Rain, Fog and A Bit of Summer Sun . . .

July 13th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Summer's Wild Wonder - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Basking in the Late Day Gift of Summer Sunlight on the Terrace – So Far This Season, Sunny Days Have Been Few & Far Between…

Hello, mid July. How did we get here so quickly? It’s been a busy start to summer, with little time for journaling, but I expect things to slow down a bit now that I’ve suspended planting and am back in the studio full-time. Rain and fog continue to soften the landscape, and although beautiful for making photographs, the weather has made this a challenging year for the New England farming community.

I just read that 3″ of rain fell in April and more than 9″ of rain saturated Vermont during the months of both May and June (the Amazon sees an average of 8″ or rainfall per month, read the full story here). No wonder it has been so hard to complete projects and stay on schedule! As difficult as landscaping work has been this year, it’s nothing compared to the plight of local farmers. I tip my hat to vegetable and fruit growers in my community. Working the land for a living and providing organically grown food —especially in a climate with such a short growing season— is truly a courageous life path. I remember well the seasons of water-logged strawberry fields, and the worried expressions worn by my parents, when the fruit rotted faster than we could pick.

Harvest Basket - A Slow Start to Summer Produce - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comHere at Home, Produce has been Very Slow to Ripen in my Tiny Potager, but I am Picking the First Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes and Red Rubin Basil this Week

Winding the Way Through Wildflowers and Fog - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Most Days, I Find Myself Winding My Way to Work through Wildflowers and Fog . . .

Foggy Wildflower Meadow Hop - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com A Rainy Year Means Abundant & Long-Lasting Blossoms in the Meadowy Wildflower Walk . . .

The Dishwasher's Arrangement - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com And Plenty Extra for the Dishwasher’s Weekly Arrangement . . . 

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed in the Meadow - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Like a Tangerine Dream, Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Sweetens the Verdant Meadow with Pollen and Nectar for Bees and Butterflies

Valeriana officinalis michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Sweet, Shimmering Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) . . .

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' in July - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com And the Soft Whisper of Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) in Afternoon Sun . . .

John Creech Meets the Gladiators - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Polished Toes and Posies: John Creech Meets the Gladiators (Sedum spurium ‘John Creech’)

Nepeta sibirica 'Souvenir d'Andre Chaudron' - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Nepeta sibirica ‘Souvenir d’André Chaudron’, an Old Favorite from My Mother’s Garden, with Thalictrum pubescens Beyond

Lysmachia clethroides and Rudbeckia hirta Duke it Out in the Entry Garden - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com  An Uninvited and Pushy Garden-Party Crasher, Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysmachia clethroides) Dukes it out with Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) in the Entry Garden

Veronica spicata 'Sunny Border Blue' in July - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Meanwhile, Veronica spicata ‘Sunny Border Blue’ Plays Nicely with Her Neighbors

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

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June Gardens, Aflutter & Aglow . . .

June 29th, 2013 § Comments Off on June Gardens, Aflutter & Aglow . . . § permalink

Swallowtail Butterfly on Hydrangea anomala ssp petiolaris - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comLuminous Swallowtail on Blooming, Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris). Cluster-Flowers are Butterfly Favorites. Learn More About Attracting Butterflies & Other Pollinators to Your Garden Here.

It feels like we were just toasting the Summer Solstice when suddenly,  it’s the last weekend of June. But that’s Summer for you, isn’t it? She just grabs you by the hand and swirls you ’round, ’til you’re dizzy and giddy with bliss. Sun-showers, rainbows, butterflies and glowing afternoons… That’s what she lives for, and that’s why we love her.

So let’s flit about the summer garden, shall we? June in her shining hour… All aflutter and aglow.

