Tag Archives: Jane Booth garden stories

Orchid Fever, CAPE COD HOME

Phalaenopsis.  Growing orchids in your home can be rewarding.

Phalaenopsis. Growing orchids in your home can be rewarding.

1. Ionocidium "popcorn 2. Cypripedium Acaule (native pink lady slipper 3. Oncidium 4. Phalaenopsis

1. Ionocidium “popcorn 2. Cypripedium Acaule (native pink lady slipper 3. Oncidium 4. Phalaenopsis

Paphpedium, Miltassia 'Miltonia x Brassia', Dendrobium

Paphpedium, Miltassia ‘Miltonia x Brassia’, Dendrobium

 

 

More than Summer Friends, CAPE COD HOME

Favorite flowers for a Cape Cod garden include hardy roses, Guara, and 'Cotton Candy' Supertunias.

Favorite flowers for a Cape Cod garden include hardy roses, Guara, and ‘Cotton Candy’ Supertunias.

To my Puritan New England eye, coleus has a always been a bit too exotic -- red-dressed flamenco dancers edged in flames of green and white.  Looking up the Latin name I came across another common name, Flame Nettle, and indeed, these are "hot" plants.

To my Puritan New England eye, coleus has a always been a bit too exotic — red-dressed flamenco dancers edged in flames of green and white. Looking up the Latin name I came across another common name, Flame Nettle, and indeed, these are “hot” plants.

Wild Organic Apples of Vermont (and New Hampshire too)

_0007457 copy

We’ve been making forays into Vermont’s pastoral countryside and have been thrilled to find wild “organic” apple trees growing along many a roadside.

IMG_1969 copy

We spied this huge, lone apple tree on our way to Walden Heights Nursery, Vermont growers of heirloom apples and other unusual orchard fruits. We noticed nary a blemish on the deep red fruit polished to a high shine by wind-whipped leaves.

In less than four miles from our home we have collected a sampling of very edible fruit in colors ranging from red to green to yellow or a mix of all three.  The most beautiful apple we have found so far is a tiny and fawn-colored with a lipstick-pink blush.

Wild and wonderful

A selection of wild apples gathered not far from our home in Newbury, Vermont.

In the past before we sampled apples from the wild, we would wipe off fly speck, tiny black dots – and no, the dots do not arise from flies but are the result of fungal disease especially prevalent in Vermont’s apple orchards as our summers and falls become more humid and wet.

_0007615 copy

We found two abandoned orchards with trees still producing fruit on Cobble Hill within the lands of The White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire.

Most orchards spray fungicide multiple times to prevent things like fly speck and sooty blotch – but we don’t have to worry about eating chemicals with our wild finds in hand and we don’t even bother to wipe off the spots and dots, instead biting into the apples to determine if they are tart, sweet, spicy, or too sour to eat.

One of the tastiest apples we have discovered so far is in a meadow adjoining ours.  The apples are gnarly from the pecks and bites of piercing, sucking insects but all they need is a trim around the insect-damaged flesh and they are a delight to eat.  We wonder if they are possibly an heirloom apple variety as they have many attributes for home use – the flesh is sweet, tart – firm but juicy.  They are yellow overlaid with crimson stripes and were ripe some weeks ago.

_0007419 copy

The apples we dubbed “the meadow apple” looked rough but had exceptional flavor and were added to a succession of excellent dishes — a harvest stew of rabbit, a veal stew reminiscent of my Great Grandmother Booth’s French Casserole of Veal, and a fragrant, spicy venison chile.

The “meadow” apples have held up well in cooking and have found their way into a rabbit stew made rich by the addition of butter, good olive oil, a cider reduction we made and put up last year, lots of vermouth, good white wine, carrots and tomatoes picked from our garden and roasted before being added to the stew. There was an ample amount of the excellent fragrant sauce left over from the rabbit and it was reincarnated as a base for a veal stew.

The organically-grown veal came from Winsome Farm in Haverhill, NH just across the Connecticut River from our Newbury, VT home. The tender bits of newly-harvested meat were caramelized in a super hot oven and were added to the sauce as were more “meadow” apples, our own heirloom tomatoes and slowly sauteed onions, little red potatoes from one of our favorite local farms, Peaked Moon in Piermont, NH, and as more liquid was needed to keep everything moist the last half of a bottle of red wine.

_0007564 copy

This abandoned orchard in The White Mountain National Forest will provide food for wildlife and a taste of the wild for those lucky enough to find apples in season.

