Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gardening in Maine

How could I go to Maine and not talk of gardening? It seems everything grows bigger and better in Maine. Texas has it all wrong! For huge plants, New England and Maine are the place to go. I will share some of my favorites with you, though it is never the same as being there I hope you enjoy.

My non-gardening sister "I can't see why ANYONE would ever garden!" works in the town office of her and my mother's small town. I NEVER thought I would see the day our family was kind of involved in politics at its best-the small town type. She told us the garden in front of the town office and a historical building in town were maintained by the local garden club. We had to check it out and were delighted with the neatness and color of it all. Mr. Fix-it loved the cones of the above small tree. I am not sure what kind it is, but I bet it won't grow here in Tennessee. Isn't it textural?

Here is a larger view of the garden in front of the town hall. You can just see the pine cones in the left of the picture. These are from the same tree I posted above this picture. My sister tells me the town allots exactly $100 per year for the maintenance of this garden. It doesn't sound like much but evidently it does the job. There are a few perennials, but mostly annuals. The garden is changed to reflect the seasons and I hear the fall display is excellent.

The above daylily is probably an heirloom daylily. It is growing in my mother's garden and was planted by my grandmother. I thought it very neat and grabbed a bit of the huge clumps to bring back to Tennessee. Despite 22 hours in the back of a pick up, these daylilies are still blooming and finally planted in the ground. Does anyone recognize this type? Frances?

These hostas were at the local nursery. Our small little town is blessed to have a family run nursery right in town. I have visited this nursery since I was a teenager. I still love to go. I made quite a few purchases with the help of Mr. Fix-it. I wish you could see these hostas. They are all fully 4-5 feet across! I have NEVER seen hostas that big. I am sure they have not been growing in this position for more than one or two years. I do not remember them on my visit to this same nursery last year. Hostas seem to do better up north where it is colder and not as humid. They truly love Maine.
This is the lovely hip from a rugosa rose. I like these roses but have found they don't do well down here in the south. Some tell me they do, but I have never seen them growing anywhere. Has anyone seen a good stand of rugosas? These were growing on the beach in Maine and fit in well everywhere.

Lastly, let me share a few of the plants I purchased in Maine. On our way into our little town there was a sign on the side of the road that said, "PLANT SALE, SAT-SUN 9-12". That was a big deal to me. Sunday morning I was there. The woman who was selling the plants was scheduled to be on the Garden Tour the very next weekend. I was surprised she was selling plants, but she said she had to make room to plant some new things. She had a beautiful perennial border all around her backyard. It was filled with color. I enjoyed talking with her very much. I bought some perennials here and also at a local nursery in town. My mother also gave me several other plants in addition to the daylilies. And believe it or not, I got some Siberian irises from my non-gardening-"I can't see why ANYONE would ever garden!" sister. I love them all and feel like I got some great plants. Many of these plants are not plants you will find here in nurseries or big box stores, even though they will all grow in our zone. When I spoke to the nursery owner she said regional preferences and differences dictate what is sold where. What a shame. I once had a nursery person tell me that if you can't buy a plant here, then it doesn't grow here. Funny and not true! I have had great luck with all of the plants I purchased up north last year. I expect the same from this batch I will soon be adding to my garden this year.
One of our blogging friends here at In the Garden is Jillybean of The Post-it Place. Jillybean commented on here and answered a question about some DD's I asked of my readers. She got a surprise in the mail when I packed them up and sent them to her Georgia! The blogging relationship has progressed from there and Jillybean, I am still hoping for that special dinner one day! Well anyhow, Jillybean sponsors many contests. I actually won a $25 gift certificate to a nice restaurant on a contest she ran a while back. Dave at The Home Garden was a close second behind me. Remember Dave? Another tidbit is that Jillybean and Skeeter have met in person and both Skeeter and I love Jillybean's barbecue sauce. Thanks again to Jillybean for sending me a special jar of it via Skeeter! Jillybean is sponsoring a contest for a multi-slicer. All of us vegetable gardeners or just vegetable lovers need one don't we? So you all use the link and go visit Jillybean, you may just get lucky like I did a while back and win yourself a multi-slicer, though I am seriously hoping for it to grace my kitchen.
Tomorrow's post will cover my mother's vegetable garden in Maine. So tune....
in the garden....


  1. I LOVE that weird pinecone looking plant!

  2. For a nano second I thought the conifer's cones were a cactus! An odd one! It is a wonderful textural accent we won't find here...but we have lovely red cedar trees.

