Down East 2013 ©
Keep winter interests in mind when gardening. We all know of the long dormant season here in Maine so add more ornamental evergreens to your beds. Gardeners should consider all the great deciduous shrubs that offer color and texture, including many dogwoods, such as cornus ‘winter flame’, and willows like salix ‘Mount Aso’ (a pink pussy willow).
Cape Porpoise, Maine
Take the time to enjoy your garden. Wander around, look, smell, deadhead, pull a few weeds. You will see what does well and what needs to be moved or divided. Mix some veggies in here and there. Leaf lettuce makes a nice hearty spring border holding space for the annuals to come later. Lovage is a great background plant. Feed the soil and your soul.
Bailey Island, Maine
Embrace what you have — especially rocks! They have no pests, give lots of variety, add structure, never need weeding, and the lichens and moss that grow on them are delightful! Rocks make everything from walls to paths to accents in the garden. Rocks moderate the temperature in all seasons. Some make great birdbaths. Quite literally, “They Rock!”
I pay attention to plant hardiness ratings and then if it doesn’t live through the winter without pampering, it doesn’t belong in my garden.
It’s important to start any vegetable gardening by having the soil tested. When starting some veggie beds here in Friendship, this simple procedure revealed that our soil had toxic lead levels — something not that unusual for a coastal community where making lead weights for fishing was a home practice. The concentrated levels in the garden warranted the use of enclosed raised beds to ensure growing healthy food.
I plant both veggies and flowers by the second week in May (and protect them against frost if needed). I have had fully ripe tomatoes by the second week in July!
Stockton Springs, Maine
I use a product called Soil Reef that keeps the water and nutrients stable in the ground so the roots can draw on them during a dry spell. It doesn’t decompose like compost and stays in the ground, getting better year after year. It’s perfect for our tough soils. Doug Guyer
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
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The Moment: Living in Clifton allows frequent visits to Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden (near Bangor). This facility provides the perfect environment for spotting eastern bluebirds. Several pairs make it their home during spring nesting season. This one posed in a pretty setting giving me a great shot.