Rays of Sunshine

The charming black-eyed Susan lights up the garden

PP RudbeckiaPrarieSun NooneyGreen at first, the centers of ‘Prairie Sun’ gloriosa daisy turn brown as seeds develop (Jackie Nooney photo)

In a contest for the most beautiful flower, black-eyed Susan, with its uncomplicated, daisy-like shape, would not win or even be a runner-up. Instead, it would be voted Miss Congeniality. Cheerful, adaptable, and versatile—it would also ace the talent competition—black-eyed Susan is a plant that ticks a lot of boxes. Growing it is a breeze, and the plant looks as much at home in a fancy perennial border as in a meadow. The flowers add that zing of color gardeners yearn for come August. When cut, they last forever in a vase.

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The Right-size Garden

Changing lifestyles call for scaled-down gardens

FG Jack Barnwell Mackinac Island MichiganA summer border showcases white panicle hydrangea and pink Cleome Senorita Rosalita (Jack Barnwell photo).

Even longtime garden enthusiasts may finally hit the garden wall. After years of planting one garden here and another there, the mounting maintenance can be exhausting, if not impossible. Gardeners have always been perennial optimists who believe that expanding garden edges will be manageable over the years with the old heave-ho, muster-through attitude, especially in the cold Northeast. Yet reality says otherwise. Many exasperated baby boomers, thinking that all good things must come to an end, are simply throwing in the garden trowel.

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Indestructible Houseplants

Indoor plants that thrive on the Seacoast

PP Hens ChicksPhotographed by Kindra Clineff When you need a hint of the garden indoors, hens and chicks are the ticket.

Right about now, you are desperately seeking green and are disappointed at every turn. When little goes on outside, that is your cue to look indoors instead. Call it seasonal denial, call it anything you want—it is time to enlist houseplants to come to the rescue. See for yourself: houseplants are the cure for the winter doldrums. A small bit of green can do wonders for your psyche.

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The Beauty of Broadturn Farm

Not your ordinary flower business

Broadturn Barn flowers229Photographed by Kerry Michaels In Broadturn Farm’s cut flower fields, gladioli rise above ornamental basils.

Stacy Brenner did not see it coming. She was blithely pursuing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) route on 30 acres in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, when she and her husband, John Bliss, arranged to rent 434 acres from the Scarborough Land Trust in 2006, and Broadturn Farm was born. At that point, their agenda—including educational programs, summer camps, and hosting weddings—was already more open-ended than your typical CSA. They figured that going beyond the usual offerings of vegetable and livestock harvest shares available through CSA would give them the best chance of securing success in their farming endeavor. But when the cut flower component of their CSA took off, Brenner and Bliss were blindsided in a positive way. Without further prodding, they opted to focus on that strength.

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A Fresh Look

Welcome fall with new container plantings

PP Fountain 5aGold and red Heuchera and Peperomia fill a black metal planter.

By the time summer has lost its sizzle, so too have many container plantings. Fall’s cooler temperatures make it the perfect time to replace spent or tired plants with fresh ones. Changing out containers is one of the easiest ways to bring your home in tune with the season, and the variety of plants and planters means there is no end to the design possibilities.

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Fine Fall Roses

Expert advice from the director of Fuller Gardens

FG 3026 WestRosa ‘Jeanne Lajoie’, a vigorous repeat-blooming shrub that can be trained as a climber, produces profusions of miniature pink,
fully double flowers. Photo by Greg West

If you want to see 2,000 roses in spectacular bloom, Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, New Hampshire, is the place to go. All summer long, visitors stop to smell the roses, marvel over their myriad colors and forms, and learn about old favorites and new cultivars. After Labor Day, the number of sightseers tends to decrease, but that is not because there are fewer roses to see. As garden director Jamie Colen points out, most of those 2,000 roses continue blooming right up to the first frost.

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Colorful Coleus

Flamboyant foliage on a versatile landscape plant

Coeus MakeAnEntrance PWPhotographs courtesy of Proven Winners and Ball Horticultural A container with Lime Time coleus, Calibrachoa Saffron, and fiber optic grass.

Remember when you were a kid and clumps of deep burgundy or dark green coleus grew in every shady garden corner? Well, today’s coleus is not your grandmother’s plant…or maybe it is—but those old shade lovers have been joined by an array of colorful, textured, sun-tolerant varieties. In fact, the National Garden Bureau called 2015 “Year of the Coleus.”

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The Collector

A plant lover finds places to add just one more

B GardenChairPhotographed by Kerry Michaels Next to a chair carved from an old French tree trunk is a weeping hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla ‘Thorsen’s Weeping’).

If you pass Ann Barker’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, and see an elderly woman lying flat in the grass, do not call 911. It is Barker simply enjoying her hemlocks or Japanese maples from the perspective her aching spine finds most comfortable: on her back. And she is prepared. After passersby went into a panic upon seeing “a little old lady lying on the ground,” Barker’s husband, Townsend, insisted that she carry a cell phone into the garden with her.

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High-Fashion Garden

Vibrant plants and accessories shape a landscape

sch detail1Photographed by Penny O’Sullivan Mounds of hosta and boxwood echo the bed’s curvaceous shape.

Stunning . . . exotic . . . sexy. This is how Linda Schuler wants you to react as you stroll through her curvy, voluptuous, garden beds. The combination of color, texture, and style is striking.

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Seaside Garden Tour

Hydrangeas Galore and More

 CL Garry frontPhotographed by C.L. Fornari Fragrant creeping thyme perfumes the walkway in the Garry’s front yard perennial garden.

