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!

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

September 26th, 2014 § 0

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 § 0

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 § 0

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 § 0

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 § 0

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!

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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 § 0

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 § 0

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 § 0

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!

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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!

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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!

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The Painted Landscape

June 25th, 2014 § 1

June_Tapestry_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission June Tapestry, 2014 – Pastel

It’s late June, and having finished my professional planting work, I’m currently solidifying plans for my summer sabbatical. With a sea of summer days stretched before me, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back in my painting studio —full time— for the first summer in five years. I thought now might be the right time to introduce you to my artwork which —not surprisingly— is inspired by the natural world. I’ve been exhibiting my artwork professionally since 1994.

Of course, I will continue to write about horticulture and garden design on this blog, and share my garden and landscape photographs here. But from time to time, you will also see a few of my paintings, drawings and other artwork. You will also occasionally see the work of other artists here (remember the ‘Artists Inspired by Nature’ series?).  If you would like to see more of my oils, pastels and other artwork, please visit my studio website, and/or follow my art blog via RSS feed here or on Instagram @michaelaharlow and/or Facebook.

I hope you will enjoy these painted landscapes, a group of my recently completed pastels . . .

Rain_in_June_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Resered_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Rain in June, 2014 – Pastel

Rain_on_Mustard_Fields, 2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_ All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Rain on Mustard Fields, 2014 – Pastel

Within_the_Storm_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com Within the Storm, 2014 – Pastel

Summer_Porch_2014_Pastel_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Summer Porch, 2014 – Pastel

All artwork is copyright Michaela Harlow and may not be used or reposted without permission. For information please visit michaelaharlow.com

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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Peony Greed and Other Confessions

June 24th, 2014 § 1

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetFavorite, Old-Fashioned Girls: Duchess de Nemours and Sarah Bernhardt, Fresh from the Garden

Friends and clients often inquire about peony supports. “Hoops, stakes or something else?”, they ask. The rain, the wind, the weight; it all brings up the flopping fears. I nod sympathetically. “Try something natural”, I usually say, “Something like twigs, twine, branches”. But the truth is, I really have no idea what they are talking about. I’ve never had a single flopping peony in my garden.

Because I cut them all.

Kansas_and_Cat_Mint_copyright_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com Violet-Blue Nepeta and Cerise-Pink Paeonia, a Long-Standing Love-Affair (Peonia lactiflora ‘Kansas’)

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 Summer Solstice

June 21st, 2014 § 6

20140621-084448-31488729.jpgWelcome Sweet, Sweet Summertime!

Happy Solstice and Welcome Summer! I’m taking a sabbatical from garden design and installation work this summer —putting focus back on my primary career as painter and beginning work on a little side project— so it’s been an especially busy spring for me. With a late, wet start to the season, trying to tie up all of my planting by June 21st was a real challenge. But I am happy to say that all projects are 98% complete.

You will still find me here —in fact, probably more so as I won’t be running around quite as much over the next few weeks. I hope you are looking forward to summer as much as I am this year. Travel, long days in the garden, time for family and friends …What are your plans for the sweetest season?

20140621-092208-33728990.jpg Will This be the Year I Swing More in My Hammock? Definitely! 

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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In the Blink of an Eye . . .

June 17th, 2014 § 2

Madrigan_Front_Entry_Garden_2014_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comIn my client’s garden this morning: Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’ and an endless sea of peonies

Creating beautiful, sustainable gardens takes careful planning, time, patience and effort. As a garden designer, one of my greatest professional rewards is returning to my clients’ gardens year after year, to delight in both the growth of the landscape and the friendships created through them.

I met Susan and Bob three springs ago when they invited me to consult on new gardens for their home in southern Vermont. Since that time, I have designed and installed terraced gardens, an outdoor dining/living/sitting room/firepit enclosure with sweeping curves, a kitchen-garden side niche, and a new, naturalized, wildflower meadow in addition to the welcoming, front entrance garden pictured here. Three years have come and gone and yet —as I look at the glorious sea of blooming peonies along the stone walk— the time, like June itself, seems to have passed in the blink of an eye . . .

