Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More Shade Loving Hostas in May.

The varegated ones can stand the sun.

I think this one is actually a Plantain Lily with white flowers.  It was Grammie's.
This one gets five feet high.

Azalea May

Azalea.  There are a couple of varieties as well as colors.  I hate all the lurid and strange colors in Azaleas.  If I cannot name the color, I do not want it.  I have a pink, a white and this very strong red.  It struggles in my yard, so it really irks me when John cuts branches for bouquets.  However, they are striking in a container.
Other varieties are much leggier and larger.  Good in Part shade and in acid soils, they can be loosely clipped to shape the plant, or even Bonsai-ed.

Candytuft May-June

If it likes you, this is a very tough semi evergreen creeping plant.  Iberis is a bit woody feeling, it rewards you year afrer year with masses of white.  Good for a rock garden. here with Forget Me Nots.

Lilac May

 when i was in Maine, I worked occasionally in the Summer as a Blacksmith at King's Landing, New Brunswick, as a museum curator and on occasion helping out when there was a shortage of help at the Olsen House in Cushing Maine.  the Olsen house was the house in the Painting:  Christina's World, by Andrew Wyeth.  One day, while waiting for a ride home, I dug a couple of sprouts out of the gravel driveway at that house.  the result was these wonderful white Lilacs.  I am afraid that the light was not strong when I took these photos, and all are a bit back lit.

 These photos are Lilac: 'Krasavitsa Moskvy'  or Pride of or Beauty of Moscow.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It is basically a white lilac, but it has a flush of orchid pink. 

We have a purple lilac, but I cannot tell if it is on my side of the boundary or the neighbor's.  I wish I could get a baby from Grammie's lilacs but if not, my next lilac will be Mr. Lincoln...very dark purple.  Shelbourne Museum in Burlington has a large display of lilacs.  They were among the most loved and widespread of plants in 18th and 19th century American yards, and very hardy in the coldest regions.

Bridal Wreath Spirea May-June

 These are some of Grammies plants.  I was lucky to get several and placed them all around the property, but not before I bought one and planted that!

 They will completely cover themselves in white.  Spireas come in pinks as well, and in a rather fuzzy flowered family as well.  I had one that bloomed in several shades of pink and red at once.  It was not nearly as striking as this white mass of bloom.

Voila-Johnny Jump Up May-June

The Johnny Jump Ups are so cheerful and old fashioned.  They prefer the chill of spring,  They reseed, but do not take over.

Veronica Mid May

 Still blooming at the end of May, the lavendar and Blue varieties  are very pretty.  they will creep into the grass.  The blues, below, came from my sister mary Burrill's garden in Freeport.  they were moved accidentally along with a rose bush, and have gone nearly wild in the grass where the rose was first sited.  This was a truly happy accident.  They are now one of my favorite plants.

Broom Mid May

This poor white broom really struggles in my yard.  The reds and other exotic colors lasted no time at all.  I don't know if they hated my land or the temperature was not right, but they were gone in a year.  Most of this white has died back, and I am waiting for the blooms to fade before performing a bit of surgery on the plant.  I think that the wind gets it in it's exposed position, while the yellow, below, is 7 feet high and thrives. As May is coming to an end, so are the blooms.

Rhododendron Mid May to June

This is Yaku Princess...My favorite.  Rhododendron loves a bit of shade, but does remarkably well in sun as well. Many huge plants have dazzled us over the years in full sun to become the size of houses.  This is a small plant and began it's bloom early...Two weeks later, the rest of my Rhododendrons are just coming out in the last week of May.  Woodland understorey plants grow wild in New England.

Brunnera Mid May

Brunnera is decidedly un showy, but still is very charming with it's nice blue Forget-Me-Not like flowers in the shade.  The leaves are rough and about three inches across.

Bleeding Heart. Dicentra Mid May

In good soil, these can become huge!  They have newer cousins that are much smaller and ferny foliage.  They are available in white as well.  Love rich woodsy soil, but will accomodate you in most soil.  This one is about three feet high, but I have had them as much as 6 feet in great soil.  They die back as the summer progresses...very Un-charming in yellow and wilting.

Columbine Mid May

 Still in bloom at the end of May, these are columbines.  Not the big Spurred things you see today, but the more gentle and softer colored ones of the mid to early twentieth century.  all are originally from my grandmother, and my father, by way of my sister who gathered the seed from Littleton.  she refers to the pink ones as Dad's Pink.  These have a habit of recombining and breeding themselves a bit.  Of course the original would have been the wild Columbing which grows rarely but wildly in waste places in New England.  They are much smaller and very strong red and yellow. 

Sorry about the blur, but it was windy that day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



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Other Blogs

is a blog which begins the story of our family mostly in text.

is a blog which shows viewers all the photographs of family members that I can post collected by family and friends. It contains some text but the bulk are just captions for the photos.

is a blog featuring recipes contributed by family members including family favorites and those of their ancestors. Many are posted with a photo of the person who was known for that recipe.

http://mitchell-day-jones.blogspot.com This is all about my father's family, but you may see some Cafarellas hiding here and there in the photos.


