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Dig It! Garden Blog

Five Backyard Mosses

Monday, May 11th, 2020

One of the biggest things I’ve learned at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is what I don’t know. They say that’s the first step in knowing- well we’ll see about that. What I might know about though, are a few common mosses found in Maine that are distinctive, easy to ID, and will get you on the road to learning more about moss identification! Read More

Take Your Budding Artist for a Hike

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

There is nothing young children love more than creating art for their friends and families. As an educator, I have a collection of drawings, potholders, paintings, and small sculptures children have created for me out of things they find around the house. One way I’ve found to take this creative side of children into the woods is by having them create nature bracelets while we hike. 
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Four Herbs for the Skincare Apothecary

Monday, May 4th, 2020

If you’re here, you’re probably interested in plants (just a lucky guess…). And while we might be a dab hand at growing them, what about brainstorming unique ways of using them? So, with that in mind, let’s talk skincare.
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Forest Bathing: More than Just a Walk in the Woods

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

What better way to celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of Earth Day than stepping outside? (And who couldn’t use a bit of fresh air right now?) Perhaps you’ve heard of forest bathing, a term for spending mindful, quiet, and purposeful time in forests.
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Five Sweet Benefits of Honey

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Honey is close to our hearts here at CMBG, given our sixteen resident hives, new Learning Apiary, and our Certified Beekeeper of a CFO/COO, Erin MacGregor-Forbes. So I thought today we could look at a few of the lesser-known attributes of this sweet byproduct of the hive.
Honey bee covered in dew
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Morning Hummingbird Meditations

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

I awoke this morning listening to the cacophony of birdsong. The spruce edges were filled with rapid twitching movement as new spring arrivals jockeyed for position at the feeding stations. In that moment, I felt grateful for the steadfast traditions of nature in the face of such uncertain times.

Amidst the morning chaos, it occurred to me that there was one feeder missing—the hummingbird feeders. These tiny magical creatures have always been some of my favorites. I thought about these little birds, weighing about as much as a penny, making their way 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. It’s no surprise that they might be hungry when they get here!  With their arrival happening in the first week of May, it might be time to dig out the feeders and check my “hummer”-friendly plant list for spring.
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Ginger’s Versatile Rice Bowls

Monday, April 20th, 2020

These days, if we’re not flexing our culinary muscles baking sourdough (the new social media sensation) or making whipped coffee, we’re probably spending increasing amounts of time staring into our pantries, wondering how we can cobble together one more meal before venturing out for groceries.

Our Manager of Food Services, Ginger Dermott, is no different. “The other night, we pulled together rice bowls from limited ingredients,” she told me. “I feel like rice bowls are a super fun and easy way to include all the food groups into one meal.”

rice bowls
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Spring’s Raw Beauty

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Every year, spring’s early visitors often ask what time of the year is my favorite in the Gardens. This never allows for a quick answer, because each season hold its own special charms here. Inevitably though, my answer is always early spring.

The landscape of late March and early April appears raw, even barren. However, a closer look reveals stunning beauty, small oases of texture and color that stand out in stark contrast to the still-dormant landscape. Compared to the riotous colors and abundance of summer, these seemingly minimal expressions of early flora, pushing through dry brown leaf litter, are certainly understated at first glance. But upon closer inspection, they are a lovely, ethereal feast for the eyes. 
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Ginger’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Hi everyone, and greeting from my home kitchen! I wanted to share a recipe with you which, for my family, is a definite comfort food. I have made this cake using so many variations on the ingredients that I thought it would be the perfect recipe to share, because we are certainly all having to get creative in both the kitchen and our lives right now! Feel free to use different combinations of flours, different fruits, different extracts, or even throw in a handful of nuts.

Ginger's blueberry cake
Photo: Katia Dermott

But before we begin, I’d like to give a shout out to all of our local farms keeping their farm stands open! I had the good fortune to help my husband make a delivery of Thirty Acre Farm sauerkraut to The Milkhouse Farm & Dairy in Monmouth last weekend. While I was there, I bought a gallon of yogurt, fresh milk, chicken and duck eggs, as well as an assortment of frozen beef and pork. You can always call your local farmers to ask if they are open and what their hours are. Most farmers’ markets have websites listing names and contacts of their vendors, as well.

Now. Onto our recipe (this is a great project to do with your kids, too, by the way—I had the assistance of my 11 year-old daughter, Nina, and my oldest daughter, Katia, who is an art student at MECA in Portland…she’s the one behind the camera).
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Feathering the Nest: Birdhouses and your Garden

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Sometimes attracting songbirds to your yard is as easy as hanging a well-stocked feeder and planting the right kinds of seed-bearing perennials. But what if you’re interested in going beyond caring for the current population to building upon it?

If you’re looking for a project these days, maybe try installing (or even building) an attractive home or two to accommodate your favorite species. But did you know that, when it comes to birdhouses, one size (and style) does not fit all?

Of course, if your sole aim is to add a bit of charm to your yard, well, it doesn’t much matter the style of house you choose. But what if your goal is to attract specific species? In that case, a bit of research is in order.

What we think of as “regular” birdhouses, officially called “nest boxes,” attract only cavity-nesting birds. But not every bird fits the bill, so to speak. For example—did you know that purple martins like to nest in colonies? Or that robins prefer to settle on platforms open to the air? Read More