    Boy is it tempting to get hostas when you see the presence they make in the Maine garden, but you are right, they do seem to like cooler weather than we can offer! I don't grow them anymore.

    Thank you for this tour Tina, your Maine is charming.


  3. Good morning all! Maine is known as the 'Pine Tree State' in addition to Vacationland. I suppose that little pine tree might be one of the ones Maine is famous for. Gail and Jillybean, glad you like it. Mr. Fix-it SO loved it too. He is in good company and I will have to let him know.

  4. Tina, a vacation and some free plants as well? Sounds like a perfect week to me! Like Gail, I thought that pine tree was a cactus at first. I'm surprised hostas don't do as well in Tennessee, but maybe we are that much cooler than you. I do have one that is at least 4 feet across this year, a Sum and Substance.
    The purple daylily is beautiful; that's one I'm sure you're going to treasure.

    And your grandson is a little cutie:)

  5. Hi Rose, And thanks so much! It was a perfect week with family and plants. Now if I can just get the plants planted I can rest easy. lol

  6. Put me on the list for the neat tree too! When you made the reference to Texas and I saw the tree, I too thought it was a cactus! Really neat looking tree...

    Tina, have you ever passed up a Plant Sale sign? LOL...

    Looks like you brought a pile of fun stuff back with you. Hope you highlight the plants for us... Will you make a Maine Garden or just scatter them about?

    Jillybean does have some really yummy BBQ sauce. “Homebrew” is now available on-line if anyone is interested just go to her sight and inquire. I have several jars in the panty and one in the fridge! We love the stuff....

    Gail, My brother in Clarksville has some of the most beautiful hosta you ever saw! He planted them many years ago and they have multiplied and he does nothing to them but clip the blooms. I still dont know why he does that but I am guessing since they surround his patio, he does not like them intruding on his space. I have not been having luck with them either. I am giving Elvis a try though. My mother in law keeps loosing them to the Voles. She now keeps them in their pots and builds up landscaping around them. She gave me one last year and I kept it in the pot and it is doing fine.

    I am having a difficult time typing this morning, I have a cat in my lap that is purring like crazy and loving on me! She keeps head butting my hands! Such a sweet fur baby…

  7. Rose, Forgot to say how lucky you are to have big hostas. I don't see them that big down here. Not sure why.

    Skeeter, NO! NEVER would I pass up a plant sale sign. It would be unheard of and thank goodness Mr. Fix-it grudgingly goes along with it. I am scattering these new ones about. But one of the plants I am having a problem. It is on the invasive list for the midwest and the northeast. I can't find anything on it as being a problem here in the southeast and have never seen it but I guess I really need to research some more. I may post and get some help, as I really really need it for this plant. I had never heard of it before and think it will be okay but still. ttyl, gotta paint, clean, patch, school.....on and on. And oh yeah, water since we only got 1/4 inch! urrrr!

  8. Tina, I just noticed a second posting below. "Daylily Seedlings" I tried to comment but blogger will not let me... What's with that???

  9. That conifer is pretty cool looking. I thought it resembled a cactus as well! I'm not sure I could have passed up a sign like that. Often you find the most unusual and interesting plants in people's gardens not in the nursery.

    I remember that contest! I hope you enjoyed that dinner!

  10. I also thought on first glance that the pine cones was a cool looking cactus and was like I have never seen those growing here! The gardens here are beautiful.

    Mom- Mimis hosta on the side of the house is huge...did you look at it?

  11. Hi Tina, not sure which daylily that is but isn't it pretty. Very unusaul bi-color. All the more precious because it's been in your family for a long time.

    I think the hostas love all the rain they get in Maine. My clumps don't get that large either, but I don't water them.

    I have to laugh, we gardeners are all the same. Drive 1000 miles and go to back yard plant sales:) Doesn't take much to make us happy.

  12. Skeeter, The daylily posting was NOT supposed to run. I must've been tired last night. I pulled it for another day.

    Dave, We had a great dinner. It was awful nice of Jillybean.

    Christy, Yes, I saw the huge hosta. I took a piece last year or the year before. Not sure when. But it has not done well for me in this heat. This one and the hostas under the honeysuckle are great and I hear you divided them all. Super job!

    Marne, For sure! Don't plant and yard sales and whatever seem sweeter when they are away from home? Sure makes me happy.

