Need Maneiacs help

laurielilacJuly 21, 2006

What determines if you are a Maineiac? On a previous post requesting Maineiacs to check in, I noticed only those people who have been around a long time respond. Do you want to hear from new people too? I moved to Maine last November and have been following the Maine forum since we decided to come here from RI. And I need your help. We bought a 1790 restored cape. The front of the house had a few perennials (none of which I like) in a bed about 1.5 ft deep bed. I dug out and enriched another 1.5ft (before reading about lasagna gardening) but have been unable to decide what to do with it. I want a period Maine look. What would you fellow Maineiacs do with it? And...have you noticed how few postings there have been in the past few months? What is everyone doing?

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maineman(z5a ME)


"And...have you noticed how few postings there have been in the past few months? What is everyone doing?"

I think we've been busy with our various gardening projects. Incidentally, this is just our fourth year here in Maine, so I won't presume to recommend how to handle your front bed according to Maine traditions. I'm not sure what qualifies you as a "Maneiac". But, welcome to our "sunny" state.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:32PM
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Thanks, maineman. I kind of assumed everyone, like myself, has been in the garden every waking moment, weather permitting. And thanks for the information in your tick and Lyme disease post. Very helpful. Laurie

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 10:57PM
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chicken_lady(z3/4 Maine)

I Laurie! I haven't posted here in quite some time myself. You know, one just gets busy and all. Seems posts come in spurts anyways. Of course everyone seems to have much more "computer time" on their hands during our "non-gardening" seasons, early spring,late fall and especially winter! lol
I just love your house! Just love old houses anyways.
Now as for period flowers...hmmmm... well you always see lilac bushes and those orange ditch lilies growing around old "cellar holes". So I tend to think it's a pretty certain thing that original inhabitants probably grew those. If you don't like the "specie" types such as those, then you can go with some of the newer hybrids that they have out these days. Also rugosa type roses (very hardy and reliable). How bout hollyhocks? Or rudbeckias such as the smaller flowered perennial "Goldstrum" or the much larger and more colorful annual,reseeding "Gloriosa daisy"? Also the perennial white "shasta daisy". There is also astilbe, lady's mantle, yarrow....of the list is endless! Oh yes, don't forget ferns! I dug up some interrupted ferns from along my driveway and addes them to the garden. Here is a picture that I just took from my garden. It has a mixture of wild black eyed Susans, gloriosa daisies, yarrow,daylilies and ferns as well as some rose campion and purple cone flower.

I don't mulch my garden as I have a lot of reseeders, such as the Gloriosas and the rose campions among others. Here is another picture of the half of my garden that is almost finished. As you can see, I plant things very close (maybe to close!) So other than early in the season while the plants are still small I don't have to weed much in the flower beds because the flowers take up all the space! lol
Hope I've given you some ideas of what you might like to add to you flowerbed?


    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 12:48PM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

All of the above are great for Maine cottage garden color, I have almost all of them myself. Foxglove is another favorite old garden plant. I don't have it, not that wild about it myself, but my neighbor loves it
Coreopsis is an easy grower that will add lots of bright yellow color too.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 8:03PM
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Thank you chicken_lady and kennebunker...I think I will go with your suggestions. I have put in other gardens recently with my favorite flowers which mostly bloom in spring and not much in summer and are more pastels. The bright yellows and oranges will be stunning and show off much better against the white house. An existing yellow loosestrife is just finishing a spectacular bloom that lasted a long time. Neither of you suggested "foundation plantings. Do you not think the house calls for them? What about something vertical? Maybe the hollyhocks will be enough. Your garden is wonderful chicken_lady, hope mine will look as good. And kennebunker, I had looked at your garden journal recently through a link in one of the home forums. Your gardens and home are stunning. Thank you both. Laurie

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 8:45PM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

Thanks, Laurie. Please forgive any typos in the following, I've been tending to make them more that usual lately.

I do think a house needs some foundation planting. I feel it helps to sort of anchor the house to the ground, so to speak. A house with no plantings sometimes seems to just be plunked down.
If your house were mine I'd plant some medium height shrubbery at the corners,with lower planting along under the windows. I'm visualizing a mix of small evergrees with deciduous shrubs. A Winterberry or 2 would be nice. I wanted some when I was planting my foundation shrubs, but I couldn't find any that year, of course. I also like small growing flowers edging along at the bottom, in front of or tucked in between shrubs.
It all depends on how the house actually sits on the street or road whether or not I put a picket fenced garden in. Some houses just seem to yearn for them. If you did a fence like that it could possibly start at the woodsy sideon the left and work its way over from there. Garden beds could be planted along the fence, with some evergreens and shrubs for winter interest. I think I'd like to put some shade lovers in along the edge of the woodsy area. A path could curve from the door to the gate or opening. You could leave a grassy area surrounded by garden beds or you could fill in more of the space with garden beds with informal grassy or bark covered paths. Of course, I'm only giving you the ideas that popped into my head from one picture. Sometimes when you see a space in person, you may visualize a somewhat different scene.
Anyhow, I really do like your house.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 9:01PM
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You might look for the book "Gardens Maine Style" by Rebecca Sawyer-Fay which is supposed to have a chapter on historic gardens. "An Island Garden" by Celia Thaxter is a wonderful read, even though she gardened in New Hampshire. Don't forget the herbs---every garden of that period would have had a good selection of medicinal and culinary herbs, and many of them (like sage and catmint) are decorative as well as practical. You might want to visit other Maine gardens to get ideas---you can find a good listing at the url listed below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maine Garden and Landscape Trail

