Dig It!
Garden Blog
Dig It! Garden Blog

Preparing Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) for winter hibernation.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

I am very fond of most any flower that is currently in bloom, but if I had to live the remainder of my life on a desert island and could only bring one plant with me, it would have to be a flouncy, ostentatious bearded iris. They remind me of colorful, over the top, ball gowns that scream to be noticed. The conditions of my garden also make them the most challenging plant to grow successfully.

In my garden, bearded iris grow best and successfully survive our cold, wet winters as long as I adhere to a strict regimen of summer fertilizing and fall garden cleanup. My heavy clay soil is not ideal for iris, which prefer well-drained sandy loam, and so they struggle to increase in size in the summer and are prone to rotting in the cold, wet soils of early spring. Iris are also plagued with iris borer from early May through August, which, if left unchecked, can wipe out entire colonies of plants in one season. Leaf spot, a fungal disease, is also an issue during the humid months of summer. Keeping a clean garden and understanding the life cycles of iris borer and leaf spot fungus are the best ways to minimize the damage they can bring, ensuring that your plants thrive and easily survive our long winters. Read More

A Tea for all Seasons

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

There’s something about these shorter, cooler days as the season winds down that makes you wish you could hold onto just a little bit of summer for later—for the more extreme months, for the harder days. Something about the satisfaction of the conclusion of another good growing season inspires hope as we gather the fruits of those hard-working seeds. Some flowers and leaves, depending on zone, are at still pretty delectable right now, what with all that making do with the last of the warm late summer/early autumn sun drawing sweet, pungent essential oils to the surface of their cells.teacup and herbs

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The Once and Future Queen (Bee)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

I always imagine what our new Learning Apiary must look like to visitors—walking up to it for the first time, it almost looks like a garden picture with a beautiful apiary in the middle. But your friendly beekeeper walks through the image and suddenly you notice all the bees buzzing behind the screen. These bees are like many hundreds of thousands of hardworking members of staff, pollinating our plants.

Let’s take a look at 14 of the most important bees we have here at the Gardens—the queens. Read More

It’s Honey Time!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Did you know that Labor Day is when beekeepers begin extracting their fall honey?

Let’s start from the beginning with how bees make honey. It all begins at the flower—flowers produce nectar as a reward for the pollinating bees. Forager bees bop around the garden from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen before heading back to the hive. The nectar collected is stored in the nectar sac, a special spot in a worker bee’s body where enzymes are deposited and water is extracted. Another worker comes and collects the nectar from the forager and deposits the nectar into the comb. She then extracts and deposits the nectar over and over, dehydrating it little by little with each cycle.

honeycomb Read More

Horticulturist and Grower Dan Robarts on Gardens, Daylilies, and “Playing Bee”

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and spent lots of time outside and amongst plants, learning to tend and grow plants through work in our large family garden. While in the throes of this homesteading education, I became entranced with the idea of plants as garden ornament. My first love and interest in ornamental plants came with daylilies – stalwarts of the New England landscape. Visits to the local nursery were always adventures into the exotic and unknown when I was little. I was amazed with the diversity of size, color, and form daylilies could display. At first, I collected those that seemed farthest from the rusty orange and simple yellows that had grown up with – acquiring pinks, purples, and bi-colored blooms. Ruffled and narrow, spidery forms in any hue – it seemed as though there were no limits to the variation. For almost a hundred years before I found them, plant breeders had been working with daylilies to create those fancy hybrids. All of the modern selections available today came from humble origins of yellow, dull orange, and brown-red flowers found in naturally occurring daylily species. Read More

Fields of Gold: For the love of goldenrod.