Imagine seaside gardens where huge blue flowers echo the colors of ocean and sky. On Cape Cod, these mophead hydrangeas are everywhere. It is not surprising that blue Hydrangea macrophylla shrubs are the Cape’s signature plant. In midsummer, Cape gardens are overflowing with them, often accompanied by bright pink shrub roses, yellow and coral daylilies, and crisp white daisies.

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The Open Gate

Maine’s McLaughlin Garden and Homestead is the state’s loveliest secret

M TrilliumGrandiflorum650xPhotographed by Kerry Michaels Spring-blooming trilliums, surrounded by ferns, have naturalized by the hundreds in shady
areas of the garden.

South Paris, Maine, is 45 miles north of Portland via Route 26. Also known as Main Street, this part of road is lined with strip malls, gas stations, and fast food restaurants. Opposite a car dealership is a large patch of green. Not quite a park, yet not a private residence, its open gate offers escape from the concrete and the asphalt.

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Easy Edibles

Weed-free gardening in containers

Edi EdibleFlowersBoxPhotographed by Kerry Michaels For a lovely early spring container garden, line a clementine box with newspaper, fill it with
potting soil, and plant it with pansies and violas. The flowers are edible and look gorgeous garnishing a salad.

Ten years ago, my family moved from Manhattan to Maine. When we arrived, I dreamed of magazine-worthy perennial beds and of growing my own food in a kitchen garden that looked as fabulous as it was productive. After one summer, reality set in. I was not a very good gardener. I would come home from the nursery with a minivan full of plants, having spent way too much money, and watch as they disappeared into the landscape—without making the visual or culinary statement I was hoping for.

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The Artist’s Garden

A social worker changes her life with gardens and glass

 Lincoln CloseUpGlassPhotographed by Kerry Michaels Creating textured yet transparent panels of glass allows Gregory to bring the outside indoors.

Many gardeners cultivate flowers for their beauty and visual excitement and grow vegetables for the wholesome nourishment that they provide. Stained-glass artist Layne Gregory does all that and more. She attributes her satisfaction in gardening to her former career as a social worker. “I enjoy creating relationships,” says Gregory, who lives at Lincoln Farm in Falmouth, Maine.

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Fragrant Houseplants

Bring the scents of nature indoors

Frag CitrusPhotographed by Kindra Clineff A crowd pleaser, calamondin orange (x Citrofortunella microcarpa) produces a bounty of
delicious citrus fruit indoors.

During the growing season, coastal gardeners court sensory overload. With flowerbeds framing the horizon, wind fingering their hair, the suffused colors of flowers misted by ocean fogs, and the perfume of blossoms bantered around by sea breezes, the senses have it made.

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Between a rock and a hard place

A rocky relationship this gardener would not change

Boy Patio WaterfallPhotographed by Kindra Clineff Not long after Sarah Boynton was gifted with the waterfall of her dreams, she added a terrace to the back patio so the family could dine serenaded by water music.

Sarah Boynton did not know what she was getting into when she moved to Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1990. Besides the three large rhododendrons on the premises, the acre stretching around the house was pretty much engulfed in brambles and disguised in mystery. Who knew what was hidden under the camouflage? “I continually got poison ivy cleaning it up,” she says about her first year in residence. Nonetheless, she persisted in ripping plants out, tearing at invasives, and clearing the land around the house. Fortunately, all that hard work resulted in the reward of her dreams—she hit rock.

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Future Perfect

Plant bulbs this fall for bright spring blooms

P Crocus2Photographed by Kerry Michaels Tommies, Crocus tommasinianus, are tough, spreading, and pest resistant.

Call it what you will—jaw-dropping, car-stopping, splendiferous—the sight of spring-flowering bulbs in bloom warms hearts chilled by long Seacoast winters. But growing the likes of daffodils, tulips, Siberian squill, ornamental onions, and crown imperial requires advance planning. Spring-flowering bulbs need fall planting because that is when they produce their roots; they also need extended cold to trigger the chemical process causing them to bloom.

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A Garden Evolution

One couple’s garden unfolds room by room

Scz MainEntrance 233Photographed by Kindra Clineff

Some country gardens bring to mind a vision of cheery flowers in bountiful beds or borders, but Jill and Dan Sczepanski’s one-acre garden in Rowley, Massachusetts, unveils its style and beauty room by room. The progression through these spaces is so structured and so unexpected that you have to move slowly to absorb the full impact of what you see.

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Halls Pond Gardens

A tapestry of plants

Hall 325Photographed by Kerry Michaels Jovibarba hirta, Sedum album, and Sedum sexangulare scramble over and among the rocks, creating a tapestry of textures in a palette of greens and reds.

Some gardens are grand because they are big and blousy, stuffed full of flowers and foliage. Some are elegant and minimalist—edited to their bare bones. Then there are the gardens that reveal themselves slowly, and you only discover their artistry and unique personality on closer inspection. Take, for example, Mark Brandhorst’s Halls Pond Gardens. Located off the beaten track, three miles from the center of South Paris, Maine, Halls Pond Gardens is easy to overlook, but this jewel box of a garden is well worth the trek.

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Grow Your Own Food

Compact vegetable varieties save space

MV Tomato SuperSauce 17294 BurpeeHomeGardensPhotography courtesy of burpeehomegardens.com Grow Super Sauce tomatoes in a big container with ample staking to accommodate their large size.

Story after story touts the ease and benefits of growing your own food. The reasons—including the profound satisfaction of harvesting homegrown vegetables and herbs—are convincing. “Why wouldn’t you choose to grow your own vegetables, especially ones that are high in nutrition?” says Joe Lamp’l, host of national public television’s Growing a Greener World, an award-winning show featuring organic gardening, green living, and farm-to-table cuisine. “People want to grow their own food because they want more control over what goes into their bodies and where their food comes from. There’s a risk when you don’t know how your food is produced.”

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