My Garden...It really isn't my garden.   It is a descendant of my grandmother's garden.  Most of my ideas about gardening came from her.  I am not the type to do display gardens like you see on TV, or in books.  It is like Grammie's garden in Medford, Mass. and my mother and father's garden in Littleton, Maine.
Mary Carolina Cafarella Mitchell McLaughlin
Maria Rosa Cincotta Cafarella

Rocks edge beds and create low walls.  It is New England after all.  Beds are cut into the turf and are composed of simple turned earth(though I do add peat and manure when needed) with the soil beaten out of the grass.  I walk around the yard with the new plants in my hand and look for an empty space in the beds that will accommodate the light requirements, and stick them in the ground.  Two years later I am moving things around because I really did not have a place for that plant, and now it looks awful there, or the neighbor plant is over-running it.  When I run out of space, I divide the plants and try to give the excess away, but I cannot get rid of things.  If it does not go away with a friend, it goes back in the ground...somewhere...I walk around again, looking for a place.
Mary Rose Mitchell Burrill
Richard Bruce Mitchell
In Littleton, Me
I cannot bear to mulch or put landscape fabric down, because I might not have BABIES...
It makes for more work, but I must spread new plants out into the world by passing BABIES on to friends, and anyone who is impressed with the fact that, "this was my grandmother's" and now I am giving it to you.

Richard Bruce Mitchell II
Mary Rose Mitchell Burrill
The house in Littleton, Maine

I thought it would be nice to share my garden with YOU!

Grammie Cafarella in the garden at
Palmer Street in Medford , Ma

Uncle Philip R. Cafarella in the basement at
 Palmer Street Medford Ma.
He also had a green thumb.

I don't profess to be an expert, and this is not a great place for a garden, but I think it is nice to see the plants and connect the names to them.  Perhaps, if nothing else, it will help you choose plants for your own garden, introduce new, or old ones to your thought process when planning, or just give you a few minutes to look at flower pictures.
I cannot promise anything, but if you see something you have missed since childhood or have been longing to have, let me know.  If I can pass on a baby to you, or let you know where to find it, I will be happy to help out.

Grammie's Violets May.

These really are everywhere in my area, but they are special to me because they were from Medford.  I am not even sure of the proper name.  Horseshoe violets...French violets?  I think that anytime something is unusual in the garden, we tack "French" on to the name.  They spread pretty agressively, but I cannot think of a more agreeable weed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lamium May

Like all ground covers, these are either a blessing or a curse.  They are quite agressive, and can cover a lot of territory in a year. Lamium comes in seceral colors, the others not being quite so insistent as I remember. 
They are available in white and pink.  Perhaps there are new cultivars I am not aware of.   They are not quite so agressive that they will kill anything they cover however.  They are quite happily co existing with the Vinca Minor that escaped from another ground cover area in the yard, and look quite pretty with the blue and yellow together.
I think that this is called Archangel.

Forget-me-nots May

Please ignore the man behind the curtain!  Yes I know there is a big dandelion in the first picture.  The yard was not quite cleaned up, and I found this clump of white Forget-me-nots outside the fence in an area where there should have been none.  I actually have a light lavender shade in the yard as well.
We used to have these in Houlton, Maine as well.  It was another case of being very grateful for the flowers we had in that cold climate.  They would form great drifts of light blue, white and pink flowers all around the back of the property.  The grass did not get cut at all in those areas, till the seed had fallen.  They are not very attractive after bloom, but we lived with it to make sure we had plenty of this blue.
I could not get them to take hold in the yard by seed.  I tried year after year without luck.  as soon as I put a couple of nursery plants in, they took off.  I had the local garden club come by and take tray after tray of the plants for their sale next week.  They had completely filled in the area where I planned a pathway, so it was better that they have them than just ripping them out.  I am so busy this year, they would never have been transplanted. 

They are just going to seed as june approaches.

Flowering Quince. May

My poor poor Quince bushes!  I have several Quince bushes from Grammie's house in Medford.  They are that glorious watermelon, or perhaps Cerise red color.  I just love them.  However, they seem to hate my present location.  I had three until this week when I split one up and replanted the resulting two. I am desperately trying to find a location that they like.  My partner is not really a gardener.  He put a climbing Saul's Scarlet rose against his house in Chelsea Ma., and just watched it take off.  It liked it's location.  He cannot understand that plants have personalities like people, and that it sometimes takes just the right set of circumstances to have a nice plant or garden come together.  In the case of the quince...He is a murderer!  Every time he got onto the lawn mower for the years we have been here, he has mowed the Quince bushes flat!  That is he has mowed two of them...the third just hates the dry conditions it had against a fence at the back of the garden,  That is the one I moved recently.  The upshot of this is that I have had no blooms at all!!!!!!  I live in hope for next year.
I have to say that I just hate the horrible Scarlet Quince that I see everywhere.  It really is a bit more orange than scarlet.  In any event, orange, not being my favorite color in the garden to begin with, this plant leaves me cold.
I have two other quince in the yard.  One has been here two years and is blooming happily as you see here.  Very Pretty...but not Grammie's.
I have had these produce fruit...not many, but some.  You really cannot just eat Quince, but it cooks well, and produces a powerful Pectin for jellies and jams, and is neutral enough that you can flavor it with other fruits, spices etc., to make lovely preserves. 
In Maine...In the general Lewiston, Livermore area, The same watermelon color plant was planted on or near my Brother-in-law's family burial plots.  It became huge...the size of a small house...It was beautiful.... so, of course, the cemetary had them dug out.    

Viburnum May

It was so windy that day in an unusually chilly spring, that it was hard to get a photo in focus.  John hates the gangly appearance of this viburnum, but that is probably up to me to solve with a more agressive pruning regimen.  That being said, it is a wonderful bush, and I am ashamed that I do not know the variety.  It is among the most fragrant of viburnums, and I assume that even if you cannot get this cultivar, your local nursery can recommend a variety that will be very nice.  My sister has Viburnum growing wild in the woods around her home in Northern Maine, but there is nothing like this.