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

 

Before I begin waxing rhapsodic on goldenrod (Solidago spp.), let’s get one myth buried: goldenrod is not the culprit behind the agony of late-season allergies. Though goldenrod takes the brunt of the blame, it’s an insect-pollinated plant rather than a wind-pollinated one, meaning the pollen is heavy, sticky and stays put until a pollinator goes foraging for nectar. It’s the wind-pollinated, simultaneously-blooming ragweed responsible for the miseries of hay fever. Read More

Road Trip with Amanda: Family Trip – MidCoast Maine

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Check out the Gardens’ Dig It! blog for more of my favorite road trips, perfect for an individual, a couple, or a small family. Every destination is within a 1-2 hour’s drive and can be stretched into a 2 to 3-day getaway; timing is based on a Friday-Sunday trip.

Disclaimer: There are a million things one might do here in MidCoast Maine, but I offer you a tour of places I have been to, worked with, and highly recommend. I encourage you to research with Yelp, TripAdvisor, VisitMaine.com, and travel apps like Roadside America; after all, planning is half the fun of any trip! Also, this trip was mapped pre-COVID. Be sure to call or check ahead to ascertain opening hours and general availability.

There’s no doubt that MidCoast Maine is the perfect place for a family vacation. I made many trips down to Boothbay Harbor as a child with family. Funny story, as a toddler, I dropped my pacifier (I called it a “dum-dum”) off the 1901 Footbridge as a child, and I was so upset, I never had another one. With all the changes children have been asked make due to COVID-19, they could certainly use a fun-filled vacation this summer! In a normal year, you could spend an entire weekend on the Boothbay peninsula enjoying such places as the Boothbay Railway Museum, the Maine State Aquarium, and the Carousel Music Theater. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, these places are not open this year. However, there are so many other fun things to do in MidCoast Maine. Follow me for a great family trip (or for a couple who are young at heart) around the Boothbay and Phippsburg peninsulas – with an obvious stop at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (get your tickets in advance, here)! Read More

Road Trip with Amanda: Couples’ Getaway – MidCoast Maine

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Check out the Gardens’ Dig It! blog for more of my favorite road trips, perfect for an individual, a couple, or a small family. Every destination is within a 1-2 hour’s drive and can be stretched into a 2 to 3-day getaway; timing is based on a Friday-Sunday trip.

Disclaimer: There are a million things one might do here in MidCoast Maine, but I offer you a tour of places I have been to, worked with, and highly recommend. I encourage you to research with Yelp, TripAdvisor, VisitMaine.com, and travel apps like Roadside America; after all, planning is half the fun of any trip! Also, this trip was mapped pre-COVID. Be sure to call or check ahead to ascertain opening hours and general availability.

Whether you are parents thrown into the brave new world of homeschooling and itching for a well-deserved break or a young couple missing date nights, every couple has earned a Maine staycation to kick-start your summer. As someone who has fallen in love with (and in!) MidCoast Maine, I can attest that it is the perfect place for romance. Join me as I guide you through the Boothbay and Pemaquid Peninsulas – with an obvious stop at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (get your tickets in advance, here)! I hope you fall in love with MidCoast in this couples’ getaway.
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Road Trip with Amanda: The Great Outdoors – MidCoast Maine

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I outline some of my favorite road trips, perfect for an individual, a couple, or a small family. Everything is within a 2-3 hour driving distance and can be stretched into a 2 to 3-day getaway; timing is based on a Friday-Sunday trip.

Disclaimer: There are a million things one might do here in MidCoast Maine, but I offer you a tour of places I have been to, worked with, and highly recommend. I encourage you to research with Yelp, Travelocity, Google, and travel apps like Roadside America; after all, planning is half the fun of any trip! Also, this trip was mapped pre-COVID. Be sure to call or check ahead to ascertain opening hours and general availability.

 With warmer weather in the forecast and safety guidelines being revised, if you are anything like me, you’re itching for a stint in the great outdoors. Being able to leave our houses and enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities after so long makes being in Maine ideal. After all, we are the home of L.L. Bean, Acadia National Park, and the great “Down East” – outdoor activities are what we do! MidCoast Maine has some of the greatest outdoor activities, whether you like to sightsee, hike, explore, or simply relax and enjoy some sunshine. I hope you can find some adventure (and sun) in my favorite Great Outdoors road trip – with an obvious stop at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (get your tickets in advance, here)!
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