Madrigan_Front_Entry_Garden_Design:Photo_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker’s Red’, Heuchera, Stewartia pseudocamellia & Paeonia lactiflora galore line a stepping stone walkway created by Vermont Stone Trust certified waller, Curtis Gray. Garden Design & Installation, Michaela M Harlow

Madrigan_Garden_Stephen_Procter_Vase_Photo_Copyright_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com Pretty details make the garden: handmade ceramic vessel by Vermont artist Stephen Procter

Madrigan_Front_Entrance_Garden_June_2014_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com Seems like yesterday, but it will be three years ago this summer that I planted this front entry garden for my clients, Susan and Bob

Madrigan_Garden_Michaela_Harlow_Garden_Design_copyright_michaela_harlow_thegardenerseden.com Earlier this spring: Leucojum aestevium, Phlox divaricata, Heuchera and Narcissus all aglow upon a May Night

Thank you Susan and Bob, for your encouragement, trust, support of my work and most important, your friendship throughout the years.

xo Michaela

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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Welcome, Pretty Papillon! Attracting Butterflies & Moths to the Garden

June 6th, 2014 Comments Off

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis) in My Wildflower Meadow, Visiting Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus) on Lilac Blossoms (Syringa vulgaris ‘Mme. Lemoine’ ) in My Garden- Read More About This Lovely Butterfly in My Previous Post by Clicking Here.

Fritillary on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)Read More About This Native Butterfly Magnet by Clicking Here

Is there anything more magical than the first butterfly sighting of the year? Much as I delight in the beauty of horticulture, I must admit that even the most spectacular of flowers pales in comparison to the poetic papillon. And what gardener wouldn’t want to work surrounded by butterflies dancing on the wind? I can’t imagine a more delightful way to spend my days. Of course butterflies are more than just pretty, and while bees are recognized as the most effective pollinators of food crops, butterflies also perform an important role in the pollination of flowers. As this fascinating insect moves within each blossom —gathering nectar with its long, curled proboscis— the butterfly’s entire body —legs, head and wings— acts as magnet for dusty pollen, which is redistributed as it moves from one part of the flower to another; from blossom to blossom and plant to plant.

Watching beautiful butterflies and moths while they work their magic within flowers is easy, but for many gardeners it’s harder to appreciate these insects when they begin their lives as voracious caterpillars. Butterflies and moths undergo a complex life cycle from eggs to caterpillars, followed by metamorphosis to moths and butterflies. As gardeners, it’s important that we become familiar with the changing appearance of moths and butterflies in order to protect these insects in all of their life stages. Butterfly and moth caterpillars all eat plant foliage, and one of the keys to creating a healthy habitat for butterflies, is learning to accept less-than-perfect-looking plants. Avoid the indiscriminate use of all pesticides —including organic solutions like insecticidal soap and Btk— in order to protect young butterflies and moths. Spray only when you absolutely must, and be sure that you can properly identify an insect before pulling out the pesticide…

The Bold Pattern and Bright Colors of the Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar (Danus plexippus) Make it Easy to Recognize as It Feasts on the Leaves of Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Learning to Accept and Tolerate Less-than-Perfect-Looking Plants is Key to Creating Healthy Habitat for Pollinators. In Addition to Adopting a More Tolerant Attitude Toward Chew-Marks, Provide Habitat in the Form of Wildflower/Wild Plant Areas. By Studying the Preferences of Butterflies, Soon You Will Come to See “Scrubby” Understory and Meadow Areas as Beautiful…

Later in Summer, the Adult Monarch Butterfly (Danus plexippus) Emerges from It’s Cocoon and Lights on Potted Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Red’).

Pretty Impersonator: The Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus) Lighting on Straw in My Potager Looks a Great Deal Like the Monarch Above, But It’s Actually a Different, Smaller Butterfly. Even the Viceroy Caterpillar Looks Quite Similar to the Monarch. Read More About and See More Photos of the Viceroy and other Species at the Incredible Butterflies and Moths Website by Clicking Here

As you begin to familiarize yourself with the caterpillars, butterflies and moths visiting your garden, you may notice that while they enjoy many plants and flowers, they are definitely more interested in certain species than others. Providing a continuous supply of food and fresh water —be sure to provide butterflies with a safe “island” such as a stick or other place to light to prevent drowning in water features— from early spring through late fall  —for both caterpillars, butterflies and moths— is the best way to attract and keep these lovely creatures in your garden. But it’s just as essential to consider the “big picture” of your landscape and neighborhood. Instead of viewing natural areas as “unkempt”, try thinking of them from the butterfly’s point of view. Understory shrubs, trees and wild grasses provide essential habitat for caterpillars and migratory butterflies. Wildflower meadows, swamps and emerging forests with tangled stands of birch and poplar trees are prime real estate for egg-laying butterflies. Consider the consequences before you mow in the name of “necessary” maintenance. Before you cut, ask yourself how much manicured space you really need.