As the stew was put to a simmer and the aroma filled our home, I wondered what else I could cook with wild apples and rummaged about in the freezer pulling to the front items of goodness needing to be cooked before the freezer put the burn to them.  A goodly-sized package marked “stew” put a smile on my face as I silently thanked our friend Tom Kuralt who generously shared venison he had taken during a hunt last year.  After thawing the rich, wild meat it was browned, like the veal, in a hot, hot oven then added to a base of homegrown tomatoes, onions, lovage, peppers, and garlic with the addition of carrots from Newbury’s own 4 Corners Farm and cut up chunks of wild apple.  Cumin and dried chiles from Oaxaca — Pasilla and Chilcosle — added heat and hints of clove, anise, cinnamon and smoke.  Homemade corn tortillas completed the meal!

All of this yumminess has us giving thanks to the early settlers of Vermont and New Hampshire – the apple trees they planted years ago produced a mixed blessing of progeny to inherit the wild.

IMG_1959 copy

Island Garden, OLD HOUSE JOURNAL’S NEW OLD HOUSE

In the Gulf of Maine, where sky meets sea, lie the Isles of Shoals, haunted with graves of Spanish sailors and tales of pirate gold.  The islands have names that give them shape -- Smutty Nose, Duck, Hog, and White (an acre of stone topped at the pinnacle with light).  Poet Celia Laighton Thaxter's life on Appledore Island inspired her writing and her lifelong connection to the island's terrain.  Her flower garden, celebrated in her book An Island Garden, drew visitors to the island until a fire destroyed the property.  A century after she started her garden, John Kingsbury of Cornell University and a team of volunteers found the remnants of her sanctuary and re-created her summer garden, a floral oasis in the rough, wind-whipped terrain.

In the Gulf of Maine, where sky meets sea, lie the Isles of Shoals, haunted with graves of Spanish sailors and tales of pirate gold. The islands have names that give them shape — Smutty Nose, Duck, Hog, and White (an acre of stone topped at the pinnacle with light). Poet Celia Laighton Thaxter’s life on Appledore Island inspired her writing and her lifelong connection to the island’s terrain. Her flower garden, celebrated in her book An Island Garden, drew visitors to the island until a fire destroyed the property. A century after she started her garden, John Kingsbury of Cornell University and a team of volunteers found the remnants of her sanctuary and re-created her summer garden, a floral oasis in the rough, wind-whipped terrain.

Celia Thaxter's century-old garden on Appledore Island is gaining new life through the dedication of volunteers and the interest of visitors.  The summer tours are almost always sold out and the education and family programs at the Shoals Marine Laboratory are popular.

Celia Thaxter’s century-old garden on Appledore Island is gaining new life through the dedication of volunteers and the interest of visitors. The summer tours are almost always sold out and the education and family programs at the Shoals Marine Laboratory are popular.

Social Climber, COUNTRY LIVING GARDENER

Social Climbers  -- roses rule in Linda Wood's Rhode Island garden where they linger on lichen-studded stonewalls and gallivant up granite pillars.

Social Climbers — roses rule in Linda Wood’s Rhode Island garden where they linger on lichen-studded stonewalls and gallivant up granite pillars.

Linda Wood has planted two dozen rose cultivars in her backyard paradise including a David Austin 'Mary Rose', 'The Fairy', 'New Dawn', a David Austin shrub rose, 'Constance Spry', 'Zephirine Drouhin', Rosa 'Excelsa', 'Fair Bianca', and 'The Pilgrim'.

Linda Wood has planted two dozen rose cultivars in her backyard paradise including a David Austin ‘Mary Rose’, ‘The Fairy’, ‘New Dawn’, a David Austin shrub rose, ‘Constance Spry’, ‘Zephirine Drouhin’, Rosa ‘Excelsa’, ‘Fair Bianca’, and ‘The Pilgrim’.

Winter Interest, CAPE COD HOME

Let's face it.  Cape Cod can get downright gloomy in the winter months.  Gray sky, gray ocean, even marsh grasses in mellow shades of rust and yellow moving merrily in the wind are soon beaten down by snow and rain.  What's a sun-loving, home-owning gardener to do?  Plant and sculpt with winter interest in mind.

Let’s face it. Cape Cod can get downright gloomy in the winter months. Gray sky, gray ocean, even marsh grasses in mellow shades of rust and yellow moving merrily in the wind are soon beaten down by snow and rain. What’s a sun-loving, home-owning gardener to do? Plant and sculpt with winter interest in mind.

Choose specimen trees with unusual bark such as the Japanese Trident maple, Acer buergeriannum, with peeling bark offering up shades of gold, brown, and orange.  Another peeler is the paperbark maple, Acer griseum, in cinnamon shades.

