summer 2013

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Pollinator garden 2020

Update on my pollinator garden .  My husband, Mike, was able to till a very swampy section of lawn in front of our riding ring.  The spring was soggy, we sometimes had a small pond out front. 

I had winter sown some perennials and annuals and purchased a butterfly/humming bird mix of seed from Johnny's Seeds in Maine.

With the soggy Spring and brutal hot Summer (over 30 days straight of upper 90's)  Things are looking up. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Winter sowing and prep work

Welcome to :

British Indian Ocean Territory
Myanmar (Burma)
Solomon Islands
Brunei and last but not least a place called "unknown region."  lol

119 countries watching my garden in Maryland.  Crazy.

My goal this year is to plant a HUGE  pollinator garden at our 32 acre farm in Thurmont, Maryland.  Here is the thing.  If we kill off our bugs, we don't have food.  Period.  No fruit, vegetable, coffee, even chocolate.  98 percent of  our insects are just fine.  When we use pesticides to manage insect pests, we have the potential to do harm to the other 98 percent.

At my home, my small 1/3 acre yard is a certified Monarch Way station,  Bay Wise certified (That is the Chesapeake Bay) and my yard has been inspected and approved to be called "Pollinator Friendly."

I have ordered a pound of seed from Johnny's Seeds in Maine.  I chose the bird and butterfly mix.  I have also started a lot of native perennials and annuals that attract pollinators.  I will also be planting host plants for Monarchs and the Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies.   Milkweeds and Chelone Glabra, turtlehead plant.

We have heavy equipment at the farm, so my plan is to have my husband do a shallow till in the front of the horse ring and in front of our front pasture.  I do not want the horses to reach the plants because of possible poisoning.  After the first till, I will wait a few weeks to see what weed seeds germinate.  I will hand cultivate ( also shallowly) to kill the young weeds.  After danger of frost,  I will mix the seed mix with sand and hand scatter the prepared beds.  I have decided to use a hand tamper, as the seeds may stick to the roller we own.  It depends on the moisture level in the soil, so we will see.

Also, by then the plants I have started, both winter sowing and inside starts, will be planted, along with other annual seeds (sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos.)

Winter Sowing!

You take milk cartons, and containers you can make little greenhouses out of,  plant seeds then put them outside.  They will germinate when they are good and ready.  A lot of our natives need stratification to germinate. That is being exposed to cold weather, just as mother nature would handle it. You will notice that the planted milk jugs do not keep their caps on.  Today's batch of milk jugs I tried something different.  I used my soldering iron I use for stain glass soldering.  I poked several holes in the bottom very quickly.  Next time, I am doing it outside. Worked great, but the smell and fumes are awful.

Funny, 32 acres. This is the only safe area away from our horses.

Friday, January 17, 2020


I have decided to plant a large pollinator garden this spring at our farm. I will be starting perennials this month with a method  called winter sowing.  This involves taking plastic gallon jugs and turning them into mini greenhouses.

Echinacea, Monarda, Shasta daisy, Milkweed, swamp and tuberosa. Just to name a few.

Snow and ice tomorrow.  Maybe Sunday I will start.  I will post pictures as I go.

So excited.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


If you are like me, you love looking at other gardens to get ideas for your own garden.  Whether magazines, blogs or gardening books, you always see something and think "I want that in my yard!"

I grew up in a city (Rockville, MD) with parents who grew up in bigger cities (South Bronx and Washington DC.)  There was not a lot of gardening or landscape design in our neighborhood.  We had a small yard that we mowed when needed.  It wasn't until I met my future mother-in-law that I learned you could have a beautiful yard.  She had shade trees and flowering shrubs and annuals.  She also had a lawn service that came regularly and sprayed something that prevented dogs and children from walking in the grass for several days.  Hmmm.

I did learn a lot from her, but I honed my skills after becoming a master gardener,  I learned about Integrated Pest Management. Bottom line, you really don't have to kill all the bugs.  Mother Nature does a lot of the work if you don't poison the good bugs.  I learned about lawn care.  See my post about lawns, there are lots of details.  You don't have to poison everything to have a nice (enough) lawn.  I don't aspire to a weed free,  bug free existence.   When my mother in law passed away, we  inherited her arsenal of chemicals from her garden.  OMG.  They sat in my shed for several years until I saw an article in the paper for a hazardous material drop off in our city.

Living in the Washington DC/ Baltimore/ Virginia area, we are near some of the most beautiful gardens in the world.  Within a few hours we have Mt Vernon, Monticello, Longwood, Winterthur, Oatlands, and the National Arboretum.

I have made trips to these gardens for inspiration, along with just being in a beautiful, peaceful setting.

Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson:

Mt Vernon, home of George Washington:

Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania:

Winterthur, Delaware:

Homes of fellow Master Gardeners in Maryland:

Mary's garden

Harriet's garden

Joan's garden

Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens:


Native path

Vegetable garden

Private Gardens:

Public FREE  Gardens:








Oatlands, Leesburg, Virginia:

Today is the last day of winter 2014.  It's been a tough one.  Good riddance.

frozen frog
ahhhh, our wood stove