Caterpillars rely upon the foliage of many native, deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants for sustenance. In addition to protecting natural areas, try planting some caterpillar favorites in your landscape. While each species has its own preferences, some of the most important larval hosts for moths and butterflies include the following native trees and shrubs (this list is by no means complete and is limited to North American plants), many of which also provide beautiful and beneficial flowers and/or fruits: Amelanchier (Serviceberry), Asimina (Paw Paw), Betula (Birch), Carya (Hickory), Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam), Cassiope (Mountain Heather), Castanea (Chestnut), Ceanothus (California Lilac), Celtis (Hackberry), Crataegus (Hawthorn), Fagus grandifolia (American Beech), Fraxinus (Ash), Juglans (Walnut), Juniperus (Juniper), Malus (Crabapple), Pinus (Pine), Populus (Poplar), Prunus (Cherry and Plum), Quercus (Oak), Sassafras albidium (Sassafras), Ulmus (Elm), Arctostaphylos (Bearberry), Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), Myrica (Bayberry), Potentilla fruiticosa (Cinquefoil), Rhus (Sumac), Ribes (Gooseberry/Current), Salix (Willow), Sambucus (Elderberry), Vaccinium (Blueberry) and Viburnum.

The Hummingbird Moth is a Member of the Sphingidae Family, Which Includes Hawk Moths, Sphinx Moths and Hornworms. The Hummingbird Hawk Moth, A Beautiful and Important Pollinator, Begins Life as Large, Green, Very-Hungry Caterpillar; Related to the Tomato Hornworm. If the Hummingbird Moth Appeals to You, Learn to Protect and Provide for Its Curious Caterpillar (Many Feed Upon the Leaves of Shrubs and Trees). The Hummingbird Moth Above (Hemaris thysbe ) was Photographed on Fragrant Abelia (Click Here for More on Abelia mosanensis). This Fantastic Flier Visits Many of the Same Flowers as Butterflies, Bees and True Hummingbirds. Learn More About the Hummingbird Moth by Clicking Here. 

North American, Native Amsonia illustris Attracts Hummingbird Moths, Butterflies and Bees. It’s Also A Beautiful Garden Plant, Offering Clear-Blue Blossoms in May, Fine-Textured Foliage Throughout Summer, and Clear, Golden Autumn Foliage. This Lovely Native —and Other Bluestar Species; Including Amsonia hubrichtii and A. tabernaemontana— are Frequently Featured Here as Fall Foliage Superstars.

Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe) Gathering Nectar from Amsonia Blossoms. Read More About Hummingbird Moths by Clicking Here.

As adults, butterflies and moths are most attracted to cluster-flowers. In my previous posts on butterflies —including a post on my visit to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory with tips for attracting butterflies to gardens and an article on the top three plants for butterflies— many of these annual and perennial flowers are included. Mosy butterfly flower lists include Asclepias (Milkweed/Butterflyweed family); one of the most important, cluster-flowered, native butterfly plants. In addition to the non-native species listed in my previous posts, linked above —such as Verbena bonariensis and Butterfly Bush* (Buddleia davidii, *which is considered an invasive plant in some areas of North America, and therefore restricted)— there are many more, beautiful North American wildflowers and native, garden-worthy plants for pollinators.

Some of the best perennial wildflower choices for attracting butterflies and moths include the following: Actaea simplex (Cimicifuga/Fairy Candles/Black Cohash), Agastache (Wild Hyssop), Allium (Wild Onion), Amsonia (Bluestar, pictured above), Aruncus dioicus (Goat’s Beard), Ascelepias (Milkweed/Butterflyweed), Asters, Baptisia (Wild Indigo), Boltonia (False Aster), Campanula (Harebell), Castilleja (Paintbrush), Chelone (Turtle Head), Coreopsis (Tickseed), Dicentra (Bleeding Heart), Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Epilobium (North Americn Native Fireweed), Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed), Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie), Gaillardia (Blanket Flower), Gaura, Geranium (Wild Geranium and cultivars), Helenium autumnal (Sneezeweed), Helianthus (Sunflower), Heliopsis (Oxeye), Hibiscus, Liatris (Blazing Star), Lilium (Lily), Lobelia, Lupinus (Lupine), Monarda (Beebalm/Bergamot), Penstemon (Beard’s Tongue), Phlox, Physostegia virginiana (False Dragonhead), Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder), Polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal), Rudbeckia (Coneflower/Black-Eyed Susan), Salvia (Sage), Sedum (Stonecrop), Solidago (Goldenrod), Tiarella (Foam Flower), Verbena, Veronia (Ironweed), Viola (Violets), and Yucca (Soapweed).

In addition to providing perennial flowers, plant cluster-flowering annuals in garden beds and containers to maintain a steady supply of nectar for butterflies and moths…

Cluster Flowers are Particularly Attractive to Butterflies. Pictured Here is Asclepias tuberosa, Native, North American  Butterfly Weed. (Read More Here). Try Supplementing Perennial Cluster Flowers with Those of Annual Plants like Verbena bonariensis.

