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Dig It! Garden Blog

No Winter Lasts Forever

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~ Hal Borland

It can be difficult to remain positive in this time of social distancing and isolation, especially as the natural world comes to life around us. But this is exactly when immersing ourselves in nature, in routine, and in seasonality can be of the most value. Participating in that renewal is one of the healthiest, life-affirming options we have—we are garden lovers, after all!
When we have little choice but to stay at home, we can turn whole-heartedly to our gardens, whether we’re old hands working with established beds or new gardeners experimenting with a few containers on a balcony or windowsill. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, stay with us in the coming days for inspiration, tips, and opportunities from our garden to yours.

To that end, here are five tasks to get you started: Read More

What’s in Bloom September 9, 2019

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Lovers of black-eyed-Susan and panicle hydrangeas will not be disappointed this week. Be sure to check out the incredible blue flowers on the various types of gentains. And the very unusual flowers of Tricyrtis or toad lilies are sure to impress. Even as the season begins to wind down, there is still plenty of color!

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea
Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ – sweet coneflower

Founders’ Grove and Café:
Clethra alnifolia ‘Sixteen Candles’ – summersweet
Hylotelephium ‘Autumn Joy’ – sedum

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Anemonopsis macrophylla – false anemone
Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ – summersweet
Gentiana ‘True Blue’ – gentian
Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Blue River II’ – rose mallow
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bulk’ – panicle hydrangea
Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’ – bigleaf ligularia
Lobelia siphilitica – great lobelia Read More

Backstage at the Butterfly House

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

If you’ve spent time in our Native Butterfly and Moth House this summer, you’ve probably noticed some changes there. Built vestibules now flank the entrance and exit of the House, and if you’ve wondered why, it’s because we’ve brought in butterfly and moth species from other parts of New England.

The vestibules are a necessary, added protection against winged-creature escapes and escapades. Another necessary component of “importing” our New England neighbors is a USDA-certified rearing room. Sound a bit intense and sci-fi-esque? Well, it is, in a way—especially when the rearing room is guarded by a large “Access is to Authorized Personnel Only” sign.

Inside, it only gets more fascinating. On tabletops around the room sit cages from which the only sound, if the room is quiet, is caterpillars noisily munching on leaves. Read More

The Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Irene Barber, registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR) and coordinator of the Horticultural Therapy Program here at CMBG, knows a thing or two about the intimate relationship between people and plants—sun to soil, seed to root to plant to harvest, harvest to human, human to human. It’s that connection that drew her to the practice of horticultural therapy (HT), defined by Barber as, “the transformation that happens when we work with the earth, how being around plants can improve well-being, and how plant-based exercises can enhance, stimulate, rehabilitate, support, and overcome people’s emotional, cognitive, physical and/or social challenges.”

It’s thanks to this thriving program that the Horticultural Therapy Institute (HTI), through which Irene received her certificate, has chosen to present their four-day course, the Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy, at CMBG this year. As the first of a series four satellite courses, this class will introduce students to the profession and practice of HT, a treatment modality applicable to everything from community and children’s gardens to healthcare and human services. Read More

What’s in Bloom – August 12, 2019

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Coneflowers and August go hand in hand. The Echinacea and Rudbeckia are amazing this week. Be sure to look for the stunning scarlet Lobelia cardinalis or cardinal flower. Hummingbirds love them. Lilium selections look and smell amazing! The bottlebrush buckeye, a butterfly magnet, is in full flower. Hydrangea paniculata or peegee (panicle) hydrangea are in full bloom, showcasing huge white inflorescences.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’ – swamp milkweed
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia

Founders’ Grove and Café:
Hosta ‘Allan P. McConnel’ – hosta
Hydrangea arborescens ‘A. G. Anabelle’ – smooth hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia Read More

Deb Soule & Healing Root Remedies

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

If you’ve been to CMBG lately, then you know that this season we’re focusing our attention on the unseen with our theme, Roots: The Other Half of the Story.

Focusing on roots gives us lots of material to play with, and as a gardener and an herbalist, roots comprise both one of my favorite subjects and some of my favorite remedies. Why? Look at it this way—if roots serve as both larder for and custodian of their plants, imagine what they could do for our own network of systems.

In this opinion I’m certainly not alone—herbalists have long valued roots as both food and medicine. Herbalist Deb Soule, author, owner of Avena Botanicals, and a favorite teacher here at CMBG, talks beautifully about the subject in her latest book, How to Move Like a Gardener, a love note to the garden, the soil, and the magic and medicine that grows within it. Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 29, 2019

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Echinacea are looking great! Be sure to search out the Monarda or beebalm and watch for hummingbirds at the brightly colored flowers. The bottlebrush buckeye, a butterfly magnet, is beginning to bloom. Phlox are starting to put on quite a show too. Hydrangea paniculata or peegee (panicle) hydrangea are amazing and full of pollinators, as are the steely-blue flowers of the Eryngium or sea holly.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Daphne x transatlantica ‘BLAFRA’ – eternal fragrance daphne
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ – oakleaf hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ – betony Read More

Sustainable, Regenerative and Perennial Agriculture

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Every gardener is familiar with the day-in, day-out battle against weeds, the annual dance of prepping the soil, sowing seeds, and/or planting starts. It’s a lot of work—worthwhile, satisfying work—but what if we could make the shift from annuals to perennial crops that don’t need to be reseeded or replanted year after year? Imagine the time and resources that would save, from the annual prepping and plowing to the down-to-the-soil garden clean-up. Certainly, we’re already familiar with some perennial crops—fruit trees, grapes, asparagus, rhubarb, and olives, just to name a few. Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 18, 2019

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Summer has arrived! Lots of sun means lots of flowers. Astilbes look fantastic this week! Roses are winding down but still some color and fragrance. Be sure to search out the Iris ensata or Japanese iris, and Eryngium or sea holly. The daylilies are kicking in to bloom and the Echinacea are beginning to show off their colorful blooms.
Highlights from specific gardens:

Entrance Walk:
Allium caeruleum – blue onion
Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions in Red’ – astilbe
Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Pink Lightning’ – astilbe
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Daphne x transatlantica ‘BLAFRA’ – eternal fragrance daphne
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ – betony Read More

What’s in Bloom – May 28, 2019

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

It’s amazing how a couple of 70 degree sunny days will result in gardens full of flowers. There are still some tulips in bloom. Epimediums, favorites for the woodland garden, are showing off their dainty blooms. And things are starting to pick up in the Giles Rhododendron and Perennial Garden. Both small and large leaved rhododendrons are either in bloom or will be shortly.

Entrance Walk:
Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’ – blue star
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Cameo’ – flowering quince
Fothergilla major and ‘Mt. Airy’ – fothergilla
Narcissus ‘Sunny Girlfriend’ – daffodil
Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ – variegated solomon’s seal
Rhododendron ‘Scintillation’ – rhododendron
Saruma henryi – upright wild ginger
Tiarella cordifolia var. cordifolia – foamflower
Tulipa ‘Beyond Baroque’ – tulip
Viburnum carlesii – Korean spice viburnum Read More