Choose specimen trees with unusual bark such as the Japanese Trident maple, Acer buergeriannum, with peeling bark offering up shades of gold, brown, and orange. Another peeler is the paperbark maple, Acer griseum, in cinnamon shades.

Plant a textured border of mixed broadleaf and needled evergreens to catch the snow -- Juniperus (junipers) come in many shapes and sizes, from low and creeping to tall and columnar, and are painted in shades of pale blue-green to vivid gold.  They are a perfect evergreen for the Cape as they prefer sandy soil and tolerate salt spray.

Plant a textured border of mixed broadleaf and needled evergreens to catch the snow — Juniperus (junipers) come in many shapes and sizes, from low and creeping to tall and columnar, and are painted in shades of pale blue-green to vivid gold. They are a perfect evergreen for the Cape as they prefer sandy soil and tolerate salt spray.

Ornamental grasses and shrub dogwoods look wonderful against a green backdrop in the winter months.  Grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis will develop into a four-foot clump sending out beautiful inflorescence plumes in the fall.  It is the flowering seed head that is so attractive, catching the late afternoon light and creating a glow.


Ornamental grasses and shrub dogwoods look wonderful against a green backdrop in the winter months. Grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis will develop into a four-foot clump sending out beautiful inflorescence plumes in the fall. It is the flowering seed head that is so attractive, catching the late afternoon light and creating a glow.


Ornamental grasses and shrub dogwoods look wonderful against a green backdrop in the winter months. Grasses such as Miscanthus sinensis will develop into a four-foot clump sending out beautiful inflorescence plumes in the fall. It is the flowering seed head that is so attractive, catching the late afternoon light and creating a glow.

Movement in the Garden, CAPE COD HOME

Peggy and Bob Black's Chatham garden began with a single rose bush whose thick, aged canes wind up the tall textured green of an enclosing privet hedge. The pink roses bloomed profusely, but the bush grew in an almost empty garden.  "I think the old pink rose is probably Dorothy Perkins," says Peggy.  "I am sure it set the tone of what was to follow."

Peggy and Bob Black’s Chatham garden began with a single rose bush whose thick, aged canes wind up the tall textured green of an enclosing privet hedge. The pink roses bloomed profusely, but the bush grew in an almost empty garden. “I think the old pink rose is probably Dorothy Perkins,” says Peggy. “I am sure it set the tone of what was to follow.”

Finding all-day sun where the old rose resides, the homeowners enclosed the lawn on the ocean side planting a secondary hedge of privet to protect a new brood of perennials from cold winter gusts and wind-born salt spray.

Finding all-day sun where the old rose resides, the homeowners enclosed the lawn on the ocean side planting a secondary hedge of privet to protect a new brood of perennials from cold winter gusts and wind-born salt spray.

Peggy has a knack for elegant ladylike combinations of pink and white with a touch of blue or a splash of yellow to spark the overall effect.  When asked about her color scheme she answers that she and Bob often sit at the edge of the garden under the pergola.  “Because the color is so close to where we sit, I decided on a cooler color scheme rather than a hot one.”  Peggy admits ‘Dorothy Perkins’ was an impetus for  pastel colors and more roses.

Peggy has a knack for elegant ladylike combinations of pink and white with a touch of blue or a splash of yellow to spark the overall effect. When asked about her color scheme she answers that she and Bob often sit at the edge of the garden under the pergola. “Because the color is so close to where we sit, I decided on a cooler color scheme rather than a hot one.” Peggy admits ‘Dorothy Perkins’ was an impetus for pastel colors and more roses.

Peggy’s green thumb has had training.  She enrolled in the master gardener program through University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Service in Barnstable and found it indispensable.  “I got so much out of it, I wasn’t ready to quit ... that’s when I went to The Landscape Institute (of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston)” where she earned a Certificate in Landscape Design and gained knowledge in garden history and design, site engineering and construction, and the possible uses for many, many plants.

Peggy’s green thumb has had training. She enrolled in the master gardener program through University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Service in Barnstable and found it indispensable. “I got so much out of it, I wasn’t ready to quit … that’s when I went to The Landscape Institute (of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston)” where she earned a Certificate in Landscape Design and gained knowledge in garden history and design, site engineering and construction, and the possible uses for many, many plants.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service/UMass 

http://www.capecodextension.org/Horticulture/

Cape Cod Home

http://www.capecodlife.com/capecodhome

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, The Landscape Institute

http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu