Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Shady Side of the Garden

The shade garden is nearing its peak of perfection, since we've had some extremely warm weather this last week.  The Hostas are absolutely beautiful right now and the ferns are in full glory! 

I love the "mix and match" way the different varieties of Hostas work together

An abandoned garden path is starting to get overrun with plants

Just on the other side of the shade garden, where there is full sun, red tea roses are blooming.  I have no clue where the rose bush came from.. I don't recall ever planting it!

These ferns multiply and multiply and multiply.  They look great until about the end of July... then they start fading out. 

Another view of the shade garden

Many years ago, my sister bought me this hanging copper double pot from Smith and Hawken.  I love how it has developed its weathered look over the years.

One of the decorative tea-light holders near the patio

Within the next couple of weeks, the lilies should start blooming.  Hydrangea's won't be far behind!  More to come!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gardening for a Lifetime

I have a whole book case of gardening books but when I received this book a couple of weeks ago, it quickly became one of my favorites. 

"Gardening for a Lifetime," written by Sydney Eddison, is a small book of brilliant wisdom for the gardener who is faced with maintaining their beloved passion while growing older and in all honesty, slowing down.

Throughout the pages of this book she offers her suggestions on how to make gardening less of a 'chore' and more a thing of enjoyment as we grow older. 

Ms. Eddison makes recommendations for less time consuming plants, how lists can assist the gardener in accomplishing the many tasks that need to be addressed, and offers counsel on how to accept imperfection in the garden (yikes!). 

For myself, I know I can't spend the 6-8 hours a day on a weekend in my garden like I used to.  "Gardening for a Lifetime" shows me I don't have to... I can have more time for the other things I love in life while still living my passion as a gardener. 


Roses in the Garden

It's been a wacky spring season with cooler than normal temperatures, and then a heat wave that reminded me of August.  The roses apparently loved the weather because they are quite sturdy, lush, and starting to bloom. 

While roses are not always the easiest to grow and maintain (I think black spot takes up permanent residence in my garden), they are so elegant and beautiful in the garden. 

Here are a few of the roses I have in my garden:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Products at the Beekman 1802 Mercantile

There's nothing like swooping in to the Beekman 1802 Mercantile and loading up on a few new products and some old favorites.  Here are a few of the new items you'll find at the Mercantile.  I'm introducing my "Shop or Drop" recommendations and ratings on these products: 


This handy garden tool is a must have for the home gardener.  The Garden Cruuk is actually three tools in one.  The heel of the tool can be used to weed any raised bed or flower garden quickly and easily by catching the weed just below the soil surface.  The notched end of the Cruuk can be used for digging small holes or digging out long tap roots from the most stubborn of weeds.  The point and blade can be used to break up or dig through compacted soil. 

The Beekman 1802 Garden Cruuk is hand forged and beveled with a maple handle that has been hand turned by one of the B 1802 craftsmen.  It is comfortable in your hand and will certainly last many years.

Availability:       Online or at the store
Shop or Drop:  SHOP
Score:               8 out of 10

The only thing that stops this product from being the perfect 10 is the price.  At $57, it seems priced out of the average gardeners budget. While it is fully expected to last for many gardening seasons, the initial investment cost may be prohibitive to some.


The Beekman 1802 Stick of Butter is a classic example of innovative product design.  Imagine an all natural chapstick type product on a larger scale that works in conjunction with your body heat to soothe dry skin or lips without the greasy feel many moisturizers can leave.  I instantly fell in love with this product and used it almost immediately after purchase. 

The Stick of Butter is available in four seasonal scents (I purchased spring and summer), and well worth the $15 price. 

Availability:     Online or at the store
Shop or Drop  SHOP
Score              10 out of 10


I love to cook, but I'm not sure I would have ever thought to put rosemary and honey together as a condiment.  I'm glad Brent did! 

The Beekman 1802 Rosemary Creamed Honey is nothing short of AMAZING.  There is the perfect balance of a Rosemary infusion with some of the most delicious honey you'll ever taste.  This new condiment is perfect with fruit, cheese, or on your favorite bread or cracker.  The creamed honey becomes a savory treat when combined with Beekman Blaak cheese or the cheese of your choice.  Truly, the possibilities are endless with this product.  I'm going to perfect a Rosemary Creamed Honey Shortbread cookie.. I can just imagine the two together perfectly!

