Friday, December 21, 2012

Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays to all of our Juniper Hill 
blog readers, Facebook and Twitter friends!

Joe, Paula...
Farm Manager, Caleb Corgi...
Assistant Managers and Vermin Consultants, Chelsea Cat and Wendellberry...
Our legal team, Louisa Goat, Charlotte Goat and Emily Goat from the law firm
Oberhasli, Oberhasli &Oberhasli...
the woolly Baa-Ram-Ewe Board of Directors...
and all the barnyard employees at Juniper Hill.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Winter Tour of Juniper Hill

If you are fortunate enough to walk in a garden which looks and feels good in mid-winter, you will realize that it does so because of its use of space, the patterns created by its paths and walls, the shapes of its shrubs, the shadows of its evergreens and the silhouettes of its tree trunks and twisted branches.--Rosemary Verey, The Garden In Winter.

I love the garden in winter!  You get to enjoy all the beauty without any of the work.  The bright flower colors of summer are gone, replaced by a much more subtle and earthy palette of tans, beiges, and reddish-browns, which appeal to me.  And if your garden has the good structure that Rosemary Verey talks about, evergreens can look stunning, so dark and deep green, especially against the backdrop of a gentle snowfall like the one that occurred here this week. That first real snowfall is special and I couldn't wait to grab my camera and snap some photos around the garden.  To join me on a winter tour of the gardens here at Juniper Hill, 
just click on the photo of the gate below.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wait, Wait...I'm Not Ready!

Every year at this time, the holidays seem to run together
and Christmas sneaks up on me.
Its an old trick of Saint Nick, I think.
And before I can say "just charge it on Visa,"
It's time to hang the holiday wreaths...
and then it's here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Who Let The Sheep Out? The Town Pound

The town pound in Lyndeborough, NH dates from 1774
The modern animal shelter that houses homeless or abandoned animals owes its beginnings to the animal pound which dates to medieval times.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Gallery

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet and artist who was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848.  His work is said to be a major precursor to the Aesthetic movement which became prominent in Europe during the 19th century.  Rossetti's paintings were characterized by their sensuality and medieval revivalism.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside


There is hardly ever an ugly moment in the garden.  Even during the dead of winter, if your garden has good structure, there will be plenty of winter interest to carry you through until the spring thaw. Some of the most beautiful moments in the garden come during the early stages of winter when, on a chilly morning, a light frost can make a plant sparkle as if it were a jewel.  There is sleet and freezing rain, which can down power lines and wreak havoc on the roadways, but can transform a tree into a crystal chandelier.  And, there are those occasional early snowfalls that will catch a few of the flowering plants still in their prom dresses, but can make everything look like a scene right out of the Nutcracker.  To see some early winter images that were captured in the garden here at Juniper Hill (many by Karl Smizer), click on the photo above.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gardens of Mount Desert Island: Asticou Azalea Garden

Mount Desert Island, Maine is one of the most beautiful spots in the country.  With Acadia National Park at its core, the diverse landscape of the island and its rugged coastline have been drawing visitors for centuries who marvel at its natural beauty.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keeping Up With The Pace Of Technology: QR Codes


QR Codes: Where Horticulture and High-Tech Intersect

One of the things I like best about gardening is that it provides an escape from all the high-tech electronic buzz that usually fills my head during the day.  Between emails, text messages and what seems like constant googling, it's all too easy for me to fritter away my entire day tied to one electronic device or another.  Once I'm in the garden it doesn't take long before I undergo a real digital purgation, where my head is emptied of all those bits and bytes.  There isn't anything virtual about the garden.  Out there, an electronic reminder usually means I've weeded a little too close to the electric fence (ouch!) and a tweet means that there's a real bird following me around and not someone on Twitter. Isn't reality wonderful?

However, as much as I like to keep the two worlds of horticulture and technology separate and distinct for reasons related to my own sanity, there are a few cases where I permit them to intersect. This is chiefly because I'm lazy and always looking for ways to make my gardening life a little easier.  For example, not long ago I wrote about how my IPhone became one of my favorite new tools once I found out what it could do for me in the garden.  And now, there are QR codes which are not only very cool and appeal to the nerdy side of me, but also seem like they could have great potential in the world of gardening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Cleanup--Turning Over A New Leaf

Our gardens here at Juniper Hill are completely surrounded by woodland which means that at this time of year I am practically swimming in a sea of fallen leaves. And, at a time when there are so many other end-of-season gardening chores to attend to, there are only so many hours one can devote to raking.  After all, there has to be a little time left over for other important fall pursuits like trying to figure out why we are paying all that money for 350 cable channels but will face yet another long winter with nothing to watch.  That's why, wherever possible, I try to rely on mulching rather than raking.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seasonal Shifts, Time Crunches, and The Ant and The Grasshopper

Illustration by Milo Winter ( 1886-1956)

There are days when I wonder why I garden at all. As much as I like to think of gardening as a relaxing and healthy activity, it can often be a high pressure affair. Don't believe me?  Well, let me remind you about the ant and the grasshopper.

