Tag Archives: Jane Booth New England garden writer

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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Truro Twilight, CAPE COD HOME

"You must come at dusk", was Truro author Maria Flook's invitation to her garden.   I didn't knock at first, delaying my arrival and taking in plantings as I strode from the car.  Casa Blanca lilies were in bloom, wildly fragrant, white and rising from ado where a statue of a lion lurked hidden in the gloom.


“You must come at dusk”, was Truro author Maria Flook’s invitation to her garden. I didn’t knock at first, delaying my arrival and taking in plantings as I strode from the car. Casa Blanca lilies were in bloom, wildly fragrant, white and rising from ado where a statue of a lion lurked hidden in the gloom.

Indeed, as we emerged onto a small brick terrace, silence overcame the space.  Table and chairs surrounded by a garden of mystery, a hush of plants in varying shades of soft green leaning into wine-soaked burgundy variegated ground covers, whites fringing the edges of green leaves….

Indeed, as we emerged onto a small brick terrace, silence overcame the space. Table and chairs surrounded by a garden of mystery, a hush of plants in varying shades of soft green leaning into wine-soaked burgundy variegated ground covers, whites fringing the edges of green leaves….

"I really like white in the garden," says Flook, yet she uses it discriminately, just a bit here or there to draw the eye out of dark shadow, to create a fragmented moment in the twilight of day.

“I really like white in the garden,” says Flook, yet she uses it discriminately, just a bit here or there to draw the eye out of dark shadow, to create a fragmented moment in the twilight of day.

"I really like white in the garden," says Flook, yet she uses it discriminately, just a bit here or there to draw the eye out of dark shadow, to create a fragmented moment in the twilight of day.

“I really like white in the garden,” says Flook, yet she uses it discriminately, just a bit here or there to draw the eye out of dark shadow, to create a fragmented moment in the twilight of day.

"A garden to me always meant this wonderful sense of fighting against death, fighting against all the struggles that you face in your life whether it be work troubles or family troubles.  If you can work a garden, you still had something, some power in the world…a bolster against the hard grim world.  It is a sign of health, a health of the self." Wonderful words of wisdom from writer and gardener Maria Flook.

“A garden to me always meant this wonderful sense of fighting against death, fighting against all the struggles that you face in your life whether it be work troubles or family troubles. If you can work a garden, you still had something, some power in the world…a bolster against the hard grim world. It is a sign of health, a health of the self.” Wonderful words of wisdom from writer and gardener Maria Flook.

http://www.capecodlife.com/capecodhome

Kitchen Garden, CAPE COD HOME

The Nantucket Historical Association's Oldest House may be a seventeenth-century jewel of antiquity, but the sweet kitchen garden at the 1686 Jethro Coffin saltbox is the apple of my eye.

The Nantucket Historical Association’s Oldest House may be a seventeenth-century jewel of antiquity, but the sweet kitchen garden at the 1686 Jethro Coffin saltbox is the apple of my eye.

Kathrina Pearl, a Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) staff member and avid gardener, and the NHA grounds crew have adopted the backyard at the Oldest House, planting a long list of period pot plants, culinary and medicinal herbs, a small orchard of fruit trees, and some berries.  "The idea for the garden came from the interpreters at the site," says Pearl.

Kathrina Pearl, a Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) staff member and avid gardener, and the NHA grounds crew have adopted the backyard at the Oldest House, planting a long list of period pot plants, culinary and medicinal herbs, a small orchard of fruit trees, and some berries. “The idea for the garden came from the interpreters at the site,” says Pearl.

The Oldest House nestles into the landscape at the top of Sunset Hill.  It was built as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and his new bride, Mary.  According to the NHA, it is the "sole surviving structure from the island's original seventeenth-century English settlement."

The Oldest House nestles into the landscape at the top of Sunset Hill. It was built as a wedding gift for Jethro Coffin and his new bride, Mary. According to the NHA, it is the “sole surviving structure from the island’s original seventeenth-century English settlement.”

http://www.capecodlife.com/capecodhome

Companion Planting, CAPE COD HOME

The hillside garden at Satucket Farm Stand in Brewster, Massachusetts bursts with blossoms.  “I love the textures of greens in spring,” says Anita Anderson.   “I love Solomon’s Seal and Lily of the Valley, they smell so nice.”  Other spring favorites include daffodils, tulips, Bleeding Heart, and Jacob’s Ladder.   Summer brings on a riot of color.  “Monarda, oh my goodness, the red, a bright red.  I have a deep purple butterfly bush, sedum autumn joy, tons of veronica, a blue balloon flower, astilbe in white and pink and red.”

The hillside garden at Satucket Farm Stand in Brewster, Massachusetts bursts with blossoms. “I love the textures of greens in spring,” says Anita Anderson. “I love Solomon’s Seal and Lily of the Valley, they smell so nice.” Other spring favorites include daffodils, tulips, Bleeding Heart, and Jacob’s Ladder. Summer brings on a riot of color. “Monarda, oh my goodness, the red, a bright red. I have a deep purple butterfly bush, sedum autumn joy, tons of veronica, a blue balloon flower, astilbe in white and pink and red.”

Satucket’s cutting bed  is exuberantly wild with cosmos, sunflowers, cleome, and zinnias all vying for attention.  Anita has nurtured these plants from seed, starting them under lights in her basement the last months of winter.  “During February I go nuts and have to mail order seeds.  I really like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, their flowers seem stronger, healthier than any other supplier I have tried.”

Satucket’s cutting bed is exuberantly wild with cosmos, sunflowers, cleome, and zinnias all vying for attention. Anita has nurtured these plants from seed, starting them under lights in her basement the last months of winter. “During February I go nuts and have to mail order seeds. I really like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, their flowers seem stronger, healthier than any other supplier I have tried.”

Another favorite vendor is a local Orleans grower, The Farm.  “They do an amazing job.  They grow their own perennials and have great stock.”

Another favorite vendor is a local Orleans grower, The Farm. “They do an amazing job. They grow their own perennials and have great stock.”

A stand of sunflowers painted on the barn door was a Mothers’ Day gift.  “The kids asked me what I wanted for Mothers’ Day and that’s what I wanted.  I didn’t need fresh flowers, I didn’t need food.”  Although her kids are absent, she now has their constant presence in the form of sunny flowers on the door.<br /><br /><br /><br />

A stand of sunflowers painted on the barn door was a Mothers’ Day gift. “The kids asked me what I wanted for Mothers’ Day and that’s what I wanted. I didn’t need fresh flowers, I didn’t need food.” Although her kids are absent, she now has their constant presence in the form of sunny flowers on the door.