  13. First off I love the cones on that conifer. What a unique little tree. Sounds like you got some great plants in Maine to add to your garden at home. Hostas do seem to get bigger up north than in the south. The ones in my fountain bed get pretty large, I think they are called Royal, not sure though. Bought them through a grab-bag mail order years ago.

  14. Hi Perennial Gardener! I will have to look for Royal and see if I can get large hostas too.

  15. Congratulations on your new plants, Tina--your pictures are great. I love rugosa roses, too, but haven't had much luck with them in VA. I notice, though, that they really thrive at the Outer Banks in North Carolina--which is hotter than it is here, but less humid and a lot sandier. Is your part of Maine coastal? Anyway, welcome back.

  16. I gasped out loud when I saw that first photo. Can that really be a tree? Wow, I could have sworn it was a cactus until I started reading.

    What a GREAT plant haul you got on your trip!

  17. Hi Tina, I think I know the tree with the cones, it looks just like the seeds I ordered from Chiltern's called abies koreana, Korean Fir. It definitely is a type of fir, they do well up north and struggle here with our heat and humidity even though it says zones 5-7. The ones that were started from seed and were planted outside look dead although they were fine when planted. The daylily, don't know. There are so many named varieties out there, it would be hard to tell, but it's a beauty. Make up a name for it. Those hostas are great. We have had good luck with hostas in past years, but the drought has not been kind to them. We hope that our normal rainfall will come back one of these years, right?

  18. Cosmo, Thanks for the info on rugosas. I have never seen them successful here and I do think they like sandy soil and lower humidity. And I did not know they grew on the Outer Banks. Good info! Yes, we are on the coast of Maine.

    Thanks Amy!

    Frances, I bet you are absolutely correct on this little tree. I can tell you it is pretty special if successfully grown but comparing Maine to here, it doesn't look good. I will ponder a name for my new daylily, probably Nana after my grandmother. I HOPE our rainfall amount will return, but it is doubtful. I remember in the 80s when without fail every single afternoon in the summer we would have a good thunderstorm. That seems to have changed and doesn't seem to be coming back, at least not for the last few years I have lived here. Sigh. Drought tolerant is probably the best way to go.

  19. I too thought the plant in the first pic was a cactus till I read further. It is exquisite. I only wish I could have one here. Oh boy, I want everything. lol
    As for the lily I have no clue. Yes, Nana would be a good name. I have a plant that I brought back from my brothers many yrs. ago. Even have a piece here when we moved up town. I have no clue what the name is for it so I call it "Loyd's Flower". All I remember is it was at the end of their mobile, taller & as wide. Seems like I remember it was red blooms. Will take pic & send it to you, Tina. I hope you can name it for me.

    I saw a Rugso Rose in Ga. that had the hips on it. Real pretty.

    Besides a well deserved vacation, you really got a haul on flowers. I'm sure with your loving hands ALL will do just fine. I really don't think that some plants that are designated for one area won't do good in another. I have brought plants from Tn & N.C. down here & they are doing fine. I think if you have a love of gardening any plant will do good other than where it's supposed to be.

    Must run an errand now, TTYL

  20. Yup the plant does look like a cactus but I think Frances is right on the name of it. The cones almost look like a purple flower in the spring and then turn green with a sliver color underneath. It is, I think, the most heat tolerent of fir's. It will grow tall but is a very, very slow grower.

  21. Hi Tina, I forgot to mention that we have a rugosa rose here, Grootendorst Supreme, we call it Thorny. It never ever gets any extra water except rain and thrives. I used to prune it and fool with it, but don't have time anymore with the blogging! I got it from the Antique Rose Emporium. I think they have some other ones for sale too. I can give them a full recommendation, check out their site. It has lots of good info about roses and their growth and flowering habits.

  22. Rugosas will grow in the South, but they must have good drainage. Thats why they are such a good seaside plant in NC and VA. In fact if they are happy with their location they tend to be thuggish. I remember a trip to Maine seeing them blooming on the beach right behind the tide line. Lots of people were in the water swimming, so I thought I would take a dip too. I got in up to my ankle and immediately pulled out - way too cold for this Southern boy.

  23. Storms all around us today, lost power last night and the gauge only holds 1/10 inch of rain. In other words, not even a drop in the bucket for a bone dry yard! I bet enough to get those weeds popping up again though! arggggg... Lake now 12 feet below normal pool...

  24. Like everyone else, I love that first photo. How great for you to get some new plants, especially the ones from your Mom. It's nice to have a piece of home where ever you are.