Friday, October 19, 2012

From The Garden Bookshelf-The Unexpected Houseplant

The Unexpected Houseplant

By Tovah Martin with photographs by Kindra Clineff.
Timber Press, 2012

I have to admit that I had just about written off the growing and care of house plants as an endeavor I should simply leave to others with greener thumbs than mine.  I have never been accused of outright premeditated botanicide but, on the other hand, my friends know that, through a combination of stupidity and negligence, I'm perfectly capable of inflicting great injury on even the hardiest and most street-smart of indoor potted plants.  Friends and family abandoned the idea of bringing me gifts of indoor plants long ago as a hopeless cause.  And, I never get any house-sitting requests from friends who need a little plant care while they're away on vacation.  They never call.  And for good reason. Because I've never been able to master even the simple basics of nurturing a houseplant, like the whole overwatering--underwatering thing, they know that the plants would probably have a greater chance at survival if they grew legs and went searching for food and water on their own.

But now, there's this great new book by Tovah Martin that gives me hope that, with just a little intervention, even a serial begonia killer like me might once again hold his head high among indoor gardening society.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Little Moreton-In-Marsh Diversion

photo courtesy of Jon Fox Antiques
Not long ago, I stumbled across this little shop in the town of Moreton-In-Marsh, in the Cotswolds of England.  Jon Fox, the amiable owner (in photo at left), opened his shop here in 1983 and has a wonderful collection of garden and architectural antiques. Jon was kind enough to let me snap a few photos to whet your appetite.  To learn more about Jon's shop and to take a look at some of his current inventory, you can check out his website by clicking here. And, before you ask...yes, he ships!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Blogger- Gordon Hayward

photo by Gordon Hayward

A September Visit To Rosemary Verey's Barnsley House

On Wednesday, September 19, Mary and I visited the late Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House Gardens to be part of a small group of people who signed up for lunch in the restaurant there along with a tour of the gardens with head gardener Richard Gatenby.  I thought I’d just tell you a bit about what has happened to house and garden since Rosemary died in 2001.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Design Elements- Garden Benches

To sit in a garden you have created is one of the greatest pleasures of all. From your seat you can contemplate your work in peace, feel the warmth of the sun, observe the play of light on the plants, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. From the seat, too, you notice what is wrong and make plans for action. --Sir Roy Strong, from A Small Garden Designer's Handbook

I couldn't agree more with Sir Roy.  However, based on my own observations, I would simply add that, when gardeners are seated in their own gardens, they usually spend a great deal more time noticing what is wrong with things than enjoying the play of light on the plants.  We are an obsessive lot.  Nevertheless, incorporating a garden bench into your garden might at least provide a comfortable spot for visitors to sit and feel the warmth of the sun, and perhaps more fully appreciate the fruits of your own obsessive labors. Besides, garden benches can do more for a garden than simply provide a place to sit:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Field and Forest

photo by Andrea Geesaman

There was never a sound beside the wood but one,
And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground.
                              Robert Frost

Conservation biologists in eastern North America have a huge job on their hands trying to manage two opposing trends in native wildlife.  On the one hand, the populations of animals indigenous to our forests are on the increase while those of the grasslands are rapidly disappearing.  It is an ironic twist of fate for these grassland species since, for at least several centuries, they have had the upper hand.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rachel's Garden- Scarecrow

For more art from Rachel's Garden, click here.

To see what this is all about, click here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sleepless In New Hampshire

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

On a recent visit to the farm, Susan Hunter didn't let nightfall keep her from enjoying the meadows and the gardens as she used her trusty Nikon to capture these wonderful time-exposure images.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Man-Eating Plant, by Daniel Ljunggren

I am constantly amazed by what constitutes a "weed" in gardening parlance.  Not long ago we had a couple of visitors to the garden and when they came around a corner and saw an enormous pokeweed ( Phytolacca americana) that I have growing right behind a Japanese Maple, it was all they could do to hide the look of shock and horror on their faces.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Friends and Frogs: Build It and They Will Come

Some of the most enjoyable garden projects are those that involve collaboration with friends.  Certainly, the construction of our little frog pool this spring and summer was that kind of project.  Had it not been for the help of many friends and gardening colleagues, who not only offered their advice but also their encouragement, their muscle, and even some of their plants, this project wouldn't have succeeded.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