Priced at $10 a jar, this is worth every red cent!

Availability:      Online or at the store
Shop or Drop  SHOP
Score:              10 out of 10


This is just a cute idea.  In front of the Beekman 1802 Mercantile there are large urns with big goat topiary forms.  They have taken the whimsical idea and made it smaller scale for the home. 

The metal planter is embossed with the Beekman 1802 logo and filled with succulents.  There are no drainage holes in the planter itself (they could be drilled if so desired..) so succulents work great for this type of container.  This isn't your Mamma's Chia-Pet. 

Availability:        Store only
Shop or Drop:   SHOP (if you like goat whimsy)
Score:               9 out of 10

I gave this item a score of 9 because without some sort of modification with drainage holes, customers are limited to what will grow successfully in the container.  I would like to see this product sold as a "kit" so customers could add the plants of their choice. 

To see the entire collection of Beekman 1802 products, visit their website or visit the Beekman 1802 Mercantile, located in Sharon Springs, New York.

Spring Vacation At The Beekman Farm

For the third year, we have spent the days surrounding Memorial Day at the wonderful Beekman Farm, located in Sharon Springs, New York. 

This year, our visit coincided with the Garden Festival held in the village.  The festival was wonderfully successful again this year as people from all around the country came to celebrate the beginning of the gardening and planting season. 

The Beekman was open for tours with about 300 people walking the property that became familiar to them through the Planet Green series, "The Fabulous Beekman Boys." 

While David played "security" at the entrance to the driveway, I was stationed in the garden to answer questions and encourage visitors to help out with garden chores if they had the time (there's always a weed to be pulled).  In turn, those that gardened received a pair of Beekman 1802 garden gloves as a keepsake of their moment in the heirloom garden (or helping me plant a few thousand sunflowers!).

Josh was the official tour guide for each group that attended, while Farmer John and Jason provided their expertise for tours of the barn, where visitors could meet the goats, the sheep, and of course Polkaspot. 

Following the tours, I took a stroll around the grounds to capture a few images...  

I never get tired of seeing the incredible Beekman mansion. It's so regal standing proud in the countryside.

Bubby, the chief barn cat was taking a few minutes for a cat nap in the flower garden.  Well deserved!

This peony bloomed the day of our arrival.  I photographed it the following morning after a thunderstorm.

As the tour dates grew closer, more and more peonies started to open.  I can't help but wonder if Joanna Beekman filled the beautiful mansion with fresh cut peonies...

Big and beautiful Alium dotted throughout the flower garden. 

If you ever wondered 'why' this place is so special, just look at the view..

A view from the grand porch.  The formal flower garden was coming along nicely!

The first Poppy was starting to unfold on Memorial Day. 

The buds of the Poppies are so prehistoric looking!

A beautiful Bleeding Heart shares space with a large rock on the property.

A view of the farm from across the pond

Simple seating at the edge of the pond can only mean hours of meditation while gazing over the grounds.


Another view from the far side of the pond.

The land seems to call you to relax and unwind

It's so peaceful.

The mountains paint a beautiful backdrop as you gaze out onto the property.

Goat love!

The 52-raised bed heirloom garden was nearly all planted.  Josh spent Monday putting in tomatoes while I planted corn.  The stone wall  that surrounds the garden is now complete and it's stunning!

Goats, goats, goats!  It's hard to get a clear picture... the young ones are always moving!

Polkaspot was giving me attitude for a good portion of the time we were there. At one point, she got a bit peeved with me and spit at me.  Thankfully, she missed!

Farmer John has done an amazing job with the goats.  They all are healthy and quite happy with their life at the Beekman. 

Temperamental.  Polkaspot gave me a quick smile.  She can be so manipulative!

I don't know why, but this goat was standing on the ledge, eyes closed, and seemed to either be in a goat trance, or sleeping.  Odd way to relax!