Cornus kousa - Sunlit Bracts and Blossoms - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Cornus kousa Bracts and Blossoms Catch the Morning Sunlight

Paeonia lactiflora 'Le Charme', Rodgersia aesculifolia, Matteuccia struthiopteris in the Secret Garden - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Early Morning in the Secret Garden: Single Japanese Peony ‘Le Charme’ (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Le Charme’), Fingerleaf Rodgersia (Rodgersia aesculifolia) & Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Thalictrum pubescens - Tall Meadow Rue - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Self-Sown, Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens), Provides a Bit of Unexpected, Summer Morning Delight for People and Pollinators Alike

Rose Ledges with Juniperus horizontalis wiltonii - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Rose Ledges with Juniperus horizontals ‘Wiltonii’

Paeonia lactiflora 'Le Charme' and Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Japanese Single Peonies (Paeonia lactifolia ‘Le Charme’ ) & Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Though I Love the Double and Bomb Type Peonies, Single Flowers Provide Easy Access for Pollinators of All Kinds. And Look How Lovely…

Aruncus dioicus - Goat's Beard - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Sunset Illuminates Butterfly Favorite, the Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus) and Silhouettes Viburnum plicatum var tomentosum & Beloved Conifer, Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) and Amsonia (Amsonia illustris) in Morning Light - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) met Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) Out on the Ledges, on a Summer Afternoon and They Fell Hopelessly in Love

Swallowtail Butterfly on Hydrangea anomala ssp petiolaris with Valerian officianalis in Background - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Swallowtail Butterfly on Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) with another Butterfly Favorite, Valerian (Valeriana officianalis), in Background

Garden Design: Michaela Medina Harlow

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

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

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The Beauty of Sunlit Valerian …

July 8th, 2012 § Comments Off on The Beauty of Sunlit Valerian … § permalink

From Garden to Table: Fresh Cut Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Dreamy, soft, relaxing; flowering herb valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is every bit as beautiful as it is useful. The botanical name of this medicinal herb comes from the Latin word ‘valere’, meaning to be well. Since the fourth century —and perhaps even earlier— valerian has been used as a medicinal herb to treat a variety of ailments; from anxiety and insomnia to hypertension, eczema and migraine headaches*. Recently, tablets made from the rhizomes and roots of this herb have regained popularity as a natural sedative and anxiolytic (read more here). Oil, extracted from the flowers, has long been used as a food flavoring and fragrance in perfumes…

Valeriana officinalis and Aruncus dioicus Form a Flowering, Semi-Transparent Screen in My Garden

One of the most fragrant of all garden perennials, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a graceful, tall (4-6′), flowering plant (USDA zones 4-9), which can be grown as an herb, ornamental, or both. Stately yet ethereal, Valerian blooms from July through August, and can be used in mass plantings to create a light, summery screen between garden rooms; an effect I love. Beloved by many bees and butterflies (particularly Tiger Swallowtails), lacy, white valerian flowers have a sweet, musky smell; similar to fragrant heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), but with woodsier, mossier notes. It’s one of those fragrances you either love or hate, and I happen to like it very much. I enjoy filling my home with valerian during the summertime; cutting armfuls for mixed bouquets or solo arrangements, like the one featured in the photo at top.

Valerian officinalis, Used as Semi-Transparent Screen at the Edge of My Potager

I have grown Valeriana officinalis in my herb garden for as many years as I’ve been gardening. However, when planting this species, it’s important to exercise caution, as it does self-sow (however, unlike mint, I find it isn’t aggressive, and volunteers can be easily pulled from the ground). It should also be noted that this plant is listed as potentially invasive by a few U.S. states. Normally, I avoid all free-seeding, non-native plants, but I have mixed feelings about the inclusion of this medicinal herb (and other non-native herbs, like mint) on the invasive plant watch list. I have not observed herb valerian crowding out native species in the natural areas where I live. Much like domesticated apple trees (Malus domestica), most earthworms and those delightful, domesticated honeybees (Apis mellifera), herbal valerian (Valeriana officinalis) was introduced to North America by European settlers —themselves invasive, by the way— when they arrived. Three hundred years is long enough, in my humble opinion, to prove that this plant is no Kudzu (Pueraria montana). Many introduced species have benefits that far outweigh their risks, and until proven to be harmful to native species, I will continue to grow herb valerian in my garden.

*Always Check With Your Doctor Before Consuming Any Medicinal Plant or Herbal Medicine!

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

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links (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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