In the very first sentence of the introduction to his book, Your House, Your Garden, designer Gordon Hayward says..."Your house is the center of your garden."  And, if your definition of a garden extends to the beauty of the surrounding natural world, as it rightfully should, then perhaps no house in America epitomizes this statement more than Frank Lloyd Wright's, Fallingwater.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hedge Layering

photo by Piet Oudolf from Oudolf and Kingsbury: Designing with Plants

"I think of hedges as enclosures, and it is with hedges that you may best articulate the bony structure, and skeleton as it were, of a garden."
                                         Russell Page from The Education of A Gardener.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's The Tall Season

It's the tall season in the garden.  A chance for us to lift our eyes; to redirect our attention from all those front-of-the-border plants to those giants that have been gathering energy all summer long and now tower over the garden.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hornworm Nightmares

Being the "pest-imist" that I am, I'm always convinced that my garden is under attack from one insect pest or another.  I have therefore become pretty good at spotting many of these little evildoers, although usually not until they've destroyed most of what they set out to destroy while still having enough time left over for sex, thus guaranteeing that there will be another ten million of them for me to worry about next season.  That's why the other day, while walking through the garden, I stopped dead in my tracks when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted what looked like one of those big, thick, green disgusting tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) on one of my potted ornamental plants.  You see, it's tomato season and I've been having tomato hornworm nightmares every night so I thought maybe this was not so completely far-fetched.  Perhaps they've developed a taste for things other than tomatoes?  After all, their cousins (the equally disgusting Manduca sexta) eat tobacco plants even though I'm sure they know it's bad for their health. So, I immediately jumped to the only conclusion that an anxiety-ridden, sleep-deprived gardener could make, which was that the entire garden is now under attack from thousands of hornworms that will probably destroy everything from the asters to the arborvitaes.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just Trying To Blend In

Often, the greatest entertainment in a garden comes not from the plants, but from unexpected sources.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monadnock Region Open Days 2012

Don't forget that the Open Days garden tour for the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire is coming up this Saturday and Sunday, June 30th-July 1.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Color Bursts

Many of the iris, like this one that's just about to open, are still blooming.

Wet weather during the past several weeks has not been ideal for many of the early summer flowering plants. Some have gotten waterlogged and others have been totally flattened by heavy downpours. Nevertheless, having a diversity of plant life is one way to ensure that there will be a variety of color throughout the garden, regardless of what Mother Nature dishes out. Here's a look at a few of the plants that have been providing the color around here over the past week or so.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Birds In The Garden

Photo of Yellow Bellied Sapsucker courtesy Dominic Sherony for

I always thought that having plenty of birds in the garden was a good thing.  Well, not always.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thinking of You: A Walk Around the Garden and Some Plant-Triggered Memories

Things are beginning to flower all over the garden now, adding splashes of color here and there.  It's nice to see something other than solid green for a change.  It's the peak of rhododendron color for us this week.  Flower buds, like those in the photo above, have finally opened completely.  We inherited many of our ancient rhododendrons from Mrs. Parker, the previous owner who lived here for many years, and their bright and bold colors always remind us of her.  There is a huge mass of them completely lining the west side of the house that are such a deep pink that when viewed as a whole they appear almost cherry red.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Out Now

In the Fall, we plant plastic pots with tulip bulbs, cover them with wire screen to keep the rodents out, and then heel them into vacant raised beds in the potager where they spend the winter.  Then, in the Spring, we simply remove them and pop them right into clay pots to provide some early color around the garden.  To see more of what's out in the garden right now, read on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Turning Over A New Leaf: How Senescence, Marcesence, and A Little Immaturity All Make For A Greener World

New England gardeners always feel a little behind the curve in the Spring.  When gardeners further south have already moved well beyond spring bulbs and ephemerals, our trees are just beginning to show signs of green.  Well, I'm happy to say that it feels like we are catching up just a little, as things are really leafing out here now.  And, some of the new, emerging foliage on the trees and shrubs can be quite striking.  You see many more different shades of leaf color this time of year than you will see at the height of summer when the leaves are mature; the variation in hues only being surpassed in the autumn.  Here in the New England forest, we are lucky to have such a diversity of tree and shrub species that provide an endless variety of leaf size, form and color.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hellebores Galore

I have often said that if I were only allowed to have one flowering plant, it would probably be a hellebore.  What's not to love about this plant?  It has beautiful glossy green foliage that hangs around all winter, it's amazingly frost resistant, the deer seem to hate it, and its flowers come in the most delicious colors that run the gamut from creamy whites, through deep pinks and purples, to almost black.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rachel's Garden- Lavender

For more art from Rachel's Garden, click here.