Plants Blooming at the Beginning of the Continuum —Very Early Spring, When Food Supplies are Limited— are of Great Importance to Returning PollinatorsNorth American Native Labrador Violet is a April/May-Blooming, Early Butterfly Favorite. Read More About this Fantastic, Ground-Cover for Shady Places by Clicking Here.

Later On in the Year, Mid-Late Season Flowers Provide and Important Source of Sustenance to Butterflies and Moths as They Emerge from Their Cocoons. Many Gardeners Shop for Plants in Late May and Early June, Purchasing Plants Like Peonies and Roses. Lovely as the May/June Bloomers are, to Attract and Keep Butterflies, the Gardener Must Provide Season-Spanning Bloom. Later-Season Flowers like the Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan) —pictured above in my wildflower walk above— as well as Echinacea, Sedum, Eupatorium, Actaea simplex, Solidago, Helenium and Asters are Key to Providing a Steady Supply of Nectar for Butterflies. Read More About Oli’s (My Dog) Accidental Wildflower Walk, by Clicking Here.

In addition to providing habitat and caterpillar forage, flowering trees and shrubs also provide sustenance to adult pollinators of all kinds. Again, butterflies and moths are particularly attracted to cluster-flowering species, including many fruit and berry producing plants. Some of the best North American natives, “nativars” and hybrids in this group include the following: Aesculus and A. parviflora (Buckeye Trees and Bottlebrush Buckeye shrub), Arctostaphylos (Bearberry), Callicarpa (Beautyberry), Castanea (Chestnut), Clethra (Sweet Pepperbush/Summersweet, pictured below), Cornus (Dogwood trees and shrubs), Crataegus (Hawthorn), Diervilla lonicera (Native Bush Honeysuckle), Diospyros (Persimmon), Gleditsia triacanthos (Honeylocust), Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky Coffeetree), Fothergilla (Witch Alder, pictured below), Halesia (Silverbell), Hamamelis (Witch Hazel), Hydrangea (Wild and Cultivated),  Hypericum (St. John’s Wort), Ilex (Holly), Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire), Kalmia (Mt. Laurel), Leucothoe, Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), Malus (Apple), Nyssa (Tupelo), Philadelphus (Mock Orange), Physocarpus opulifolius (Eastern Ninebark), Pieris (Andromeda), Potentilla fruiticosa (Cinquefoil), Prunus (Cherry and Plum), Rhododendron (Azalea), Rhus (Sumac), Rubus (Raspberry/Blackberry), Salix (Willow), Sassafras, Sambucus (Elderberry), Sorbus (Mountain Ash), Spirea alba (Meadowsweet), Stewartia, Styrax (Snowbell), Ulmus (Elm), Vaccinium (Blueberry/Cranberry), and my favorite, Viburnum…

Perfect for Early-Season Pollinators (April/May) and Late-Season Color (October/November), North American, Native Fothergilla (Pictured here: Fothergilla major ‘Mt. Airy’) is One of My Favorite Plants. Read More by Clicking Here. For Smaller Gardens, Consider Dwarf Witch Alder (Fothergilla gardenii and the Fabulous Blue-Leaf Cultivar F. g. ‘Blue Shadow’)

Horse Chestnut Blossoms are Popular with Butterflies, Moths, Hummingbirds and Bumblebees. Read More About this Gorgeous Cultivar ‘Ft. McNair’ by Clicking Here

Wonderfully Fragrant, Late-Season Bloom and Gorgeous, Golden Fall Foliage Make Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet/Sweet Pepperbush) a Favorite withBees, Hummingbirds, Moths, Late-Season Butterflies and Knowledgable Gardeners, Alike. Such Beauty in July/August Makes Up for Her Scruffy, Springtime Appearance. She’s a Bit of a Late Sleeper, That’s All! Read More About the Wonderful, Native Clethra alnifolia by Clicking Here

For more information about butterflies and moths, including ID keys, I suggest visiting the Butterflies and Moths website, butterfliesandmoths.org, by clicking here. For more information about wildflowers and other native plants, check out some of the resources in this post. And to learn more about gardening with butterflies in mind, check out some of the books below at your local library, bookstore, or linked online source.

Enjoy the beauty of the poetic papillon and help protect their future!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Syringa vulgaris ‘Mme. Lemoine’ in My Vermont Garden. Click Here for More Information on the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.

Sally Roth’s Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds to Your Backyard 

Allan Armitage’s Native Plants for North American Gardens

William Cullina’s Wildflowers

Watch the Complete Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly by Clicking the Link Above. A Duncan Scott Film Produced for the Chicago Nature Museum in Chicago, IL (If You Have Trouble Viewing the Video, Click on This Direct YouTube Link). Film Copyright Duncan Scott, All Rights Reserved.

This post was originally published by The Gardener’s Eden, June 4, 2012.

Photographs and Text ⓒ 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 (including Amazon book 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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