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:05AM
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Thank you kb5 and mainerose. Here are some more photos. The one from the road might help for suggestions on the foundation anchor plants. I've been looking at Pyramidal Yews since I see Yew used so often in older homes and can be pruned to maintain size. What are your favorite smallish evergreens and shrubs? Our house had no defined entrance so we put in the wall which ate up my entire landscaping budget and then some. I did manage to get 3 large lilacs and a crabapple of some size in front of the barn and planted 4" pots or got garden club plants to fill in. I wanted yellow daylilies the length of the shaded part of the wall and bought about 50 from a garden club sale, all marked as yellow. They turned out to be orange ditch lilies. They'll do for now. I have put in the first of two lasagna gardens on the left side yard and am letting it cook til next spring. It is so hard not to want it all done now. I didn't realize how much we'd done until I posted the before and after pics. I'll look for both books today, mainerose and will follow the MGALTrail.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:46AM
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Oops! I thought pics would automatically be resized. Please scroll to the right to see full pictures.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 8:50AM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

Really nice.
I can't help much with shrub names, I'm afraid. When I did my landscaping I was trying to do it spending as little as I could. I made trips to my local garden centers and looked for what was on clearance at the end of the season. I'd talk with people there to see how large each one grew and decide on the spot, loaded up my trunk and went aplanting.
You're off to a fine start. If it were me I'd just find some shrubbery for the foundation (you may find some dandy things on clearance this fall like I did), the sit back, watch things grow and think about it.
Do you use the front yard for relaxing, or are those chairs more of an artistic statement? If you enjoy sitting out front you might want some kind of picket fence with garden beds or a shrubbery nook to screen you a bit from the road. On the other hand, if it's a road less travelled, it doesn't matter that much.
I like the big honkin' tree.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:32PM
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KB5, thanks again for your suggestions. I will be on the hunt this fall. For now, the mission is to get beds prepared. We do sit out front since a cool breeze passes through that part of the yard, keeping the mosquitos at bay. There are only 6 homes on our street and we are the only retired folks so pretty much have the days to ourselves.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 8:45AM
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daylilylady(z5 ME)

Hello Maine friends...I'm in the process of landscaping our property also. What I was looking for in shrubs were those who maintained their leaves throughout the winter and grew on the small side. I found that PJ rhodedendrum was just what I was looking for. I placed those around our rock patio and am looking for other dwarf type shrubs that maintain their leaves to put in front/in between the PJ's.

If you decide to put in daylilies, be careful if you decide on the Fulva's (ditch lilies). They tend to be leggy and will take over your garden. I have one Fulva in an area that it can spread to it's heart's content...all other daylilies are cultivers from the Lily Auction.

Your home is beautiful..just love the old houses!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:27PM
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daylilylady(z5 ME)

Oh, did I mention 'Boxwood'? I purchased several dwarf Boxwood's at Home Depot in May and they just beautiful!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:29PM
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Daylilylady, I've been waiting and hoping someone would make suggestions for us. Where did you put the boxwood? I have two in pots on either side of the door. Another forum had a link to "ditch lilies" that showed how they multiplied horizontally. Scary, really. Nearly all of the 50 daylilies I bought at the garden club sale were labeled yellow or tall yellow. Wrong! All, except one which is a beautiful red and yellow, is orange. I will probably transplant them into my ditch next spring or when I can buy 50 or so replacements. Let's hope we get suggestions on foundation shrubs. Laurie

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 8:16PM
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daylilylady(z5 ME)

Hello Laurie...sorry it took me so long to reply, I've been out planting and potting my Lily Auction winnings. I have so many daylilies that I've had to till another garden. Which garden club do you belong to? I read another thread that there is one in Saco, I'm going to have to find out when they meet.I'm still looking for dwarf shubs that maintain their leaves through the winter. I'm also trying to find 'Winterberry shrub' that Kennebunker wrote about above. I'm gonig to to try K-2 Landscaping in Portland to see if they know of any dwarf shrubs/leaves...I'll post if I find anything.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 7:52AM
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Hi daylilylady. I am also looking for small shrubs that maintain their leaves and haven't seen any either. Thank you for posting the link to Lily Auction. It looks like a wonderful site. There seems to be a huge selection. I have purchased plants twice on eBay and have been very satisfied. I haven't joined a Garden Club as yet but am thinking about Belfast. I enjoyed their plant sale even though the 60+ daylilies marked "tall yellow" turned out to be orange ditch lilies. The man who donated them supposedly was enlarging a patio and told said they were yellow. Would a color blind person see orange as yellow?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 6:53PM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

Would a color blind person see orange as yellow?
It's possible.
One of my sons has a slight degree of color blindness. He can't differentiate between several shades of blues and purples. To him they are identical. We learned this when the eye doctor gave him a colorblindness test as a boy.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 8:18AM
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daylilylady, I went shrub hunting today as far south as Edgecomb (from Stockton Springs between Bucksport and Belfast) and stopped at Cottage Garden in Damariscotta. They have 7 Winterberry Ilex verticillata Kennebago available at $28 each. Moose Crossing in Warren also had them but a different variety as did Anderson Farms in Edgecomb. Kennebago is a compact form. The others I saw were not. Summer Hill had an interesting review of these Maine Natives. Laurie

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on Winterberry Kennebago

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 6:41PM
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