To see what this is all about, click here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cirque du Swift

This past Thursday, Swift Corwin made his annual appearance here to do some tree pruning and cleanup from winter damage.  Watching him perform his craft is a little like watching an act from Cirque du Soleil; and just as breathtaking!  He travels through the treetops moving from tree to tree without ever touching the ground.  There are no ladders, no cranes, no booms, baskets, or cherry pickers. Only a rope, some safety rigging, and one strong and agile young arboreal acrobat who clearly doesn't suffer from acrophobia.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Behind The Scenes Look at Great Dixter

Photo of Great Dixter by Andrea Geesaman

Helen O'Donnell, our galloping gardener from Vermont, is once again giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the workings of one of the great gardens of the world, Christopher Lloyd's Great Dixter.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Hampshire-Vermont Garden Conservancy Open Days 2012

The Fry Garden, Peterborough, NH

It's time to mark your summer calendars for visiting some of the best private gardens in New Hampshire and Vermont.  On three separate weekends in June, July and August, The Garden Conservancy will open the gates to seventeen beautiful and unique gardens in Vermont and New Hampshire as part of their annual Open Days Program.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Guest Blogger- Maude Odgers

The Dirt on Dirr

Over 15 years ago my garden mentor and friend, Michael Gordon introduced me to Michael Dirr’s, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. For me, a relatively young and aspiring gardener at the time, this book was not only expensive (and the most I had ever spent on a single book), but also daunting. Michael assured me that I would not regret this purchase. Suffice to say that my now tattered, dog-eared, and dirt-smudged copy, is testimony to Michael’s promise. It was first published in 1975, and has had many updates and revisions since that time, selling over 500,000 copies in this country and abroad. It is probably the most widely used and valued reference book on horticulture and landscape education, and considered to be the ‘bible’ for professionals, students and serious gardeners.

Recently I had the opportunity to hear this legendary horticulturist, prolific author and researcher who has dedicated his life to studying and educating others about the importance of using woody plants and trees in landscape design.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From The Garden Bookshelf

Nicole de Vesian- Gardens: Modern Design in Provence

by Louisa Jones with photographs by Clive Nichols and Vincent Motte
Actes Sud, 2012 

Everyone has their list of favorite gardens that they have visited over the years.  And most of us also have a wish list of gardens that we would like to visit someday.  Sitting at the very top of my wish list for many years has been La Louve, the Provencal garden of Nicole de Vesian.  I have collected many photos and magazine articles about this garden but the new book by Louisa Jones, with many of the photographs by Clive Nichols, is the first complete monograph to date on de Vesian's contemporary masterpiece and probably the closest I will come to a real visit to this garden without actually hopping on a plane to France.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Confessions of a Boxwood Lover

Spheres of Buxus x 'Green Mountain' surround the potting shed at Juniper Hill

Within the world of gardening, there are few plants that can evoke such strong emotional reactions as Buxus sempervirens, better known as common boxwood. If you think the country is politically divided, be assured that, when it comes to whether or not you would plant boxwood in your garden, it’s also botanically divided.  Simply put, you either love this plant or you hate it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How a Dull and Boring Tree Helped Pull Us Out Of a Depression

photo: Plant Photos Wiki

Let's face it, the Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) is not a glamorous tree. Its most notable characteristic is that it grows fast and straight and tall.  If you recently made a trip to the nursery looking for a tree to plant in your garden or front yard, chances are you didn't come home with a red pine; even if you could have found a red pine at the nursery.  Yet, most of the red pines in this part of New England didn't arrive here through the chancy process of seed dispersion.  They were actually planted.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thermotropism in Rhododendrons or How I Use Shrubs to Help Me Dress In The Morning

On cold winter mornings, I don't have to consult a thermometer to tell me what the outside temperature is and whether or not I need to put on an extra layer of clothing.  All I need to do is take a look at the rhododendrons that are right outside our bedroom window.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Blogger- Gordon Hayward

The Winter Garden

The beauty of the winter garden depends on our ability to design structure and texture from lasting vertical elements in the landscape. Whereas the summer garden is a color photograph, the winter garden is a black and white image. Photos in black and white require more attention from us. We need to look for a quieter beauty, one based on ordered and pleasingly contrasting textures of vertical plants and materials all held gently in place by structural elements and enlivened by the lines of deciduous branching. Look for that quiet beauty and you’ll find it everywhere.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Eastman Johnson:  In the Hayloft, c.1877-78, Oil on Canvas, San Diego Museum of Art

I go positively gaga over barns.  I love them.  And, the older the better.  When the freezing cold of winter seizes up almost everything in these north woods and there's not a whiff of herbal fragrance in the air to remind me of summer pleasures, I go into the barn where the smell of hay still lingers.  Our big red barn has been around for almost 200 years and during that time the earthy aroma of livestock and herbage has seeped into just about every pore of the old beams, rafters and floorboards. And I love it there.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rachel's Garden- Poinsettia

For more art from Rachel's Garden, click here.

To see what this is all about, click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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