  25. Hi Tina --another busy day here. Managed to pull some weeds and trim the hostas. Those flowers that grow on top --are done and I clipped them off:) I trimmed up the curly willow and fixed the dogwood. Had a helper today while I was busy --my mom came down to keep an eye on the kiddos. I wanted to chat with her but had other things to take care of --the kids had a good time though. Grandma is lots of fun --she raced matchbox cars with Sidekick --so she is #1 :0) Have a great night -y'all!

  26. That first picture is so pretty. I never understood why people planted flowers, but now I understand! lol . I'm glad to hear that you were able to buy some different plants!!!

  27. Lola, Send the pic as I would love to see it and hopefully I can help ID it.

    Mom, Thanks so much for the info. Since this fir is such a hit I will have to remember to post the different and unusual as it is sure attracting attention. I have some good ones coming up.

    Frances, Thanks for the info on the rugosa. I have noticed you have slowed down blogging and now I know why-need more time in the garden. lol. Blogging is time consuming, especially when you have such as popular blog as yours! I had no idea how much but I think that since it is gardening season we garden bloggers seem to be a bit short on time, once winter comes you will have more time. Watch and see.

    Les, What year did you go to Maine? Most summers the ocean is VERY cold. I can tell you from experience this summer it was warm! Even for us southerners! But two years ago it was cold too. I paid my son $20 to take a dip in it just to see if he could do it. He surprised us and did and mom and dad were $20 poorer. Where did you go in Maine? I am from the Brunswick area, but Maine is big. Thanks for the info on the rugosas. They would never have good drainage here so that explains it.

    Skeeter, No rain here either. Weeds are growing like crazy. BUT! The grass is green! Not like last summer. Your grass is green? Maybe we will get some rain soon. I hope so. Tired of watering.

    Cindy, Aren't gardens wonderful? They are always here to remind us of families and I think it cool I can say I have some of my mother and grandmother's plants growing here in Tennessee-all the way from Maine. We did pass thru PA and I thought about you.

    Anonymous, You did a good thing trimming those blooms from the hostas. They can get unsightly and it is always good to deadhead. The name for it. Glad your mom came down and I know the kids had a good time. We barely got any rain yesterday. At least a bit but not so much. Your area got the brunt of it. Trees and all. That neighbor of yours did use his tractor. Also, the other tree was gone by the time I left. Fast workers. Your curly will grow like crazy now. First year it sleeps, second year it creeps, and the third year it leaps. Take a picture of it each year with the kiddos. It will be neat as it is your curly.

  28. Anonymous, I hope your neighbor is feeling better.

  29. Everyone- You have to be careful with those roses though. In the right conditions, as states, they become VERY thuggish. When I was cleaning and landscaping for a living, my customers first gardener put alot in an area that wasn't much good for anything else even though the man wanted flowers in it and the roses took over and I had a heck of a time getting them out of there to do what he wanted. If he had been smart he would have let the forest take that garden back over or made it a raised bed with like 2 feet of good soil brought in, but he wouldn't listen and all the money he spent on flowers was wasted. The soil was real clayey and did not drain at all. I put irises in the little stream that went through it and they are doing great though!

  30. About the rugosa roses - I have tried many and like you say, they don't like the South. However, I have a few that have done really well for me. One is "FJ Grootendorst" and the other one is "Hansa" - both has flourished in my garden for over 10 years now. I think I bought mine from the Antique Rose Emporium (like Frances).

  31. Christy, I know they sucker so it would be difficult to remove. Pretty though.

    Phillip, Thanks for the info! Everyone has been so helpful with this subject. My landscape professor says they grow well here (Nashville), but I can tell you I have NEVER seen them anywhere. You and Frances seem to have good luck. Not me, my one from Maine my sister dug for me died. Have you done a post on them?

  32. Tina,
    We went back in the mid 90's B.C. (before child) and stayed with friends in Gardner near Augusta. We travelled all over the state, but the beach was near Brunswick at Pemaquid Point. There really were lots of people in the water, but I was not going to join them beyond my ankles.

  33. Tina - You probably passed within 10 minutes of my house if you were on either 79 or the turnpike. Too bad I didn't know, you could have stopped and taken a break from driving - LOL.

  34. Les, You were definitely in my neck of the woods in Maine! My father lives there (Richmond). Small world.

    Cindy, It is possible we will be traveling up there again soon. I will let you know as I'd love to meet you.