope to expand more on this site. If you are interested in following my artwork —and watching the behind-the-scenes process as new pieces and series emerge— you can check out my studio journal by following the link here, where I regularly post about my process, work-in-progress and offer sneak-peeks of completed pieces, not-yet-listed for sale.

Thank you so much for your many, emailed words of encouragement & for all of the wonderful new follows on my studio Instagram feed and Facebook page! I’ve also just recently joined Ello, the beautiful,streamlined, ad-free social networking site based in Vermont. Have you seen it? I have high hopes for a fresh alternative.

Sound_of_a_Coming_Storm_2014_Copyright_MIchaela_Harlow_ michaelaharlow.comSound of a Coming Storm, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

Artwork ⓒ Michaela Harlow. 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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Welcoming October’s Fire

October 1st, 2014 § 0

IMG_8854.JPG Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’ with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ along the Secret Garden Walk

 With fiery colors peeking through a misty, morning shroud, October began on a moody note today. The Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’) has turned the brightest shade of red that I can ever remember and beyond, Fragrant Abelia (Abelia mosanensis) and Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), have caught fire in an orange and yellow blaze of glory.

It’s a month filled with luscious colors, textures, tastes, fragrances and temperatures. Welcome beautiful October!

IMG_8889.JPG Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’ dons her technicolor dream coat, surrounded by the seasonal alchemy of her leafy neighbors 

IMG_8891.JPGI love to play with changing, seasonal contrasts and harmonies in my garden designs. Here, Amsonia illustris, Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’ and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’ light up the entry garden in gold, red and maroon. 

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

September 26th, 2014 Comments Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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A Late August Flyby . . .

August 31st, 2014 Comments Off

flyby_one_michaela_harlow_thegardenerseden.comAugust, Above the Connecticut River, Michaela Harlow, 2014

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and it’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve needed a vacation, it seems, and the time away has been good. Everyone needs a change of scene, and a different perspective, now and again.

I’ve been flying, and painting, and kayaking and all manner of other things —except gardening. Well, things have gotten a bit wild and wooly, and now it’s time to do a bit of late-summer freshen up back at my own place before Autumn arrives at the door. There are berries on the Viburnums and the Fairy Candles are blooming; the garden is calling. Will the scent of woodsmoke and ripening apples draw me back home?

flyby_two_michaela_harlow_thegardenerseden.comThe Deerfield River, Winding Through Southern Vermont and Western Massachusetts

flyby_three_michaela_harlow_thegardenerseden.comThe Shimmering Deerfield River, Massachusetts Side, in Moody, Late-Day Light

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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Reflecting on the Still of the Garden & Seasonal Water Feature Care

July 17th, 2014 Comments Off

20140630-074206-27726176.jpgA Water Feature Needn’t be Large or Expensive to Add a Calm, Soothing, Reflective Element to the Garden

On these hot, humid summer days, my thoughts drift to quiet lakes or the sea. I often think that the only thing missing in my landscape, is a pond. Unfortunately, digging one won’t be in my budget for a long while. However, I’ve discovered that simply looking at a small pool of water can cool down a space considerably. With this in mind, every spring I place a water bowl at the corner of my Secret Garden door. I’m amazed by how much a tiny water feature can add to a landscape. In addition to the calm, pleasantly reflective surface the little pool provides, the water also creates a habitat for Prince Pickerel the frog and drinking water for birds, chipmunks, squirrels and other creatures. And I love to drink in the dark, cool refreshment with my eyes on sultry, summer days.

I’m frequently asked how I keep mosquitoes from breeding in this water feature. A recycling bubbler or fountain will prevent mosquitoes from lighting and reproducing on the surface of moving pools, but in still water, mosquitoes will become a problem unless the feature is properly maintained. Some water gardeners like to keep larvae-eating koi in their pools, while others empty their decorative water bowl and bird baths once a week to keep water free of mosquitoes. I like to sprinkle or float organic Bti —commonly known as mosquito dunks or granules— in my Secret Garden water bowl to keep the water free of mosquitos. OMRI-approved Bti is not a chemical, but a microscopic, naturally-occuring bacterium that attacks and kills mosquito and other aquatic fly larvae. It is harmless to mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles, birds and other insects –including bees, butterflies and adult dragonflies– and safe for use in water features where animals drink. Mosquito dunks and granules must be refreshed every few weeks can usually be found wherever organic gardening products are sold (see online resource link, below).

Click here for Gardener’s Supply Company’s Organic Mosquito Control Rings for Still Water Features

Mosquitoes will breed in standing water. In order to prevent bird baths, water bowls and still pools from becoming mosquito-havens it’s essential to empty and refill these features weekly or treat the water. Mosquito dunks are a safe, biological control utilizing Bti, a naturally occurring bacterium (Bti targeted usage is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved. Mosquito dunks are harmless to mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and all insects except for certain, waterborne members of the fly family. See site linked above for more details. For more information on Bti and it’s usage, please click here to read this well-written article with an explanation of Bt strains from Colorado State University**

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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All of My Summer Days . . .

July 8th, 2014 § 2

Wildflower Walk at First Light 2014 copyright Michaela Harlow thegardenerseden.comMisty July Sunrise in the Wildflower Walk 

It’s a warm, humid, summer morning. Baskets filled with garden cuttings and wayward weeds line the wildflower walk. Time to stop for a cool drink and some journaling. I confess to a bit of restlessness this week. My mind keeps wandering to quiet waters; kayak slipping into mist. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a summer vacation. Shall I escape for a few days? Where will I go . . .Cape Cod’s white-washed sand dunes or the rocky shores of Maine? Some time away would be good. Lately, I feel the ocean calling my name, like a siren that will not be silenced until satisfied.

Summer_Studio_2014_Michaela_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com Summer Sunset at My Studio 

Rudbeckia_hirta_'Becky_Mixed'_in_the_Wildflower_Walk_2014_Michaela_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com Last Light at the Corner of the Wildflower Walk with Rudbeckia hirta Shining in the 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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Slipping Softly into July

July 1st, 2014 § 2

20140701-114807-42487311.jpgThe Softness of Summer Sunrise

Suddenly, it’s July . . . And the days are long, hot, hazy and languid. The pace of a gardener’s life shifts. Days of dividing, planting and pruning have passed by for now. Mowing, weeding and deadheading are chores reserved for the early morning hours. Late afternoons are reserved for swings in the hammock, ice-cold lemonade and good books. Sultry evenings invite sangria on the terrace and firefly spotting beneath the stars . Hello, summer.

20140701-120439-43479063.jpgThe Scent of Freshly-Mown Fields and Slopes of Dew-Dampened Clover 

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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